Even though I haven’t watched an Oscar ceremony in something like 9 or 10 years, I was still rooting for Virginia Madsen to win something for “Sideways” in 2005. And she did receive a much-deserved Independent Spirit Award. She has brightened up so many terrible films over the years, and made good movies like “Candyman,” even better with a unique talent that rivals her incredible beauty. And that’s saying something.
Virginia Madsen began her career in independent films and she’s still making them undoubtedly because indies provide her with much more interesting roles than mainstream offerings do. “Artworks,” made in 2003, only just now available from MTI Home Video, is Director Jim Amatulli’s skimpy little story about art heists. Madsen plays Emma Becker, home security specialist (and the police chief’s daughter) who is still mourning the death of her infant in childbirth. When she awakens from a nightmare at the film’s start, her male partner takes one look at her and says “You’ve got to let go.” So you know, HE’S a loser and the first thing she’s got to let go of is HIM. Enter handsome art gallery owner Rick Rossovich as Bret Rogers. Faster than you can say “mind meld,” they are making out and swiping paintings from rich collectors who couldn’t care less about art. (Although I’ve yet to meet any art lovers who didn’t love their collections to bits.) Anyway, that’s the premise of “Artworks.”
Despite the murky psychological setup, Madsen finds her own way to make her character real. Thank God she’s in nearly every scene, because there’s a distinct chill whenever she’s offscreen. Is “Artworks” worth your time? If you like watching a real pro turn straw into gold, definitely. It’d be even better if the rock-bottom video production gave her some help. For Movie Magazine, this is Monica Sullivan.
© 2005 - Monica Sullivan - Air Date: 3/24/05
USA - 2003