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Now in our third calendar year
PCR # 99 (Vol. 3, No. 7) This edition is for the week of February 11--17, 2002.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
 "Jumpstarting the PCR Movie Review"

In times of crisis--potpourri

by Nolan B. Canova

La Floridiana
Matt's Rail
The Enlightenment
Mike's Rant
Archives 2002
PCR 2002 Home
Crazed Fanboy
So, what happened?
   OK, I feel like I owe you guys some sort of explanation. Last year, I considered movie reviews to be a pivotal, if not central, part of having this newsletter going at all and still do. Running an online fanzine, which, by nature, depends on lots of volunteers who pledge their help, has its share of "thrills and spills", and with rare exceptions, the PCR, I think, has delivered the goods on time and with consistent quality for a long time. I am a lucky man to have stumbled on such a group of talented writers.
   That said, I have to confess a real frustration with launching the Movie Review page 2002. I don't blame any one individual I want to say before any finger-pointing starts. Nearly everyone connected with the PCR--myself included--pledged to write regular, semi-regular, or occasional reviews for this year. I speculate there are a few reasons that this has failed to happen so far:
   1.) For one thing, the new PCR launched just as the holiday blockbuster season was winding to a close, and "must-see" movies were drying up. There are still movies worth seeing, tho, some nominated for Oscars.
   2.) I, myself, don't have a car at present. If I did, believe me, I would be at the bijou a lot more. The bus system reeks. And I have no friends.
   3.) Due to the already overwhelming workload we all share to put out just our regular columns, I can't expect any regular contributor to double up by also becoming a movie reviewer. So, without a dedicated reviewer, it will be nearly impossible to fulfill the goal of a regular movie review page. Please note, I'm referring to current release movies, not DVDs. That may be covered elsewhere.

(As an aside, I should announce that Will Moriaty and I are currently creating a section for Crazed Fanboy, apart from the PCR, that will focus on independent, low-budget, zero-budget, schlock films and videos from Tampa and around the country, complete with reviews. But that's an entirely different matter.) Which brings me to this...

WE'RE HIRING!  If you think you can see a new/current/wide release movie a week (roughly), and write it up in any semi-reasonable manner (i.e., you don't have to be a good speller--I take care of that--altho it helps), send me an email with a sample review to: Crazedfanboy1@aol.com. We'll hook up and fine-tune the details. If you happen to live in South Tampa, that's great, we can talk about carpooling (ha ha). But this is open to anyone, anywhere.

I now present some short/left-over/never completed/never published reviews and ratings I had laying around that never saw the light of day and this is a good time and place to sift thru them.

Brandon Herring sent me these last month, at the same time as his "A Beautiful Mind" review, when we were still planning out the review page. I'm confident he had the best of intentions on fleshing these out with full reviews, but Brandon's college schedule came back on strong and he unfortunately was forced to drop out again. I'm presenting them on this potpourri page before they become too dated. Like always, we wish Brandon the very best. Movies still in general release--a quick look by Brandon Herring. Movies rated 1 to 4 stars.

Orange County  ***
The Royal Tenenbaums  ****
A Beautiful Mind  ***1/2
Impostor  *
Lord of the Rings  ***1/2

The "Terence's Movie Meter" graphic was a pretty big hit when it debuted in PCR #91 after "The Lord of the Rings" came out (Terence gave that a 98% on the meter). The reaction surprised both of us. Basically, Terence loves rating movies, but hates writing reviews (even though I thought he did a superb job with Ghost World). I argued that the whole point of the PCR was commentary. So, as a compromise, the meter was born. Terence's Movie Meter returns with this potpourri issue of PCR Movie Review with his singular take on "The Brotherhood of Wolves".
Eventually, as the Movie review page matures, the meter will be a more frequent feature.
Fellow columnist, Drew Reiber, who accompanied Terence to "Wolves", wants to go on record as vehemently disagreeing with Terence's rating---says his rating would be 70% for this movie. In a recent IM "interview", Drew eloquently stated, ""People need to get over their stereotypes that only people of Asian descent or plugged into super computers can fly. This film is a romanticist's vision, with a message about the cruelty of mankind and the ever present ability of mother nature, in ourselves and around us, to fight back. We must let passion guide us."
About Terence's negative reaction? "He felt the action scenes were unnecessary and their placement devalues any historical signifigance the movie might have had. He also felt that the movie was a poor attempt at portraying the evil of the church, something he felt was done much better in other films. He felt that all the genre mixing, martial arts and camera technique indulgence pretty much turned the film into an interchangable action movie. And that it didn't add a thing. I think his atmosphere preferences annihilated any chance he had of actually understanding the meaning of the film. And I hold to that."
Monsters, Inc.    * * * * (four out of four stars)
Movie review by Nolan B. Canova

Pixar Studios, 2001.
Starring the voices of: Billy Crystal (Michael "Mike" Wazowski), John Goodman (James P. "Sully" Sullivan), Steve Buscemi (Randall Boggs), James Coburn (Henry J. Waternoose), Mary Gibbs (Boo), Jennifer Tilly (Celia), Frank Oz(Fungus).

This is a review I was planning to write at the first of the year and regret never had the time to do. I think it's still out at some theaters. It's the last movie I saw at a theater before my car took its final turn for the worse. But, back to the movie...

First of all, I'm almost coming to expect a 3-D cartoon--and basically that's what these kinds of movies are, cartoons--to be 4-star winners. Why? Why is it so much more reliable an entertainment form than, say a 2-D Disney or something? Last year, Dreamwork's "Shrek" not only cleaned up at the box office, but raised the bar on cartoons, animations, 3-D, everything. Many more have come forth since, Pixar's "Monsters, Inc." not the least of them.

Billy Crystal and John Goodman star as work-buddies Michael "Mike" Wazowski and James P. "Sully" Sullivan, respectively, at a scare factory called Monsters, Inc. in the fictional town of Monstropolis. The function of the factory is to provide power to the city via collecting screams from small children. This is done thru a process of assembling doors in their universe (inside the factory) that connect to the closet doors of children in this universe (ergo, the "monster in the closet" riff).

"Sully", a big blue and purple, hairy, bigfoot-ish creature, is a champion scarer with one arch-nemesis, a sleezy snake-type with invisibiliy powers, named Randall Boggs, who's determined to unseat Sully as top-scarer. Sully's best friend and confidant is the hyper-active tennis ball-with-an-eye, Mike Wazowski.

For a time, that's all they're worried about, until the worst happens: a human toddler, a little girl (who Sully names "Boo"), manages to slip back thru her closet door into the monster's universe. This is regarded as akin to an anthrax attack or alien invasion in their universe. (When news of the girl gets out, townsfolk are interviewed by the press. One hysterical citizen recounts the girl's destructive "laser vision" and such.) Sully and Mike know the girl is essentially harmless and must return her to her world before the authorities find out. Of course Boggs catches wind, which complicates things. The third act's action/chase scenes are incredible and near-impossible to describe, but, among other things, involve trying to locate her bedroom door among billions of others, all in constant motion. I don't do it justice, it must be seen to be believed,

There are a lot of sight gags in Monstropolis, like street signs saying "Stalk/Don't stalk". Mike saying things like "I can't believe my eye". And a favorite is waiting at a crossing with what looks like the visible ankle of Godzilla (whose "identity" is revealed during the bloopers which play under the closing credits--a regular Pixar gag.) Before the movie, there was a 3-D cartoon dealing with birds vying for space on power lines that was very funny and well done. A little extra for your money.

Pixar studios are the ones who brought us "Toy Story" 1 and 2, and "Monsters, Inc." fits right up there as top-notch family entertainment (some scenes may be too scary for very small children, tho). It's amazing how the field of 3-D animation has progressed and flourished since the primitive days of "TRON". That's kind of like the root of the tree that branched off into LucasFilm, Dreamworks, and Pixar directions. But it's drawing the best talent right now and I look forward to more.

All contents of "This Week's Movie Review" page are ©2002 by Nolan B. Canova. All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2002, all rights reserved.