07 September 2006

an ogre, a secret, and a game

Somehow England is soon ridding itself of Tony, but we still can't dethrone King George? Why not?

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Last night, I watched: The Ogre, Mr Rice's Secret, and Nemesis Game. These are the bare-bones reviews.

The Ogre: The outbreak of World War II helps a French simpleton named Abel (John Malkovich) -- who was wrongfully accused of attacking a young girl -- avoid prison time. But when his army unit gets captured, he's imprisoned in a Nazi camp. The film unravels into a dark fairy tale in which Abel is groomed to train Hitler youth under the direction of der F├╝hrer's right-hand man, Hermann Goering (Volker Spengler).

It's sad, because, in the end, Abel wants to save the children in his charge (because their other teachers have gone off and died); but they're brainwashed little Nazi shit-heels who try to kill him for his effort. Message: Children suck. And destiny is not on your side. ***

Mr Rice's Secret: A terminally ill boy, Owen (Bill Switzer), discovers a sealed envelope addressed to him from Mr. Rice (David Bowie). Owen soon discovers that Mr. Rice has left him a medieval code ring, a treasure map and a series of clues -- clues that will lead him on a surreal treasure hunt and one step closer to his destiny ... which may save his life.

The premise is good, and David Bowie is surprisingly good in his relatively minor role, though I'm more often than not reminded of The Hunger and a little bit Labyrinth. However, it's low budget; and there's only so much you can do with the fantasy genre when you have no money. Message: Accept that you'll die one day, live in the now, and you'll be happy. And my parents are obviously incredibly lenient--kids in this movie are getting belted or threatened with being belted every ten minutes. Yes, terminally ill boy, you're weak and fragile, but you've misbehaved, so pull down your pants ... ? ***

Nemesis Game: Mystery-thriller about a shy college student, Sara (Carly Pope--from Popular), and her friend, Vern (Adrian Paul, doing his best to hide his accent), who spend their time solving mental games and riddles for fun. But when everyone around her starts dying one by one, Sara begins to wonder whether she's part of someone else's game. Could her life be in danger, too?

Short answer: Yes. Rena Owen and Ian McShane also star in this. Owen is a crazy woman who's seen "the great design" and become a murderess and McShane is Pope's policeman father. Everyone is conveniently tangled into the Toronto-set plot.

I suspected the ending would be a cop-out, and it sort of is. But it couldn't be otherwise; because if it weren't a cop-out, then it would've been a really good movie (not direct-to-video schtick). But between the believable craziness of Owen and my predisposition to enjoy watching Paul do anything, it was an enjoyable distraction. Message: You're better off not knowing the grand design of the universe; knowing will make you kill people for reasons known only to you. ***

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