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PCR # 375  (Vol. 8, No. 22)  This edition is for the week of May 28--June 3, 2007.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Two stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

"Bug"  by Mike Smith
The Greatest Thing We Can Do to Honor the "Star Wars" 30th Anniversary is To Abolish the First Three "Episodes"....Charles Nelson Reilly Has Died....The Ed Wood of presidents calls W "The Worst"!  by Andy Lalino
The Week That Was  by Mike Smith
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Lions Gate Films     
Starring: Ashley Judd, Michael Shannon and Harry Connick Jr.
Directed by: William Friedkin
Running Time: 1 hour 42 mins

This week marks two significant anniversaries in movie history. Thirty years ago "Star Wars" burst onto screens, introducing people everywhere to Wookies, Darth Vader and the like. It was also thirty years ago that William Friedkin made his last great movie, "Sorcerer." Sure, he's had a few good films since then. "To Live and Die In L.A." borders on greatness. I enjoyed "Blue Chips" and the television production of "12 Angry Men." But when you win an Oscar for "The French Connection" and then follow it up with "The Exorcist," expectations are raised. Sadly, with "Bug," they haven't been met.

Meet Agnes (Judd). She lives alone in a run down motel and, when she's not pushing drinks at the local lesbian bar, she's drinking wine by the case. She also deals with the constant hang up phone calls she assumes are from her just paroled ex-husband (Connick). One night a girlfriend of hers introduces her to the very quiet Peter Evans (Shannon). Despite the fact they have nothing in common, the two form a bond. Slowly, Peter begins to see bugs. Not just your normal fly or spider, but the kind that inhabit your mind and body, the ones you can't get away from. As Peter begins to react to them he pulls Agnes along with him on a trip to insanity.

Based on the off-Broadway play by Tracy Letts, "Bug" is a story that should have stayed on stage. While the performances are well done, they are slightly over the top. This style of acting works well for theatre but on film it makes an intimate scene stretch, so much so that it's often hard to get a true handle on the performances. Judd starts off well, showing every inch of the draining emotions on her face. However, once she joins the belief that there indeed may be bugs out to get her, she takes her loyalties elsewhere. Judd does good work here, but by the time she rises up and declares (more then once, I might add) that she is, indeed, "The Super Mother Bug") Judd is an emotional wreck, indeed needing the solace she finds in Peter. However, there the performance stops and Judd begins to pull out all of the tricks you can find in Acting 101. Shannon, who starred as Peter on stage as well and is probably best remembered for the heroic marine he brought to life in Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center," also has to slowly deteriorate and again, the performances are truly made for the stage, not screen. By the time you filter in the sub-sub plot about Agnes' brutal husband and a child that has been missing for 10 years, you start to wonder what Friedkin has been doing for the past 30 years. From the look of "Bug," I'd have ventured not a darn thing.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "Bug"  Two stars. "May the force be with you!"

This week's movie review of "Bug" is ©2007 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2007, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.