" T1. to 4 - t 1 .- "h
Pixie Anne Pennwright
Spokescritic * Diva * Strict Vegan
12 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, August 9, 1999
Wet SOngs like watermelon kisses
and dancing candy-coated choruses
in a forest of full-tilt jams..
The Iron Giant
It's always good to see an animated
feature without musical numbers. "The
Iron Giant" doesn't even have an annoy-
ing ditty sung loudly in the background!
The film starts atmospherically as
something plunges past Sputnik and into
the sea. Only a handful of characters are
seen at first. That's good, as the generic
townsfolk are horrendously designed
and stand in contrast to the solidly dark
backgrounds and nearly visually perfect
Sadly, our hero is an ugly Howdy
Doody troll creature named Hogarth
Hughes, shallowly written and shrilly
voiced. Better than Jar Jar, though.
Nice designs are saved for Hogarth's
mother Annie (Jennifer Aniston), gov-
ernment agent Kent Mansly and the Iron
Giant. The Giant's CGI-based look is out
of step with the rest of the visuals, but
that combines with the story line in such
a way that it's acceptable. Not to mention
that it is a salivatingly good robot design.
The show becomes less beautiful in day-
light; certain elements, including an
intentionally bad horror movie and a
laughable duck and cover film, look bet-
ter than most of the movie.
The tale itself consists of very little
story, and the plot has no surprises.
Fortunately, the narrative is fairly tight,
and is well crafted if not challenging.
"The Iron Giant" is how Disney
would make a Gamera movie if they
couldn't be sued by the Gigantor people.
But just because it's neither Japanese nor
Disney shouldn't keep you from it.
Sony Screen Gems
Since he began directing films in
1980 with "Return of the Secaucus
Seven," writerdirector/editor/actor John
Sayles has embodied both independence
and artistry in film. Not only has Sayles
written, directed and edited a plethora of
independent films, but he has occasion-
ally done a studio film ("ight Men
Out"), done uncredited re-writes (he's
credited for making the script of "Apollo
13" work) and developed a unique style
that is clearly his own.
This is what makes "Limbo" so disap-
It's easiest to look at the two halves of
"Limbo" as two different films really.
The first looks at the changes in a small
Alaskan town where the fishing andI
lumber industries are dying and tourism
is taking over. As usual in Sayles' films.
he doesnit only examine one character
and the effects of the change on him, butt
through his ensemble cast explores how
the town has changed. The story does
prisarily conceri three chaacters
though: Jot. (Dasid Strathirn) a lonel
carpe-nterssi til a dark past Dona (Mars
Elzabeit Masrantoioi) and Noele
(Vanessa Martinez), Donna's disturbed
Love blooms between Joe and Donna
just as Joe's half brother asks him to help
pilot his boat. Joe agrees, taking Donna
and Noelle. as the film moves i ntits
This is when things go bad. It turns
out Joe's brother is in trouble with a
group of drug dealers and they kill him
as Joe, Donna and Noelle escape to a
abandoned island to escape. Since
one knows where they are except the
drug dealers, their fate is in limbo.
Though Sayles' attempt is noble in the
second half and it's clear that he's trying
to develop the theme of not knowing and
transition, his execution is poor. The film
goes from unpredictable and perfect to
predictable and cliched. This is only
made up for with one of the best endings
But the last minute isn't enough to
save "Limbo." Rather, audience will
trapped in limbo after plummeting out of
a heavenly first half into a hellish cli-
The Loss of Sexual
Sony Pictures Classics
At the Michigan Theater starting 8/184
In 1994 a little known writer/director
named Mike Figgis shook the film world
with his Oscar-winning film "Leaving
Las Vegas." Though it was his ninth film
and he had directed visible projects
before ("Internal Affairs," 'The
Browning Version") it was his first film
to really stand up and be noticed. In hi
second feature since "Leaving L
Vegas" (after the awful "One Night
Stand"), "The Loss of Sexual
Innocence" stands apart from any of
Figgis' other films and presents a truly
"Loss" is a film that rejects narrative
structure and tells three stories that come
together and are set against the story of
Adam (Femi Ogumbanjo) and Eve
(Hanne Klintoe). One story is about
Nic's (Julian Sands) journey from youn
adulthood to manhood, and his betr
by women and himself Another features
Saffron Burrows playing twins separated
at birth who only see each other for one
fleeting moment in an airport. And final-
ly the last is about a young boy who
explores the streets and reminds Nic
about his own youthful sexual curiosity.
While the film is strikingly put togeth-
er and often captivating it's also deeply
flawed. Figgis pays little attention
pacing during this largely dialoguele.
film and pays for it with many moments
of pure boredom. Though the film is
complex, overtly artistic, uncompromis-
ing and bold, it shouldn't give Figgis
license to bore.
Still, "Loss" is so well conceived and
so daring that boredom can be put aside.
His look at sexuality, the loss of inno-
cence and particularly Adam and Eve
arc so captivating that it makes "Loss"
sth lthe effort of dissecting it.
t st 5 s t
Adam, Eve and a serpent star in "Loss."
'Til The Medicine Takes
Features "Dyin' Man"