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Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

I'm not terribly familiar with the Boston International Film Festival, but based on what they were showing, it sounds like a nice alternative for people who don't make it north of the border to Toronto. Much of the same programming... just more compact.

This first guy... well... what can I say? Harlan Ellison once wrote that "anyone who doesn't like WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? is a heartless Grinch unfit to live with decent folk." I feel much the same way about BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF detractors. It's a period piece! It's a monster movie! It's a martial arts epic! It's French! I mean... what the fuck else do you want for your eight dollars?

Here you go Harry... Didn't agree with you or the rest of the reviewers on this one. I may squeeze in one more movie today or tomorrow and then I'll give you a break.


(Very, very minor spoilers)

Man, I dropped the ball on the Boston Film Festival. I missed most of the offbeat, cool stuff, and about all that's left this weekend are way too many films about underdog sports teams and upper-middle-class romantic comedies. OH NO, WILL THE LITTLE OFFICE GIRLIE FIND MR. RIGHT TO SHARE HER SUNLIT WALK-UP? Puh-leeze. Bring on the werewolves and shit.

Except, is there a werewolf? I'm not telling. I've seen a bunch of excited reviews of this movie. I spent the first ten minutes of it trying to open my complementary breath mints (was the ticket lady trying to tell me something?) and by the time I was paying attention what I saw delighted me. I don't generally go for period pieces, but I was enchanted by a long scene set at a dinner party. The costumes, the repartee, the sumptuous cleavage, both in bosoms and chins... it was a real treat. I thought, if the rest of the movie is this oversatured with decadent pleasure, I'll melt all over my chair.

There was some more pleasure, although if you like fuzzy-wuzzy little doggies you probably should pass on this movie, because wolves look a lot like cute fuzzy doggies and the aristocracy is purging the wolves brutally. They're killing the wolves in an attempt to get rid of a capital-B Beast which is eating people.

The protagonist, a worldly taxidermist, is extremely handsome, in an almost goofy Brendan Frasier/Dudley DoRight way. The whores all stepped right out of a Penthouse pictorial, and even the Black Adder filthy peasants have perfect teeth. And oh yeah, the hero has a sidekick: An incongruously stubbly Iroquois Mowhawk, who is strong, silent, stoic, speaks to trees, communes with wolves, carries a tomahawk, paints his face, and is a veritable swiss army Indian... I mean, not only are we told he was Medicine Man of his tribe, but he's apparently a warrior, a tracker, and a hunter to boot. Talented fellow. Any filmmaker who wants a Native American character in his or her movie should spend a couple months on the rez first, any rez. Six months for European filmmakers, and Oliver Stone can't have any Native American characters at all. He's used up his chances.

So anyway, this big Indian, he also knows kung fu.

But then, EVERYBODY seems to know kung fu. Even French rural peasants, or should I say especially French rural peasants.

Slowly, my enthusiasm waned. Bit by bit, not willingly, I lost interest. I mean Jesus, does the water have to be that ridiculous color? Would it be so gauche to just film the actual ocean, rather than color-shifting it into absurdity? Hope you like film speed gimmicks. Every so often everything will just freeze, as if to say "My, my! What a pretty picture!" My thoughts were more along the lines of "Oh no, it crashed, now I've got to reboot!"

By the fourth or fifth hour watching the shimmering cornsilk wig of the hero's stunt double flutter through the scenery, this mawkish, maundering mess is suffocating beneath its own weight. You just stop caring. The whole thing is so ponderous, so epic, so... so.. Gallic. I began to crave comic relief, something lighthearted. Something self-deprecating. When the narrator intoned "Truly, his revenge had only just begun," I cringed. You mean there's MORE? Blame it on my American attention-span. All the characters began to look sillier and sillier, and the story just... kept... going.

By the time the poor Beast wheezed its last this movie was long dead and stinking. Sorry folks, that's my opinion.

Buzz Cardigan.

I've always been told to respect my elders, so here's Pappy with a review for BROTHERHOOD.

Heya. Pappy is Back.

Just saw Brotherhood of the Wolf at the Boston Film Festival (and infuriated that I couldn't make it to Training Day). we go...

Brotherhood of the Wolf

This movie is really cool. Now, it's no Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, even with the subtitles, but should be able to keep your attention. In the light of a Beast's rampage through a French Province in pre-revolutionary 18th century France, the King sends a naturalist and his companion to stop the killings, capture the beast, and return to Paris with it for study. So, they hunt the beast, the beast keeps killing. They eat wine and cheese, the beast keeps killing, and the beauracracy in Paris tries finding a solution, but the naturalist and his companion from New France see it through the end.

The thing that got me about this film was the craftsmanship of the film. The action is good, but not unrealistic. They retained a fine film and also had adrenaline-pumping fights to keep some less-focused viewers' attention. The mystery aspect is there, but overall there is a dark foreboding of "When will we meet the beast?"...and it keeps striking, the politics of the local area unfold, and a love story is thrown in. And, in spirit of most french films, nudity at (where else?) a brothel.

Anyone looking for an interesting night out can expect this in early november, I think. It's worth a look if you want to see some cool action (especially for the finale), some mystery, a pinch of horror, and some unforgettable those hats...

Pappy out

Here's a guy who didn't make it into BROTHERHOOD. Sorry, man... I feel your pain.

Hey Harry,

Last night I was supposed to view BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLVES. I walked a many blocks to the theater, only to find that the print had not arrived! Ai! It was horrible. Not only that, but they couldn't give me a refund, instead I got a free ticket.

I just got back from the Boston Film Festivals showing of HEARTS IN ATLANTIS. This is going to be a non-spoiler review of the film because -- although there really isn't MUCH to spoil -- this is the type of film you should savor and digest as you watch.

Something tells me I would have simply LOVED this film if it has been adapted / directed by Frank Darabont (of SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION and THE GREEN MILE fame). He seems to have a real affinity for Stephen King novels, and I'm not really certain why he didn't get his hands on this one! He would have undoubtedly brought the same type of ethereal sadness and magic to this film that he did to the others.

As it is, however, Scott Hicks (SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS and SHINE) is a pretty good replacement in the director's chair, and William Goldman (THE PRINCESS BRIDE and ABSOLUTE POWER) didn't do a half-bad job with the adaptation of the novel. However, I must be the first to admit that I never read the book, so who knows how faithful it is?

Anthony Hopkins plays Ted Brautigan, a drifter who comes into the life of a young boy named Bobby (Anton Yelchin) and changes him forever. The movie has its supernatural elements, of course, but at its core this is a film about innocence, and that last summer of childhood. Ted is the catalyst for Bobby awakening to the world of adult sadness or, as Ted puts it, "breaking his heart in two." No longer can it reside forever in the sweet elysian fields of Atlantis.

Anthony Hopkins was excellent. Simply marvelous. It's amazing how this man can go from being absolutely terrifying in HANNIBAL, to such a kind man in this film. How does he avoid being type cast? He must have some special powers of immunity. All I know is that he was utterly convincing in this roll; every time he spoke you were drawn into his words, especially during one particularly moving scene involving a memory of a football game. Simply marvelous.

This is really Bobby Garfield's story, though, and if Anton Yelchin hadn't been convincing, the film would have went down the tubes rather quickly. Luckily that was not the case. Yelchin was able to make me forget that this film was filmed in the late 90s while the story was taking place in the 50s. I didn't notice he was acting, which is the highest complement I can give an actor.

Bobby's mom (played by Hope Davis from ARLINGTON ROAD) was also quite convincing as a shattered soul, someone who can't even remember that time in her life that Bobby is still experiencing. Her heart has left Atlantis far, far away and you can see it in her eyes: she seems tired and hollow. It's a shame we didn't get to know more about her.

David Morse (from THE GREEN MILE) plays the adult Bobby. He opens and closes the film, and his voice is used in narration several times throughout the film. However, I wish he had been more of a guide. For some reason I just really like this guy, and his reflections should have been placed throughout the film (since it is his memory). I think he would have been excellent if given a bit more time.

I didn't fall in love with this film (as happened with THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION and THE GREEN MILE) but it left me enchanted. It was an excellent movie, and one I look forward to viewing again when it comes out in wide release. The character of Ted Brautigan seems especially wise in these tragic times, when all of our hearts seem to have broken in two and it can be so easy to forget our own Atlantis.


And this last BROTHERHOOD review is short and sweet and on the money.

Okay, I know you've already reviewed Brotherhood Of The Wolf and had a report from Toronto, but let me give you another thumbs up from Boston...

Kick ass!

This movie almost didn't arrive; they had to cancel the Friday night shows and then moved the Saturday afternoon ones from one theater to another for the second and third screenings, seeing how demand was so high. Funny story behind that; I had actually purchased a ticket for what turned out to be a terrible little film called Sam The Man, but they hadn't switched the theater numbers on the tickets, so I wound up seeing the first fifteen minutes of this before they moved us all to our right theaters. Those first fifteen minutes had me certain to come back later, though

The first thing that leapt to mind from those fifteen minutes was Evil Dead 2. The running over uneven ground, stumbling, the unseen pursuer, and the hyper-zoom almost seemed like an homage, and it's clear Gans has seen ED2 - why else would he choose Joseph LoDuca as his composer, right?

What really got me was the movie's style - it's like a synthesis of French, Hollywood, and Hong Kong, somehow all working together perfectly. It's got that matter-of-fact French attitude toward the grotesque, Hollywood polish and production values (this is a gorgeous film to look at; costumes, creatures, cinematography, a wholly unnecessary and undoubtedly expensive helicopter shot of people on a period sailing vessel), and Hong Kong-style action.

I don't know how historically accurate a martial-arts-master Mohawk Iriquois is, but Mark Dacascos makes the idea a whole lot of fun. He kicks ass, gets laid, and even pulls off the whole communing with nature thing without Mani seeming like a silly stereotype. I loved the scientist hero actually attacking a problem scientifically. Emilie Dequenne is too cute to describe, and Marianne is a fun character.

That's what this movie is - fun. It's got everything you could want in two and a half hours of monster movie - noble heroes, great action scenes, pretty girls, grotesque monsters, scheming, wit, and great forward momentum. The best action/horror/adventure/epic in a long, long time.

Yep. Sums it up pretty damn well, I'd say. Thanks, all of you Beantown spies. We appreciate it.

"Moriarty" out.

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