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February 2001

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In this issue:    Ash reviews EVIL GIFT 4!    Batturtle loves to hate BATTLESTAR EARTHSHIP TROOPERS GALACTICA!    SURVIVOR brings the world to an untimely END!    PLUS: Eeyore breaks his TV!    And actual feedback from some real READERS!    ALSO: the CULT PICK returns!
The Gift*****

That's it. Stop the presses and cancel the Oscar rush. There's only one movie worth considering for Best Picture this year, and it's The Gift. Now, I'm not going to say that it's the best movie of all time, since people stopped listening to my opinions after I claimed that Mystery Men was the greatest story ever told, but it's definitely a fine film. The Gift is, of course, the latest film from Sam Raimi, a brilliant director who was recently touted by the American Film Institute as being 'better than Jesus'. If you don't recognize his name from the classic Evil Dead trilogy, collectively the greatest work of art in the history of the world, you most certainly will after his new Spider Man movie hits theatres in 2002. Provided you live that long, of course, because ignorance of the Evil Dead movies can only mean that you're busy wasting resources in some variety of brain-dead comatose state in the intensive care ward, and someone's bound to pull the plug sooner or later. Anyway, The Gift has it all: an all-star, highly talented, Oscar nominated cast, Keanu Reeves, barely intelligible dialogue, and plenty of other fun stuff. Plus, you get to see Katie Holmes' goodies. Granted, she's dead and bloated at the time, but I've become a lot less picky ever since Baywatch went off the air. The plot consists of a murder mystery in a backwater Southern town full of people who are distinctly not Southern, including Australian Cate Blanchette, Lebanonian Keanu Reeves, and Giovanni Ribisi, who may actually be Southern, but it's kind of hard to tell through the mouthful of paste he seems to have swallowed. Blanchette plays a psychic who begins having visions about the disappearance of Greg Kinnear's wife, played by Holmes. Why the fact that someone married to Greg Kinnear disappeared would be considered a mystery is beyond me, but apparently no one else was bored to tears by his performance in As Good As It Gets. At first, the chief suspect is Keanu Reeves, based entirely on the fact that it's relatively easy to convict someone so clueless they think patchy facial hair is attractive. But, as is generally the case with movies of this sort, all is not what it seems and soon everyone starts looking guilty. The list of suspects quickly narrows itself down to either Greg Kinnear or Greg Kinnear, and the rest of the movie focuses on Blanchette trying to decipher her confused visions while withstanding the wrath of townsfolk who label her a witch merely because she worships the devil through her evil pagan Tarot cards. Also she eats babies. Raimi handles the material with his usual "look, I'm all growed up now!" brand of subtlety, keeping the movie relatively free of zombie carnage. But there are a few Raimi-esque touches, like the hyper-kinetic editing of the dream sequences, and the inventive camera work during the scene where Blanchette lops off her hand at the wrist and replaces it with a chainsaw. Blanchette proves herself quite the capable actress during the film, but the best performance comes from Giovanni Ribisi, who shows so much proficiency playing retards I'm beginning to wonder how he feeds himself. The retard in this case is a car mechanic being counseled by Blanchette. The idea of a half-wit mechanic is about as comforting as a proctologist with Parkinson's, but Ribisi manages to become a sympathetic character nonetheless. Together with Blanchette, they manage to carry the film through Keanu's goofy bumbling and some familiar plot turns, and in the end we're left with a satisfying Southern ghost story that survives its faults to become, yes, the greatest thing of all time. Ever. And you can quote me on that.

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