Posts Tagged ‘Joe Pantoliano’

Baby’s Day Out – A Scathing Indictment Of A Pre-Apocalyptic Society

Posted 19 Jun 2017 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay, Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead 

Baby’s Day Out, USA, 1994

Directed by Patrick Read Johnson

As anyone who’s read my in-depth review of Beethoven knows, family movies from the 1990s are often covert founts of darkness and despair, sometimes to the point that it’s nigh impossible to see them any other way. Another great example of this curious phenomenon is 1994’s Baby’s Day Out, which depicts a world on the brink of total destruction just underneath its deceptively cheerful surface. This is a world that no longer values anything but material possessions, social status, and unbridled hatred. If allowed to go on the way it is, this society will surely collapse on itself, as childcare, familial connections, and basic human decency are utterly neglected. Baby’s Day Out is the tale of the one super-genius infant who just might be able to save a world full of nihilistic idiots from itself.  Read More

Hollywood Repeats Itself – Dark City & The Matrix

Posted 27 May 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay, Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Dark City, Australia / USA, 1998

Directed by Alex Proyas

The Matrix, USA / Australia, 1999

Written and Directed by The Wachowski Brothers

Dark City is a stunning visual feast, and a fascinating exploration of the nature of reality.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. A cliché, admittedly, but the truth of the aphorism cannot be denied. In the two films we are about to examine, humanity teeters on the brink of disaster in two seemingly disparate space-time continua. The similarities between these two films, however, vastly outweigh the differences. In Alex Proyas’s Dark City (1998), we are presented with a haunting vision of a seemingly familiar world that has actually been fabricated by a group of inhuman creatures that prey on human memories. Sound familiar? It should. One of the most popular films of 1999, Larry and Andy Wachowski’s The Matrix, has a very similar premise, and the similarities extend to specific characters and plot points.

There are differences, of course; mostly financial ones. The Matrix is less opaque, more readily accessible to masses of moviegoers. Its slick, computer-generated special effects are more pleasant to view – if somewhat less visceral – than Dark City‘s gritty, film noir atmosphere of doom and entrapment. Likewise, Matrix‘s villains are ostensibly less sinister (at least, in their guise as government agents) than City‘s bald, pale, trenchcoat-clad “Strangers.” Beneath the disguises, though (the Strangers use human corpses as vessels), the true villains in both films are pretty much the same: slimy, tentacled alien monsters that die when their vessels are destroyed.  Read More