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Great Expectations

Director:  Alfonso Cuarón
Year Released:  1998
Rating:  0.5

Cuarón got it in his head to re-make Dickens' classic novel - and, indirectly, David Lean's 1946 masterpiece - and set it in the modern art world, with the results being disastrous and awkward. Gwyneth Paltrow is the obscure object of desire - a shrill woman who can't make up her mind - while Ethan Hawke plays the vacant-headed Pip, who is given a chance at artistic freedom but crashes his parties with his lack of social charm and Paltrow fixation (he also has an Uncle, played by Chris Cooper, who is relatively subdued the entire movie until he is pegged to unexpectedly appear at a snobby gallery showing with a prom outfit from the 50's and knock over champagne ... you know, just to keep things on edge). As if the brain-dead screenplay wasn't enough to make you want to ignite the negative, the soundtrack is loaded to the brim with self-conscious art hipness - it's what you'd hear if you asked David Byrne to make you a mix tape. Hawke looks more lost than usual and Paltrow strains to be simultaneously sexy and snooty, but at least someone got it right in asking the great Francisco Clemente to do Hawke's drawings. Now if only we can get Don DeLillo to write his novels and Colin Farrell to do his interviews he'll be all set.

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