"Thus open the gates of paradise."

In this issue
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Summer films

06 Apr 2002

It's been two months since I've reviewed anything. And yet, I've got a stack of movie stubs on my desk, which is a good thing because I'd barely remember what I've seen otherwise.

AI

There are two stubs for the Steven Spielberg film "AI". I happened to mention this to a colleague today. His response: "Why?" Good question. In part, it's such a visually rich film, that I thought it warranted a second look. Probably not, in hindsight, which breaks my heart to say. 

This film was started by the late Stanley Kubrick, and in places, it shows. The scene where we first see Martin, enclosed in a cryogenic bottle, as close to death as makes no difference. It's sterile with only the barest nods to the needs of the family members who have come to visit. It reminded me very strongly of the segment of "2001" that takes place in Earth orbit aboard the rotating space station. 

But then the picture moves in Spielberg territory -- a robot, fashioned as a young boy who is programmed to love, and blah blah blah. It pains me to say it, but I had so little connection to the characters that I find it difficult to appreciate the film except as a curiosity, like a two-headed calf. Not enough Spielberg, not enough Kubrick. Damn.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

How embarrassing. It left me feeling as if I had watched someone else channel surf for an hour and a half. And for some reason, they only wanted to watch the commercials. 

The Score

This is the Bobby DeNiro / Edward Norton / Marlon Brando / Angela Basset heist flick, set in Montreal. While Norton gives an entrancing performance, everyone else seems to be somnambulating. Again, the reason to see this film are for the novelties: seeing Montreal, Paul Soles, and some nice sets with unusually nice woodwork.

Kiss Of The Dragon

The new Jet Li martial arts film, shot in Paris. The city looks lovely. Go out and rent "The Replacement Killers" instead.

America's Sweethearts

This film doesn't really deserve to be lumped in with these others, but sometimes lumping is just the way to go. John Cusack, Catherine Zeta- Jones, Julia Roberts, Billy Crystal muck about and make fun of the film industry. There are at least three references to Stanley Kubrick films, and my pal Christopher Walken makes an appearance, answering my fervent prayers uttered en route to the theatre. (I'd been watching clips of his appearances on the otherwise tepid "Saturday Night Live", and had a fever to see him do something new.)

The film is much better than I had expected, and that may have been because I was expecting swill, but got not a bad, inexpensive wine instead. Decent bouquet. Good colour.

Related Sites
AI (IMDB)
America's Sweethearts (IMDB)
Kiss Of The Dragon (IMDB)

The Score (IMDB)
Tomb Raider (IMDB)