Cell, The

Reviewed By Thom
Posted 08/27/00 08:01:27

"Stylistically, a Nine Inch Nails and a Marilyn Manson Video. Plot? no."
3 stars (Average)

I only went to see [b]The Cell[/b] because my friend Klaus who works for some post-prod company in Toronto, got a credit as "System Administrator". I figured it would suck just because it had Jennifer Lopez in it. she's so frat bait. But then again, she is surviving in Hollywood. Ass and All.

I have got to hand it to Jennifer Lopez. She knows how to choose a role. Selena? and she is rumored to be playing Frida Kahlo (bi-sexual wife of artist, Diego Rivera) in an upcoming film. She is true to her roots. Gone are the days when Hollywood would take someone like Rita Hayworth, use electrolysis to move her hairline up, and bleach her skin and turn her into a white girl. Oh no. This is the era of Ricky Martin. Nortenos and Taquerias are passe. The new hispanic/american culture is emerging and taking its place on the "BIG SCREEN" as something other than slow witted tequila sotted napping sombrereros or frilly dress wearing tortilla makers. No way. Now hispanics are psychic. Or not psychic exactly, but I don't know what else you call going into someone elses head, with a machine or not. Even Dr.Xavier used a machine to locate mutants and he was psychic. Extra Psychic. Dr.Extra Psychic and Jennifer Lopez, glorifying important women in the hispanic culture.

fun fact. there is a traditional healer in Mexico called a curandero that figures that what's plagueing you may have roots in your mind so not only do they give you some herbs, but they make you do seemingly non-sensical things to root the sickness, bad luck, depression, out of your head.

So I imagine many Hispanic Americans watching this film may have identified Catherine Deane, the character she plays, with this traditional healer.

The visuals were STUNNING. do you hear me... STUNNING.

it was ..
like a NIN and Marilyn Manson video, with some Pierre et Gilles style thrown in. and thats all it was.

it was dreamy, and lush. normally, dreams aren't so sharp in their details but using so much ornamentation to represent the symbolic in the unconscious was effective and always carries well into theatre which is largely symbolic and ritualistic anyway. The Adventures of Baron Von Munchausen comes to mind as a film that used ornamentation to represent the literalness of symbolic aspects of a character or a scene. The ideal made real, ideal being the most perfected form of even the dark and dangerous. IE. Hell as being the ideal place of torment. Hell in your own mind. Such as the mind Catherine Deane had to explore to find the location of the missing victim of serial killer, Carl Stargher (Vincent D'Onofrio).

Exaggeration is always fascinating. Clowns and Carnivals and Funhouses. Jan Svankmeijer used stop motion and puppetry to achieve this same kind of effect with the grotesque, as did the Brothers Quay, for whom Svankmeijer was an inspiration.

It pissed me off that the character Vince Vaughn played had to be so lame inside the dream machine that enabled Catherine to enter the minds of her clients. He followed her in because some stuff happened and he had to go in. So he's wandering around inside the virtual space created by Carls mind and looking for Catherine. He
was like a person who didn't get poetry or what aesthetics are all about or who are totally
disconnected from their own psyche. I mean, when you are in someones head, you don't just poke at things willy-nilly.
You would think he would have deferred to her expertise because he is a professional and understands the value of
consulting with experts and being consulted with, instead he being a typical man, "Well I'm male, so I must be in charge
here", just started barking out orders and fucking things up. This was wildly incongruous with what I would expect from
a forensic detective who specialized in pathology.

fucking DUH!

god, do they think everyone in the world is some brain dead, tv fed, survivor watching fucking idiot who thinks USA
today is a NEWS paper?

and people wonder why I don't have a television, only go to see "art" films or "independant" films and rant about the

movies with this theme
Dark City
The Truman Show
Network (god, how did this movie ever get made by hollywood? I guess they pulled a 1984 ... you can tell them the
truth, all of it, and nobody, NOBODY will believe you, so you can spend the rest of your life, in a bar, drinking oily
gin, waiting for the bullet)

my favorite part of the film... when the three mothers in the plowed field do that little "my son is the devil" thing ... and
some guy in the audience said, "What the hell?"

I said, this whole non-linear psyche thing affected him. It was like a baby who takes his first breath, a mind that takes its first breath of the surreal. A scary dream that doesn't seem to be connected to anything. It was like he, for the first time, was confronted with something that just wasn't supposed to fit into a framework, or a concept, it just is, like art sometimes
just IS.

like life sometimes just IS.

Will feminists think this movie is
misogynist? maybe... but that scene of "women as dolls" says so much about attitudes towards women. Especially among the guys at the
theatre I saw it at. in a theatre that was inhabited mostly by young people who turn everything
into a fight and you are one side or the other. you know, gang mentality. war mentality.
Sadly, the ruling consciousness of the planet. Insecure machismo. pathologically emotionally immature. too few scripts
with which to rule their narrowband lives. aka, the people who make their own world difficult by being difficult in the
world yet, do not posess the self-awareness or ever come against anything that challenges their perspective (and if it
does, most likely, its just waved off as being "wack" or "lame" or "against the bible" or some other intellectually
astonishing argument that brings the most crackling wit to their knees in a cripplying labyrinth of logic) that jars their normal
experience to snap them out of the hypnosis of their life and see that they are not simply clones of one another acting
out the same exact plot. the same exact plot. clones. exact. the same. clones. plot.

I must say though, that I am not contemptuous. I am ... sympathetic and wish only to be there for the ones who seek a
cure for the social diseases like war, intolerance, hatred, conformity, oppression, thoughtlessness, apathy, anaesthesia.

the loud majority.

Am I an asshole, sarcastic, or being ironic for saying that?

too sarcastic. if you don't start with sarcasm, how ever will you graduate to irony, the most subtle form of sarcasm
there is?

I think The Cell was way too high concept for someone who showed up to see Ms. Lopezes ass, which they only used
gratuitously, twice, I think.

It was nice to see CCH Pounder (Bagdad Cafe) in another film. Even if her role was just hacked together as a very flimsy plot device
that she did the best she could with. I cringe to think of the use of the "real world" scenes to bridge the "mind"

The film fell apart when it tried to have a plot. It was fine as a concept film, even kind of arty and intriguing. But plot? no.

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