Strange Transmissions  

5-star rating EXCELLENT4-star ratingRECOMMENDED 3-star ratingGOOD 2-star ratingPOOR 1-star ratingDIABOLICAL
Warning! Probable spoilers ahead for readers outside the USA or Canada

selected from
Xposé #49
Invisible Man review seen here
THE CELL
US: August 18 2000 • UK: September 15 2000
Directed by Tarsem Singh • Stars: Jennifer Lopez,
Vincent D’Onofrio, Vince Vaughn • Rated: R (18 in UK)
5-star rating
Jennifer Lopez and Vincent D’Onofrio talk in this issue!

Jennifer Lopez in danger in The CellDespite the success of Spike Jonze and David Fincher, music video directors often get a bad rap. Yet the choice of MTV veteran Tarsem Singh to helm the surrealist thriller The Cell couldn’t have been more appropriate. Set, essentially, in the human subconscious, the film is freed from the conventions of traditional narrative, and is able to tell its story through striking, archetypal images as opposed to conventional dialogue.

The Cell is the most unapologetically gorgeous horror movie since Dario Argento’s Suspiria. It is also one of the most brutal, graphic, and disturbing, and this combination of sultry visuals with gruesome subject matter serves the film well. Jennifer Lopez plays Catherine, a psychologist who, through neurological devices, enters the mind of a comatose serial killer whose latest victim still hasn’t been found. The human mind is presented as a fantastical dreamscape, where beauty and ugliness exist in extremes, and her interactions with the killer are no exception.

Forced to confront the motive behind his crimes, Catherine becomes more involved with saving his soul than finding his victim. It is here that the film becomes decidedly emotional, yet Singh’s opulent visual grandeur doesn’t distract from the sadness of the premise, but only gives it greater pathos. Singh hasn’t only crafted the year’s best horror film, he’s also made one of the year’s most moving.

Sarah Kendzior

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THE INVISIBLE MAN – Season One
8: The Vaule of Secrets • Written by Mark Cullen
Directed by David Jackson • Sci-Fi Channel • August 4 2000
4-star rating (Recommended)
Episodes 4 to 9 individually reviewed in this issue

It must be said that it’s been a relief that despite its charismatic lead Vincent Ventresca, The Invisible Man has managed to avoid romance-of-the-week clichés, and been all the better for it. This also has the welcome effect that when they do go for a story with a romance at its core, then things get more interesting.

Brought in to investigate the theft of an ultra-secret thingamabob (a Quantum Computer, realized poorly as a VR-style effect), Darien meets its attractive inventor, and upon discovering that it could remove the Quicksilver gland, he finds himself attracted to both the woman and the chance she offers him. But as interested parties become involved – some of them seeing the QC’s potential for misuse equal to that of the atomic bomb – it’s not going to be easy for Darien to get what he wants.

The Invisible Man's Keeper Claire (Shannon Kenny)Well of course it isn’t; that would be the end of the show. Thankfully, the script avoids stressing this, preferring to give Fawkes a brief relationship in which a simple dance is more convincing than rumpled bedsheets the next morning, and tension with Keeper Claire is subtly written but there all the same. With the plotting also managing to pull at least one late surprise, it’s good to see what could have been a cloying mess handled so well.

Ian Atkins

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Images © New Line Cinema, Sci-Fi Channel
Reviews © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction.
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