What They Say: After the supposed death of her son in a plane crash, Julian Moore is faced with the possibility that not only did her son not die, he may in fact have never existed. Together with Dominic West, a former New York Rangers forward, Moore must unravel this conspiracy. Are they hallucinating? Have they stumbled onto a deep government conspiracy? Will we get to see Julian Moore’s snack trays again?
What We Say: Not unlike Hitchcock with the horror genre, this film manages to give the impression of good science fiction without any particular special effects. Part of a growing trend in American conspiracy-related films which try to give the impression that there's something operating within the U.S. (ie. the world) that is more evil than the government. It’s as if America is looking for someone else to blame for fucking things up and the only thing that comes up is an invisible enemy — it wasn’t us, it was the aliens. The symptoms of late-stage denial. We couldn’t understand why, even after sleeping in the same bed, a hockey player would not try to have sex with Julian Moore.
The Lowdown: The X-Files meets Conspiracy Theory.
Best Bit: People are violently sucked into the alien void.
Starring: Julian Moore, Dominic West, Gary Sinise, Anthony Edwards.
THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE
What They Say: Remake of a 1960’s Sinatra film, U.S. soldier Denzel Washington begins to discover the possibility that he was kidnapped and brainwashed during the first Gulf War for sinister corporate ends. Luckily, this particular Gulf War film was fought in Hollywood, so by its conclusion, the bad guys are dead, the good guys have the girl and are left to enjoy themselves on a sunny tropical island.
What We Say: Not a bad film, but Jacob’s Ladder seems to have done this already. In short, this film is a remake, with treatment borrowed from a third film. Boy, that Denzel — he sure is intense. Denzel, propelled from lowly intern on St. Elsewhere to the role of the black De Niro, could make a remake of Hot Dog…The Movie seem intense. We predict a Denzel film festival in our lifetime, and in his.
The Lowdown: Taxi Driver meets Jacob’s Ladder meets The Dead Zone.
Best Bit: With a few words, cast members are sent into an obedient hypnotic trance.
Starring: Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Liev Schreiber
What They Say: Anthropomorphic ghetto fish, tired of working at the whale wash, inadvertently rises to the top of the aquatic show biz ladder after being mistaken for a shark slayer (shak slaya, certainly). Through the aid of a gay great white, and the adorable fish-next-door type girl, the voice of Will Smith must balance out his new fame and friends, with his true inner self. In the end, Smith discovers that rising to a better place in life doesn’t deliver happiness. In preparation for his role as the voice of the lead shark, De Niro apparently spent 6 months submerged off the coast of Australia, coming up only occasionally to bite a surfer.
What We Say: In short, ghetto soma. The evil sub-context made us do that "slowly shaking head, while holding one hand on our forehead" thing. By downplaying individual economic and social achievements, this film promotes a slavish acceptance of lower-class urban life. In the 1980’s the CIA introduced crack into the ghettos. In 2004, Shark Tale was released. Encouraging your children to watch this film confirms your degree of eagerness to be brainwashed by The Man. Has Bill Cosby’s recent NAACP speech done nothing to wake the masses?
The Lowdown: Sanford and Son meets Red Lobster.
Best Bit: The rasta-gangsta jellyfish.
Starring: The voices of Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Renee Zellweger, Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Martin Scorsese, Ziggy Marley.
Playing: American House of Cinema
What They Say: Keeping on marine related themes, apparently this one is based on a true story. Your typical "yuppies go on tropical vacation and get eaten by big scary fish" story, after mistakenly being left behind by a group Scuba expedition, a young couple must try to survive the open ocean until locals realize that they’ve missing. Faced with failing stamina, and hungry sharks, the couple’s hopes begin to wane.
What We Say: Good premise, but much of the film consisted of them complaining and peeing on each other, only occasionally interrupted by something exciting like a jellyfish sting. Could have been a good short story, or a segment, which was part of a larger film. Eventually, we kind of wished that the sharks would just hurry up and get it over with.
The Lowdown: Jaws meets that tropical fish screen saver.
Best Bit: Night time, when the sharks come out to feast.
Playing: Russian Theatres