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September 1999

In this issue:    Kevin Constner Vs. The Evil Dead!    Jesus kicks some serious ass in The Matrix!    Eyes Wide Shut: Hit or Miss?    PLUS: Ricky Martin: Rocket Scientist, and a Summer Movie Recap.

Eyes Wide Shut *** (Ash)
Eyes Wide Shut (Jimmy)
The Matrix *****
The Matrix *****

Wow. It's T2 meets Lawnmower Man Vs Enter The Dragon in a battle for heaven. With Keanu Reeves as Jesus. I say that because there are some pretty cool biblical parallels throughout the movie, and those (two) of you who have been reading my reviews since their inception last May know that any sort of biblical / apocalyptic / satanic reference is enough to float my boat, so factor that into the rating. The basic concept is that machines have taken over the world and are using human beings as living batteries. In order to keep our minds happy, which is oh so important when you're being used as a Duracell that bleeds, they immerse our subconscious into a computer program that exactly simulates life in the late 20th century. Apparently this is much much worse than living in the barren post-apocalyptic wasteland that the earth has become, devoid of sun and therefore all forms of life and any conceivable food source, so a resistance of the few souls who have managed to break free of the matrix exists trying to free mankind from its nice comfy slavery. Jesus is the chosen one, the only person who can save humanity from the sentient computer that rules it, and he must do so using very big guns and tight leather outfits, which look considerably better on his female sidekick Trinity (that's not biblical at all) than they do on Jesus himself. The action scenes are spectacular, the special effects verge on mind boggling, and I thought the concept was really cool despite the bad taste virtual reality movies have left in my mouth since Lawnmower Man and Brainscan. Apparently, for those members of the audience with functioning brain cells, the science and plot have some rather severe holes in them, but for those of us who have had our cerebrums so thoroughly wiped clean by cathode rays and projection tubes that we smilingly accept virtually unlimited amounts of crap so long as it's served on celluloid, it's a fun ride. Jesus is funny when he tries to act, but even funnier when he reverts to classic Bill and Ted routines that we all know and love. Lawrence Fishburn tends to overdo it a tad, but what the hell. He's got nothing better to do with his time, if Just Cause is any indication. The sentinel robots in the real world are cool and Lovecraftian, and Joe Pantoliano uses a Ghostbusters gun to kill someone, so I was happy. The Wachowski brothers, who directed this as well as the sleazy lesbian crime movie Bound (five stars based on the description alone), did a great job bringing all the elements together, and their ideas on fate and destiny are interesting, all though I could have done without love bringing Keanu back to life and that charming little monologue at the end that was torn straight from every freedom fighter's final words to every tyrant in every movie ever made. However, lots of stuff blows the hell up, so who really cares about the monologues.

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