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one of the most blatantly obvious signs that often-acclaimed director sidney lumet's " gloria , " a remake of the 1980 john cassavetes film , had absolutely no effect on me occurred when i was driving home from the theatre .
suddenly , i realized that since i had stood up from my theatre seat five minutes before , i had not thought once about the film i had just invested nearly two hours of my life in .
when a movie is over , aren't we supposed to think about it for a while , and have a conversation about it with the acquaintances we have just watched it with ?
i thought so , but , for one , i saw this particular picture by myself , and #2 , even if i had been with someone there wouldn't have been anything to talk about in the first place .
to be sure , " gloria " begins with a stirring , rather poignant prologue in which a seven-year-old boy's family is brutally gunned down by mobsters , in search of a disc his father had with incriminating evidence on it .
right before the men broke in , of course , his father gave him the disc to escape with .
eventually , the boy , named nicky nunez ( jean-luke figueroa ) , is caught by the mobsters , and taken back to their apartment .
meanwhile , gloria ( sharon stone ) has just gotten out of prison for a crime she didn't commit and returns to her ex-boyfriend ( jeremy northam ) to recieve the money he promised her for covering up his crime .
when he refuses to give it to her , and then hears the group of men talking about killing nicky , she leaves with him in order to save his life , but not before holding the men at gunpoint , stealing all of their money , and forcing them to strip nude .
gloria is the type of fast-talking , smart-mouthed new yorker who always seems to get involved with the wrong people , and she never expected to be stuck with a kid , but she has a heart of gold ( don't they always in this type of movie ) and is only trying to protect the boy , whom she quickly begins to form a close bond with .
the previous incarnation of " gloria " by cassavetes and starring the luminous gena rowlands , remains unseen by me , but was no doubt superior , even though i can't really imagine how this considerably dull story could be transformed into an entertaining one , regardless of the director or stars .
there is no doubt in my mind that director lumet has stuck closely to the original , but the film itself is simply lifeless , with only an occasional laugh popping up here and there so that it isn't completely unbearable to watch .
i liked , for example , a very funny climactic sequence where gloria is deciding whether to leave the school she has left the boy at , and keeps turning the car around , then driving a little ways , then slamming on the brakes and turning around again .
these bright moments , however , appear long and far between , and the majority of the film deals with the budding relationship between nicky and gloria , which is both painfully predictable and by-the-numbers .
throughout , my mind was repeatedly asking the question , " who really cares ? "
as gloria , sharon stone has adopted an over-the-top brooklyn accent that honestly doesn't sound realistic at all .
in the beginning , in fact , i was amazed at how amateurish stone's performance was , but as the film progressed she got better .
although not one of her better turns , stone does have a comic flare that refuses to be ignored .
jean-luke figeroa was fine as nicky and a little more natural than the usual child actors who are so precocious they make you want to gag .
all other actors who appeared were considerably wasted , none more than cathy moriarty , an entertaining actress in her own right , who is billed fourth and has all of one scene , as gloria's friend whom she turns to for help .
sony , the studio that released " gloria , " obviously does not have any faith in the film , and i don't blame them .
they declined to screen the picture for critics , which is never a good sign , particularly with the high-profile people involved .
although how much money a movie makes does not determine how good it is ( just look at the spectacular " in dreams , " which failed to even make the top 10 last week ) , i have a suspicion " gloria " is going to vanish from theaters faster than " ishtar , " judging from the opening night 7 : 00 p . m . showing i saw it at , where there were about ten to fifteen people present , counting myself .
although stone can be an impressive actress ( just watch her in 1995's " casino " or 1996's " last dance " if you don't believe me ) and sidney lumet can be a respectable director , there is no reasoning for why they thought the cliched story of " gloria " was worth remaking or , for that matter , why columbia pictures agreed to finance it when they could have been making a picture that actually looked like it might have an inkling of a chance to be successful .
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