And You Thought It Was Safe(?)


Zero Effect (1998)
July 18, 2000, 5:06 pm
Filed under: Movies, Reviews | Tags: , , ,

Would you vote for this man? Really?On the surface, Zero Effect appears to be a honest attempt by writer/director Jake Kasdan to bring the classical detective story forward, into the modern world (circa 1998). Obviously, certain conventions of nineteenth century detective fiction had to go away. Others required radical alteration. But take heart: the same dime-store morality that rule the best (and worst) of those nineteenth century tales is still in force here, though good Victorians would hardly recognize it, dressed in its late-twentieth century ambivalence. The film almost succeeds, fumbling only because it feels it must fulfill the expectations of its small-but-vocal audience, rather than fulfilling its own inherent promise.

Depending on how you look at things, mysteries have either decayed as a genre, or triumphed beyond all expectations. Only Romance enjoys broader social saturation. What’s a story without a Problem for a protagonist to Resolve? And what’s a story without a Love Interest to spice things up and lure women into theaters? So goes the logic of Hollywood marketers and the artists who labor under them, forced to dress even their best ideas in these tried n’ true tropes, the better to “market” them. {More}

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Independence Day (1996)
January 29, 1999, 12:29 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , ,

"Maybe we shouldn't've crossed Newt that last time..."Roger Ebert called this “an inheritor of the 1950s flying saucer genre”…though, for the life of me, I can only think of two films that match Independence Day‘s sheer destructive gluttony. The mid-90s will go down in history as a period shamefully infested with big-budget disaster orgies, horror pornography for middle Americans too chicken at watch real horror films.

And if ID4 has a more proximate progenitor, it is the disaster movies of the 70s, which carved this genre niche after the collapse of the studio system led to a collapse of the Epic. All-star casts stopped playing mythological heroes from various Western holy texts and began acting out multiple plot-threads as…normal people. One (or two, or three, or a whole bunch) of us. We began to appear in epic tales of survival against long odds and various plot contrivances…for, like any genre, the disaster flick soon found itself hedged in by its own, flawed, internal logic. {More}



Independence Day (1996)

"Maybe we shouldn't've crossed Newt that last time..."Roger Ebert called this “an inheritor of the 1950s flying saucer genre”…though, for the life of me, I can only think of two films that match Independence Day‘s sheer destructive gluttony. The mid-90s will go down in history as a period shamefully infested with big-budget disaster orgies, horror pornography for middle Americans too chicken at watch real horror films.

And if ID4 has a more proximate progenitor, it is the disaster movies of the 70s, which carved this genre niche after the collapse of the studio system led to a collapse of the Epic. All-star casts stopped playing mythological heroes from various Western holy texts and began acting out multiple plot-threads as…normal people. One (or two, or three, or a whole bunch) of us. We began to appear in epic tales of survival against long odds and various plot contrivances…for, like any genre, the disaster flick soon found itself hedged in by its own, flawed, internal logic. {More}