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Now in our eleventh calendar year!
PCR #532 (Vol. 11, No. 23). This edition is for the week of May 31--June 6, 2010.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

Still up: Summer Movie Preview
"Splice"  by Mike Smith
Forgotten Horrors: Island of Terror  by ED Tucker
More May Albums!  by Terence Nuzum
Summer 2010 Book Preview  by Lisa Scherer
John Woo’s "Hard Boiled" (1992)  by Jason Fetters
I’m Back!!!! .... Super Bowl In The Meadowlands? .... Officially Blind .... Favre Watch .... Can’t Keep Big Ben In The Pants .... Storm Season .... Cleveland, Say Goodbye! ....  by Chris Munger
R.i.p. Little Man .... Movie Notes .... Passing On .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf  by Mike Smith

Warner Brothers     
Starring: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley and Delphine Chaneac
Directed by: Vincenzo Natali
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 44 mins

If you will permit me, allow me to recall and rephrase the opening lines from my review of “District 9” last year. I basically exalted the life of a film critic, especially when you see the early makings of a fine filmmaker. And this week that filmmaker is Vincenzo Natali and the film is “Splice.”

The story begins with two very dedicated genetic scientists, Clive (Brody) and Elsa (Polley) being heralded for their current research. Taking the best DNA from various objects, they have created a new species, one male and one female, they have named Fred and Ginger. Fred and Ginger have provided countless scientific achievements, including cures for diseases once thought incurable. But of course, even scientific research is business, and soon the company that has funded their research asks Clive and Elsa to step up their work to reach “Phase 2.” In layman’s terms, “find us something we can sell so we can make some money.” To do so they need to find just the right DNA strain to add to their formula. But the right one doesn’t make what they’re doing right.

An edge-of-your-seat thriller, “Splice” is a movie that keeps you asking yourself, “can they really do that” while the story unfolds on screen. Directed with a keen eye by Vincenzo Natali (“Cube”), who also co-wrote the screenplay with Antoinette Terry Bryant and Doug Taylor, the film owes much of its heritage to the “Frankenstein” films of the past. Even the first names of the main characters are obviously a loving homage to “The Bride of Frankenstein” stars Colin Clive and Elsa Lanchester. But what Clive and Elsa create is something far more intriguing than anything Count Victor came up with. That creation is DREN - Chaneac in a remarkable performance - (which is N.E.R.D., the name of the research company, spelled backward). And what an amazing achievement she is.

While I have already praised Natali’s contributions, I would be remiss if I didn’t give kudos to the cast as well. Hollywood has seemed to have problems casting Oscar winner Brody. Not really a character actor and not your standard leading man handsome. Here he is perfectly cast as a man of science with a cool sense of style. In fact, the fact that he wears t-shirts with funny sayings and decorates his apartment with Japanese anime’ let’s us know right off that he’s not going to be Fred MacMurray in “The Absent Minded Professor.” Brody is tough when he needs to be and compassionate when called for. Polley is equally well cast. It’s obvious through her actions that she’s had a lot of “mommy issues” in her past and her treatment of DREN reflects.

A film that entertains and makes you think at the same time is a miracle on the order of DREN these days. “Splice” is one of those films.

On a scale of zero to four stars I give “Splice”  

This week's movie review of "Splice" is ©2010 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2010, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.