ORBzine - Movie Reviews February 2002


Monsters Inc.

Mike [Billy Crystal - Princess Bride ] and Sully [John Goodman - The Emperor's New Groove ] are a pair of hard-working monsters who spend all day at the scare factory, frightening human children so the monsters can collect their screams. Thanks to the evil plotting of their rival [Steve Buscemi - Final Fantasy ] a human child gets loose in Monsteropolis. You see, the monsters are more scared of children than the children are of monsters! All our heroes have to do is catch the child, return it to its bedroom and defeat the villain's evil plan.

After the likes of Shrek and Final Fantasy , this is quite a relief. It is more than just a piece of excellent computer animation. The script is wonderful, and there is a great supporting cast, including the Factory boss [James Coburn - Our Man Flint ] and Mike's girlfriend [ Jennifer Tilly ]. All in all, this is a worthy successor to Antz and Toy Story .

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  • From Hell

    This is yet another horror movie based [somewhat loosely] on the true-life case of Jack the Ripper. This time it is an adaption of a Graphic Novel by Alan Moore . As a result, historical fact is butchered and every pathetic Jack-The-Ripper cliche is regurgitated.

    Inspector Abeline [Johnny Depp - Sleepy Hollow ], apparently a junkie who has psychic flashes of murders, and his sidekick Robbie Coltrane [ Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone ] try to solve the series of grisly murders.

    Meanwhile, Mary Jane Kelly [ Heather Graham ] and her coven of tarts-with-hearts [ Susan Lynch, Estelle Skornik ] are being picked off one by one. Kelly and Abeline meet, and predictably fall in luuuurve.

    Meanwhile, Jack stalks the streets in his top-hat and cape. There is a conspiracy behind him, protecting him, that goes all the way up to the top. And when Abeline discovers the killer's identity there is the standard race-against-time to save the damsel in distress ...

    The best thing about the film is Ian Holm. This proves that he was wasted in Lord of the Rings . That film also overused SPFX, while this one tends to underplay the visual aspect - specifically the gore. How this got an 18 certificate and Sleepy Hollow got a 15 certificate is something of a mystery.

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  • Mulholland Drive

    David Lynch brings us yet another confusing piece of cinema.

    In Hollywood, the present day, a blonde wannabe actress meets a female amnesiac. Together they try to discover the amnesiac's past. This is intercut with the story of a Hollywood Director whose life suddenly falls apart.

    As the women's quest progresses we get a growning sense of unease, coupled with some eye-catching lesbian sex. Finally at the end we get a reconstruction of events but showing things in an entirely different light.

  • Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
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  • Vanilla Sky

    Cameron Crowe delivers an adaption of the Spanish film Open Your Eyes .

    Tom Cruise [ Mission Impossible II ] is in prison accused of murder. He is interviewed by a psychiatrist [Kurt Russell - Escape From New York ], and we get told the story in flashback.

    Cruise was a rich playboy who had a casual sexual relationship with Cameron Diaz . However, he fell in love with Penelope Cruz , the girlfriend of his best buddy Jason Lee [ Mallrats ]. Diaz is jealous, and hilarity does not ensue.

    Cruise tries to keep control of the company he inherited from his father. His lawyer [Timothy Spall - Red Dwarf ] does his best, but Cruise thinks he is being manipulated by a conspiracy.

    Things get more and more confused and surreal. Cruise gets momentary flashes of a sexy redhead [ Alicia Witt ]. Eventually Cruise tracks down Tilda Swinton , who explains what is going on.

    The problem with the film is that it is a pseudo-romance/thriller/surreal film. It cannot be clearly categorised, and while that is not a good thing in itself the fact is that the film is too lightweight to be really satisfying. It is an unhappy mix of genres, with an ending that is somehow reminiscent of A.I.

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  • This is the English-language remake of a French film, Les Visiteurs . The star is the same, Jean Reno [ Godzilla ], while sidekick Christian Clavier and the french director reprise their duties.

    The script, co-written by John Hughes , has been noticeably Americanised for the Hollywood audiences. The budget is much larger, so there is much more SPFX, a cast of well-known faces and some great locations. The setup has been shortened, so the heroic knight is now in England to marry an English princess [ Christina Applegate ]. She looks a lot older than she did during Married With Children. And since she is English, this explains why the two Frenchies speak English!

    Things go wrong, thanks to the intervention of an evil English Earl. Reno and Clavier call on the help of a wizard [Malcolm McDowell - Star Trek: Generations ]. However, he accidentally sends them forward to the year 2000! Since the castle's room has been transported to a museum in Chicago, that is where Reno and Clavier find themselves!

    From then on it is more or less a typical fish-out-of-water tale. They are taken under the wing of Reno's descendant [ Christina Applegate ], who takes them home with her. This leads on to lots of slapstick, no doubt the product of Hughes' Americanisation.

    Applegate's husband is cheating on her with Brigitte Wilson-Sampras , who almost makes this film worthwhile. The other female role goes to Tara Reid , who goes for Clavier [who is two decades and a millennium her senior!].

    Reno's goal is to return to his own time so he can have descendants. Luckily for him the wizard follows him into the future ...

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