Sunday, January 30, 2005

a john frankenheimer christmas

How much irony can I deal with? The ice and snow are melting outside today (although the sun appears only after 3pm or thereabouts), and while I iron my shirts and khakis, the movie I have is em>Reindeer Games. John Frankenheimer had managed to impress me with his educated approach to making thrillers (The Manchurian Candidate, The Train, Seconds). But I've also seen him unable to pull things off (Black Sunday to a very small extent, and the embarassment called The Holcroft Covenant). I didn't know what to expect from Reindeer Games. Unfortunately, the film swung into the second category. The biggest problem lies in the screenplay (or whatever passes for it). All the twists and turns fail to explain meteorite-sized gaps in the screenplay. Gary Sinise is sinister enough and the nominal symbology is cute (Sinise's evil character is called Gabriel; Affleck's character is named Rudy [Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer!], and James Frain's character is named Nick [St. Nicholas]. There are a few nice moments, but overall as the twists unfold you begin to writhe in pain and mourn for the disarray that Frankenheimer left us with. On the trivia-monging front watch out for a nice cameo by Isaac Hayes ("monsters ... in the gelatin"); and also note that the screenwriter responsible for this mess (Ehren Kruger) was also a writer on Scream 3, the preview for which appears on this DVD!

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