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Zulawski, Zulawski, Zulawski: my attempt at a review of a French romantic film...
I have only seen one other Zulawski film before this one, POSSESSION, and while I found that film to be better than this one (to be precise: something of a masterpiece, in my opinion), I believe that MES NUITS SONT PLUS BELLES QUE VOS JOURS is essential viewing for anyone who loves French romantic cinema. Though Zulawski himself is Polish, MES NUITS(...) is thoroughly "Francofied", from its almost absurdly poetic title to its frank depiction of violence and sometimes aberrant sexual behavior (not to mention sex in general, of course).
The story concerns Lucas (French singer-actor Jacques Dutronc), a computer genius who has finally hit the jackpot, inventing and selling a new computer language that will revolutionize the field of technology. To be sure, Lucas would ordinarily be thrilled with this, but he has just learned that he is suffering from a rare disease that begins by destroying the memory. With seemingly days left to live, he meets a beautiful, much younger woman in a café: Blanche (Sophie Marceau, then-lover of director Zulawski) is an up-and-coming nightclub performer and model (who seems to have psychic abilities). Though completely different from one another, they have one thing in common: desperation. Lucas's desperation comes from the knowledge of his impending death; Blanche's desperation is more spiritual in nature. Both Blanche and Lucas suffer from memories of tragic childhoods, and both feel alone and unloved even though they should feel on top of the world. The two begin a strange affair that I'd hesitate to call "tender"; there is plenty of passion in this film, but it is all very cold, as I believe was intended. In Zulawski's universe, there is no time for tenderness, and the laws of passion are the only ones worth following. As the film hammers on in an energetic, often funny fashion, it becomes increasingly dark and tragic. By the film's end, we are spending much of our time witnessing a fractured reality from Lucas's point of view. His deterioration is portrayed brilliantly by having Lucas constantly speak, in an attempt to hang on to sense and logic, only to lose all hope as his ability to communicate thought breaks apart, and gibberish flows ceaselessly from his lips. A tragic film, a darkly comic one, but at the last moment, I think an oddly optimistic one.
It's really too bad that so many people have never heard of Zulawski. After seeing only two of his films, I'm convinced that he's a unique and engaging filmmaker who deserves far more respect. Perhaps the future will see a discovery of his work. Quickly, before Zulawski retires...!
Wow, what a disappointment. After watching the director's ICE FROM THE SUN, I thought I'd give this one a shot. If you've ever seen ICE FROM THE SUN, feel free to laugh up your sleeve at my naiveté for thinking this one would be even better. SCRAPBOOK is a truly awful pseudo-movie, all the more stunningly awful because the mise-en-scene at least indicates that a modicum of talent resides behind the camera. Tommy Biondo, who "wrote" the "script", plays a serial killer who keeps a scrapbook of all the women he tortures and kills. Why? It's never made clear. He kidnaps a girl and tells her that she must maintain an account of her torture in the scrapbook. Why? It's never made clear. The killer has a deep-seated resentment of women, and is sexually maladjusted. Why? It's never made clear. As a matter of fact, the only thing that's clear from this stupid movie is the filmmakers' desire to "make something really disturbing"; their miserable failure comes from the fact that without subtext, scenes of violence and torture are simply demoralizing, not to mention boring. Maybe the film could've at least been uncomfortable to watch, but all the torture sequences -- the film's bread and butter -- are so ineffectively staged that all their violence is rendered completely useless. The acting in this movie is so bad: how hard could it possibly be to act out blinding pain? The girl in this movie is so stupid; through the whole thing, she simply cries and whimpers, rolls up into a little ball, says "Please" a lot. I'm not ordinarily the type to watch a movie and say, "If I were there, I'd do this...", but in this case we're talking about a dumb weepy girl who isn't even tied half the time, and through all the rape and debasement, never once a raised hand, never a kick, not even a cross word! I know girls who would eat this psycho-killer prick for breakfast. I'm not the sort of person who thinks that gore and graphic sex disqualify a film from greatness. I just find it insulting that this movie is intended to be "thought-provoking". The only thought it provoked in me was "What an idiot I was for spending $25 on this horse-s__t." If you want to see a truly disturbing and thought-provoking horror film that has a point beyond the lovingly-detailed (and poorly rendered) torture of a severely stupid young woman, watch IN A GLASS CAGE, HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER, Texas CHAINSAW MASSACRE, or LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (that's right, even LAST HOUSE wasn't this bad). Some people here have called SCRAPBOOK offensive and nauseating; I'd argue that this is giving the "film"-makers too much credit. SCRAPBOOK is stupid, boring, and pointless; I wouldn't even do the cast and crew the favor of getting sick at this stupid, boring, and pointless movie. I could go on and on about how terrible it is, but just see for yourself. If you found this movie stimulating, I have three words for you: READ A BOOK!
Boy oh boy, did I HATE this movie..........
Well, I have to say I'm flabbergasted to see all the glowing reviews for this overblown, glitzy piece of garbage. I'm happy to add my two cents, even if it means I'll become the local pariah. This is one hell of a stinker!
Val Kilmer, who is a very good actor, plays John Holmes, the infamous porn star and loser (a good performance; he just plays Jim Morrison as if Morrison hadn't died in the late '60s). The film chronicles his involvement with an unsavory bunch of thugs and weirdos, culminating in his apparent involvement in a murder. It's impossible to feel sorry for this slug, since about %99.9999 of every awful thing that happens to him is his own damned fault. Okay, so... Unsympathetic hero. Not necessarily a problem for me, mind you, but the writers give you nothing else. There's NO ONE you can identify with; even Lisa Kudrow, playing Holmes' ex, is a little too high-and-mighty for my tastes.
The second big problem with this movie is the fact that for anyone with a basic knowledge of '70s and '80s fringe culture, there is no suspense. The disadvantage of working with a true story is that, chances are, the audience knows how it ends. So there's no suspense, just an endless and depressing downward spiral. Snore!
The third, and most glaring, problem I have with this film is its reliance on useless, flashy, gimmicky trick photography and stunt editing. It's incredibly irritating. For instance..... >>>>MILD SPOILERS AHEAD<<<< .....Right after the heist, John and the guys tally up all the cash and merchandise they've pilfered. As they add everything together, a cash ticker appears on the side of the screen; WHAT PURPOSE DOES THAT SERVE?!?! Namely, to draw attention to itself, and to make sure the audience knows they're watching a movie. WHY?! It's just so useless that it almost makes me mad. And that's but one example of the many ways that the makers of this stupid movie found to cheese me off.
All in all, in spite of a really good cast, and a director who obviously has talent, WONDERLAND just doesn't cut it for me. It's inundated with the kind of empty Hollywood trickery that ruined the similarly flashy-but-empty MAN ON FIRE with Denzel Washington (a good actor who, like Kilmer, really seems to enjoy playing the same two or three characters again and again and again). My rating is a 2. I thought 1 would be going too far, but 3 was unreasonable, because this movie really does suck in my opinion.
So 2 it is.
Sleazy, Gross, Disgusting, Sick, Vile, Putrid, Ugly, Repulsive, Repugnant, Trashy, and Just Generally Unpleasant and Nasty
So why the high rating? There are plenty of reasons to hate this movie: the glorification of violence; the unbelievably misogynistic treatment of women; Al Pacino's patently unconvincing Cuban accent; Giorgio Moroder's music (actually, the pulse-pounding score itself is great, but those early-80s power ballads are worth a few giggles); the stereotyping of Cubans and Colombians. But the violence in this movie really is undeniably beautiful; the women aren't treated any worse than in any other gangster film; Pacino is inspired, clumsy accent notwithstanding, and it's glorious to see him really let it all out (in a performance that I believe he calls his favorite); Moroder's music adds to the outrageousness of the proceedings; and the stereotyping, well... bad on De Palma, but what can I say? This is one terrific story, and it's certainly told well.
While the hip-hop "community" has chosen to read the film as a morality play for aspiring kingpins, it is in my opinion a satire of capitalism, which ideal is embodied by Tony Montana (Pacino), a bloodthirsty, cocaine-addled killing machine who kills at the slightest provocation. But his violent temper hides a lightning-quick instinct for business, danger, and provocation. It is through this mixture of brutality and brilliance that Tony is able to climb to the top of an utterly corrupt empire, bathing his hands in blood and laughing all the way to the bank. He is a coward and a criminal, but even he knows that he's ultimately no different than any other man of power. He's a businessman, plain and simple. If he had born into an affluent American family, Tony Montana might have been a lawyer or politician. Though public figures (especially political figures) damn Tony's actions for the cameras, they know and Tony knows that he is the purest embodiment of the American Dream. If the American Dream is to prosper in order to ensure comfort, safety, and freedom, then Tony is one of the greatest Americans to ever live. This is the cynical message at the heart of De Palma's film; compare that to the slightly more idealistic message at the core of Howard Hawks' equally great 1932 original, SCARFACE, THE SHAME OF THE NATION.
The film starts with Castro opening Mariel harbor and ejecting the "undesirables" from Cuba. One of these refugees is charming ex-convict and live wire Tony Montana. Together with his best friend and partner in crime, Manny Ribera, Tony works his way up from the streets of Miami to the seaside mansions of criminal high society. Along the way, the two friends learn how to live the high life, but they quickly discover that the money and power come with a price (don't they always?). Michelle Pfeiffer is Tony's disenfranchised wife, Robert Loggia his early boss and mentor, Harris Yulin a crooked cop, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio his beautiful sister, who idolizes him, and for whom he obviously harbors incestuous feelings. The climax of this film is a tour-de-force, and the photography of the great John A. Alonzo (CHINATOWN, HAROLD AND MAUDE, BLACK Sunday) is outstanding, as are the sets and costumes. Every single scene is an eye-grabbing explosion of gorgeous ultra-80s decadence. Overall, SCARFACE is a masterpiece of suspense and social commentary. It deserves a place among the greatest gangster films of all time. Not until THE UNTOUCHABLES would De Palma top this one.
Unfairly Neglected Art-Horror Masterpiece from an Unfairly Neglected Director
This shocking, bizarre, and emotionally brutal film from little-known (to mainstream audiences) Polish filmmaker Andrzej Zulawski combines the dark suspense and ironic humor of ROSEMARY'S BABY, the biological horror and familial disintegration of THE BROOD, and the unabashed histrionics and directorial flamboyance of Ken Russell's THE DEVILS. With themes of marital strife, familial disintegration, and psychological breakdown harking back to the former two and the in-your-face grotesquerie and visceral drama reminding the viewer of the latter two, little-known but acclaimed Polish filmmaker Andrzej Zulawski tells the story of Anna (Isabelle Adjani, in the performance of a lifetime) and Mark (Sam Neill), she a bored housewife and he an overworked... something (the film never makes clear his occupation). They share an apartment in an empty, run-down Berlin with their young son. After completing an important job of some kind, Mark comes home to his family to find things changed. He drags the truth from Anna that she has been having an affair. She insists she cannot stay with him, and leaves Mark with the child, apparently to shack up with her lover. Mark tracks down the lover, a real weirdo named Heinz (Heinrich Bennent), but after insults and fisticuffs, Heinz insists he has not seen Anna in quite a while. Mark, perplexed, hires a detective to follow her from their apartment after one of her sporadic visits, which always end in chaos. The detective manages to get in and... something really strange happens. I know what that something is, having seen the picture, but on the off-chance you haven't read the other (spoiler-inundated) reviews, I'll keep it secret. Instead I'll talk about the photography, which goes a long way toward mirroring the absolutely unhinged performances, and the set design, which provides a cool counterpoint to the feverish tenor of the film's action and dialogue. It obviously isn't going to be for everybody, and in fact some will doubtless find it repellent. Writing the film was obviously therapeutic for Zulawski (who, like Cronenberg when writing THE BROOD, was going through a nasty divorce). A friend of mine said he was more sickened by the scenes of emotional anguish than by any of the film's often-stomach-churning special effects. Just keep two things in mind: firstly, this isn't your typical "horror flick", therefore the splatterpunk/gorehound set should stay away; and secondly, this one is playing for keeps: though laced with a bitter humor, there are no light moments here AT ALL, and this should not be watched by couples on a first date, or any couple whose relationship is not secure. Also, keep impressionable children away from it. I was very impressed with what I thought would be just another dreary, over-hyped horror film and turned out to be a genuine classic (at least as far as I'm concerned). Watch POSSESSION if you like Polanski's horror films, Cronenberg's more dramatic outings, or any of Ken Russell's stuff. SCENE OF NOTE: Adjani going ABSOLUTELY NUTS and having a miscarriage (or going into labor...?) in a subway station for what seems like an eternity.
Zombi 2 (1979)
Uuuhhh...... THIS is the "classic" I've been hearing about?!
I'm pretty open-minded about campy or gory movies. I feel that budget, script, plot, acting can all be beside the point if you just want to scare the audience. Unfortunately, director Lucio Fulci has no earthly idea how to frighten me with his silly zombies (I was equally disappointed by the utterly laughable "H.P. Lovecraft adaptation" HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY). Italy's answer to Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD (actually an unofficial sequel, as DAWN was released under the title "Zombie", and this one "Zombie 2", in Italy), this movie has absolutely nothing in common with Romero's classic. The acting in this movie is really inexcusably terrible. Again, I can look past that if the movie has some redeeming qualities. But the plot is so incredibly tame and clichéd that it nearly defies belief. That anyone might favor this over DAWN (or any Romero movies) is mind-boggling. The much-hyped gore-strewn finale is really anticlimactic, and with such a short running time, no interesting story is given room to develop. The only scene in the movie that manages to generate any kind of suspense (as well as the film's one truly recognizable instance of intentional humor) is the "zombie vs. shark" sequence, which I must admit was a pretty witty idea, as it skewers DAWN and JAWS in one go. Too bad there are absolutely no other moments like that to be found here. Tisa Farrow has her sister's looks, but unfortunately NONE of her talent; Ian McCulloch, in addition to being one of the very blandest of movie heroes, is very unattractive, looking tired and middle-aged next to Farrow. I can't even bring myself to write down the plot, as it's so uselessly clichéd... you've seen it a thousand times and in much better movies. Sure, the FX are great, when they crop up, but again, I didn't think the film was particularly gory. Another thing that strikes me is just how adamant this movie's fans are. They all but declare those who don't favor the film to be idiots, which is a dumb attitude to take about anything. It's just a movie, folks. I personally don't see how one looks at DAWN and then at this and says, "Oh, definitely, ZOMBIE is the superior of the two." To each his own. If it weren't for THE BEYOND and DON'T TORTURE A DUCKLING, I might forget about Fulci altogether. If I only knew him based on this and HOUSE/CEMETERY I would be totally at a loss. Anyway, stick with the Romero films, or with WHITE ZOMBIE, I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE, SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW (one of Wes Craven's only good movies), or even the more recent 28 DAYS LATER for more hard-hitting zombie entertainment. And trust me, even Fulci has done better pictures than this. Sorry to be the party-pooper here, but if I think a movie stinks, that's what I think. I tried (and believe me, I tried REEEEALLLY HARD) to give this two stars, just because it seems to mean so much to a certain segment of the horror-film-going population, but I just couldn't. Except for some unintentional laughs and the admittedly impressive (but far-too-infrequent) FX (pretty cool music score too, by the way), this is truly a good-for-nothing movie. And now I've said my piece. Ciao.
Chûgoku no chôjin (1998)
Another Masterpiece from the Indefatigable Miike (Possibly My Favorite of His)
Takashi Miike is the living definition of the word "indefatigable". In a career that began in the early 1990s, he has directed a staggering number of films in a mind-boggling array of different genres, from horror to family films, even a musical (!); but Miike is probably best known for his Yakuza (Japanese gangster) films. The likes of FUDOH, ICHI, and DEAD OR ALIVE, with their over-the-top violence and surreal (often disgusting) setpieces, are Miike's chief claim to fame. In one respect that's a pity, because every once in a while, Miike will produce a wild card, and BIRD PEOPLE IN CHINA is a film that fits into that latter category. The man character is a young Japanese executive named Mr. Wada (Masahiro Motoki), who is sent by his boss to a remote region in the wilds of China to survey a supposedly rich jade mine. He is joined on his trip by a Yakuza named Ujiie (Renji Ishibashi), who plans on taking the jade as payment for some outstanding debts on the part of Wada's boss. After they are taken as far as the train will go, Wada and Ujiie are met by their guide, the absent-minded Mr. Shen (scene-stealer Mako), who takes them through the rugged, unsettled terrain of rural China, first on foot, and then on a raft pulled by several huge sea turtles. When the three men finally reach their destination, a village left untouched by the ravages of industrialization, Wada and Ujiie have a few epiphanies that will prove to make leaving rather difficult. It sounds like a simple story, and it is, but there's something about this film that makes it great, but that I find hard to articulate. No doubt the startlingly beautiful cinematography by Hideo Yamamoto has a lot to do with the film's hypnotic quality. And then there's the genuinely touching story of two men who discover a whole other side to themselves that they were never previously aware existed. And finally, the film's deft blend of genres is seamless: it shifts gears from a screwball/buddy comedy to a jungle-bound adventure to an existential rumination on identity and civilization, finally ending on a dream-like note of perfect serenity. There is one scene of Yakuza violence that seems inserted to remind us that we're watching a Miike film, but it's fleeting and, compared to some of what can be found elsewhere in his films, it's utterly tame and inoffensive. There's also an ecological message packed into the mix. So, final verdict: for fans of Miike who wonder what else the man is capable of, I highly recommend BIRD PEOPLE IN CHINA, surely the gentlest and most poignant of all the man's movies (at least that I've seen). For the truly open-minded aficionado, there is much to be enjoyed here.
Koroshiya 1 (2001)
More Proof That Miike is One of the Best Filmmakers Working Today
Having only seen one Takashi Miike film (FUDOH - THE NEW GENERATION) before this, I was a little apprehensive when reading the back of this DVD. Though I enjoyed FUDOH, it wasn't what I would call a great movie. After reading the synopsis, I expected ICHI to be little more than a PULP FICTION-style thriller. Never a fan of John Woo or filmmakers of that type, I settled in to watch ICHI with slightly lower expectations than FUDOH (which, again, I enjoyed, but did not find great). Boy, was I ever in for a shock. The violence of FUDOH does not even begin to compare with that of ICHI... and FUDOH was one hell of a violent movie! More importantly than that, however, was the fact that beyond its often astounding violence was a great story filled with fascinating characters. Filmed in a super-fast-paced style, ICHI tells the story of ruthless yakuza assassin Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano is absolutely terrifying!), a maniac with a sadistic streak a mile wide and a masochistic streak just as wide, who goes on a rampage to find his boss, who has disappeared with a large sum of money. In his search for the missing ganglord, he quite literally leaves a trail of blood and guts behind him. His outrageously violent methods anger the other members of Japan's organized crime world, to a point that they enlist the help of the mysterious titular character in disposing of the maniac. Ichi remains unseen (or so we think) till well into the film (and his appearance is one of the biggest shocks of all), with only his gruesome handiwork on display till then. It all sounds very ordinary (or at least it did to me), but the beauty of this film (as well, I am led to believe, as Miike's others) is the director's ability to completely pervert the conventions of the crime thriller in order to deliver something that more closely resembles David Cronenberg than John Woo or Quentin Tarantino: this is no hip, tongue-in-cheek gangster comedy. Miike plays for keeps, as evidenced by the frequently disturbing imagery and subject matter. The acting in the film is worthy of mention as well. As stated before, Asano is very effective in the principal role; Shinya Tsukamoto (director of the wonderful TETSUO films) appears as a seemingly cowardly retired yakuza boss with a few schemes of his own; and almost everyone else leaves a very distinct impression (there is one actor in particular, who sounds as though he has some kind of breathing problem, who I will never forget, and I can't remember the character's name). Though often painful to watch (and I mean that in the most literal sense), there is a real and palpable beauty to the proceedings, which is due no doubt in part to the cinematography as well as the great editing. I read a review of this movie somewhere that said it was like one of the ultraviolent movies that Malcolm McDowell is forced to watch in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE as part of his brainwashing. I find that an amusing comparison, and it should let the viewer know what he or she is in for. I agree with the prevailing opinion among the true fans of this movie that calling ICHI THE KILLER a "splatter" movie is almost an insult; I think this is probably one of the best movies of the past decade, and deserves recognition as more than just a gorefest or crime thriller. Plus I love the ending. Since watching this movie I've become a huge fan of this guy's movies. Watch this if you can stomach the violence, and see for yourself what a huge talent the amazingly prolific Takashi Miike really is!!!
The Meaning of Life (1983)
My First Python Experience, and Still My Favorite
Don't get me wrong... I love GRAIL and BRIAN. I love the show, and I even love most of the post-Python stuff that's come out. But this is and will always be my favorite Python experience. Where GRAIL and BRIAN found the troupe stretching out their legs with strong stories (understandable, since their show had been sketch-based), I really do feel that they were at their best with the sketch-comedy format. One reviewer on this site suggested that a feature film is not the best place to try on a sketch comedy; though he may be right, I think Python do an admirable job, and I also think that this is definitely a structurally interesting film, as well as being their darkest, weirdest, and most provocative statement. And besides, though it is episodic in structure, there is a narrative flow to it; Python takes us from birth to death, beginning to end, and has us laughing all the way. Tellingly, Cleese, who once poo-pooed this film as the least successful at their efforts, says on the commentary track that he'd never realized how good MEANING OF LIFE is, and that it contains some of their very best material. I agree. "Every Sperm is Sacred", "Mr. Creosote", "Death", "Live Organ Transplants", "Birth", the entire "Growth and Learning" segment, and of course "Find the Fish", without a doubt the single WEIRDEST thing Python ever did, and actually one of the weirdest things I've ever seen in a movie, bar none (seriously, I want to emphasize further... even if you don't really like this movie, "Find the Fish" is PRIME PYTHON... one of their defining moments, along with the "Fish Slapping Dance"). The only thing I see wrong with the film is the "Fighting Each Other" segment, which is only funny for a couple of minutes (the search for the missing leg gets old quickly, and the skit about the platoon throwing a party for their captain is amusing, but simply not good enough to be included here). The production values are higher, the direction slicker, and the material better-written than in all their previous work, and for every bad joke there are least three or four good ones. It's also a musical, containing more song-and-dance numbers than before. The "Death" segment marks the last time all six Pythons would appear on screen together, and it's a little sad in that respect. Oh yeah... Terry Gilliam's short film "The Crimson Permanent Assurance", which appears before the film proper, is wonderfully funny and creative, as Gilliam's films can be expected to be. About the extras on the new Universal special edition DVD: very good documentary, though I always hate to see Cleese bad-mouthing this production (he's always been the hardest to please); a lot of junk, some of it amusing, some of it quite useless; but most interestingly, deleted skits. For the most part it's easy to see why they left these out of the movie (and the DVD has an option where you can watch the movie with these scenes where they would've been in the final cut): though I found the "Martin Luther" segment uproariously funny, it simply doesn't have enough appeal to those who aren't up on church history (and there are many)... and of course, the other excluded segments are pretty hit-or-miss, but it's still interesting to see them. So in conclusion (goodness, what a messy review this is!), here's how I rank the works of Python: #1: MEANING OF LIFE; #2) "Monty Python's Flying Circus"; #3) MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL; #4) LIFE OF BRIAN (I always felt it was slightly overrated, though I do still love it). And the other stuff -- concert movies, along with the first film, AND NOW FOR SOMETHING... don't count!!! Sorry for the chaos of my review, hope you enjoy this movie!
What Lies Beneath (2000)
I've seen this twice, and I feel the need to let everyone know that this is not a good movie AT ALL. It's actually one of the worst attempts at a Hitchcockian thriller I've ever seen. The plot is simple: Michelle Pfeiffer is a constantly worried woman, and her husband is a super-perfect handsome scientist played by Harrison Ford. Pfeiffer's performance is good, but her character is simply too weepy; she's almost a modernized caricature of Joan Fontaine in REBECCA, and the trouble with that is that most women simply don't behave like that anymore. The bulk of the movie consists of a string of scare, or "jump", scenes, followed by Pfeiffer's increasingly hysterical reactions, and then a brief moment where Ford consoles and tucks her into bed. The jump scenes come literally every few minutes, to the point that far from keeping us on edge, they become irritating. You know when it's coming, and you come to dread not the creepiness of it, but the irritation of it, because it's so loud and hokey and obnoxious. There are way, way, way, way too many jump scenes in this film; you could practically set your clock to them. After about an hour of this irritating and repetitive (and lazy) attempt at building a suspenseful atmosphere (which of course fails), it becomes clear that a dead lady is trying to communicate with Pfeiffer. She figures out that the spirit is trying to tell her the identity of her murderer. Gasp! How original! And does hubby believe her? Well what do you think? Of course he's all "Oh honey you're just hysterical" and "I think you're overreacting" and so on. And who's the killer? Could it be the seemingly normal but vaguely sinister next door neighbor... or could that be a red herring? Hmm... And then we find out who the killer really is in case we hadn't already guessed. Well, I've spoiled enough, but let me tell you, the revelation of the killer's identity is no more surprising than it is plausible. And toward the end of the movie, when our heroine finally faces off with the killer, director Robert Zemeckis must have suddenly developed a James Cameron complex; the climactic suspense sequences at the end of the story are as laughable as any lousy action film, and it is a fitting end to this completely mindless, unoriginal, and oddly self-impressed bit of tripe. Zemeckis throws every trick in the book at us, but after a while it just seems kind of desperate. While this may not be the worst film ever, it just doesn't gel for me. I found it predictable, contrived, and lazy. I didn't feel this was as bad as a 1, but I couldn't bring myself to give it anything above 2.