filmhead.gif (6498 bytes)

Michael/C+, A

US/1996/Color/Widescreen 1.85:1/Stereo Surround,DD/106 minutes/Directed by Nora Ephron/Starring John Travolta, William Hurt/Warner/31 Chaps/CLV/$39.98

Michael lays itself at the wings of John Travolta’s charm. Travolta plays horny, grubby Archangel Michael in his last big Earth job(It seems angels have a limited number of Earth opportunities.). Travolta ruffles those feathers, puffs up his chest, and appears to have a real good time playing matchmaker to William Hurt and Andie MacDowell. The featherweight script is too heavy for an Archangel to carry.

Hurt is well cast as Frank Quinlin, cynical reporter for the National Mirror, a prototypical supermarket tantalizer. Andie MacDowell plays Dorothy Winters, a dog trainer and would-be country singer, hired by the editor of the Mirror to catch Quinlin in a false step. Bob Hoskins appears in a forgettable role as the Mirror’s hungry editor.

Directed by Nora Ephron and written by a quartet of scribes, including herself and sister Delia Ephron, Michael’s journey from the farmlands to the bright lights of Chicago is bland. The depiction of Michael as pure blue collar is a departure from traditional angel screen portraits, but the originality is married with an unsavory coarseness.

Michael is a stunning laser disc. It’s balances delicate lighting with enough strong contrasts to make a consistently appealing presentation. Image and color are outstanding. The music by Randy Newman has excellent depth.