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Oscar and Lucinda (1995)
They dared to play the game of love, faith, and chance.
Filmmaker(s): Gillian Armstrong

After a childhood of abuse by his evangelistic father, misfit Oscar Hopkins becomes an Anglican minister and develops a divine obsession with gambling. Lucinda Leplastrier is a rich Australian heiress shopping in London for materials for her newly acquired glass factory back home. Deciding to travel to Australia as a missionary, Oscar meets Lucinda aboard ship, and a mutual obsession blossoms. They make a wager that will alter each of their destinies.

Obsession, Compulsion This is one of my favourite movies. Regular readers of my comments will wonder why I elevate it to my "must see" category Part of the reason I want you to see it is because of how well it pairs with Cate's masterpiece, "Heaven." Now,...


Published February 19, 2023
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Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century (1999-2001)
Filmmaker(s): Edward Zwick

Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century is an animated television series, in which Sherlock Holmes is brought back to life in the 22nd century. The series is a co–production by DiC and Scottish Television and was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Special Class Animated Program.

Plot Mines For the sake of completeness of my Holmes project, I watched a couple episodes of this. The fancy is that Holmes is placed 200 years in his future. The future setting allows the animators to use all sorts of visual shorthand for sets...


Published February 12, 2023
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Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
Debonair. Defiant. Defrosted.
Filmmaker(s): Jay Roach

As a swinging fashion photographer by day and a groovy British superagent by night, Austin Powers is the '60s' most shagadelic spy. But can he stop megalomaniac Dr. Evil after the bald villain freezes himself and unthaws in the '90s? With the help of sexy sidekick Vanessa Kensington, he just might.

The Pamela Urge I saw this with ‘Borat’. It didn't work for me. Neither comedy did; the reasons seem related. If you put distance between something and it's source, then you have opportunity for low humour. The closer you get to the original or the reference, the...


Published February 12, 2023
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A Walk on the Moon (1999)
It was the summer of Woodstock... when she became the woman she always wanted to be.
Filmmaker(s): Tony Goldwyn

The world of a young housewife is turned upside down when she has an affair with a free-spirited blouse salesman.

Nixon Wins This is a huge failure as a movie, but an interesting one in a way. At least for someone my age who lived through the period appropriated here. Here’s the basic challenge in showing a love story: how do you cinematically show the pulls on...


Published December 25, 2022
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Baby Geniuses (1999)
Think innocent. Think helpless. Think again. Naps are history.
Filmmaker(s): Bob Clark

Scientist hold talking, super-intelligent babies captive, but things take a turn for the worse when a mix-up occurs between a baby genius and its twin.

99 Dalmatians People hate this movie. I’m not sure I know why. Oh, it is bad, but other movies that are just as bad are not seen as so: — with the plot being the some sort of thin adventure. This is actually a bit more interesting than...


Published December 16, 2022
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Home Alone 3 (1997)
There's a new kid on the block.
Filmmaker(s): Raja Gosnell

9-year-old Alex Pruitt is home alone with the chicken pox. Turns out, due to a mix-up among nefarious spies, Alex was given a toy car concealing a top-secret microchip. Now Alex must fend off the spies as they try to break into his house to get it back.

The Fighting Child Is there a more interesting case study than John Hughes? He invented a new genre and incidentally opened a new strain of cinematic techniques. But writing is like other major enterprises in life. Each hit on the pool ball does three things; it attempts to...


Published December 13, 2022
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100 Years of Horror (1996)
Filmmaker(s): K. S. Ravikumar

A multi-volume documentary on the history of horror movies. Hosted by veteran horror star Christopher Lee, this video series brings together footage from many notable (and some less notable) films from the silent era up to the 90's. Also included are interviews with many of the leading horror actors and filmmakers, in which they share their stories, opinions, and techniques on how to make the world scream.

Horrible I only watched a third of these before giving up, so I will do a blanket comment. This is many hours of stuff stretched out possibly three times as long as it deserved. Interviews are reused in multiple weeks. There is lots of footage from the...


Published December 8, 2022
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Killer Condom (1996)
The rubber that rubs you out!
Filmmaker(s): Martin Walz

The plot takes place in New York, and in the present. In a Hotel called "Quicky" a professor blackmails a student of his into having sex with him. But when the professor puts on a condom, the carnivorous condom bites off his penis and disappears. Detective Mackaroni who gets the case thinks that the college girl just bit off her teacher's penis! Mackaroni goes to the motel himself to check out the crime scene, in the lobby he finds a gigolo named Bill and he asks him to follow him to crime room, there the two men attempt to have sex when they are suddenly interrupted by the attack of a killer condom.

No Protection When I enter one of these worlds, I expect risk. Not by itself of course, but paired with clever insight, unusual metaphor or sliding perspective. But above all, risk. Their risk is my risk. Quite literally, I enter these film relationships promiscuously without protection,...


Published December 1, 2022
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Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995)
Calvin Fuller is about to break curfew...by 1500 years.
Filmmaker(s): Michael Gottlieb

A Southern California kid named Calvin Fuller is magically transported to the medieval kingdom of Camelot through a crack in the ground caused by an earthquake. Once there, he learns he was summoned by the wizard Merlin, who needs Calvin to save Camelot. Using dazzling modern inventions, can Calvin help King Arthur retain his crown and thwart the evil Lord Belasco?

Merlin's Reds The magic of the legend is that it is presented through the prism of Merlin's magic. It is the English thread of self-referential literature that balances the Spanish Don Quixote. In this thread, the teller is a magician and all of the "reality" we...


Published December 1, 2022
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Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
The most frightening thing about Jacob Singer's nightmare is that he isn't dreaming.
Filmmaker(s): Adrian Lyne

After returning home from the Vietnam War, veteran Jacob Singer struggles to maintain his sanity. Plagued by hallucinations and flashbacks, Singer rapidly falls apart as the world and people around him morph and twist into disturbing images. His girlfriend, Jezzie, and ex-wife, Sarah, try to help, but to little avail. Even Singer's chiropractor friend, Louis, fails to reach him as he descends into madness.

Basement Steps When a film plays with the narrator’s credulity, and if it is essentially cinematic then I am predisposed to like it. This film has the additional benefit of some competent actors. Plus, we all like to dump on government lying during the Nixon era. I...


Published December 1, 2022
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