Movie Reviews

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Oct 242004
 
Authors: Andrew Nuth

I Heart Huckabees

Is it possible for someone to comprehend the true nature of the

universe? Are people connected to others, or is life meaningless

and depressing? These are the questions that “I Heart Huckabees”

tries to answer.

Albert, played by Jason Schwartzman, is trying to figure out if

the coincidences in his life have any meaning, or if they are just

that — coincidences. To figure this out he hires Bernard and

Vivian, played by Dustin Hoffman and Lilly Tomlin, to spy on him

and figure out if the coincidences in his life have meaning or

not.

Bernard and Vivian are existential detectives, and are some of

the worst spies ever. Instead of being sneaky and hiding from

Albert they simply watch him, and will even wave and say hi while

“spying” on him. Vivian is amusing while she works because she

concentrates completely on the task at hand, and is at the same

time completely oblivious to her surroundings.

The cast of “I Heart Huckabees” is impressive: Mark Wahlberg,

Naomi Watts, Jude Law, Isabelle Huppert, Dustin Hoffman, Lilly

Tomlin and Jason Schwartzman all play major roles in the film.

There are separate but interconnected plots involving each

character, but no character steals the show from another. Jason is

the main character, and the story begins with him, but the movie is

not really about him. It is about the lives of all the individual

characters.

Each character brings an important point to the story and makes

leaps in discovering him or herself. The complexities of the story

make it interesting to watch, while still not confusing at all.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Magnolia” (1999) is a good example of the

interconnected plots, and is one of the few movies that compares to

“I Heart Huckabees.”

“I Heart Huckabees” is a movie that requires a bit of thinking,

but for those who like this type of movie, it will be rewarding.

The characters are simply a wonder to watch, and are great examples

of slightly quirky, but normal people working through issues of

self-identity and self-worth.

Three and one half out of four

The Grudge

Andrew Nuth

The scariest horror movies out today are remakes of Japanese

movies. “The Ring” (2002) was a remake of “Ringu,” a movie with the

same plot. Now comes “The Grudge,” a remake of a Japanese film

called “Ju-On: The Grudge.” Takashi Shimizu directs the movie,

which comes off as more of a scary mystery than a horror movie.

Karen, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, is a student living in

Japan with her boyfriend Doug, played by Jason Behr. Karen is

working in a volunteer program that helps with the handicapped.

When one of the women working there doesn’t show up for work Karen

is asked by her boss to substitute for the day.

Karen spends the day helping an American woman in her house, but

finds many strange things about the house. She even finds a very

creepy boy who makes cat sounds in the house.

The police get involved when strange occurrences happen at the

house. Detective Nakagawa, played by Ryo Ishibashi, explains a lot

of the history involved in the movie. The audience gets to hear

that the family living in the house was killed three years ago, and

that nobody has lived there since then.

During the movie there are a few jumps in time that help explain

the history of the house, which is nice to have, and is not always

present in horror movies. “The Grudge” has a much more involved

plot, and more mystery, than a stereotypical horror movie.

Many of Gellar’s lines seem unnatural, despite her convincing

performance. The script is too formal in many cases, which

interrupts the flow of the story.

While the Grudge isn’t the scariest movie out there, it makes up

for it by having a complex story and quite a few jumpy moments. It

is refreshing to see a horror movie focus on the history of the

story, and not simply let the audience assume.

Three out of four

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