The X-files I want to believe.
In this update in the lives of Fox Moulder and Dana Scully, two F.B.I. agents who investigate the government’s “X-Files” – unexplained cases that deal with the paranormal, we are faced with a very different dynamic duo than the team we loved all those years ago.
Stating the obvious everyone’s older but still wildly attractive. The two are not agents anymore they are lovebirds in a shack in the middle of nowhere. Moulder obsesses over old x-files and sits in his office taping news clippings to bulletin boards and not shaving. Scully, cleaner shaven; is a surgeon for a Catholic hospital and specialises in brain surgery. Since we are introduced to the two being together already, one of the most enjoyable aspects of the original series is out of the race before it even starts. The almost punishing amount of sexual tension the show had is thrown out the window. In its place are tedious lover quarrels that are constantly reaching the edge of break up. It doesn’t sell because it is constant throughout the entire film and used as a ploy to build tension and character relation but, the filmmakers should give some of us more credit. Those who know Moulder and Scully don’t need to be privy to this inane banter that runs itself in circles and for those who don’t may be thinking “if these two have been together for almost ten years how come in every sentence they refer to each other by their last names?”
The plot (or lack thereof) is a complete paradox. Two Russian men have abducted an F.B.I. woman in Alaska. An old priest, who is also a convicted pedophile (great turn by Billy Connelly), helps the F.B.I. track down the woman because he’s a psychic. Moulder and Scully are called in to see if this priest is the real deal, as they have had some run-ins with psychics in the past. As it turns out the two Russians are a married couple, one of whom has cancer. Turns out in Russia they do these black listed operations where they use other people’s body parts and use them to replace your sick body parts, leaving you with a result that makes you look a little like Frankenstein. Sounds neat in theory only this process is never explained or never really shown to the viewer, and better yet Scully happens upon the evil plot through Google. Where things get grey is who the Russians target to be these new body parts, or rather who the not sick Russian targets. He targets women; the explanation here is they have a rare blood type that his dying husband needs, but still there is something creepy about him being so gung ho about sewing up his husbands head on a woman’s body as he literally whispers to him “soon you will have a perfect body”.
Where everything falls apart for this film is the complete lack of care taken with the story. First off our heroes have been completely stripped of any of their relevance for them to be in the story. Gone are the days of the incredibly smart medical doctor Scully who performed all the autopsies and could administer impromptu surgeries if need be. Now Scully has become a doctor who has to Google stem cell research in order for her to prepare a life endangering brain surgery on a child. Moulder has lost his sly sense of humour and all his detective skills are completely lost. Instead everything falls in his lap, for example he’s at a crime scene and before everyone walks away he looks down and finds a missing woman’s medical bracelet that blows the case wide open. The secondary characters except Billy Connelly’s priest are some of the most annoying background characters in recent memory. The other two new F.B.I. agents are played by Amanda Peet (who wears her shirts way too unbuttoned) and Xzibit (who is devoid of any meaning other than a seat fuller for Pimp My Ride fans). Two amazing thespians who give the script such justice that it drove me to the brink of contemplating suicide or at least asking for a refund.
The one positive thing there is to say about this film is that the photography of it is beautiful. Some of these shots are breathtaking. It’s all shot in Vancouver in the winter, mostly in the mountains and it is because of this that the whole film comes off as incredibly beautiful.
Cinematography is not enough to save a bad film and this one just gets your confidence shaken. This film somehow manages to be invalid to diehard fans of the series, casual fans, and new comers. It simply has nothing for anybody willing to take it in. Which is a shame, it would have been nice to see a good sci-fi thriller that could appeal to the masses while still being a completely enjoyable film for the geeks. I’m not too hardcore a fan, I am currently watching the whole series over and enjoying it immensely and any trace of what was a show that dealt with government conspiracy, fascism, redemption, love, courage, doppelgangers, aliens, bees, democracy, (and in that order I might add) has been smeared in favour of a film with a message that has something to do with confused Russian homosexuals, stem cell research, religion, and pedophiles.
During the film’s production its plot was kept in complete secrecy. Fake photos were leaked on the net including ones of a bad ass looking werewolf. It was kept so secret that those in anticipation thought they were in for something fantastic. Why keep something so secret right? Not like you could keep something so bad so secret. Well with I Want to Believe Chris Carter has done something quite impressive. He has made a film that is such a paradox to me that it is its own X-file.
Remember Trust No One especially Chris Carter.
The X-Files: I Want to Believe.... holy smokes, where do i start?
I want to believe this film never saw the light of day.
I want to believe I didn't waste two hours of my life and ten bucks out of my pocket.
I want to believe that there is still intelligent life left in Hollywood... somewhere.
This film tops the list of one of the most god awful, inane, pointless moving pictures i have ever seen.
Holy hell, i would take Meet The Spartans over this mess. I'm not asking for action or little green men to run around but i am asking for something, anything that resembles an X-File.
You don't sit on a cult series for almost ten years to resurrect it for one last hurrah that slugs across the screen in a whimper. Holy... holy. I honestly don't believe it. Wasn't there one person who looked at the wreckage and said "Maybe we should go back to the drawing board."
Reading critics reviews and forums of what people thought about this film reveals that there is some positive takes on it. Did we honestly see the same film? It's not even good in that you lowered your expectations way. It's not even a guilty good, a shameful good. This is like getting a hot iron poked up your ass. This film hurts. It has the power to depress. I can't even talk about it right now because i'm so fucking depressed. By far... worst movie of 2008 easily.
Stick to renting the show.
I wanted to believe...
(to be concluded)
Barring these DVD's ending up at Drop Kick's or Nikki's place only to see the light of the FBW months later, after all the publicity has died and no one cares any more, the cream of the crop are....
24 Eyes (Nijushi no hitomi) ... A haunting 1954 Japanese epic about a young teacher with 12 pupils (pun intended, though accidental) over 30 years. I'm guessing it will bore most of you A.D.D. iPOD cellphone sufferers to death, but this is a beautiful, nuanced piece about the tragic arc of a young woman's life and worth the effort. It's stayed with me for years.
While not out yet, a Chinatown burn of Johnnie To's new Mad Detective is kicking around and remains one of this year's best films. To is Hong Kong's top film maker and he reimagines the detective film in a way that breathes new life into a much-worked genre. A must see.
The Small Back Room... A movie that I had mixed up with another British film from around the same time known as The Hidden Room (also excellent, but it has nothing to do with this one). This is a Powell/Pressburger film about a post WW2 bomb-defuser that I saw years ago and remember liking. As with all of their films, this one is taut, well written and beautifully shot.
Brand Upon the Brain.... Guy Maddin's middle film in his life-series (the other two being Cowards Bend the Knee and My Winnipeg) is interesting, a little daunting at 1 hour and 37 minutes, but wholly unique in a completely un-Hollywoody way. It's a Lynchian narrated-memory piece about growing up on an island where a boy's loony parents run a weird orphanage. It's shot in frenetic jiggling black and white with stream of consciousness editing and has a cool sound track. Completely original. Now that we're neighbours I bought too many copies in a veiled effort to impress him if he happens into the store. How sad is that?
Two on the horizon.... Last year, Criterion's fall release of Army of Shadows probably saved me from driving a pair of scissors into some snivelling middle-aged Roncey-mother's forehead (who was likely complaining that her little demonoid offspring was traumatized by the intense magic-violence of a Harry Potter film) and the subsequent prison sentence that would have inevitably followed. Notwithstanding that fact that I have retired to a kind of self-imposed exile at Casa Segredos to combat these homicidal urges, this autumn looks good for the ongoing health of Roncey-Yuppie-Bombers with the release of two more Melville masterpieces, Le Doulos and Le Deuxième souffle. It strikes me as strange that watching existentially grim French neo-noirs that inevitably end in the death of the protagonist at the fickle hands of fate puts a little extra spring in my step and brings a smile to my face. Bring on the little bastards and their parental basket cases. I'm immune to your blather and crass, self-indulgent ways. You want a baby scoop with 3 flavours in waffle cone? Nope. Next! You broke your third DVD in as many rentals and want to rent more but not pay because it wasn't your fault? Fuck off. Next! The lesson here? Jean-Pierre Melville saves lives. I'm really hoping for a release of Melville's nearly unseen Magnet of Doom next fall.
Aftermath – When the Idiots are Gone. National Geographic put this wet-dream of mine on DVD and while it spends an excessive amount of time on what would happen to poor Fido if everyone just up and disappeared one day (ie: he would be torn apart by nuclear-irradiated super mice or just die of loneliness and starvation – you need opposable thumbs to work that pesky can-opener ....dontcha boy!), it's pretty darn good. By the way, camels are looking good because they eat anything (even McDonalds) so if you really care about having a pet that would survive this eventuality, look no further. You barely have to water them, but I digress. Imagine... no people... I get goosebumps and giddy all at once! Imagine...silence... no Portuguese gangbangers driving around in lowered Honda Civics with their subwoofers set on “earthquake” listening to bad rap. No one in any of the 47 espresso bars on Roncesvalles. Nobody at City Hall calculating how to rework the roads so that they don't work and everyone has to take the non-existent transit system. No one at Walmart buying shit they don't need that they'll have to replace in 3 months because it broke...again. I just quiver with joy when I think about it. I think I need therapy.
The Band's Visit.... I'll end here, on an up-note. What a terrific film this is. An Egyptian police band takes a wrong turn on the way to Ben Albuquerque and ends up in Ben Nowhere, some back water Israeli town in the middle of the desert. There, they meet a woman (who might just be the sexiest person on the planet) who runs a local restaurant and a beautiful story of cultural exchange and human interaction unfolds over the next 24 hours of their lives. This is a film that you can recommend to anyone (except if she has scissors sticking out of her head and is holding a traumatized 2-year-old). It was a complete treat.
Last night a pleasant/spacey womyn of about 30 ambled up to the counter and asked if we had Ram Dass/Fierce Grace. Yup. I looked it up and said it was rented - due back a week ago - but that that wasn't a huge surprise given the type of person that typically rents Ram Dass/Fierce Grace lives on a higher plane and doesn't much go in for the little stuff like returning their movies on time or feeding the cat. I wish I had a camera so that I could have caught the look she flashed. It was that rare perfect combination of a marginally forced smile, uncertainty as to whether I'd just insulted her or not, despair, disappointment, and annoyance with a hint of smug indifference and an uncertain air of quasi-superiority that she didn't quite pull off. Did we have any other films that details the spiritual journey/transformation of someone to a place of perfect transcendental bliss?, she asked. What about Batman Begins? I suggested. The look again...only better this time.
I imagined that most of the conversations Joe has ever had....ended with a variation on that look.