Friday, January 25, 2002

Impostor / * (2002)

"Impostor" plays like the latest defunct exertion from a failing film student, who knows so little about how to craft a respectable product out of interesting material that the recipient doesn't even anticipate a result with anything higher than a C grade. The movie looks, walks, and thinks like a not-too-distant cousin of "Supernova," opening with a stab of promise that quickly dissipates once you realize where things are beginning to head. It's not saying much to begin with that the picture was released at the most thankless time of the year--the first week of January, a dumping ground for studio mistakes—but even with this factor in mind, director Gary Fleder still manages to unleash an endeavor that teeters far below his own ability as a filmmaker (even though it wasn't that high to begin with). His picture is unworthy of a release beyond the direct-to-video market; it doesn't even deserve to carry a title with more than one syllable.

Mulholland Drive / **** (2001)

The psyche of director David Lynch is one that has puzzled many a moviegoer ever since his first big feature, "Blue Velvet," writhed its way onto movie screens more than 15 years ago. Exercising an unorthodox demeanor in his approach to the cinema, Lynch is a rambling sensationalist behind the camera, suspending logic and reason for ambiguity and indecisiveness as sanctioned plot devices. The outcomes of his efforts aren't always plausible (more often than not, this perplexing angle appears to be rather self-absorbed on his part), but to a degree they fascinate and absorb us, sometimes so immensely that we feel like we've unfairly been coaxed into a position that we would ordinarily not want to be part of.

Orange County / 1/2* (2002)

Despite the fact that we are only three weeks into the 2002 movie season, it already appears that we are heading into the midst of a long, dreadful string of second-rate film releases over the next few months.

The recent sudden catastrophe at the movie theater, a common occurrence every year as studios wrap up the releases of their Oscar contenders, began two weeks ago with "Impostor," a sci-fi film conceived in the vein of "Battlefield Earth." Now comes "Orange County," a situational comedy in which the only funny thing is the fact that decent human beings allowed themselves to be associated with it.

Rollerball / zero stars (2002)

As movie theaters slowly but surely toss aside the remnants of the 2001 award contenders, we as a defensive moviegoeing public continue to be subjected to a relentless batch of massive cinematic mistakes, a deed that normally occurs in the first four months of every new year as movie studios attempt to wipe their slate clear of any major errors of the past. Audiences already know the painful experience of witnessing this year's notable travesties—including "Orange County," "Impostor" and the recent "Slackers"—and will undoubtedly keep their defenses up as we sleepwalk our way towards a (hopefully) brighter future at the multiplex.

Friday, January 18, 2002

The Best and Worst Movies of 2001

January 18, 2002


1 - The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Few times in the recent past has a movie so swiftly shattered the highest expectations of our moviegoers and totally restructured the way we view the cinema. Peter Jackson's first of three installments of J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy of "The Lord of The Rings" is exactly that kind of movie, one that not only tells its story thoroughly and wisely, but also takes us to places more elaborate, lush and vivid than those of the most intimate corners of our imaginations.