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After screenwriter Steven Phillips (Albert Brooks) wins a lifetime achievement award for his highly regarded work, he instantly goes cold and is considered a has-been, losing his latest contract and fired by the studio. Desperate for work, he meets with friend and fellow screenwriter Jack(Jeff Bridges), who puts him in contact with a Sarah (Stone), whom he calls a modern-day muse. Steven hires her and quickly finds her methods outrageous, as she increasingly demands more expensive and lavish accommodations and pampering. Directed by Brooks, Stone plays a person of peculiar behavior that seems uninterested in helping Steven while taking care of everyone else, including Steven’s wife (Andie MacDowell). Smart, charming, and sexy, Stone steals every scene she’s in and makes it easy to believe she could turn your life around.
A inferior remake to the French classic Les Diaboliques, two women, a wife and her husband’s mistress, plot to kill him, though things go very wrong when his carefully hidden body disappears. Stone plays the other woman, a coy, stylishly sexy lover with a cool attitude. Though the film, directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik, is hardly faithful to the original, ruining what most agree is already a masterpiece, the performances are not to blame. Isabelle Adjani as the wife and Stone are very good, with Stone especially gripping as a woman with a razor sharp edge. While the tone is off and the style a little too off center, it’s great fun to see this movie again and watch Stone sizzle.
A movie adaptation of the far better Michael Crichton book, Sphere is a disappointing sci-fi adventure that sees scientists discover a 300-year-old spacecraft on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Directed by Barry Levinson, featuring a talented cast, including Dustin Hoffman and Samuel L. Jackson, the film looks great with some strong performances (though Hoffman is miscast). Stone plays marine biologist Dr. Beth Halperin, who, with the others, finds a massive, shimmering liquid sphere in the cargo hold of the abandoned ship. The sphere, which seemingly manifests whatever fear they are thinking, slowly turns the crew against each other. Stone is mostly in a supporting role, but gives the strongest performance, breaking down as the stress of the deadly situation escalates. While the film lacks the punch of the book, Stone elevates her part and offers the best reason to watch.
The fourth movie adaptation of the cherished book of the same name by Henry Rider Haggard, this quirky action comedy takes its similarities with the more popular Indiana Jones franchise in stride, even poking fun at it. Made like a 1940s B-grade jungle movie, the absurd (and sometimes offensive by today’s standards) set pieces are all tongue-in-cheek, layered in cheesy one liners and silly, purposeful special effects. Stone plays Jesse Huston who hires Allan Quatermain (Richard Chamberlain) to find her father, lost on an expedition hoping to discover the fabled King Solomon’s Mines. Fresh-faced and gleefully over-the-top, like a scream queen of the Black & White films of the past, Stone is hilariously effective as the damsel/love interest. It’s ridiculous fun from start to finish, and while it lacks the charm and wit of the series it tries to emulate, it gets better with age, embracing the cheese it surely is.
Stone plays Ellen “The Lady”, a gunslinger who rides into the small Western town of Redemption, run by a ruthless ex-outlaw named Herod (Gene Hackman). He holds a contest, a single-elimination quick draw competition that has lured some of the best in the land to join. Winners live; losers die. Ellen has good reason to be here, out for revenge, and she meets Cort (Russell Crowe), a former gunfighter, now a man of the cloth. There’s also “The Kid”, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who is young but fast. Directed by Sam Raimi, the film is a little predictable and doesn’t shy away from the tropes of the genre, but the movie is beautifully photographed and Raimi brings some gruesome creativity, yet it is Stone who makes this one to watch. Strong and independent, sexy and all-out dangerous, she carries the movie, revealing a lot of depth to a character that would otherwise be one-dimensional. A forgotten gem, this needs to be on your list.