The Man Who Fell To Earth

This review was originally written as part of my USA Road Trip series for French Toast Sunday.

An alien (David Bowie) has come to Earth and disguised himself as a human. How did he get here? What does he want? Why is his first act on our planet to apply for patent protections? Is that really Rip Torn? All these questions and more will be answered and immediately replaced with others in this oddball 70s sci-fi brain-botherer from Nicolas Roeg.the-man-who-fell-to-earth-w1280
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Wonder Boys

Always be wary when a DVD cover proclaims the feature it houses is an Oscar winner, yet follows this statement with an asterisk not revealed until the fineprint on the back of the box, for more than likely this will lead to a win for one of the lesser Oscars that, though probably well deserved and awarded to people who are very good at, and have worked very hard on what they do, does not make the associated film any good. And so it is with Wonder Boys, overly proud recipient of the Oscar for Best Original Song for Bob Dylan’s Things Have Changed, so worthy is it that I cannot even remember hearing it, when part of me was specifically listening out after discovering the win. Whilst Michael Douglas gives one of his best performances as the mild-mannered, scarf-wearing, adulterous English professor Grady Tripp, he is let down by a meandering plot involving a dead dog, a 7ft transvestite, a stolen dress and an epic manuscript, and a fairly average cast with Tobey Maguire it’s obvious weak link – impressive when Katie Holmes is also involved as a besotted student. Too much takes place without a reason – is Maguire’s James fascinated with celebrity deaths just because he is weird? – and the script is far from excellent (“I’m not gonna draw you a map, sometimes you need to do your own navigating.”)

Choose life 4/10

Men in Black

Men in Black is a universally adored film, I think. But why is it so loved? What is the secret? Well MIB is that rarest of creatures, a film that is all things to all people. It is not simply a big budget summer blockbuster action movie, nor is it just an effects-driven sci-fi film, or a well crafted character piece, a buddy-cop movie or an offbeat bureaucratic comedy. It is all these things and more, telling the story of Agent J (Will Smith, now a fully fledged movie star after Bad Boys and Independence Day) a new recruit to the secretive Men in Black, an organisation tasked with managing the many alien lifeforms on Earth, without the knowledge of the general public. In true buddy movie form, J is partnered with Tommy Lee Jones’ grizzled yet laconic Agent K (who may well be too old for this shit), but I don’t remember Riggs and Murtaugh driving upside down in a tunnel, Tango and Cash delivering an alien squid baby or Turner and Hooch getting covered in slime – OK, bad example.
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