EW Staff
April 17, 1998 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Pelican Brief

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
Wide Release Date
12/17/93
performer
Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Tony Goldwyn, John Heard, Cynthia Nixon, Sam Shepard
director
Alan J. Pakula
author
John Grisham
genre
Mystery and Thriller, Drama

We gave it a C-

Don’t walk out of your video mart thinking you’ve got this year’s Oscar hog and a golden oldie — in fact you’re in for a George C. Scott TV-movie double feature. Fortunately, Showtime’s remake of Sidney Lumet’s 1957 version of the jury drama 12 Angry Men, in which one skeptical man (Lemmon in the Henry Fonda role) struggles to convince the other 11 (with Scott, in fine blowhard form, as the most stubborn) that there’s reasonable doubt about the accused’s guilt, still makes for a fine actors’ showcase. Granted, it’s all vaguely unnecessary; apart from a few contemporary references (Fat Albert, Tyson/Holyfield, Secrets & Lies…so, like, how come it’s still an all-male jury?) it’s pretty much a shot-by-shot replica of the ’57 edition. But it’ll do. James Cameron’s epic vision of the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic, on the other hand, makes 1996’s four-hour CBS miniseries Titanic look as inert as a smokestack. Cutting between two hokey shipboard romances, plus various other tedious subplots, the first half calls to mind a Very Special Episode of The Love Boat. Things pick up once the iceberg makes its cameo — the best scenes involve Scott, as the ship’s captain, frantically attempting to contact the nearby Californian (a detail Cameron opted to omit) — but only those with a truly desperate jones for all things Titanic need bother. C-

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