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  • Issue of
  • Aug 31 - Sep 6, 2005
  • Vol. 25, No. 46

News & Views

Arts & Culture

  • The Scene
  • Chaos

    This no-budget shocker tries to pass off its ineptitude as some sort of raw style, but even the most tolerant horror fans will find Chaos dull, lazy and sick — but not in a good way.
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  • The Scene
  • Pretty Persuasion

    In this lame Heathers rip-off, Evan Rachel Wood plays Kimberly Joyce, a cunning smart teen who coaxes her friends into bringing harassment claims against their hated teacher. The ensuing trial incites a media frenzy at their hoity-toity Beverly Hills private school. The witless script is riddled with stabs at humor that are off-color for the sake of being off-color. One would hope that all the cruelty would at least culminate in some smart social commentary, or at least some wickedly black comedy, but no such luck.
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  • The Scene
  • Pickpocket

    Pickpocket is Robert Bresson’s 1959 drama about Michel, a young writer who’s living in poverty who picks pockets for a living, feeling he’s above the law because of his intellect. The parallels to Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment are plainly evident, as Michel dangerously flirts with the law. Even those resistant to Bresson’s unconventional approach will appreciate the pickpocketing montages, executed with a dazzling combination of ingenuity and grace.
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  • The Scene
  • The Cave

    This warmed-over Alien rehash features a lot of buff explorers, some cool, slimy beasts and exactly one decent action scene. The Cave is exactly the sort of late-August stink bomb the studios hope to pass off on audiences who’ve already seen all the bigger, better summer thrill rides.
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  • The Scene
  • The Constant Gardener

    A true rarity: a film that strives to combine political suspense with emotional resonance and social relevance and delivers on all three counts. City Of God director Fernando Meirelles delivers a provocative and thoughtful adaptation of John Le Carré’s novel. Using nonlinear storytelling and a guerilla-style filmmaking he creates an urgent thriller that is as gripping as it is emotionally affecting. Ralph Fiennes plays a timid British diplomat who, while investigating the murder of his wife, uncovers the crimes of a global pharmaceutical company and an insidious conspiracy. Provocative and thoughtful, it confronts the economic and humanitarian crimes of capitalism more seriously than most American films.
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  • The Scene
  • Undiscovered

    Ashlee Simpson stars in Undiscovered, which follows young star-crossed lovers (Steven Strait and Pell James) seeking fame and fortune in Los Angeles. It’s all shot with slick, hip, overcast feel of a mopey urban rock video or an episode of Angel, but the movie has about as much emotional depth and romantic sensibility as a Simpson sister MTV reality show.
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  • The Scene
  • Brothers Grimm

    Director Terry Gilliam’s first film in seven years is the most obviously commercial film of his career. Reimagining the famous storytellers as con men who travel the Napoleonic countryside posing as supernatural exterminators, the script suffers from a complete lack of subtext. Still, the filmmaker’s enormous talents are on full display. Boasting dazzling otherworldly images, quirky characters and a loopy tone that evokes the nightmares of childhood, the film proves Gilliam is one of the most interesting and unappreciated filmmakers alive today.
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