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Year of the Comet

Directed by Peter Yates. Starring Penelope Ann Miller, Timothy Daly, Louis Jordan, Art Malik. (1992, PG-13, 89 min.)

REVIEWED By Louis Black, Fri., May 1, 1992

This one should pretty much sink without a trace, so I hate to even stir the waters by detailing how inept it is. Sufficient to say that if you're going to do Hitchcock, you should be a little more ambitious than this. Neglected daughter (Miller) finally talks her wine dealer father into sending her out to an old chateau to assess a collection of wine. As she checks it, she finds an extraordinarily rare bottle of wine worth a million dollars. Her father sells it by phone to an American millionaire and soon his assistant, a free-booting soldier of fortune (Daly), is there to pick up the bottle. Only they're not the only ones after it: the pack includes a local thug and his charming mom, a group of rival wine collectors, and a gang of outlaw scientists headquartered in the castle who actually want the case the wine is in because of a formula it contains. The wine casket moves back and forth across the landscape. Now, if only there were a spark between Miller and Daly as the traditionally mismatched lovers -- she: sheltered, intelligent wine expert, he: a beer-drinking adventurer -- this film may have ignited. The master certainly started fires with less. Coldly amoral in classic Hitchcock mode (bodies are scattered all over the landscape and this neither causes them to call the police or slow them from making love), the film weaves its plot without captivating the audience. Ultimately, it's about a pair of not very interesting people having some incredibly stupid adventures.
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