FORREST GUMP (1994) (****)

22 05 2008
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Check Out the Trailer

Since Oscar-winning best picture FORREST GUMP was released, Robert Zemeckis’ film has easily moved into the pop culture consciousness. How many lines can you quote from this film? Who hasn’t done one Forrest Gump impression in their lives? Some scenes now gain a humor that wasn’t original there just because of the number of times they have been parodied. Having seen the film several times over the years and hearing varying impressions, I’m struck by how chameleon-like the themes are depending on the angle one wants to look at it. From destiny versus freewill to optimism versus pessimism to conforming versus rebellion, what does the film mean to you?

Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks, PHILADELPHIA) is a slow man, but he’s never let that get in the way of life. His mother (Sally Field, NORMA RAE) always said, “Stupid is as stupid does.” Ever since the first day of school, Forrest has been friends with Jenny (Robin Wright Penn, THE PRINCESS BRIDE). Their lives couldn’t be more different. Forrest’s mother is supportive and kind, while Jenny’s father is an abusive drunk. Despite having a twisted spine as a child, Forrest grows up to be a lightning runner, which allows him to attend the University of Alabama on a football scholarship. During the course of his life, he will become a witness to school integration, a Vietnam War hero, a international ping-pong champion, a shrimp boat captain, a millionaire businessman, a gardener at his hometown high school, and an inspirational guru. Jenny’s life course will traverse many of the more revolutionary and shady elements of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.

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CUBE (1998) (***1/2)

22 05 2008
Check Out the Trailer
Check Out the Trailer

After a limited release in theaters in 1998, this independent sci-fi film from Canada has garnered cult status since arriving on video. Using one set, director Vincenzo Natali creates both a claustrophobic mental torture chamber, as well as a mind-bending labyrinth. This sci-fi horror flick has gory bits for sure, but the mystery of the plot and what it means to the characters makes this film more exciting than all the slicing and dicing.

A man wakes up in a cube-shaped room with doors on all six surfaces. He moves to the next room and we learn quickly what happens when one ventures into the wrong room. Five other captives wake up in one of a series of interlocking cubes. Joan Leaven (Nicole de Boer, TV’s THE DEAD ZONE) is a Math student, who will be called upon to try and decipher the numbers engraved on the many doorways. Helen Holloway (Nicky Guadagni, LARS AND THE REAL GIRL) is a doctor with a big conspiracy theory involving the military industrial complex. Quentin (Maurice Dean Wint, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH) is a cop with a superiority complex and a nasty temper. Rennes (Wayne Robson, AFFLICTION) is a fugitive escape artist who devises a way to check for booby-trapped rooms. David Worth (David Hewlett, TV’s STARGATE: ATLANTIS) is a young cynical man who doesn’t believe they’ll ever get out of the cube. Later the group will encounter Kazan (Andrew Miller, TRAPPED IN PARADISE), a severely autistic man with a secret gift.

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