August 25, 2013


Pete Travis, 2012

In a violent futuristic America, the crime rate is high along with the murder rate. Judges serve as the police force, playing a wide role of being the Judge, Jury and Executioner to the criminals that are running rampant. Judge Dredd gets paired up with a psychic rookie looking to join the force. They get a call to a high rise building controlled by gang-leader Mama, who has been supplying the city with popular drug SLO-MO.

Dredd is a surprisingly bloody picture, ripe with violence and gore. It's certainly a comic-book film for adults, much like Watchmen or Sin City. It's style over substance, with some really memorable visual elements. When the criminals inhale SLO-MO, it slows the world down to 1% of its normal speed. The visual manifestation of this through the eyes of the camera is really well done. It's reminiscent to the brain drug in Limitless. The plot of the film is quite simplistic, video-game-like, with Dredd trying to work his way up to the boss on the top floor of the building. The plot is similar to the french zombie film The Horde, without the zombies of course. The constant visual distraction is much needed because without it the film would REALLY drag on. Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) knows how to play a villain, which she does well here. Fans of The Wire will be pleased to see Wood Harris (who played Avon Barksdale in The Wire) who plays Kay, one of Mama's soldiers. It's difficult to gauge Karl Urban's performance as Dredd, because Dredd himself is such a reserved character. His tone is similar to Bale's Batman in the Dark Knight Trilogy without the comprehensive back-story. Pete Travis doesn't provide much a back-story here. He directs a film that's CGI-Porn to say the least, and while it may not be loaded with story, it's a feast for the eyes.

Sound City

Dave Grohl, 2013

Grohl directs this documentary about a legendary recording studio that was home to 100 gold and platinum records. Legendary artists such as Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Rick Springfield, Nirvana all recorded their work there. The grungy ambiance, laid-back owners and analog recording equipment was inviting to Rock purists who wanted to make records without executives breathing down their neck.

The film has a spectacular opening sequence, with a recording studio slowly coming alive. Lights being flipped on one by one. Grohl picks up an acoustic guitar and starts strumming. His hand elevates to strum another chord and a perfectly synchronized electric guitar chord kicks in and in comes the hard rock, punching the gas. It's a well organized film that thoroughly details the creation of Sound City. The conversion to a studio from a Vox amplifier factory. The early years and foundational recordings. The acquisition of the Neve console that would prove to be a draw for musicians who wanted to be hands on with their analog recordings. The changing 80's, and the early digital age. The financial struggles. Nirvana coming to the studio to record Nevermind, and changing not only the music world but also revitalizing Sound City. The inevitable sweep of technology that put Protools in the hands of anyone who wanted to make a record.

Sweat stains line the Sound City walls, placed in the middle of an unassuming industrial park in Van Nuys. Echoes of past heroes and past riffs resonate through the studio. There is an obvious energy to the building. The musicians themselves say the studio shouldn't sound so good. The layout didn't make any sense. It should sound horrible for drummers, but it didn't. The mythical status of Sound City could be compared to CBGB. The film is loaded with old footage, great music, gritty camera filters, and good story. Grohl is a sentimental person. He appreciates where he came from and who got him there. He credits Sound City with putting Nirvana on the map. Grohl purchasing the Neve console is ensuring that the equipment is in good hands, and is going to get some use. The final portion of the film is a bit self-indulgent but still pays a nice tribute and is a nice send-off. A thank you note to Sound City.

August 24, 2013


David Wain, 2012

George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) get over their head in expenses after purchasing an apartment in New York City. After George loses his job, and Linda's documentary gets turned down by HBO they decide to get out of the city. They venture down to stay with George's brother in Georgia. On the way down they decide to stop at a bed and breakfast which turns out to be a hippie commune. The freedom and positive energy that is connected to the lifestyle becomes attractive to them and they contemplate staying.

This comedy by Wain (Wet Hot American Summer, Role Models) blends some social commentary with some slapstick elements. Because the film jumps head first into the story the characters feel like caricatures. Once things get moving that fades away and the film really maintains a steady pace using solid characters. It effectively uses a lot of the same actors as Wet Hot but provides them with much better writing. The picture itself at times feels like a much more grown up version of Wet Hot. It examines the communal lifestyle, which of course in real life has proved to be a failed experiment over and over again. The human emotional spectrum always precedes the ideals of an attempted Utopian community, and no matter how many good vibes you try to spread - there's still going to be conflicts that are unavoidable (jealousy, deception, greed). Wain examines a lot of these through comedy, and very effectively at that. Nudism, Free love, Organic farming, New age pregnancy techniques, Primal screaming, hallucinogenics. Some really stand-out performances in the picture. Paul Rudd, who is always consistent, is particularly good in this. His brother, Rick (Ken Marino), is perfect as the douchey brother who surrounds himself with materialism to peacock his success. His character comes off as very Apatowian, reminiscent of Bradley Cooper's character Sack Lodge in Wedding Crashers. Some of the scenes felt like you were watching a good improv group at work (ie. the truth circle, or Paul Rudd talking into the mirror). It will be interesting to see what Wain does in the future. Some of his past work felt loosey-goosey, but he had some solid writing here to work with. Hopefully he keeps the same people on board for future work.

August 19, 2013


Jennifer Chambers Lynch, 2012

Lynch directs this torture-horror picture about a serial killer who traps his victims with his taxi cab and brings them to his house to kill them. He uses a boy, son of a past victim, as a slave in his home to help clean up his messes and work on his scrapbook which details his slayings.

Lynch's work is probably the creative equivalent of bringing Eli Roth home on a date to meet her father David. It's not necessarily a bad thing. Just different from a film that her father would make, and of course she is going to be forced to endure countless comparisons from the film community given the impact that David Lynch has had on modern cinema. She has certainly picked up some of the chops, while the film is quite disturbing at times it still maintains an artful quality to it. D'Onofrio disappears into his role as Bob, proving that he can become an even more involved killer than his character in The Cell. His victim, Rabbit (Eamon Farren), maintains a very obvious sympathetic edge throughout the film, as he sits in the run down shack malnourished eating the scraps left behind by Bob. When it comes to the attention to set design, the serial killer's house is so chilling the Fedex guy would be afraid to place a package on the front steps. The visual canvas of the film is laid out using a lot of bleak colors, and when you are in the presence of some light it's usually a circa 1970's lamp providing a disconcerting glow throughout the filthy shack. The windows are boarded up. The basement, which is home to the remains of the many victims, is lit only and ironically by Christmas lights. Night falls, and the glow of fluorescent-lit "Comfort" written on the top of the Taxi Cab provides the same tension you feel when trapped in the house with the monster. Lynch not only plays off of visual cues but also with sound as well. There is a very present bass-driven hum throughout the film, maintaining a sense of impending horror. To sum it all up... it's a film that will appeal to the horror fan, but anyone that's planning a re-watch really needs a psychological evaluation.

August 18, 2013


Cameron Crowe, 2005


Drew Baylor is a shoe designer who is feeling the guilt of a huge loss for his company. He assumes things can't get any worse for him, and then he receives a phone call from his sister telling him that his father died. He soon must travel to his father's hometown of Elizabethtown as the family comes together for the funeral. 

People over the years have horribly criticized Elizabethtown. And unfairly. Anyone who is a fan of Cameron Crowe's work can feel his presence in this. He's there. It's just that there's too much of him there. It's unfair to just completely dismiss Elizabethtown as a mess. It's not a mess. There's just TOO MUCH going on. Cameron Crowe obviously had a lot to say. But this should have been two movies. Maybe three. The story of losing his father, and returning home to Elizabeth. One film. And I know, Garden State. But Crowe would have executed that better than Zach Braff. Him meeting Claire on an airplane? It's a great story, it really is. But thats another film. Both stories were conflicting. They didn't blend well and didn't play nice with each other. It's a shame, because some of the scenes in this film feel so real. The late night phone conversation with Claire. The chaos of the cousins screaming in the tight house. The forced neurotic distractions by his mother. At times the characters in the film do feel like caricatures, but they are still placed in very real moments.

Too much teasing. By the time the funeral scene rolled around, Claire should have been pregnant. "I Like You" – they should have been and were in love at that point. Orlando Bloom is engaging, it's just a shame that Crowe over-used him. Transitional shots of him dancing on an iron bridge, aimlessly pacing through his hotel room. Let him play to his strengths. Let the story breathe. His character was complex, and a lot of the time you could just see it on his face.

The roadtrip scene in the final act is the dagger in the heart of Elizabethtown. The intended emotion to that chapter is lost because you are still feeling (or should be) the effects of the funeral. Instead of the film ending at the funeral, you now have to get in a car with Drew for 42 hours. In the end, it's probably a film that probably looked so good on paper. It has all of the qualities of a Cameron Crowe film. Great music, real love, real emotion. Unfortunately it was just scattered all over the place. Maybe the editor is to blame. Maybe its Crowe. Either way, there should have been meetings about this. There is the real possibility that Cameron Crowe could have had two great films here, instead he had one OKAY one.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Peter Weir, 2003

This epic, based on the book by Patrick O'Brian, follows a British ship as it battles in the open sea against Napoleon's France. With his closest adviser growing impatient with his hunger for war, he continues to struggle to maintain a stronghold in the South American waters and also keep his soldiers morale at healthy levels.

Russell Crowe stars as Captain Jack Aubrey, a veteran captain who has lived through many battles and served under many famed leaders. You get the feeling that he doesn't like the feel of soil, it seems as if his true comfort zone is on his ship. There is a noticeable benevolence that he shows to the youngsters on his ship, with the hopes that he can set a good example for them as they will lead one day themselves. He clearly sees a lot of himself in them, and treats them to stories of his early days as he sips his wine. The film is not just a lengthy war movie, it's a character study of Captain Aubrey - and his interminable hunger for battle. He obviously wants to make his mark in the history books.

The film won Oscars for Best Cinematography and Best Sound Editing. The camera work is very impressive, seeing as the entire movie is shot in the obvious presence of water - which at times is delivered in the form of violent storms. The ship itself feels like it's in another world at times. Almost other-dimensional, like in Valhalla Rising. The cabin is beautifully constructed with some memorable shots of the camera moving through battle scenes, showing cannon fire and soldiers frantically rushing to their posts. Shots of the foggy horizon, with the sudden orange glow of an impending onslaught. While the loaded dialogue is difficult to keep up with at times, the film is still quite alluring. Weir effectively develops characters that you take a genuine interest in.

Finding Nemo

Andrew Stanton & Lee Unkrich, 2003

Set in the Great Barrier Reef, overprotective single-father Clownfish Marlin gets separated from his only son Nemo who gets caught by a fish collector who places him in a dentist's aquarium. Realizing that his son is in Sydney, he desperately attempts to rescue him and be reunited with the help of some newly acquired friends.

You know that when watching a Pixar film that there's something in it for everyone. The simplistic story structure and memorable characters are going to impress the young viewers, and there's still something engaging for the older ones. There's always clever twists, some kind of moral dilemma. The characters are going to provide some reflection of humanity. There's always going to be a consistency, and a standard of quality to Pixars films. And there's always going to be beautiful visual elements. Colorful coral reefs create a vibrant landscape, with a lot of activity. The characters themselves, while exaggerations of real life creatures, are given distinctive personalities like the surfer-turtle, or the recovering fish addict sharks. It's something you will obviously see in any animated feature, but Pixar does it flawlessly. And in the end, this is a film without any noticeable flaws.

With Nemo, you can sit back and hear Albert Brooks be Albert Brooks. That's never a bad thing. You're going to sit back and hear other familiar voices, like Ellen Degeneres, or Willem Dafoe - all well-placed. And while it may not make as much of an emotional impact as some of the other Pixar movies, it still carries weight and it's probably the most nice-looking of all of them. But the emotional impact is obviously a subjective thing. Perhaps a father would be more affected by this film losing a son, more than he would watching Woody get taken away from Andy in Toy Story. Everything ties together well in the end and Nemo is certainly one of the better Pixar films made.

August 14, 2013

It's a Disaster

Todd Berger, 2012

A group of friends get together for an afternoon brunch. They are not even into their first mimosa before they get word of an devastating attack on the United States. The attack is very life threatening, but that doesn't stop them from unleashing their own personal drama on each other.

It's a limited storytelling piece, and a good one at that. Many films have failed with a similar model. Some quickly come off as too far fetched and lose you quickly. This one succeeds, partly because its fueled by a good script but also by good acting. This could easily be considered an indie low-budget version of This is the End. David Cross delivers the humor from the opening scene, along with Julia Stiles. The film starts off with a tangible sense of awkward tension with David Cross' character Glen being introduced to everyone, while on his date with Tracy (Julia Stiles). You, the viewer, feels the same unfamiliarity with the brunch-mates, not really knowing what to think of them and building your natural prejudgments. You are introduced to Hedy (America Ferrera), a friendly but restrained schoolteacher. There's Hedy's "fiance" Shane (Jeff Grace), the nerdboy sporting the American Apparel hoodie and consumed with a comic book auction on his phone. Then there's Lexi (Rachel Boston) and Buck (Kevin Brennan), the vegan new age couple who are quick to invade ones space bubbles and not aligned with social norms. They all come together in a mishmash of impulses and accidental honesty.

In the battle between macro and micro events, the drama that unfolds are ordinary interpersonal conflicts that one (you would think) wouldn't be particularly concerned with if death could knock at the front door at any given moment. The fact that they continue to focus on the drama is not only acceptable, but it continues to be engaging. The picture effectively examines ones reaction to hearing that the end of the world is near. Some people become reflective, some indulge in libations, some become sexual, some fall back on their religious beliefs. In the end, what does it matter anyway? We're all going to die. It could be any minute! I'll drink to that.

August 11, 2013

Take Shelter

Jeff Nichols, 2011

Curtis (Michael Shannon) is a hardworking man who suddenly starts having apocalyptic visions in his dreams. As the nightmares continue, they begin to spill into his waking life. It soon affects everything around him: his relationship with his wife Samantha (Jessica Chastain), his career, and his fathering of hearing impaired daughter Hannah (Tova Stewart). He senses that the storms of his nightmares are coming, and he feels determined to prepare.

Jeff Nichols is once again in his familiar rural American landscape, although this picture is set in Ohio and not Arkansas like Shotgun Stories or Mud. While Mud and Shotgun have many similarities with each other, this film really carves its own niche. The film also pairs Shannon with fellow Boardwalk Empire star Shea Whigham, who plays his co-worker/buddy Dewart. Shannon's character Curtis is a dedicated husband, an introverted man whose emotional needs are secondary to his providing for his family. As soon as the nightmares start to haunt him, he keeps them to himself. He doesn't let Samantha in on it. It's painful to see, because she is desperate to communicate with him - if only he could let her in. Curtis is sympathetic, because all of the changes that materialize are really based on the need to protect his loved ones.

It's hard to determine whats behind the nightmares, and sit with the same sense of mystery as Curtis does. Is it actually a prophetic vision? Or is it early signs of Curtis inheriting his mothers mental illness? Nichols relies heavily on characters in his work, giving them time to develop. He really succeeds in creating the detail here. There's an obvious empathy to Curtis' predicament, but also a sense of exhaustion as you relate to Samantha's mounting impatience. It has a damaging effect on the marriage, and as a viewer you are sitting in the room watching it unfold. The obsession of expanding the tornado shelter, and the ultimate deterioration of his life is similar to D.B. Sweeney's character Mike Rogers in Fire in the Sky. He is experiencing something that nobody but him understands. He becomes the crazy guy in town, and the loneliness of it is devastating. Nichols has been consistent in creating heavy pieces, films that have an emotional resonance to them and creating identifiable characters.

Funeral Kings

Kevin & Matthew McManus, 2012

Andy (Dylan Hartigan) and Charlie (Alex Maizus) like getting called out of class to serve as altar boys in funerals. The benefit is they are not expected to return to class afterward - which gives them the freedom to do whatever they want to do for the rest of the day.

This film blends in the profanity laced elements of Superbad with the mischievous and adventurous nature of the hooligans in Attack the Block. They put on a good show for the adults at the church, who are unassuming of them as long as they see them every week as altar boys. As soon as they remove the garb, the filter is removed. The film accurately examines the sudden freedom of a 14 year old. The freedom to roam the streets and get into trouble. The act of trying to look cool smoking cigarettes. Stuck in the middle of puberty and discovering pornography. While the profane dialogue was at first distracting, it soon dissolves into the story and you get caught up in the nostalgia of being a teenager again. Andy and Charlie are separated from their third altar boy buddy and get teamed up with David (Jordan Puzzo) for a funeral. David is the innocent California transplant, who has clearly had more of a parental presence than the other two boys. The forceful bullying of Andy and Charlie with David feels familiar in a way. When you're a teen, you don't realize that you can discard the bad kids from your life. At times you can feel trapped. While Charlie's character is obnoxious at times, there is still a sense of innocence to his character. He doesn't tolerate condescension. He wants respect. He wants to get the girl. The party scene is played out so well, it really brings you back in time. Sure, they weren't invited to the party and they aren't overly welcome there. But its the thrill of being there. The thrill of being with the older kids. The picture effectively sees things through the eyes of a 14 year old. The characters have more depth than the kids in Superbad, and the disturbing moral dilemma the boys have to confront is spot on in it's purity.

August 7, 2013


Jeff Nichols, 2013

Two boys, Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), venture on to a nearby island with their motor boat. They are looking for a boat that has been rumored to be suspended in the trees after past flooding. They find it, but soon discover that a homeless man named Mud (Matthew McConaughey) has been living in it. They befriend Mud and soon get pulled into his rather complicated life story.

It's a 130 minute drama, rich in story, that combines the southern grit of Nichols' past film Shotgun Stories with a youthful dynamic reminiscent of Stand By Me. At times you are seeing things through the eyes of children, with the curiosity of Super 8 combined with the grit of The Sandlot. Other times you are pulled into adult-oriented drama, where Nichols once again examines the concept of revenge and the cost in seeking it. McConaughey delivers what's probably the most fitting role of his career. It's hard to picture anyone else in the Mud role. He possesses that southern charisma, a friendly twang that doesn't threaten Ellis or Neckbone. His character is almost immediately sympathetic, where he's quick to consume a can of beans that Ellis provides for him. He quickly becomes a father figure to the two boys, who are desperate for the attention with Neckbone never having met his father and Ellis' distant from his cold disciplinarian father. The film is well acted on all fronts. It's nice to see Nichols using Michael Shannon again, if even in a more limited role as Neckbone's uncle Galen. Sarah Paulson is convincing as Ellis' downtrodden mother, sick of living her destitute life on the river in the houseboat and eager for a change of scenery.

There's some notable shots of the Arkansas landscape. As the camera rides in the back of the pickup truck with Ellis, you get the view of the blue-collar town with shots of the aged ice cream stand or the run down Piggly Wiggly. Constant shots of mother nature at work, critters crawling up rocky cliffs and water moccasins wandering through the murky waters of the Mississippi River. Nichols gives the film time to really let the story breathe, and let's his characters develop. By the final act of the film you are well invested in them and some of the final moments of the film are quite gripping.

August 4, 2013

State of Emergency

Turner Clay, 2013

An explosion at a chemical plant causes a toxic chemical to leak. Local residents become infected and turn into flesh hungry monsters. Jim (Jay Hayden) finds a few other uninfected people in a nearby warehouse and teams up with them to pool resources.

The opening of the film shows a bit of promise, but that soon turns sour. The noticeable use of sound early on in the film begins to feel augmented, and soon becomes distracting. The dialogue begins and it soon feels like an 8th grader wrote the script. Completely elementary. Bad CGI with the helicopters flying over at night. And then, the poor editing. Oh no. There is a moment where one of the characters gets attacked and you only see him fall with the attacker missing from the shot. Jim goes to scream and the audio is not even aligned. Devoid of any flare, completely forgettable characters. Amateur hour.

The film lacks any moral dilemmas or any social commentary. No satire. Just a group of people, in a warehouse, lots of noises outside. Even the newscaster on the choppy news broadcast was uninspired. These horribly made zombie films really just reinforce how well made 28 Days Later was. Or even borrow a chapter from The Walking Dead. With that series, you become so invested in the characters that it's like losing a family member when you see one go. George Romero could have done a better job with this film if he were drunk.

This film completely lacks character development. When there are jumps in timeline, you only go back to see Jim in the not so far past where he's just as muted and flat as his present day character is. Jay Hayden looks like Richard Gere mixed with Peter Facinelli (Can't Hardly Wait) without any of the acting chops. Jim meets the girl that doesn't talk, because shes been through some traumatic event. Little does Jim know, that all he has to do is be mildly persistent and she'll open right up. She opens up and you hope for some much needed acting. It doesn't come, and you wish she would have stayed muted. It's hard to get behind characters that you really are not invested in. Not only that, but the survivors locked up in the warehouse appear to outnumber whatever is outside! Can you really call it a zombie infestation when 50 minutes into the film you have only seen one of them? Not sure where the $1.5M budget went on this film. The makeup artist and the sound editor should leave this film off of their resume, because they should be entitled to some future work. Turner Clay, however, I don't know. I hope this wasn't the film he set out to make. Maybe this just isn't his genre.

Only God Forgives

Nicolas Winding Refn, 2013


Set in Bangkok, Refn's followup to Drive once again features Ryan Gosling in the lead. Gosling plays Julian, gangster & fight club owner. Julian gets news that his brother Billy has been killed. Julian's mother arrives in Thailand eager for revenge, while the renegade cop who was responsible for the death is on their heels the entire time.

First off, it's a wonderfully shot film. In fact, there's not one bad shot in the entire picture. The glowing of red through the beginning, the scenes with the very neon-like aesthetic. It paints Bangkok in a way that's very much like the way Gaspar Noe painted Tokyo in Enter the Void. The stunning look of the Karaoke bars are similar to the scenes in Hanna where the villain is whistling the catchy "The Devil is in the Details. There's a disconcerting element to the streetscape, but it's very easy on the eyes.

The film combines the sudden disturbing elements one would come to expect from Refn along with some of the abstract characteristics of a David Lynch picture.  Refn always has a clever use of sound. The score to this film is much more immersed than the electro-pop soundtrack in Drive. There's certainly no Kavinsky to be heard here. Refn certainly finds new ways to end human lives. Refn works his craft as the body count rises.

Gosling's character Julian is quiet, reserved (surprised?). The lack of dialogue is very much similar to his role in Drive, but there's certainly some distinction here. Any heart that his character had in Drive is absent in this piece. Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm), the blade-wielding retired cop, could go down as one of the more memorable villains in cinema. His renegade-like attitude is very similar to fellow cop Stansfield (Gary Oldman) in Leon: The Professional. Both are cold and lack hesitation to slaughter at will. Both lack the moral structure one would expect from a man of the law. When you first see Crystal (Kristin Scott Thomas), Julian's mother, it further constructs his past. And it ain't pretty. Her vitriolic tongue spits out whatever venom is on the surface and there's no hesitation. It's quite clear that the only affection she had was really spent on his brother Billy.

It's a controversial piece. Rumors of booing as Cannes started circulating, along with rumors of people vomiting during some of the scenes. Refn is a true auteur, unaffected by public opinion. He appeared to make a film here for himself, and you can come along for the ride but he doesn't care much if you enjoy it. There's something to this film. At times hard to watch, but for the right reasons. Some people may be hungry for more story, and it's a fair argument. While some of the moments are hard to watch, there's still a very adhesive quality to the film.

August 3, 2013

The Truman Show

Peter Weir, 1998


Truman (Jim Carrey) is the star of a popular reality television show where everything in his life has been filmed. His birth, his schooling, first kiss, his marriage - is all part of the show. He is unaware he is the star of The Truman Show, for now, but his suspicions grow as unusual occurrences seem to be happening around him.

Carrey steps into one of the better dramatic roles of his career as Truman. The film really makes an immediate jump into the story, and never really loses its momentum. The attention to detail in crafting the artificial world that Truman lives in is both imaginative and impressive. Carrey quickly solicits sympathy as the vanilla insurance salesman protagonist who works the daily grind, picks up the daily newspaper, and goes home to eat dinner with the wife and watch I Love Lucy episodes. The limited selection in television shows could be compared to the gray-scale landscape of Pleasantville in it's very overt oppression of art. Christof (Ed Harris) created the show and has been directing it for the entire duration of Truman's life. His imagination is evident, but so is his inflated ego. His artificial town of Sea Haven that he has created is like a 1950's Utopian Suburbia concept. His desire to be a god-like figure sitting high inside the artificial moon must be intoxicating to him. He may be able to spend millions of dollars on his creating his fictional Sea Haven, but he doesn't realize that you can't inhibit the human desire to branch out and see what's out there. True reality is absolutely priceless and impossible to completely emulate. Truman naturally has curious instincts, and as soon as he starts to test his native boundaries, he begins to notice some flaws in the Truman Show world. It's certainly a brilliant social experiment, played out beautifully. Laura Linney is brilliant as Meryl, Truman's wife, as she plays a Stepford Wife-like figure who tries to keep Truman domesticated and unadventurous. The film is also an obvious satirical piece, examining Americas obsession with the modern reality television show. The film really stands out on its own, more than similarly themed EdTV (1999) because it really pulls you in and turns you into one of the many people watching and rooting for Truman. The film's impact on American culture is quite long ranged. A Bellevue psychiatrist named Joel Gold said that he had several schizophrenic patients who claimed that they were being filmed for a reality show similar to that in the film.