#006

Insomnia
Warner Bros. DVD

BUY IT

Nowhere near as ambitious as his previous movie, Memento, Christopher Nolanís Insomnia is a study in mood and texture, a psychological thriller that gives away the killerís identity long before the ending, trading off suspense for character.

Itís a good thing the characters in question are up to the challenge. Robin Williams begins the journey from clown to psycopath, a transformation that only seems radical, while Al Pacino refines the spectacularly haggard persona heís been working on since Dog Day Afternoon. Donít expect too much from the ending, but revel in sequences like the fog-bound chase scene, and the way Nolan and Pacino put everything into making you feel as wired and fatigued as Pacinoís haunted insomniac cop.

Includes ďmaking ofĒ documentaries, a conversation with Nolan and Pacino, and a short documentary on real-life insomniacs.

_______________

Scooby-Doo
Warner Bros. DVD

BUY IT

Calling this movie silly is like calling pork rinds unhealthy, but the warning will, in neither case, dissuade anyone from enjoying sheer, guilty, junky pleasure. Behind the scenes interviews with cast and crew try to give the impression that the original Hanna-Barbera cartoon series was some kind of epocal childhood landmark, while most people probably tend to remember it as a lowpoint in the animatorís art. That you need millions of dollars and the latest in state of the art FX to recreate it as live action probably says something dire about the world today.

There are flourishes of wit, most of it gleefully sophomoric, and inspired by our longtime assumption that Shaggy and Scoobyís constant case of the munchies hinted at some deeper, less legal compulsion.

_______________

Life Or Something Like It
20th Century Fox DVD

BUY IT

Basically a re-write of Itís A Wonderful Life for hyperdriven career women. Angelina Jolie plays an ambitious TV reporter on the verge of her big break when a homeless street prophet predicts her imminent death. The crisis that follows is neat and predictable, a photogenic breakdown that renders her even more attractive and successful, till she finally cheats death and finds true love. Cross Frank Capra with Oprah and, unfortunately, you get craprah.

_______________

Nine Queens
Sony Pictures Classics DVD

BUY IT

A taut, cynical con job thriller from Argentina that plays like The Sting in a society where morals have become as devalued as currency. No one can be trusted, nothing is what it appears to be, and the only thing more powerful than greed is revenge. Released just as the countryís economy melted down, it should become famous for its value as an omen as much as an entertainment.

click here for longer review

©2002 rick mcginnis all rights reserved.