Tag Archives: greencine

The Greencine Five, Part XII: Purple Butterfly, Happy Together, The Road Home, In the Year of the Pig, King of Chess

purple_butterfly

Purple Butterfly is a slow-moving spy thriller that takes place in Shanghai immediately before Japan’s invasion of China. Purple Butterfly is really good, but the lack of dialogue and the physical similarity of two characters leave some reviewers confused. The film centers around a Japanese intelligence service’s secret war against the Purple Butterfly Organization in a setting that could easily be transferred to Peshwar, or Bali. The set-up, that a Chinese factory worker is mistaken for a Japanese spy, sounds like a comedy. Instead, an increasingly dark story of betrayal, confusion, and revenge brilliantly defines the murkiness that is the fog of war.

happy_together

Happy Together is a film by Wong Kar Wai, better known for his atmospheric “Hong Kong” trilogy (Days of Being Wild, In the Mood for Love, and 2046), as well as Chungking Express. Happy Together was released to controversy, as it his first homosexual romance. Those who enjoy atmospheric Chinese-language gay romance films will enjoy Happy Together.

the_road_home

The Road Home is Zhang Ziyi‘s break-out performance, and probably her best. The film is set in Manchuria before the Cultural Revolution, which is rememberd similarly to the 1950s in the United States: stable, prosperous, uniform, culturally conservative, and safe. It is the story of an illiterate farm girl and the teacher she falls in love with. The film’s style is consciously taken from Titanic (the most popular movie in the history of Chinese cinema), and even shares with it the use of flashbacks to tell the main story.

in_the_year_of_the_pig

In the Year of the Pig is a pro-Ho Chi Minh documentary about the Vietnam War, produced in 1968. I was shocked at how different the style and tone is from Hearts and Minds, an anti-war movie films in 1974. Year feels like its policy film from the 1950s, where clean-cut men in suits criticize France, discuss why some American policy was reasonable at the time, and argue for the need for a change. If the speakers are indeed Communist-sympathizers, then it is striking just how serious and alluring that movement must have been. Alternatively, Year may the voice of a lost moderate-liberal position on foreign policy that has yet to reemerge.

king_of_chess

King of Chess is weird. It looks like someone spliced together documentary footage of the cultural revolution, added a rock anthem soundtrack, and then proceeded to combine two featurettes (one about the rustification campaign, the other about a psychic boy and an evil professor in Taiwan) together. That’s because it is. The production of the intended movie collapsed early on, requiring the filming of another, parallel story to fill out the running time. My friend criticized it as the most boring we watched since The World. It definitely isn’t the best film we’ve watched.

The Greencine Five, Part X: Take Care of my Cat, Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst, Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession, This Divided State, Mean Creek

take_care_of_my_cat

Take Care of my Cat is a Korean coming of age movie, which means it centers on students who graduate high school and begin their lives. The setting for the story is Inchon (site of Operation Chromite), about 20 miles from Seoul. The tone of the film is meloncholy and sad, as the world of school crumbles as new friends, new lives, and new careers intrude.

guerrilla_the_taking_of_patty_hearst

Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst should be watched with The Weather Underground, which I reviewed three years ago. The 1970s were seriously, seriously, crazy. The Hearst family was so willing to give into demands that state prosecutors threatened to charge them with being accessories. At the same time, the Symbionese Liberation Army disintegrates as its leader is killed into a rogue band of thugs. No “darwinian ratchet” here!

z_channel

Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession is the clunker of this set of movies. It’s not actually bad, just not particularly interesting. It is almost a documentary about movie culture in Los Angeles in the 1970s. It is almost a documentary about arthouse movies. It is almost a documentary about the Z Channel itself. Instead it revolves around Jerry Harvey, Z’s programming chief and a generally unpleasant fellow.

this_divided_state

This Divided State, made for less than $50,000, is a documentary about the controversy surrounding a visit by Michael Moore to Utah Valley State College immediately before the 2004 Presidential Election. Now that most of the issues of the 2004 election are moot, this film is best viewed as a study of the internal divisions of both the pro-Moore and anti-Moore factions.

mean_creek

Mean Creek is an American coming of age story, which means it centers on a group of middle and high school kids. It is good. Take the story elements of The Body / Stand By Me, but them in a blender, make the characters more realistic, and you have Mean Creek. The main conflict comes from a hot-headed, stupid, but well meaning older brother trying to protect his sibling from a socially blind, learning disabled, but well meaning high school bully.

Zai Jian, Greencine!

With some sadness, I canceled my greencine account today. Grad school always takes up a lot of time, and the Time Warner DVR is just too fun and convneient… fast forwarding through ads makes television fun again, and time-shifting just blows me away.

I originally got involved with Greencine because their selection was broader than Netflix or Blockbuster. On a related note, film buffs will enjoy Adam’s “List”.

In the quite likely event that I return (service has always been fantastic), a partial list of my current queue is below the fold.


Black Snake Moan (2007)
The Bow (2005)
Truman (1995)
Sanjuro (Criterion Collection) (1962)
Getting Any? (1995)
Heimat: A Chronicle of Germany (Disc 2 of 6) (1984)
Animated Soviet Propaganda: American Imperialists (1924)
Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life (1997)
Baraka (1993)
My Life as a Dog (Criterion Collection) (1985)
This Divided State (2005)
Point of Order (1964)
Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004)
Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst (2003)
Batman Begins (Special Edition) (2005)
Sword of the Beast (Criterion Collection) (1965)
Following (1998)
Pickpocket (Criterion Collection) (1959)
Legong, Dance of the Virgins (1935)
Mean Creek (2003)
Gaza Strip (2002)
In the Year of the Pig (1968)
Purple Butterfly (2003)
The Road Home (2000)
The Squid and the Whale (2005)
King of Chess (1991)
Tears of the Black Tiger (2000)
Incubus (1965)
Undeclared: Complete Series (Disc 1 of 4) (2001)
The Conversation (1974)
Sars Wars: Bangkok Zombie Crisis (2004)
Mountain Patrol (2004)
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
Gojira Deluxe Collector’s Edition (1954)
The Proposition (2005)
The Skeleton Key (2005)
Deadwood: Season 1 (Disc 1 of 6) (2004)
The Ghost of Mae Nak (2005)
Being There (1979)
What’s Up, Tiger Lily? (1966)
Ran (Masterworks Edition) (1985)
Max (2002)
Blood Guts Bullets and Octane (1998)
Mendy (2006)
I Am Sam (2001)
Overlord (Criterion Collection) (1975)
Nine Lives (2004)
The Sign of the Cross (1932)
The Bride with White Hair (1993)
Things to Do (2006)
The President’s Last Bang (2005)
Letters From Iwo Jima (2006)
Sansho the Bailiff (Criterion Collection) (1954)
Ball of Fire (1941)
The Devil and Daniel Johnston (2004)
Seven Swords (2005)
Days of Glory (2006)
The Seventh Seal (Criterion Collection) (1957)
If…. (Criterion Collection) (1968)
Following Sean (2005)
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1965)
Down from the Mountain (2001)
Zero Hour! (1957)
Voices of a Distant Star (2002)
The Party (1968)
Fired! (2006)
Why We Fight: The Battle of Russia (1943)
Crazed Fruit (Criterion Collection) (1956)
Dead Man (1995)
Eraserhead (1977)
City of God (2002)
It Happened One Night (1934)
Red River (1948)
Marooned in Iraq (2002)

The Greencine Five, Part VIII: The Tunnel, Henry V, LA Confidential, American Splendor, Dolls


Another Communist Underground

Loosely inspired by real events, Der Tunnel is the story of escapes from East Germany trying to get their family out. Tunnel‘s story is solid, but fake events added for dramatic effect drag the movie out a longer than is needed. The German view of victimization can be tiring, as real events of Statsi blackmail are compared to entirely imaginary accounts of the duplicity of Hollywood producers. The central romance never happened. 7 out of 10 stars.


The Greatest Battle in English History

Mind-bogglingly stylish, this combination of 300’s impossible battle and American Splendor’s (reviewed below) narrative-with-in-a-narrative is one of the greatest films of all time. Stylistically inspired by the Book of Hours, this color, 1944 adaption of Shakespeare’s play transitions the viewer from “what a cute old movie” to “this movie, if made now, would be groundbreaking.” The play is meant to follow Henry IV, and as such an otherwise pointless death scene doubtless makes more sense in the broader context. The romance with Catharine appears to be tacked on. Henrvy V gets 9 out of 10 stars.


Reflections of guilt and innocence

Run, don’t walk, from L.A. Confidential, a rip-off of Chinatownfeaturing a heavily telegraphed “twist” and the corniest role of Russel Crowe’s career. Take everything that made Chinatown good, give it a lobotomy, and you end up with this film. L.A. Confidential stumbles away with 7 out of 10 stars, only because the film it apes was so good.


The movie about the life behind the cartoon

A feature film by documentaries, American Splendor probably stays closer to fact than the other based-on movies reviewed in this batch (The Tunnel and Henry V). Proving that naturally cranky people can occupy lives worthy of being cranky about, Spendlor is the story of a comic book writer who daylights as a file clerk for a VA Hospital. Cleverly, those events actually happening with the real people are highyl stylized, while the cinematic renditions look the most realistic. An uperlifting though not saccharine film, American Splendor is not recommended.


Memories of Lost Love

To me, Takeshi Kitano will always be the bureaucratic mass-murderer in an unhappy marriage who falls in live with a middle school student. (I’ll also remember him for his role in Battle Royale.) In Dolls, the actor takes his hand at directing, writing a multi-dimensional story of lost love focusing reflecting a performance of the lost art of Japanese puppet opera. A predictable film with weak characterization, Dolls concentrates on style and nostalgia. An artistically weaker but easier to watch reflection of Dreams, Dolls earns 8 out of 10 stars.

The Greencine Five, Part VII: Zulu, Fire Walk with Me, Heimat: A Chronicle of Germany, Kontroll, Twin Peaks


The ANSWER of another day

Zulu is a classic, one of the best movies ever made. It stands with Godfather and Lawrence of Arabia as a movie that does everything right. At one level merely the story of the defense of Roark’s Drift by the British against the Zulus, so much is happening as to boggle the mind. Anti-war protests, a 1GW v. 0GW struggle, class and ethnic divisions, and of course heorism are everywhere to be seen. Mind-numingly beautiful, Zulu is an adventure/war movie that transcends both genres. A must see. 10/10.


A drugged-out trollop asking for trouble

On the plus side, Chris Isaak and Kiefer Sutherland play FBI agents for the first twenty minutes. Also on the positive ledger, this movie ties together the three ephocs of Twin Peaks (the immediate fall-out of Laura’s murder, the search for Laura’s killer, and the Windom Earle half-season) together than I had thought possible. On the negative side, everything else. Lacking humor, the most interesting characters, warmth, suspense, dramatic tension, or anything else of interest, it’s no surprise that Fire Walk with Me movie was “greeted at the Cannes Film Festival with booing from the audience and met with almost unanimously negative reviews.” Stay away from this one, unless (like me) you’ve declared finishing the Twin Peaks universe to be your mission.


How bizarre

Like Fire walk with me (reviewed above), Heimat is slow. Unlike Firewal, Heimat’s actually good. A nostalgic look at a lost rural way of life, Heimat Disk 1 is the first episode in a miniseries charting life in a small German town from the end of World War I to 1980. The area is under French occupation as a war veteran returns home and short-wave radio becomes available. The love triangle is slow, and sad, and sweet, and realistic. Worth seeing, but only with patience.


An ex- communist underworld

Set in Budapest’s underground, Kontroll tends toward heavy symbolism, especially Catholic and Communist. The story of of a nation living in purgatory, the young hero does not go upside and has troubling dreams of descending farther. With less screen-time but equally important, a drunk conductor remembers happier times controlling above-ground trains until an accident “that could have happened to anyone” led to his banishment. With an amazing soundtrack and an uplifting if confusing


The Answer

Twin Peaks Season 2 (Disk 6 of 6)
Both LOST and Twin Peaks stumbled badly, LOST in the beginning of Season 3 and Twin Peaks at the beginning of the second half of Season 2. Both took far too long to regain their footing, after distracted producers and meddling network executives degraded a once fantastic TV show. Both came back full force, LOST with Tricia Tanaka is dead and Twin Peaks with “Beyond Life and Death.” Luckily for one and happily for the other, LOST’s resurrection occurred with twelve episodes left in the season; Twin Peaks with their season finale. LOST’s run will stretch over three more seasons, but Twin Peaks was sadly burried after an amazing finale that revealed an apparently unrelated and sub-par story arc to be a continuation of all that had come before.

The Greencine Five, Part VI: The Knack… and how to get it, Raise the Red Lantern, Twin Peaks, Why has the Bodhi-dharma left for the east?, Doomed Megalopolis


It makes no sense. Hahaha.

I imagine in fourty years watching “Family Guy” will feel just like viewing The Knack… and how to get it. The physical and absurdist comedy is identical. The incongruous combination of conservative dress and risque subject matter is the same. And even the character of British accents on Family Guy (they “don’t so much speak English as chew on it”) is evocative of the strange enunciation and jargon of post-war British balinghou. The only difference is that, compared to The Knack, family guy is a cartoon and in color. And also funny.


A House with Many Mansions

Raise the Red Lantern
From filmmaker Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers, Curse of the Golden Flower) and actress Gong Li (2046, Hannibal Raising), comes this story of realpolitik among four wives of a prosperous man in northern Republican China. Centered around deception and zero-sum strategy. Raise the Red Lantern is a beautiful tragedy, as if House of Flying Daggers had all the kung-fu removed and diagogue about relationships thrown in. Recommended.


The Question

Twin Peaks Season 2(Disc 5 of 6)
Imagine if LOST reveals that the “island” is actually an uninhabited peninsula of Mindanao, in the Philippines. Further, imagine if (embarrassed by the whole “lost for months and months” things, the Filipino government grants the survivors rights to the peninsula, and they just had so much fun they stayed (minus Ben Linus, who is whisked away on multiple charges of kidnapping and never heard from again). Further, imagine that Jack Shepherd’s old nemesis from medical school, Megariath McEvilster III, sets up camp down on a nearby beach and causes all the predicable troubles. That’s about the story of Twin Peaks (Disc 5 of 6), four episodes in an increasingly derivative series that’s a mere shadow of what it once was.


It’s a threat!

Imagine a movie that dares not to be good. Imagine a movie that has much to say for it, intellectually, if one had infinite patience. Why has the Bodhi-Dharma left for the East? is just such a movie. A modern retelling of the enlightenment of Siddhartha Gautama, in the same way that Death of a Salesman is a retelling of Greek tragedies, Bodhi-Dharma is a tale of an master monk, a brother monk, and a young boy living in a hermitage somewhere in the mountains of South Korea. The chronology jumps back and forth, making an accurate retelling of the “story” difficult. Bodhi-Dharma is a profoundly Buddhist movie, and perhaps introduces the nothingness of Buddhism in the way that The Passion of the Christ retells the crisis of Christianity.


Blah blah evil curse blah blah

A thoroughly typical anime of the early 1990s, , Doomed Megalopolis (Disk 1) includes all the original suspects (Tokyo, evil spirits, ancient prophecies, etc). The artwork is mediocre, the soundtrack is mediocre, the story is mediocre. The heroine is ugly, so at least that aspects truly does stand out as sub-par. I’m writing this review as the episode is going off. I won’t be renting Disk 2.

The Greencine Five, Part V: Seven Men from Now, Story of a Prostitute, The Work of Director Spike Jonze, Twin Peaks, Wishing Stairs


The ex-Sherrif and the Cavalry

The best Western I have ever seen, Seven Men from Now could easily be set in contemporary Anbar Province, Iraq. A former sherrif hunts down the seven men who killed his wife in a hold-up amidst a backdrop of tribal unrest, federal patrols, and general lawlessness. A favorite of French existentialists (according to the commentary), Seven Men from Now throws you into action and doesn’t let up. Unimaginably good.


No one comes back from the KMT…

A wildly misnamed drama, Story of a Prostitute is a Japanese version of Catch 22 set in Manchuko. Actually the story about a philosophical ex-officer who is proudly Japanese but disenchanted with the war effort, the film follows him from being a disrespected personal assistant, to KMT captive, to finally increasingly lost in CYA over his would-be-court-martial. So much is right with the movie that with time it becomes increasingly easy to overlook the overacting of the title character.


Making it up as they go along

A sad parody of what it want was, Twin Peaks continues its march into oblivion with the fourh desk of season two. The Laura Palmer now solved and forgotten, elements and characters who once helped move the story forward now prance aimlessly to no purpose or effect. One wonders if the cast and crew was as uncomfortable with what the series had become as they filmed it as I am watching it.


Videos of Choice

Think of your favorite music video. Odds are it was directed by Spike Jonze. From the Christopher Walken epic “Weapon of Choice” to the 1970s send-up “Sabotage,” to “Praise You” (VH1’s Best Music Video Ever), each of these three-minute works deserves to be watched in full DVD quality. A pretty good 20 minute documentary about Houston bull riding teenages is also included, for reasons which are not entirely clear.


Who’s the best dancer?

Memento Mori (previously reviewed) without anything that made it special, Wishing Stairs revisits the theme of supernatural-revenge-at-a-girls-school but opts for Japanese-style New Wave Horror instead of the complicated psychological/romantic plot of the previous film. The director’s previous film was a better psychological horror, and both Ringu and Ju-On are better new wave horrors. Not terrible, but not particularly worth watching.

The Greencine Five, Part IV: Memento Mori, Bride and Prejudice, Azumi, The Burmese Harp, Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life…. and other strange tales


Remember the Dead

A head-ache-inducingly complicated love quadrilateral, Memento Mori joins the “new wave” of Korean cinema that focuses on bizarre plots, fantastically improbably revenge stories, and Catholic iconography. Rapid cuts and a seemingly switches between the past, present, and fantasy leave the viewer struggling to keep up.  Took special pleasure as one of the main characters perfectly shares the physical appearance, vocal intonation, and mannerisms, leading to some otherwise needed levity. You won’t regret Memento Mori, but you won’t regret missing it, either.


In “Amrika”

Bride and Prejudice, a fusion of Bollywood and Jane Austen, is fantastic. A story with shallow characters, predictable plot twists, and inexplicable dancing. It’s also fun. Several sisters are on the marriage market, energized by their sense of romance and their mother’s sense of drama (“It is my fate to grow old in this house, surrounded by spinsters!”). The film is structured in India, London, Los Angeles, London, and India, and the (apparently standard) Bollywood fight scene is hilariously staged in a Bollywood theatre. In spite of skepticism of bollywood and skepticism of film adaptions of Jane Austen, everyone loved this film.

 


A derivative film

A disappointing movie set during the early morning of the Tokagawa Shogunate, Azumi is the story of a girl assassin who, well, is a pretty good looking girl and has a knack for assassinating people. Specifically, Azumi’s cell is charged with eliminating the Shogunate’s near-peer competitors on Japan, which (if successfully completed) would allow a peaceful hegemony to descend over the land. Western weapons are in use throughout the film, hihglihging the open source civil war of the time. Ultimately, Azumi’s good lucks and a video game aesthetic (both of which become more apparent as the film rolls on) cannot save a poorly executed attempt to combine Battle Royale with Hero. Sans Azumi herself, the movie is as good as Tom Cruise’s The Last Samurai. (Note that Curtis disagrees.)


Dances with Buddhists

If Signs of Life (previously reviewed here) has a typically German message about the second world war (“Sorry!”), The Burmese Harp is typically Japanese (“It sucks for us too!”). This 1968 film is saved from Under the Flag of the Rising Sun mediocrity, however, because of the American film that seems based on it: Dances with Wolves. While I don’t think that one was directly based on the other, I had the same joy watching The Burmese Harp as I did with The Magnificent Seven, after seeing Seven Samurai.


I’ll be in orbit, actually

An uneven mix of four short films, Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life…. and other strange tales ranges from the interesting to the hilarious. The title piece is the most disappointing of the collection, an interesting if mechanical tale of writer’s block while writing The Metamorphosis. Seven Gates is the tale of two brothers making their way back to Christmas meal, hinting at previous adventures (“I try to imagine your face when you saw all those dead turkeys”) and leaving you wanting more. The Deal is Lewis Black‘s hilarious spoof of evil corporate titans. And Mr. McAllister’s Cigarette Holder is a sweet story of dignity during poverty in the Deep South of the Great Depression.

The Greencine Five, Part III: 12 Monkeys, Signs of Life, Twin Peaks, The Place Promised In Our Early Days, Idiocracy


So many possible screenshots…

In the brief period after Catholic terrorists went away but before Islamists terrorist showed up, ecoterrorists were all the rage. 12 Monkeys joins Rainbox Six in the ecoterror subgenre, but adds timetravel that cannot change the past but can only observe it. What is most striking about the film is the chaos of visual style, from exploitive shots of women (as above) to Brazil-style futures, naturalistic cityscapes to Moorish insane asylums. PS: DVD cover art aside, Bruce Willis is not a robot, and never claims to be one.


German v. German; Germany v. Germany

Signs of Life is two stories at once: the tale of a post-traumatic-stress suffering soldier and an apology for Germany. An injured German soldier in Greece is given a posh assignment on a collaborationist island, where even the local gypsies like the Germans. He’s liked by his friends, loved by his wife, is smart, careful, and industrious. But tragically, suffering from his psychic war wounds, he becomes a threat to himself and others. Signs of Life recalls nothing so much as Underground, that apologia for Yugoslavia previously featured on tdaxp.

David Duchovny, Why Wont’t You Love Me?

It’s not brilliant, it’s not terrible: Twin Peaks Season 2 Disk 3 marks the transition of a one-of-a-kind quasi-soap-opera into a pretty good soap opera. Laura’s Palmer’s death is solved and the loose ends are tied up. Now minor subplots come to the front, and while some are exciting, nothing can ever replace the memory of Laura.


Soviet Hokkaido

The Place Promised In Our Early Days is the best animated Japanese movie I have ever seen. Beginning as a coming-of-age-love-story and ending as a sci-fi-geopolitical-thriller, Place centers on the northern tip of Honshu, separated from Hokkaido by the Tsugaru Strait. At some point in the past, the north island of Hokkaido had become Ezo, surrounded by forces of the [Soviet] Union. Beyond this I don’t want to say anything, out of fear of spoiling a truly excellent movie. Only one criticism, though: the movie is purposefully slow. The dreamy quality is intention, but you have never checked the clock so many times on such an enjoyable movie.


Luke Wilson at the Supreme Court

An uneven movie that is hilarious at best and merely dull at worst, Idiocracy tells the story of Luke Wilson (Bottle Rocket, Royal Tennenbaums) as a man transported to a world five centuries in the future, where the stupid have inherited the earth. Like Gattaca (see my earlier review), Idiocracy is based on a well known fact: the domestication of animals decreases their individual intelligences and can atrophy an otherwise normal development (see wolves v. dogs, wildcats v. housecats, early homo sapiens v. modern humans, etc).

The Greencine Five, Part II: Phantom India, Tribulation 99, Immortal, Twin Peaks, Gattaca

Sometimes clicking “rent” at things that look vaguely interesting gets you classics, like I’m Not Afraid. At other times — well, you get my last two weeks of movie watching. That “Gattaca” is the highlight of the list says a lot. I would have had more fun watching any of the movies on the Awful Movie Database.


Paternalistic Marxism

Like Twin Peaks Season 2 Disk 2 (reviewed below), this second disk is one DVD too many. The director’s orientalism, marxism, and general Frenchism (calling the Jews degenerate was a nice touch) gets tiring, as does his superficially informative documentary about India. If you want to see what India’s true problems in the 1960s were, watching Commanding Heights. If you need to punish yourself to restore karma from a particularly bad dead — say, the sacking of Samarkand — then finishin Phantom India. If you liked Amin Maalouf’s In the Name of Identity, as I didn’t, you may be able to tolerate this movie.


Republicans = Molemen

A real conspiracy theory wrapped inside a false one, Tribulation 99 starts out fanatistically strange.. and ends as yet another angry, campus-radical screed against Reagan, Bush, the United Fruit Company, and counter-revolutionary generally. The whole film is about 50 minutes long — watch the first half, then throw the disk away. (Or, if you subscribe to greencine, return it and get another in the mail!). Many references will be familiar to Coast to Coast AM fans. If the film hadn’t strayed so far into late-eighties-campus-leftist paranoia it would have been a classic.


Thank you, France.

Immortal deserves 3/10 stars because portions of the soundtrack are courtesy of Sigur Ros. Without this touches it’s a solid 1/10. A dull French fantasy about revolution in a futuristic New York
features, among other things, a floating pyramid and an uncomfortable fixation with schizophrenic rape.


And the murderer is…

If Season 2, Disk 1 of Twin Peaks was the equivalent of how LOST’s second season started out, Season 2, Disk 2 is the equivalent of how LOST’s third season began: awful. The pacing is slow, all the interesting stuff is missing, and the acting is hardly believable. The only redeeming feature is that the first scene of the first episode on the disk ties into the last scene of the last episode. I only watched this disk because I want to watch every episode of the series, in its proper order, by the end of the summer. Not recommended.


Run! Science!

A stylish sci-fi drama set in a futuristic 1950s, Gattaca is based on a simple fact: as variation in environment decreases, the variation in outcomes explained by genetics decreases. This is not a terrible thing — unequal environments, of course, are how we can look at low IQ across Africa without resorting to racial explanations. Gattaca drags on, but makes one think a lot. Final verdict: Below-average but still good.