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Friday, August 2, 2002

Thanks to Netflix I've watched two movies about ghosts this week. Dragonfly was ... okay. Kevin Costner was ... good. The "surprise" ending was ... hinted at broadly in the first half and totally given away in the last half. In other words, not much of a surprise.

The movie had some nice moments, and an eerily romantic feel to it, and some spectacular scenery. Maybe that should be enough, but to me it all added up to a lightweight flick without much substance or any compelling reason to watch.

The commentary track, as so often happens, is better than the movie. In it, the director, Tom Shadyac, admits that the film hangs on one revealing moment. I'm sure I would have like it more if I hadn't known what was coming. I don't know how you couldn't, though.

The other ghost story is The Others, the Nicole Kidman movie from last year. This one I liked, although I almost gave up on it in the first half hour. It's so dark and cold and quiet, and no one speaks above a whisper, and Nicole has such a creepy look on her face that you don't know if she's crazy or her character is. I thought maybe she'd forgotten how to modulate her performance.

Ah, but then it gets really exciting. The chills up and down my spine got more and more intense as the movie went on, and by the end I totally bought into the premise. The last half hour was riveting and thrilling enough to make up for the slow start. This one also hangs on a single conceit, but it's so well constructed that I simply had to watch it a second time, to see what I've missed. I haven't felt that way about a movie since The Sixth Sense.

This DVD doesn't have a commentary track, to my disappointment. That would have justified (in my mind) watching it the second time. Instead, I had to just do it. What I found was that the scary moments were still scary, but the mystery was replaced by seeing things fall into place and wondering why I didn't pick up on the clues. Anyway it was a good movie both times, but it'll probably be awhile before I watch it again. There is a bonus disc, which I've put on my rental queue.


Blackberry brambles grow everywhere. If I turn away for a minute, here comes a new vine.

Watching these movies only made me appreciate The Sixth Sense more. The Others has some elements in common with it, but it lacks the warmth and humanity of that movie. This has also made me want to see Signs, the new M. Night Shyamalan film, even more than I did before. Not on its opening weekend, though. Maybe next week.

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Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Farce
"If it isn't as precise as a finely tuned instrument it could easily turn into a cacophonous mess."

Two years ago: Borrowed Time
"He's a licensed guru, or something like that."

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The front walk looks like runway lights,
It's kinda like noon in the dead of night.