Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Cracking the code

An attempt to explain the hubbub over genetics.

Posted By on Wed, Dec 19, 2001 at 12:00 AM

With the unveiling of a rough draft of the human genome last January, genetic determinism is being floated more than ever to explain human behavior and disease. Medical reporters gush about unraveling the human DNA code to find new cures and create designer babies. Of course, smart journalists point out...

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Fire in the sky

Unlocking the secrets of the northern lights

Posted By on Wed, Dec 19, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Famed zoologist and science writer Stephen Jay Gould has been railing of late over historical biographers shoehorning their subjects' lives into prefabricated narratives. As he wrote not long ago in The New York Review of Books, such authors too often "misdirect history into channels of our evolved mental preferences." Readers...

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Ghostly apparitions

Guillermo Del Toro returns to haunting with a brilliance.

Posted By on Wed, Dec 19, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Mexican director Guillermo Del Toro (Cronos, Mimic) has fashioned a great, old-fashioned chiller, a ghost story that is about the terrors of the living as well as those of the restless dead, set in an isolated manor house during the waning days of the Spanish Civil War.

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The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Posted By on Wed, Dec 19, 2001 at 12:00 AM

"Epic" and "mythic" are the words that come to mind to describe this film, a labor of love for writer-director Peter Jackson and his wife, screenwriter Frances Walsh, who’ve packed the first part of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic trilogy into an adventure that awes and gallops through just under three hours. It’s true cinematic wizardry made even more impressive by its detail.

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Spike and Mike's Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation (2001)

Posted By on Wed, Dec 19, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Well, kids, the Spike & Mike S&T fest is a little tepid this year. True, there's a lot of impolite language for those who can still automatically snicker at such, but not a single fellating crack whore or grossly fleshy person wallowing in feces to be seen. Sort of makes you wonder what the world's coming to.

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Vanilla Sky

Posted By on Wed, Dec 19, 2001 at 12:00 AM

What is it about Alejandro Amenábar’s 1997 psychological thriller, Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes), that would prompt writer-director Cameron Crowe and producer-star Tom Cruise to remake it? What they’ve created here is the ultimate vanity project — with Penélope Cruz and Cameron Diaz.

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Not Another Teen Movie

Posted By on Wed, Dec 19, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Take a group of hits, toss them in a shredder and stick no-holds-barred satirical sketches to a plot line all built from the random scenes that roll out. Those of you who lined up with wallets in hand for Scary Movie 2 proved that if it’s worked once, then it might work again — just not this time.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Tape

Posted By on Wed, Dec 12, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard and Uma Thurman give some of the best performances of their careers in director Richard Linklater’s rogue’s gallery of slackers. A film that poses the question: Do overage frat-boy behavior and grassroots criminality make a guy a "dick"?

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La Bûche

Posted By on Wed, Dec 12, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Director Danièle Thompson’s film opens like a Christmas present to Paris, then becomes just a clever, well-produced soap opera begging comparison to Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters — with Françoise Fabian and Emmanuel Béart.

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Come Undone

Posted By on Wed, Dec 12, 2001 at 12:00 AM

While it often seems like the French believe they discovered genitalia and are anxious to share this with the world, the sexual explicitness that films such as this story of gay love use so casually reveals more than flesh. Director Sébastian Lifshitz bathes this brand of raw realism in a rich, cinematic glow.

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