Re93animator's Review Thread

→ in

I Killed Einstein, Gentlemen (1970)
A major social crisis threatens the future: women are growing beards and refusing to shave in protest. Naturally, men must go back in time and murder Einstein. Believe it or not, this is a smart, rapid-paced screwball comedy from under-acknowledged absurdist director Oldrich Lipsky.

First Men in the Moon (1964)
The apparent first manned expedition to the moon finds a Victorian-era flag on the surface. This takes some time to get going, and the humor borders on childish at times (it does have moments though). Nonetheless, it’s one of the most lavish sci-fi productions of the time. The remastering is gorgeous.

Magnetic Rose (from 1995’s Memories)
The rest of the anthology is unrelated (sans genre), so I’m judging Magnetic Rose as separate from the rest. An atmospheric and emotional story set aboard a crumbling abandoned spaceship.

Barbarella (1968)
Hippie-powered caricature of sci-fi with a comical overload of sex and psychedelia.

Quatermass and the Pit (1958)
This apparently has a nostalgic appeal for those that lived during its run. Those that get sucked in by its reputation (obscured as it is) might look at it through rose colored glasses, but it’s still fun. Andre Morrell is ideal as Quatermass.

The Hyperboloid of Engineer Garin (1965)
Some of the best cinematography I’ve ever seen. A convoluted plot that ventures through heavy doses of noir, political thriller, and campy science fiction. It seems every part of the crew knew exactly what they wanted, but forgot to have a meeting beforehand. It’s not bizarre at face value, but I can’t think of anything close to it.

Outlander (2008)
Man from distant galaxy chases alien monstrosity to Earth and ends up partying with some Vikings. Granted, the material could’ve been handled much better and less generic. The Vikings were disappointingly Hollywood, but it’s still fun. The writers seemed to have fun with the premise, and had no trouble milking it.

Man Facing Southeast (1986)
Asylum patient thinks he’s an alien. It’s much more philosophically potent and meditative than that may suggest. There’s a nice odd sax and synth score too. It’s a bit of a dirge, and took a while for me to get into, but it’s sulkily beautiful. Thanks @MonnoM ; for the rec.

Possible Worlds (2000)
This movie makes just enough sense to follow along, but leaves plenty of room for the mind to wander. The introspective dialogue tries a little too hard, but this is a very beautiful movie with a dreamy and meditative ambiance. One of my clear favorites of the list.

Frankenstein: The True Story (1973)
The only movie I’ve seen that briefly casts a little butterfly as a horror villain. There are some very cheesy drawbacks, but this is a great version. The atmosphere isn’t as strong as the ’31 movie, but the story is much more involving and epic. Every character is flawed and complex; likeable and hate-able. The monster has an impressive regression. It doesn’t feel like a TV production.

Son of Frankenstein (1939)
The gothic atmosphere and Tesla-esque electrical paraphernalia of the first, met with a much heavier dose of expressionism. This is the last Frankenstein performance from Karloff, but Lugosi as Ygor is what you want to write home about (maybe his most entertaining character). The Cabinet of Dr. Frankenstein's turn to more pervasive expressionistic art design may distract and polarize those that liked the more emotional story-driven nature of Bride of..., but given how quirky it is, this might actually be my favorite Frankenmovie.

You Are a Widow, Sir! (1971)
Sex, brain swapping, and murder. An elaborate dark comedy. The Czechoslovaks again show that they had a penchant for quick-witted silliness.

Max Headroom: 20 Minutes in the Future (1985)
Maybe not a great film, but an aesthetic embodiment of its subgenre. Primo cult material that also spawned a likably cheesy American TV show with superior cinematography.

Stingray Sam (2009)
Cory McAbee’s 2nd best space western rockabilly musical.

The Lost Room (2006)
A sci-fi mini-series with such a captivating plot. The less known going in, the better. It feels a bit like an older Syfy channel b-movie, but still makes you want to blow through it in a day.

The American Astronaut (2001)
Cory McAbee's 1st best space western rockabilly musical. McAbee is a visionary director/actor/musician with a wild imagination and an offbeat talent for manipulating the English language.

I got a bit lazy the past couple of weeks, but there should be only 2 or 3 more sci-fi list posts here (including this one). Thank you to any who bother reading.

Moebius (1996)
A mathematician seeks a missing train. This is written sort of in the convoluted spirit of Pi and Primer, though it predates both. It has a uniquely brooding and dark ambient tone heightened by attractive cinematography (especially during a gorgeous climax).

Remote Control (1988)
An evil video tape sends dangerous subliminal signals to viewers. Although it shows love for 50s b-movies, this may be the most 80s movie I’ve ever seen. Geometric costumes, VHS-centric plot, Fairlight CMI-sounding score, and ample amounts of neon & hairspray. The ozone layer shed a tear during production. It’s silly & dumb satire with bad acting (apart from 2 leads), but fun with butter and a soda.

Tetsuo II: Body Hammer (1992)
Tsukamoto further honing his craft with enhanced stop motion, industrial effects, bizarre comedy, and artsy cinematography. Unfortunately, it lacks some of the teeth-gritting nihilism of the first. It seems keener on telling a campy story than it is on turning “this f*cking world to rust.” I still love it though.

Smilla’s Sense of Snow (1997)
Sci-fi elements don’t poke their head out until approximately halfway through (when most tend to say the movie faceplants), but it’s pervaded by unusual mystery throughout. Sort of feels like an X-Files episode, and Julia Ormond plays an amazing antisocial character. Be wary of much dumb thriller logic though, and excessive Gabriel Byrne deadpan.

Cypher (2002)
A slick & offbeat sci-fi noir that can range from oddly dreamlike to conspiratorially thrilling. I prefer it to Natali’s Cube.

Avalon (2001)

The plot isn’t too engaging, but the heart of the movie is a beautiful and ambient tone with a heavy post-production glow that does wonders for it. Try to avoid the Miramax version if you can, as the color scheme is altered and the subtitles are f*cked up.

Liquid Sky (1982)
A wild mix of intentional crap and effective shock value. The shamelessly crap bits have a charm unto themselves, but the movie later shows spirit beyond its distorted face value. It ain’t easy to like, but it doesn’t want to be. Includes an uber-bizarre psychedelic post-punk atmo, preachy free spirited commentary, and amusingly cheap sounding Residents-esque music.

The final bunch:

One Point O (2004)
In a nightmarish future permeated by dial-up, a computer guy that codes faster than crack-fueled CSI techs keeps getting empty boxes in the mail. This is a lower budgeted world builder. The visuals aren’t terribly extravagant or advanced, but the Stalker-esque grit and cinematography gives it an otherworldly pizazz. I know this stuff doesn’t appeal to most, but it’s my affinity. I don’t care about its lackluster rep. I think this movie is amazing.
Read with Lance Lenriksen’s rasp: “The bad people can save you, but they won't... The good people wanna save you, but they can't.”

Lexx: I Worship His Shadow (1997)
Lexx was a TV show, but the first season is essentially comprised of 4 features. I Worship His Shadow is the introduction to the universe. Holy f*ck. It’s like Star Wars on crack. Unashamedly cheap and stupid. You can tell the writers had a blast just thinking of the weirdest sh*t they could come up with. With hammy acting, hand puppet monsters, comic perversion, and PS1 caliber CGI, it’s a borderline satire of extravagant sci-fi adventures.

Split (1989)
I think many (or most) would strongly dislike this. If you look at film as a storytelling medium, this is 3rd rate trash, but as an oddball experimental, LSD-soaked, DIY, ‘street’ movie, it’s exceptional. The lack of budget could be one man's trash/one man's treasure, but a lot of those VHS mangling effects are no joke.

A Scanner Darkly (2006)
I know it’s not too highly regarded, but this is special to me. I found much resonance in the novel when I was younger. I love the babbling dialogue, I love the introspective bits (like Arctor hitting his head), and I love the animation. Linklater has never been a very ‘visual’ filmmaker, so the animation gave it a panache that would’ve otherwise been missing. The story is a web that takes time to unravel, but it gets more coherent with repeated viewings and further deliberation. PKD wrote this from the heart. I know not everyone will see it this way, but I think it’s bitterly beautiful.

Thomas in Love (2000)
Shot entirely in first person, a desperate agoraphobe’s only link to the outside world is chatting on video feeds and partaking in erotic virtual programs. The main character is kind of a dick, but he’s understandably pessimistic and fed up with the constant annoyances of technology and unempathetic people. It’s also pretty funny, though not always by intention. The sets are very vibrant, and the movie has a ton of character. A great experiment.

Accion Mutante (1993)
Disfigured ruffians are committed to violently terrorizing the attractive upper-class world we see on TV. A fast, twisted screwball movie set in a trashy dystopia with no protagonists.

Dead Man’s Letters (1986)
"You shall hate your neighbor. You shall hate your distant. You shall hate yourself." Evocative post-nuclear commentary that's ruthless & bleak while still coming across as humanistic in the end. Moreover, this has some of the grimmest post-apocalyptic sets I’ve seen. Konstantin Lopushanskiy has an artsy style in the vein of Tarkovsky, if Tarkovsky fancied dipping his head in piss and anti-depressants.

... and some more movies that I've already written about in this thread, but I feel like bringing up again for this list:
Visitor of a Museum (1989)
Until the End of the World (1991)
O-bi, O-ba and Ga, Ga: Glory to the Heroes
Doctor X (1932)
Hardware (1990)
Posrednik (1990)

I'll wrap up with a great stop motion short; a poignant allegory with a very cool soundtrack:
More (1998)

Nice to see a mention of Lexx. It was one of those programmes they'd show here at 3am on a Sunday morning which I might catch after getting home drunk. Such a weird show but I really enjoyed it. There were times when I'd think I'd fallen asleep because something didn't make sense to me, but even on the occassions I'd watch it sober it'd sometimes feel like that.
5-time MoFo Award winner.

Huh, I never expected to see Thomas in Love, to be honest. I rarely ever see or hear anyone talking about it, but it's a personal favorite and I'm pleasantly surprised to see it mentioned here. Actually there are several you mentioned that I consider favorites. One Point O being another, though it's been a while since I've seen it but I remember loving it. The Eastern Euro mentions are a given, I'm just a sucker for those. Altogether this has been an excellent list/thread.

Nice to see a mention of Lexx. It was one of those programmes they'd show here at 3am on a Sunday morning which I might catch after getting home drunk. Such a weird show but I really enjoyed it. There were times when I'd think I'd fallen asleep because something didn't make sense to me, but even on the occassions I'd watch it sober it'd sometimes feel like that.
I blindly picked it up on DVD a long time ago expecting another campy generic sci-fi channel show. I loved that it seemed like a batsh*t parody of that. Still need to get around to season 2 though.

Huh, I never expected to see Thomas in Love, to be honest. I rarely ever see or hear anyone talking about it, but it's a personal favorite and I'm pleasantly surprised to see it mentioned here. Actually there are several you mentioned that I consider favorites. One Point O being another, though it's been a while since I've seen it but I remember loving it. The Eastern Euro mentions are a given, I'm just a sucker for those. Altogether this has been an excellent list/thread.
Thank you! I think I remember seeing One Point O mentioned in an old thread of yours alongside Ugly Swans (would've probably made my list if I'd rewatched it), and that made me think you have good taste . It felt odd re-reading my mini-review of Thomas in Love now considering how most of us are living currently.

Thank you! I think I remember seeing One Point O mentioned in an old thread of yours alongside Ugly Swans (would've probably made my list if I'd rewatched it), and that made me think you have good taste . It felt odd re-reading my mini-review of Thomas in Love now considering how most of us are living currently.
I see your compliment and raise you. Your thread played a major role in helping me hone my proverbial taste buds.

I was going for something clever, but now that I've actually typed it out I'm not so sure. I'm sure you'll appreciate the effort, though.

Playtime (1967)

Monsieur Hulot wanders around in a quasi-futuristic world. His goal is unimportant. This is a mostly undynamic story built around Hulot and others whimsically butting heads with industrialized society. It furthers commentary started in Mon Oncle. While Mon Oncle could be a look at how technology has influenced modern lifestyles, Playtime is a look at how it's changing global society and culture.

This takes customary pokes at citizens becoming desensitized to uniformity. Globalization has reduced cultural hallmarks to indistinguishable grey buildings. Tourists flock to gawk at bland spectacles. In the first half, we’re only once given a brief speck of vibrancy and musical charm when shown a glimpse of the Eiffel tower.

However, this is not a soulless dystopia of conformity. It’s not even dystopian, despite the somewhat familiar commentary. Happy accidents and misuse of unintuitive technology make citizens more charming and sympathetic than any typical cogs in the machine. This gives the movie a more humanistic soul than most other fiction dealing with similar themes. It's not focused on the dark side of humanity or the corruption of power, but on bringing the charm out of ordinary people attached to technologically driven life, or 'life out of balance.' *arpeggios intensify We are still allowed to be sweet, silly, rude, etc. Technology has changed our lives, but Playtime won’t let it stifle our spirit.

We see Hulot stumble into an invention showroom filled with salesmen advertising tacky products that underline our attraction to gratuitous conveniences and gimmicks (such as light up brooms, decorated trash bins, and noiseless doors). We end with Hulot attending a night club wherein restaurant staff are desperately scrambling to cover up a crumbling infrastructure from vain clientele. The decorated high-class veneer of civilization keeps coming undone with innocent human error.

Even though the movie is pervaded by busy murmuring, traffic, and other sounds of civilization, the comedy is mostly reliant on physical scenarios. It’s also less concerned with telling a story than painting an environmental picture, or sending a message (in the first half). There are no close-ups. You are an onlooker observing a quirky slice of life from next door.

Tati’s comedy grew drier with age, and it wasn't too animated to begin with, so don’t expect a knee slapper. Hulot is still a bastion of blissful ignorance stuck in a world he doesn't seem to understand. Within his simple happy go lucky candor lies the soul of a movie that serves to point out the absurdity of an overly tech reliant world. Tati’s style seems like a major blueprint for the offbeat charm (a tough word not to use with Tati) found in Jeunet (& Caro) movies, Sylvan Chomet movies (who used Tati’s likeness in a wonderful movie called The Illusionist), and of course, Mr. Bean.

Hulot isn’t nearly as goofy as Bean, but has the similar spirit of a perennial outsider looking in. He looks all around as if discovering things for the first time, and brings to light the humor in trivialities like clean windows and seat cushions. His incorruptibility puts a mostly bland environment, filled with plenty of reasons to be jaded, in perspective. It’s so much more fun not to let yourself get jaded.

The Documentaries of Richard Stanley

I’m a big Richard Stanley fan. Starting with his two early features, I fell in love with the unique mashing of artsy schlock and psychedelia. Beyond that, I’ve dug into his back-catalog, read some production diaries, and listened to hours of interview material from him because I think he’s one of the most fascinating people alive (if a bit kooky). So, here are his seldom talked about documentaries:

The Otherworld (2013)

A documentary about a peculiar area in France that’s rich in history & filled with occult folklore that attracts a variety of esotericists. This apparently came about when, having a friend’s film equipment at his disposal, Stanley and co. started shooting an off-the-cuff ‘home movie’ around Montsegur, the area he’s lived in for over a decade. A French producer offered a bit of funding to extend it to feature length on the condition that it met a French speaking quota.

So, given the circumstances, it feels a bit aimless. Stanley’s own supernatural experience feels forced as the crux of intrigue that movie is building to, when I feel there are probably more curious tales to tell about the ‘zone,’ and more local eccentrics to interview. The medieval history of the area could’ve been given more attention (odd that it wasn’t considering Stanley seems to have a serious passion for Cathar history, but it seems to have been an editor’s decision).

It does have plenty of the psychedelic panache found in Stanley’s narrative films, with a cool score from Simon Boswell. It’s an interesting look at an oddball part of the world that makes me want to see & learn much more.

Voice of the Moon (1990)

16mm footage of Richard Stanley’s time in Afghanistan during the end of the Soviet-Afghan war, cut into a 30-minute visual poem. The self-subsidized footage was shot by a 3-man crew traveling with Mujahideen groups. Unsurprisingly, the experience was laden with beauty, danger, and drugs. My rating is somewhat artificial because the attraction goes way beyond the footage itself. The account Stanley gives in his commentary makes the movie ten times as fascinating.

In lieu of sound, we get another Simon Boswell score and recitations of Afghan poetry. Most of the footage is gorgeous, almost dreamlike, and showcases a sort of embryonic rural life in Afghanistan before delving into the war material. Boswell’s score is beautiful, but I’d say it’s essential to watch this with Stanley’s commentary first. Letting the commentary provide context on the first viewing made the musical second viewing so much more potent.

On trying to get to safety after the Battle of Jalalabad: “I think it’s probably a similar problem to maybe coming back from any war. From Vietnam or anything else. You keep thinking you’re going to be okay. You’re going to get home at some point, but of course they keep moving home a bit further away so each time you reach the place you’re going you’ve realized it’s not really where you want to be.”

The Secret Glory (2001)

The story of Otto Rahn, an alleged homosexual Jewish Nazi who used his position in the SS to further his search for the Holy Grail in the land of the esoteric. Stanley’s first documentary involving Montsegur benefits from some prior knowledge, or a repeated viewing with director’s commentary. Interviewees are mostly surviving associates of Rahn’s, and Stanley’s commentary suggests that they frequently lied and seemed to all be hiding info from him. Info that may conceal a more sensational tale than what’s presented.

An awesome gallery of attractive modern photography placed alongside dark, stylish timeworn images and old archival footage. In the first half, images and information zip by making it a bit hard to keep up, but it becomes a bit more linear in the 2nd as it details Rahn’s involvement with the SS.

Unfortunately, the movie takes a huge blow from marred audio. The often out of sync narration (in the Subversive Cinema transfer) sounds like it was recorded underwater, is accompanied by subtitles out of necessity, and is sometimes drowned out by the heavily saturated score. It’s a shame that this sounds like it could’ve been Boswell’s best and most sophisticated score of the bunch.

It’s hurt by technical flaws, but the subject and visuals carry it a long way. This is another difficult, somewhat artificial rating. It might be too far gone, but it could be excellent with heavy restoration.

The White Darkness (2002)

Richard Stanley was apparently hired to shoot an anthropological documentary centered around voodoo in Haiti. During the filming, US military troops were unexpectedly sent down to Haiti as ‘missionaries’ to cleanse the area of Satan and foster the word of God, because only the spread of Christianity could lead to Haiti becoming a democratic society. I know, I know. It must sound like I’m grossly embellishing the troops’ humanitarian mission, but the military personnel interviewed (including a Colonel) explicitly used this sort of language straight out of the 1890s. Apparently they originally thought that Stanley was a sort of missionary filmmaker since he mentioned he was there to film a ‘religious documentary’ (alluding to voodoo), and the troops were very candid with their attitudes and intentions as a result. I don’t know if there has since been any actual humanitarian or economic benefit from the mission in the area, but their blatant intent to propagandize and conform the locals can’t be denied.

The locals aren’t presented in a purely innocent light either. It’s mostly a fly on the wall doc with very little text commentary between parts. The voodoo practices are uninhibited and occasionally disturbing (including graphic animal sacrifices). The movie constantly showcases the erratic, id-like behavior of the practitioners, while interviewees explain the philosophy behind it. I feel that, given Stanley’s own magnetic eccentricities, he was able to gain a lot of trust from the locals and was permitted to film much more sensational footage than a typical documentarian would’ve been afforded. It’s a fascinating segment of humanity made even more fascinating by the circumstances that befell the filming.

It is occasionally visually striking for a doc, capturing the area’s hazy, humid, muddy aura. I just wish it was a little less tightly edited. Though it isn’t as distinctively psychedelic or artistic as Stanley’s other movies, Stanley has said that it’s his favorite work (as of 2017).

Oblivion (2013)

On a post-apocalyptic Earth, a drone repairman lives in an isolated, hi-tech loft with a sole companion. He ventures out to do his job, unsuccessfully dodging scavengers along the way.

Expensive, spectacular sci-fi paraphernalia & CG landscapes with a trope-riffic screenplay. It's exorbitant but standardized sci-fi. The best makeup, the best costumes, the best special effects, the best set design, and a Nolan-fed marketing algorithm generates everything else.

This is also one of those movies that makes me play decibel hockey with low mumbles and loud action scenes, praying that deafening blasts don't come out of nowhere. Maybe just a commonality in modern action/dramas.

Side note: the last second save is my most hated cliche in all movies. That should only be a spoiler if you're the lowest common denominator audience member that this movie is written for.

I'm sorry. This is coming across as overly negative, so let me write something nice(-ish). 'Style over substance' is another cliche that I hate. Not from movies, but from critics. I think in a visual medium, style is part of the substance, and in that regard, this movie is very good. The beauty actually did carry me through occasional groans and storyline apathy.

Death Race (2008)

In a highly privatized, desensitized, and exploitative near-future, unemployment is rising, companies underpay workers & violently bust union efforts, and societal bloodlust is a ratings commodity. At this point, I fully expect to see Jason Statham blowing up cars on CNN within the next five years.

A former pro driver is framed, jailed, and coerced to compete in a series of ultra-violent televised death races between insensitive prison stereotypes. An arena where the most rugged, leather skinned, battle hardened individuals as well as the most beautiful, voluptuous, 25 year old supermodels can test their mettle. An arena fraught with cruel traps, product placements, and deadly Mario Kart power ups. The movie will try to get us to fall for at least three incarcerated mass murderers by the end.

Statham is Statham. He does that well enough. For two hours, he holds the expression that I make when my computer crashes. I'm okay with it. He pulls off the stern try-hard badass better than most action-specific actors.

This is a rare movie that I feel would benefit from a higher framerate. Action scenes look ok from afar, but the result of dark contrast and cameramen playing hot potato is choppy looking movement. It's a Guantanamo torture method for an epileptic. Annoying at first, but I got over it eventually. I think I remember this brief period in the mid-2000s when almost every action and horror release with a decent budget thought overly-high contrast cinematography was the way to go, and nearly every piece of text had to look like someone used the letters as a figure-skating platform. I call it the Lionsgateification of cinema.

If Michael Bay made movies for normal teenage boys, Paul W.S. made movies for teenage boys who blew out their ear drums listening to nu-metal and carved S into their desk. I have a soft spot for him. I'm not even that much of an action fan, but I gotta say, the races are pretty f*cking cool. Car gymnastics with a Nine Inch Nails rip-off score successfully summoned my inner 16 year old.

Soldier (1998)

Todd is the quintessential hardened super-soldier of the future. However, he's pushing 40 and declared obsolete in light of the new, genetically enhanced breed. Todd is then beaten and dumped on a planet of industrial landfills and little green snakes, wherein he's roughly integrated with the local township. Todd must eventually defend his new home from the fascistic military he spent his life serving. The new wave of super soldiers is stronger, faster, and more durable, but lacks the jaw muscles of someone who looks like they're storing nuts for winter. Todd will exploit this fatal flaw.

It's very violent, but not really. Deadly explosions only unleash large gusts of wind on the good guys. Flamethrowers turn victims into fiery starfish. Blood arises from no visible injuries save for scratches. Also, the movie's slo-mo sensor trips whenever more than 20% of the screen is engulfed by fire.

I watched this once years ago when I was the perfect age for it, and was so disappointed in Kurt Russell's lack of character. It fits the plot, but there's gotta be a way to pull off the cold anti-hero without sucking all of the life out of him. Giving him a 30 word monosyllabic speaking quota and rushing through his emotional 'awakening' with corny pop music isn't the way. Snake Plissken would be considered peppy next to Todd. Even the name Todd...

I want to love this movie. The 80's Einsturzende Neubauten video-world it takes place in could've hosted something amazing, but we're only given a glimpse of it through the narrow lens of a 17 year old boy that wants to make future Rambo. Here lies my main gripe. The most interesting part of the movie (Todd's character arc amidst the township) should've been given a lot more time and depth. Or, at least more time could've been afforded to the township itself.

Still, it's a cool dumb fun sci-fi action movie. No frills, and feels shorter than it is. Most of my negativity arises out of disappointment in something that had the potential to be better and more expansive.

Strange Days (1995)

I think this is the best cyberpunk movie. As in, the best proper derivation of the genre. Blade Runner and the like aren't pure bloods. This brew may not be strong on every cyber-trope, but it still feels pure cut from Gibson root. The only emblems needed to put it over the top are evil suits and the shadow of Japan's 80s economy.

It's set in a rapidly spiralling out-of-control near future with hazy blue cinematography, subversive tech, fidgety peddlers, brain frying, angsty free-spirited music, and a high probability of trash can fire. The city feels alive and ill. Smoke bellows from rotten lungs. The chaos parallels reality. A dark & naive counterculture grows increasingly hostile to a corrupt police state. It feels like it takes place in a slightly more distant future, but the writers wanted to flex their Y2K-isms.

The cyber street fixtures are cool, but really play second fiddle to the heart of the movie: Lenny and Mace's chemistry. Lenny, the pitiful memory huckster that's left behind his best days and sinks into vice. Mace, the resolute Type A disciplinarian that's left behind her worst days and refuses to let flawed surroundings get in the way. Attracted opposites with an oddly uncompromising loyalty to eachother. Mace makes Lenny a better person, Lenny inspires Mace to risk danger in the name of righteousness. Mightily likable people.

Toupées come here to retire, a lot of the action seems forced and out of place, and it's bookended by a Return of the King-esque run on sentence. I also feel it necessary to warn potential viewers of two highly disturbing rape scenes. The movie can't satisfy itself with only one climactic ball drop, but the journey is great enough to forgive a lot of shoehorned thriller tropes and Tom Sizemore's frizzy old mop. I'm inclined to say it's my quintessential 90s zeitgeist movie.

The Spanish Prisoner (1997)

A corporate employee that's working on a data process to verify a windfall projection is given the go ahead to present some incidentals involving a proprietary formula that's a de facto operation to field the team's investment interests, but it's neither here nor there. *gesticulations intensify* He's a business man... doing business.

Then our guy begins to unravel a corporate conspiracy, and apparently to him, everyone can be trusted. This is frustrating. I liked the main character, but he becomes more of a dolt as the clock ticks. I wanted to come through the screen and shake him by the lapels. I like David Mamet too, but the insulting contrivances, tacky ending, and shortsighted main character seem way below the Mamet writing standard that I'm familiar with. This actually started off really well, but the abandonment of common sense killed it (and may kill you with all the hammers hitting you over the head).

Credit to Carter Burwell for keeping the mystery vibe going. His brass section tries to outdo-do-doo Glassworks with one constantly raised eyebrow.

Much of what I'm reading about this praises its clever writing, so now I feel like I'm in a Mamet-ian conspiracy wherein nefarious actors are trying to convince me that this is a good story. Not falling for it. I'm not sure how anyone watches this without seeing the plot twists coming from a mile away. Sorry to be so negative. Maybe I watch too many damn movies.