Category Archives: Movie reviews

X-Files Redux

We saw the new X-Files movie this evening. Here are my initial impressions.

It’s definitely an X-file, though with a much darker edge. There are no alien conspiracies in this one (although I did catch a glimpse in one scene of what appeared to be the shadow of an alien through a curtain — totally inconsequential to the plot). The plot instead descends into a maelstrom of human depravity that will leave some viewers squirming in their seats. This is definitely not one of the more light-hearted episodes of the series.

I was especially intrigued by the changes in the primary characters. Mulder and Scully have definitely aged, and the years have not been kind to them. We’re given hints of bitter disappointments in their recent past that have drastically altered the careers of both. They are individually struggling to rebuild their lives, and that search, as always, brings them back together again. But the playful sparring that once characterized their relationship is gone, replaced by a sad, desperate search for purpose. Only at the very end are we given a glimmer of hope that their efforts at personal redemption might be paying off.

A couple of Easter egg notices: During a scene where Mulder is fumbling with his cell phone directory while driving a car, look carefully at the names on the phone. I thought I caught a glimpse of the name “Gillian”. In another scene, as the camera follows Scully through a hospital hall, there is a gentleman seated on a bench to the left of the screen that looks remarkably like Chris Carter, the director and producer.

Finally, be sure to stay through the credits to the end. There is a brief vignette that is sure to raise a lot of questions about the future of our resolute heroes — the first question being, will there be a third movie?

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Chris Carter on the new X-Files Movie

Hugh Hart of Wired.Com interviews Chris Carter, producer and director of the new X-FIles movie, opening this Friday. Includes interesting insights into the extraordinary lengths he went to prevent spoilers from leaking during production.

Here’s the trailer:

Indiana Jones and Karen Allen

David Kaplan confesses to having a crush on actress Karen Allen, who, in the latest Indiana Jones movie opening this week, reprises her role as the archaeologist’s love interest from the original movie.

Those beguiling freckles, the radiant blue eyes, the husky voice, the enchanting smileā€”and the white dress she wears as Marion Ravenwood in the first of the “Indy” movies. If you didn’t have a crush on her from early on in the movie when she drinks men under the table and then decks Indy with a right to the chin, or when she escapes a harrowing pit of snakes, then that dress surely would have been enough.

You can catch a glimpse of her near the end of this trailer for the movie. (Alas, she’s not wearing the white dress.)

UPDATE: Here is an interesting interview with Karen Allen (bonus: includes a pic of her in the white dress).

X-Files: “I Want to Believe”

That’s the official name of the new X-Files movie, due in theaters July 25. Chris Carter, the director, describes the extraordinary lengths to which he went to keep the plot secret from the public. He did reveal, however, that the usual aliens conspiracy does not play a role in this movie.

The Evolution Debate

While I was in Miami last week, I watched a show on the Discovery Channel called “Before the Dinosaurs,” a documentary on the reptilian creatures that supposedly inhabited the earth before the dinosaurs evolved. It was a very slick production, using state-of-the-art CGI graphics to create scenes so realistic that you’d think it was filmed. In fact, it was designed to mimic a real documentary, the sort of thing you’d see on “Animal Planet.” For example, as large creatures lumbered by, the “camera” would shake, or when a predator ripped into his prey, “blood” would splatter on the “camera” lens. The narrator even described insignificant little behaviors to give the scenes added realism, like the two male reptiles fighting each other who would do some sort of push-ups to display their aggressiveness. How could scientists possibly know that little detail?

The whole thrust of this documentary, of course, was to further solidify in the minds of viewers the unassailable fact of evolution. Evolution is so thoroughly established, we might as well make the documentary as real as possible.

But like every other scientific theory involving processes we cannot directly observe, evolution is still subject to debate — and its adherents have cause to stack the evidence and silence their opposition. A new documentary is coming out soon that addresses the difficulties in evolution, and the intellectual chicanery that props it up. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is the brainchild of Ben Stein. Matt Barber has reviewed the film, and it promises to be a good one. I’m looking forward to seeing it.

Enchanted

Now out on DVD.

This clip notwithstanding, Enchanted is really not a musical, but a clever take on a Disney-animation-meets-modern-romance idea. The fresh-faced innocence of Amy Adams and the good-hearted but world-weary Patrick Dempsey make a perfect couple. Highly recommended.

Submit — Or Be Expelled

They claim the debate is over on this one, too, but the skeptics just won’t go away — thank goodness. Ben Stein has a new documentary coming out this spring on the ideological war against those who would question Darwinism.

I remember well as a junior high school student in the early 1960’s the furor that arose when some educators wanted the freedom to merely mention evolution as a possible alternative to the traditional “divine origin” theory of cosmogony. Today, the controversy has been completely reversed: secularists control the reigns of power in academe, and those who even question Darwinism are silenced without mercy.

If it was a “freedom of speech” issue in the 1960’s, why is it not a freedom of speech issue today? (Hint: It was never about free speech.)

[Thanks for the link, Kay!]