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October 29, 2001 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-10-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Junger reads...
Author Sebastian Junger
reads from his latest book
"Fire" tonight at Borders.
7 p.m. Free.
michigandaily.com /arts

Aalt mwu 1it

OCTOBER 29, 2001


Loose ends hinder
plot in fun K-Pax

Banal '13 Ghosts'
little improvement
over poor original

By Jenny Jeltes
F Daily Arts Writer
Prot (Kevin Spacey), as he calls himself, is no
ordinary guy. Whether it's the smug grin con-
stantly plastered on his face, or the way he
devours a banana, peel and
all (he loves fruit), he is one
peculiar fellow. After claim-
ing to come from "K-PAX,"
K-PAX his home planet, he finds
himself under the care of Dr
Grade: B Mark Powell (Jeff Bridges)
at the Psychiatric Institute of
At Showcase and Manhattan. If "K-PAX" can

Quality 16

the hospital, Mark
takes an immediate
intrigue to the man
who declares he is
simply visiting Earth.
Intending to find out
who he "really" is,
Mark probes his sur-
prisingly vast amount
of knowledge about
the universe and the
solar system, with the
help of his astrophysi-
cist friend.
The script (written
by Charles Leavitt and Spacey chews up and spit
adapted from the novel
by Gene Brewer) surprises us, however, with
curious bits of information resulting from the
several "hypnotic sessions" Powell uses on Prot.
And what Mark discovers changes both the
lunatic stereotype he applied to Prot, and also
viewers' increasing yearning to know what this
man is all about. After careful research, Mark
links Prot to a murder that occurred five years
ago in a small rural town in New Mexico. A man
named Robert Porter
attempted suicide
after finding his
wife and child mur-

Simply under general principle, it
is probably a bad idea to remake a
movie for which the original was at
best mediocre. This is especially
important when you don't plan on

' t :^

be summed up in one phrase,
it would be "One Flew Over
the Cuckoo's Nest meets
The plot is definitely
interesting enough to capture
viewers, yet several loose

By Wilhelmina Mauritz
Daily Arts Writer

ends and a slow pick-up leave something to be
desired. Props to Kevin Spacey, however, for he
does an excellent job portraying a charming,
witty pseudo-human. When Prot is admitted to

dered at his home.
Through identifica-
tion records, this
man could only be
... Prot.
It is difficult to
identify what energy
it is that keeps one
attentive throughout
the entire film, for
the middle portion
seems to drag and it
brushes the side of'
dullness. Perhaps it
is because one can-
not grasp who Prot
is, in a more spiritu-
al sense. and how he

Corey fi Iversal ictu res
s out the competition, which happens to be a banana.
touches the human condition through his insight
and the way he helps several of the patients at the
Institute. Howie (David Patrick Kelly), for exam-
ple, is told to carry out three tasks, the first of
which is to watch for the "bluebird of happiness."
The following day while intently looking out the
window, a blue jay appears, which sends the
room of patients into a joyful frenzy.
While first thinking that the film will be about
the possibility of light travel and another planet's
creatures, one sees that it becomes something
completely different, yet just as intriguing - a
contemplation of human pain and perhaps even a
miracle. In this sense, the film takes on an
uneasy task, and it challenges one's conception
of ... geez, not really sure what.
And that's the main problem with "K-PAX." It
answers no questions, which is somewhat bog-
gling; one walks out of the theater not quite
knowing what to believe. I am not so sure that
that is the intended effect - many elements in
the film seem underdeveloped, perhaps because
it simply tries to incorporate too much.
One is not sure if Prot is a hero, a deeply emo-
tionally scarred human being or really an entity
from another planet. Perhaps answering this
question would change the premise of the entire
film, but as it is. "K-PAX" leaves one somewhat
disconcerted. Spacey is your saving grace how-
ever, and he definitely gives you your money's

13 Ghosts
Grade: C-
At Showcase and
Quality 16

in pursuit of one of his many
ghosts. In his last will and testa-
ment, he leaves his "beautiful"
house to his estranged nephew.
The nephew (Tony Shalhoub from
the TV series "Wings") is more than
happy to accept this generous wind-,
fall due to a lack of funds after a
fire destroyed his old house and
killed his wife. He and his family
are currently living in apartment
squalor, yet can manage to afford a
nanny who doesn't seem to do a
whole heck of a lot.
The house, which is supposed to
be enchantingly mystical, is really,
just confusing. You can never get
your bearings as to what you are
watching and where the characters
are in relation to one another. On
top of the fact that the house is real-
ly just a creepy glass fortress and in
no way beautiful in the traditional
sense, it is also filled with ghosts.
There really isn't a lot more to
say about "13 Ghosts" because not
much more is explained to the audi-
ence. The family gets trapped in the

improving on it
at all. "13
Ghosts" is a
prime example
of exactly this
sort of occur-
The story
behind "13
Ghosts" is more
than a little
fuzzy. Basical-
ly, it is about a
less than
charming ghost
hunter who dies

house, scary ghosts chase and try to
kill them and that is the entire
movie. Not to completely dismiss
the movie, for there were a few
scenes that were incredibly creepy,
but it never reached scary level.
In fact, not only was "13 Ghosts"
never scary, but it really made the
audience feel as though they were
being forced into feeling scared
instead of letting it happen naturally.
There are so many things that the
characters do that are so stupid and
unnecessary (worse than going out-
side to check out a mysterious noise)
and you know that the only reason
they are doing it is for the fear fac-
tor of it all.
There is one scene set in this bath-
room where Shannon Elizabeth's
character (departing.a bit from her
usual role) spends a great deal of
time looking in the mirror at herself
and fixing the little strands of hair
around her face. She then proceeds
to go sit down at the bathtub and
splash water over her face a few
times because ... well who really
knows (or cares) but it does set up
perfectly for a moment of tension
between her character and one of the
The only redeeming aspects to
"13 Ghosts" are the spontaneous
lines and moments of comedy.
Matthew Lilliard ("Scream") is by
far the best part of the movie and
provides the majority of laughs. He
isn't quite as crazy as he tends to be
in his other movies, but he definitely
isn't "normal" by movie standards.
His quirkiness is just what "13
Ghosts" needs to liven it up a bit,
and it adds some spice to the other-
wise drab plot.
Overall "13 Ghosts" was a messy
movie. It almost seemed as if it
might have been thrown together at
the last minute. It was all over the
place with absolutely no sense of
cohesion. Not one of the 13 ghosts
could do a thing to save this loser.

courtesy of universal rictures

Dude, that's the Dude and some hot chick! Dude!

'Line' fails in any attempt of originality

By Todd Weiser
Daily Arts Writer
Many will go into "On the Line"
with preconceived notions of the
film, it is impossible to not be pes-
simistic about another romantic

On the Line
Grade: F
At Showcase and
Quality 16

comedy, but of
course, this one
has a new string
attached. OK,
it's not really a
new string;
m a i n s t r e a in
movies have
been casting
pop stars in
roles (big or
small) for years.
This time Lance
Bass and Joey
Fatone of pop
mega band

all you can think of is the utter stu-
pidity and pain of the experience.
You will try and forget it ever hap-
pened, and try to live your life as
normally as you can, but it will
always be there in the back of your
mind, "On the Line" ... "On the
Line"... "On the Line" ... ahhh!!!
To slip into the endlessly recycled
plot, Kevin Gibbons (Bass) is a
loser with the ladies. Then on a
beautiful day in Chicago, Kevin
meets a beautiful girl (Emmanuelle
Chriqui) on the train and they have
a beautiful conversation. They both
love Al Green, and (oh my god) the
Chicago Cubs. They can also recite
the names of the presidents in order
(or at least the script can). But once
again, Kevin fails to get her name
and number. Trouble at work
inspires him to lay it all "on the
line" and put up posters around Chi-
town trying to find this mysterious
soul mate.
His life-long pals/losers (includ-
ing Fatone as a rock star wannabe)
alternate between supporting and
manipulative in Kevin's search, but
they always remain un-amusing and
usually annoying, too. Even Fatone,
who visibly has a lot of fun acting
like a goofball and TRL wannabe,
cannot invoke much more than a
sympathetic smile for his perfor-
"On the Line" has hit a new low
for romantic comedies. The

romance is forced and unbelievable,
and the comedy is just not there.
Despite having "Seinfeld" standout
Jerry Stiller and "Kids in the Hall"
demi-god Dave Foley, all of the

intended humorous pieces fall flat
as a result of the cliched, impracti-
cal script.
One of the saddest facts about
this film is something that none of
the actors, scriptwriters or directors
could have solved, the production
company. Miramax developed and
released "On the Line." What hap-
pened to Miramax's original dedica-
tion to quality independent fare?
"The Piano" and "Pulp Fiction" are
ancient history to the Weinstein
Brothers, who now go the way of
the major movie studios by produc-
ing mainstream, bigger budget
films. It is now about the dollars to
be made instead of the quality of
the films.
In the end of the film, Kevin gets
the girl. They kiss passionately and
all is well with the world. After the
credits start to roll, the audience
(lucky us) is privy to a "behind the
scenes" look at the film just wit-
Justin Timberlake and some other
member of the 'NSync act as hair-
dressers to the stars, Bass, Fatone
and Chriqui. I am revealing this to
prove that I really did stay until the
end of the film; although anyone in
the theater could have predicted this
ending at the start.

'NSync tackle the acting duties.
After viewing this film for the
necessary review, it was thought
that it may be funny to write it as a
good review, and then at the end
break character and reveal the true
identity of this unoriginal, dull film.
But "On the Line" is so painstak-
ingly bad, that it actually hurts to
pretend it was something else. The
viewing of "On the Line" is compa-
rable to Chinese water torture; you
cannot wait for it to be over, and
your mind tries to equate some
goodness with this undertaking, but

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures
Shannon Elizabeth (left) telling her friend ghosty that a pretty face is all you need.

Courtesy of iraax
Bass reminding us why we hate him.



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