A historical television series that focuses on the impact of the Underground Railroad during the 19th century, "Underground" offers viewers a message of social progress that's just as relevant in 2017.
An undercover FBI agent falls in love with a recently widowed mafia wife, who is trying to restart her life following her husband's murder while being pursued by a libidinous mafia kingpin seeking to claim her for himself.
Spalding Gray sits behind a desk throughout the entire film and recounts his exploits and chance encounters while playing a minor role in the film 'The Killing Fields'. At the same time, he gives a background to the events occurring in Cambodia at the time the film was set. Written by
Peter Goldsack <email@example.com>
[On dealing with the annoying upstairs neighbor]
Renee is not practicing Buddhist tolerance. She's walking up and down... she's got STEAM screaming out of her navel. And there are people say we should start a collection to hire a vigilante to off this woman, to kill her, and I find I'm not saying "no"? That's how New York has changed me? I'm willing to put money into the pot?
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One day a couple of years ago, while I was waiting for a television show, I was flipping through the channels and I caught part of Spalding Gray's monologue film -Monster in a Box- and I was so blown away by it that I missed the show that I had been waiting for. I don't know why it took me so long to rent another one of his monologue films, but this week I picked up his first one, -Swimming to Cambodia-. It was good, but nowhere near as good as -Monster in a Box-.
For one thing, -Monster in a Box- was very well directed, and the "special effects" do not get in the way. But in -Swimming to Cambodia-, the sound effects are often too loud, and thecutting is too quick and artsy, when it should have been nothing but slow pans and zooms, sort of like -My Dinner With Andre-. Then there is this awful effect with the lights, basically shutting them off to cut the emotional rhythm. This was unneeded. Gray's performance itself establishes rhythm enough.
My second big complaint is with the monologue itself. It is mostly very interesting, but it is not polished or cohesive. Just as he does in -Monster in a Box-, Gray alternates between very hilarious narrative (such as the descriptions of the sex acts in Thailand) and very harrowing narrative (such as the descriptions of Pol Pot's revolution). That technique works extraordinarily in -Monster in a Box-, but the two halves of the narratives don't seem to do with each other at all. The funny half concerns the work on the movie -The Killing Fields-, and the harrowing half very intensely examines the true story of the Kamir Rouge and America's dealing with these kinds of situations. Also, the monologue seems to end almost arbitrarily.
This film is definitely worth a rental. It is under 90 minutes, which I always count as a plus. But if you want to be impressed, rent -Monster in a Box-. 7/10
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