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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Movies you've probably never heard of

Stew, two can play at this game. I don't get to the regular cinema often though, so allow me to offer some capsule reviews of film off the beaten path, or reel as the case may be:

- Pee Wee's Desperate Comeback: Paul Reubens returns as everyone's favourite lewd and lascivious offender. In this installment, Pee Wee is so desperate to resume his acting career that he takes a role in a French exploitation film within the film entitled Emmanuelle Marries Tom Cruise. Pee Wee is assigned the plum role of Tom, whilst pluckly Scarlet Johannson plays Emmanuelle Holmes. The acting is downright naturalistic as Reubens bounces off couches with a ferociousity not seen since Oprah's sofa springs were rousted by the real thing. Unfortunately, the film takes a maudlin turn when Pee Wee dislocates his pelvis during one of he and Johannson's 37 sex scenes together. Coincidentally, Johannson's performance is that of a completely disinterested actress. She's dials it in, chatting about liverwurst and horse racing during most of the steamiest scenes, and literally sleeping through the rest. The film loses all credibility at the end when the real Tom Cruise descends in a flying saucer to impart the meaning of existence to Pee Wee ("Become a science-fiction novelist, and then make up a religion. Also, don't marry an Australian actress...and don't take ritalin, hell, no! That'll blow your head up!") and is promptly impaled on a louma crane by the hedonistic and cynical Pee Wee, while Scarlet snores in the background. D-

- Ingmar Bergman's Last Film For Sure: The famed Swedish Director comes back to make one final film, after his final, final films. He writes, produces, and provides directorial interference for this film (but didn't bother to spend much time on a title). His second cousin, once-removed Gunnar directs in a rather ham-fisted way, preferring to shoot all the scenes in slow-motion, black and white, through heavy filters, in murky lighting, and, in at least three scenes, upside-down. The plot is incomprehensible, as the film is in Swedish and I didn't bother reading the subtitles. There were many shots of people talking, arguing, staring pensively at mysterious landscapes and at least one shot of a naked ankle (It's Sweden, so it's too cold for much more than that). Mesmerizing, if you're Swedish and extremely bored. F

- Pheolon Orgon Zentrefuge, Destroyer of Worlds: The latest in a string of dazzling science-fiction films that make less sense than a one-wheeled tea trolley. Keira Knightley and Uma Thurman play twin warriors who must defeat a great galactic evil by bloodily lopping the heads off of hideous alien parasites, whilst wearing low-cut, skin-tight, leather spacesuits. The special effects are incredible, particularly the support systems on the leather specesuits. The most intense scenes are when Knightley fights a giant tentacle, armed only with her thighs and a bottle of baby oil. The acting is atrocious but the action is a feel good, flippant return to marginally entertaining flicks like Barbarella, Galaxina, and Spaceballs. Bill Murray appears uncredited as Trogula the Deranged. C-

- The Mechanic: Pauly Shore returns to films playing a con artist, ex-hippie, stoner who convinces NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon that he's an ace mechanic. Unforutnately, the audience is more resistant to Pauly's insistent con that he is in any way amusing, despite the hilarious car crashes and engine falling out of the vehicle and onto Jeff Gordon's toe gags. Also, Pauly accidentally bludgeons 14 people in the groin with a crescent spanner, including two women. The most amusing bit in the film is the appearance of the MPAA rating after the closing credits, if you haven't slit your wrists by then. F-

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