Film Review Hotline

A new eXistenZ
Launched at the recent Berlin Film Festival, David Cronenberg’s new science fiction fantasy returns to the darkly original universe the cult Canadian director explored in The Fly, Scanners and Videodrome.
Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jude Law in eXistenzSet in a near future, eXistenZ depicts a society in which game designers are worshipped as superstars and players can organically enter inside the game via a bio-port socket situated at the base of the spinal column.
Jennifer Jason Leigh plays Allegra Geller whose latest game taps so deeply into the user’s fears and desires that it blurs the boundaries between reality and escapism making her an assassination target for fanatics. I’ve seen the movie, also starring Jude Law, Ian Holm and Willem Dafoe, and it’s a goodie which Cronenberg lovers will absolutely adore.

Blazing Sandler
Coming off the back-to-back hits of The Wedding Singer and The Waterboy, Adam Sandler has made a deal with Columbia Pictures for an untitled animated musical featuring a cartoon character based on himself. Sandler came up with the idea and personally pitched it to Columbia president Amy Pascal who wants to move ahead quickly since production will take several years. Sandler will voice the character himself. But don’t worry, Sandler will be appearing in lots of pictures before then. There’s Big Daddy with Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy) for a start on which word is so good it will probably become one of the Event Movies of this Summer.

Leo Behind Bars
Leonardo DiCaprio is currently in discussion to star in the drama Stanford Prison Experiment. Based on a real-life experiment at Stanford University in 1971, the movie concerns a psychology professor who converts the basement into a make-shift prison and the students play out the roles of guards and prisoners. The experiment was due to last a fortnight, but after six days the increasingly violent behaviour of some of the guinea pigs brought it to a halt. Lee Tamahori (The Edge) is currently pencilled-in to direct this fascinating premise.

Hong Kong superstar Jackie Chan, last seen in the box office smash Rush Hour will make Shanghai Noon his next priority. Chan came up with the concept about a Chinese man who travels to the 19th Century Wild West to rescue a kidnapped princess. After teaming up with a train robber, the unlikely duo take on a Chinese traitor and his corrupt boss. Hmm! Sounds familiar… Commercials director Tony Dey makes his feature début with the Disney action adventure

This is just a taste of Alan Jones' extensive news section. Read the full news pages every month in Film Review.
Also in this issue: the full 71st Academy Awards nominations – that's an Oscar report to us

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