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Editor's rating: 
Friday, 01 September 2006 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Species Even though “Species” is such an “Alien” knockoff that the creatures were designed by “Alien”’s H.R. Giger, it’s one of the better such imitations that followed in the wake of Ridley Scott’s scary movie. This time, the alien menace is on Earth, a human-alien hybrid with an ingrained compulsion to mate as soon as possible. When she looks human, she looks sensational—no wonder, she’s played by striking, statuesque Nastasha Henstridge, making her movie debut—but when she’s not, she’s a sleek, pinkish-gray, elegant but monstrous-looking predator with fangs, claws, and extendable nipples. “Species” was one of the first movies in the wake of precedent-setting “Jurassic Park” to make extensive use of computer graphic special effects, and evidently the first to use performance-capture technology. That’s the steadily-improving technique of attaching highlights to the bodies and limbs of actors—often little red dots—which are registered by a computer and used to drive figures otherwise created in the digital realm. ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 01 September 2006 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
RV Is Sony rushing films out to Blu-Ray willy-nilly? It would seem to make good business sense to begin with (a) popular films (b) whose appeal is heightened by being in high definition video. So far, Columbia’s selection of films to treat in this manner seems confusing—although it must be said that once “RV” reaches the Colorado Rockies (played by the Canadian Rockies), the high-definition virtues are realized. But a lot of it takes place inside the bus-like vehicle of the title, with the views out the windows largely added by blue-screen matting. As we all have come to understand, nothing, absolutely nothing, says “family comedy” more than a good supply of poop jokes, a family and lots of slapstick. By this standard, the perfect family comedy would be mom and dad having a pie fight with junior in a cess pool. But until that happy time arrives, “RV” is an ideal family ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 01 September 2006 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Memento It’s unusual for a mass-release movie to be as unusual as “Memento.” In one sense, it’s a well-made, modern-day film noir—but how the story is told makes all the difference, and quickly developed the unusual reputation the movie still has today. Just check the message board for the film on the Internet Movie Database and you’ll find dozens of messages discussing and arguing about the plot of the film. The movie is told backward—AND forward. The scenes in color proceed in reverse chronological order. That is, the first scene with Leonard (Guy Pearce) is chronologically the oldest; all the scenes (except the title shot) run from beginning to end—but then the next successive color scene takes place before the one we just saw. It marches on this way, leap-frogging over itself, to the “end” (beginning) of the movie. Meanwhile, there are black and white scenes of Leonard puzzling out whatever he can; ...
Editor's rating: 
Tuesday, 01 August 2006 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
House of Flying Daggers When color movies first began to become common, they were mostly lavish period melodramas and outdoor adventures, eventually shading into Westerns. So it seems to be with high definition home video. Both HD DVD and Blu-Ray have so far mostly been applied to lavish effects movies, outdoor adventures and the like. This is entirely reasonable, as the process is high amenable to these sorts of things. Also, so far no one is rushing to issue black and white movies, however good, in high definition, probably because the format is immensely favorable to color, particularly blues, greens and yellows. We now are beginning to see more true reds; in the past, much of home video “red” was actually closer to a ruddy orange. But orange, too, is spectacular in home video. “House of Flying Daggers” is an entertaining martial arts romantic adventure, with more emphasis on romance and intrigue than on big, lively martial ...
Editor's rating: 
Tuesday, 01 August 2006 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Basic Instinct 2 When “Basic Instinct” was released 14 years ago, it caused a sensation and turned Sharon Stone into a star—or something resembling a star—at once. It was far from her first movie, but when she insolently crossed her silken legs, driving interrogator Wayne Knight into a kind of frenzy, the world followed suit. As directed by Paul Verhoeven, “Basic Instinct” was intense, ironic, and not to be taken too seriously. As directed by Michael Caton-Jones, “Basic Instinct 2” is good-looking, but plodding and weary. The script by Leora Barish and Henry Bean—evidently written years earlier—is obvious and cluttered with unlikable characters. We really don’t give a damn what happens to anyone in the story, and that’s deadly for a suspense movie. Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone), who writes as Catherine Woolfe, is now in London. As she’s roaring through the streets at night being masturbated by a dazed-looking soccer star, she reaches an orgasm as the ...
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