Combustible Celluloid
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With: Nicole Kidman, Matt Dillon, Joaquin Phoenix, Casey Affleck, Illeana Douglas, Dan Hedaya, Buck Henry, David Cronenberg, George Segal
Written by: Buck Henry, based on the novel by Joyce Maynard
Directed by: Gus Van Sant
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content, and for language
Running Time: 107
Date: 05/20/1995

To Die For (1995)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Weather or Not

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Gus Van Sant directed this sharp black comedy about our obsession with television and celebrity culture. Nicole Kidman stars in perhaps her first great role as a wannabe small-time weather anchorwoman who kills her husband, Larry (Matt Dillon), and gets away with it because of her awesome television presence. She seduces teen Jimmy (Joaquin Phoenix) and pulls in his friends (Casey Affleck and Alison Folland) to be her accomplices.

Kidman deliciously matches her stunning looks with a nasty wit that we can't help fall prey to. She gets a gleam in her eye when she is working, and a nasty scowl when she has to deal with real life. Despite her villainy, we can't help dreamily following her every move, lost in a daze of snakelike charm. Buck Henry (The Graduate) wrote the screenplay, Illeana Douglas has a potent role as Larry's sister, and director David Cronenberg has a funny little cameo as a hit man.

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