This adaptation by many hands of a 1953 Philip K. Dick story, directed by Gary Fleder, begins promisingly but deteriorates into standard-issue action, and even the shock ending isn’t as shocking as it wants to be. In the year 2079, with the earth at war with extraterrestrials for over a decade, a government scientist (Gary Sinise) is accused of being an alien robot spy programmed to explode; the hunt for him lasts most of this movie’s 95 minutes. The setting is etched in economically and effectively, but the suspense, effective at first, is stretched to the point of monotony. With Madeleine Stowe, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Tony Shalhoub. (JR)

Published on 31 Dec 2001 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Charlotte Gray

This movie reveals something interesting: during the occupation of France, Nazi officers and French peasants all spoke English with English accents, as did English resistance fightersaside from the occasional spurt of French and German to identify who’s who. I never thought that a thoughtful director like Gillian Armstrong would get trapped in such Euro-nonsense, but I guess there’s a first time for everything. Jeremy Brock wrote the script, and the landscapes are attractive. Under the circumstances, the omnipresent Cate Blanchett does pretty well in the title role. With Billy Crudup, Michael Gambon, and Rupert Penry-Jones. 121 min. (JR)

Published on 26 Dec 2001 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Avant-garde Animation

Nine 16-millimeter short films, most or all of them durable classics: Harry Smith’s Mirror Animations (1956, 11 min.), Stan Brakhage’s Arabic 3 (1980, 8 min.), Storm De Hirsch’s Peyote Queen (1965, 9 min.), Takahiko IImura A I U E O NN (1993, 10 min.), Larry Jordan’s Our Lady of the Sphere (1969, 9 min.), Jeff Scher’s Milk of Amnesia (1992, 6 min.) and Reasons to be Glad (1980, 4 min.), Robert Breer’s Fuji (1973, 8 min.), and Paul Sharits’ Peace Mandala/End War (1966, 5 min.) (JR)

Published on 22 Dec 2001 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Kate & Leopold

A diverting if forgettable romantic comedy and whimsical fantasy, about an eligible bachelor in 1867 Manhattan (Hugh Jackman) transported by a science nerd (Liev Schreiber) to the present , where he romances the scientist’s ex-girlfriend and downstairs neighbor (Meg Ryan). Not very believable, even in relation to its own premises, but if you were charmed by Somewhere in Time and/or Jack Finney’s novel Time and Again, this might charm you as well. James Mangold directed and collaborated with Steve Rogers on the script. 118 min. (JR)

Published on 17 Dec 2001 in Featured Texts, by admin

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