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To what end?
15 January 2003
A well acted drama of race prejudice, internal conflict, and utter despair. But who cares?

A certainly dramatic story with great themes on American life and the human condition. A wonderfully moving concept that is so hard to find in mainstream Hollywood. This should be the greatest dramatic film of the decade. But it isn't. The direction and execution is so dull and mechanical, there is nothing to hold the viewer's interest. For sure, there are some great ideas behind the camera, but what is the point if the film itself is aesthetically ugly and quite dull? There is nothing here to pique, let alone maintain interest, throughout. What we have is something that could better be served as a made-for-tv afternoon time waster. Yes, the ideas are important, and there is great human drama involved, but what indeed is the point to making a film that one must wade through like a mangrove swamp? Watching this film will not enlighten nor entertain.

It could have been so much more. As it stands, there seems to be no reason for the existance, let alone the success, of this film.
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I still don't care what they did last summer.
29 October 2002
I don't know what it is with teen flick producers, but people just seem to eat this up. Granted, the cast is attractive, and the production budget obviously quite high...but couldn't they have spent that on writers rather than xerox machines?

Honestly, is the BEST scene they could imagine have Jennifer Love Hewitt standing in the rain with a white t-shirt? And that tanning bed thing was downright laughable. I believe they tried that in a little 80's bomb called "Killer Workout" or "Aerobicide," which made about as much sense.

A forgetful waste that actually makes the first one look good--it's soul merit.
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I don't care what they did last summer.
29 October 2002
Thrills! Chills! Suspense! All the things you wish were in this film!

We've all seen the plot done bout a million times in the 80's, but with the advent of "Scream" I guess we have to see it again. This time, at least we have production values and a reputable cast.

Unfortunately, neither the writers, director, performers, nor even the make-up artists deliver. There are no real twists, just pointless attempts at red herrings, no novelties, no new gimmick to hold the attention, and everybody is just plain bland. And that hand with the hook at the end? Makes the "Friday the 13th" make-up look real.

Okay, the cast is attractive. But this seems to mean that the girls have to wear low-cut shirts and bend down a lot. So, what do we get in this routine slice and dice? No nudity (tasteful), a big tease (teen crowd), amateur writing (no surprise) and a ruthless killer who really fails to shock (so what?)

Folks, you know the story, you know the ending. Why bother?
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Ach, it's just a wee bonnie rabbit....
29 October 2002
For sheer originality on an ultra-low budget, nothing can quite match the chemistry, comedy, and utter lunacy of Monty Python, and it all seems to come together in this, their most quotable motion picture.

But enough of that silliness. This 1971 hit, which is to date the most recognisable of the Python's efforts, still holds strong. But like so many other great controversial cult things, you either get it, or you don't. And if you don't, you hate it.

I'm a very literary minded guy, with a very literary attitude towards life. And the sheer surreallity of Monty Python is one of the most hilarious things I can find, the total unexpected twists from reality into the downright bizarre! And what a blast at the classic Arthur legend, especially in the following line: "Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government!" So much for fable!

So, what does all this mean? I'll tell you what it all means!

NI!!!
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The Ring (2002)
See the Ring and die...of embarrassment, maybe.
27 October 2002
I had high hopes. Naomi Watts, whom I loved in Mulholland Dr., and a wonderful premise about being doomed after viewing a video recording, had me hooked.

Then I saw it. A conventional slasher-style opening, but I was willing to forgive it for that. And I will admit, when we do see the video, it is wonderfully cryptic and eerily surreal, and that's always a selling point for me.

But right after that, it all goes downhill. The characters get dumber, the jump-scenes louder, and the story line far too conventional. The filmmakers answer all the wrong questions and ignore the right ones; they try to be cryptic, but still dumb it down for standard acceptance. And the ending was about twenty minutes longer than it should have been, and a sad attempt to make this above the typical "ghost" story. They take a nice, eerie, atmospherical set up and turn it into a special effects "here's what we haven't been showing you!" horror show, quite reminiscent of House on Haunted Hill (1999) or The Haunting (1999 as well). And that blasted ring that keeps popping up is quite headache-inducing.

I did like the idea of the video, I did like the video itself (very "Lynchian" touch--a nod to Watts' last job, perhaps), but beyond that, it's typical Hollywood horror fare, which taxes the suspension of disbelief just a bit too much, and which, quite frankly, we're getting too much of.

Most people I know said it was creepy. But the rest, who have been exposed to a wider range of far-better films, concur: when you see the Ring, you will crave Tylenol.

I've seen worse, but I've also seen a helluva lot better.
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Lost Highway (1997)
Philosophical, allegorical, satirical...but how many really care?
27 October 2002
I'm not going into the plotline here because I'm limited to 1000 words. I don't think I can wrap up the plot that space.

I'm a recent inductee into the strange and twisted world of David Lynch. It all started when I caught a rerun of "Twin Peaks" on a low-budget digital satellite channel. Since then I've been hooked, and have had fun with cult films and filmmakers since.

Lost Highway is, as descried by Lynch, a new twist on film-noir. And only Lynch could put a twist like this on a classic genre. People keep wanting to draw comparisons to other films, saying: "Well, it's not Blue Velvet" or "It's not Mulholland Dr,"...they're right. It's Lost Highway, a unique and twisted foray down a dark highway that may or may not be entirely metaphorical...or metaphysical.

One of the things that I've noticed about David Lynch--and what probably inspires much of the hatred non-Lynch fans have towards his work--is that he doesn't explain everything. He lays it out, says "Here's my story. What do YOU make of it?" It's an incredible artistic attitude, much like viewing a Dali painting as opposed to a Da Vinci, and not for everyone's tastes.

Lost Highway is open to many interpretations, as are most of Lynch's works. Are we in our world, and being invaded by some outside force? Are we in a world we don't know we're in? Are we in Hell? What would you do if this happened to you? Maybe we are all someone else, really.

This film is at the same time allegorical, philosophical, incomprehensible, and satirical. It warps understood movie conventions, and is always pulling the unexpected.

All that praise aside, it is NOT the best of Lynch's work. One would have to be a fan to enjoy this, and should establish that fanhood with his better works, like Mulholland Drive, Blue Velvet, or "Twin Peaks."

If one has a set standard of how movies should be, an A-B-C pattern, stay away. But if it's originality, unanswered questions, and a break from standard Hollywood convention, go full ahead.

In my humble opinion, it's better than Wild at Heart and Dune, but not most of Lynch's rest. It is definitely an experience, but not one everybody will enjoy.
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"WiTH THiss ringg...I thEEE wed."
27 October 2002
So speaks the little man from another place. But what about Bob? This is the formica table...green is its colour. They took the arm...

If you're a major fan of the television show--indeed, the whole community of Twin Peaks--all that will not sound like incomprehensible garbage. Much like every thing else David Lynch does, you have to love his stuff to see it as more than just junk.

Fire, Walk With Me is a look into the last days of Laura Palmer. Unfortunately for itself it's told in prequel fashion, so that to get anything at all out of it one would have to have seen the entire series, followed it all, and enjoyed it. For major "Twin Peak" fans, this film is a treat, a wonderful glimpse of the events leading up to that fateful Thursday night in February. For anyone else, it's a mishmash of strange dreams, weird people in weird places, lots of drugs and sex, apparently benign references to coffee and the FBI, and general incomprehensibility. And that's too bad.

The world of Twin Peaks, like most David Lynch "worlds," is both wonderful and horrific, both real and surreal, both familiar and strange. This film version manages to capture all of those elements, although it spends so much time in the darker half that it is easy to see how viewers can become lost, disjointed, and indifferent--perhaps even disgusted.

But for myself, I loved it all. We are faced with not just an explanation of Laura Palmer's life, but with even more questions, such as who is David Bowie's character, really; what happened to Chet Desmond; what is with the white mask the boy and the man in the red suit wear; what IS with the creamed corn; when is Dale Cooper dreaming and when is he not?

The only fault I can find with the movie is that not everyone from the television show returns. I miss the Great Northern, Ben Horne, Lucy and Andy. But there was so much to tell, some things had to be cut...let's face it, the film's long enough as is!

Like most of Lynch's best work, this challenges our perceptions of reality, but one has to look at it in the right light, that is to say one has to delve into the world and examine all possible sides. Art is supposed to express some aspect of our humanity, and part of that is throwing out unanswered and unanswerable questions. David Lynch does this, but one has to delve much further into his dreamlike world to realise this. Many people are turned off by the first impressions, but many people, like myself, are very very intrigued.

This film is not for all tastes, but what film is? It is no classic, but it is worth the while if you are willing to step out of a comfortable, steady existance into the wonderful world of questioning everything...even the owls.

It is a strange, frightening, funny, happy, pleasant, amiable, miserable, depressing world. To even attempt to convey that in a single movie, let alone succeed, is admirable.

And remember: the Good Dale is in the Lodge and cannot leave. Write that down in your diary.
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