Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Red Planet

A Video Review of "Red Planet"

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

Val Kilmer as a janitor, now why does that appeal to me so much? Because of his performance in Batman Forever? Nope, contrary to what one might think, Kilmer is quite good in that piece of crap, better than his predecessor Michael Keaton, I thought. I even liked him in Thunderheart and The Doors (and I hate Oliver Stone) and even the universally panned Top Secret!. It's his decimation of "The Saint" that makes his suffering in Red Planet so pleasing to me. Don't ever ruin TV icons, dude, or I'll root against you.

Red Planet has some great cinematography, great scene fades and the red tinge to all the Mars stuff is ingenius.

Carrie Anne Moss puts in a good performance but her appearance here (and in Memento) convinces me she's really nowhere near as hot as she looks in The Matrix. The Wachowski brothers must have used one hell of an airbrush in The Matrix.

The story is astronauts crashland on Mars and play a game of survival until only Kilmer and AMEE, a robot probe gone a bit whacko, are left. Now the previews made this out to be a suspense thriller with these two playing cat and mouse but that's not the case, not until the last fifteen minutes, that is.

And while I rooted for AMEE, Kilmer is still good here and Red Planet is still worth seeing.

Friday, October 18, 2002

What Not to Rent at the Video Store


Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

It's Friday night and you don't want to go out. You just want to snuggle on the sofa with your honey with a few videos and some Orville Redenbacher's Sweet 'n Buttery Gourmet Popping Corn (the absolutely best popcorn on Earth, no contest).

So it's off to the video store, yes, one of life's great adventures. First you have to choose a video store. If they want blood and urine samples to rent, that's a bad choice of video store. If their foreign section is only one shelf, the sign says "F'ern," and the staff thinks Fellini makes pizza down the street, bad choice. If the employees are playing makeshift basketball with a mannequin head and a trash can on the counter, bad choice. If the movie posters in the window are for Titanic and Patch Adams and are bleached white from the sun, no. If they have a Jean Claude Van Damme section under 'drama,' uh uh. And if they have Moulin Rouge playing on the monitors, run, don't walk to the exit.

Once inside, how do you know what to look for? There are so many movies, literally thousands. Or more importantly, how do you know what not to look for?

First if you're at Blockbuster, avoid the staff picks at all costs. If these people knew anything about movies they wouldn't be working at Blockbuster, right? At any other store the staff picks might be worth a look.

The new movies, if there are more than five copies left, forget it. It sucks and obviously no one wants it, unless it's the first week it's out and the public at large doesn't know any better yet.

Ask other customers what to see. Don't ask the staff (unless you actually know them outside the store) because they'll say anything to get you to rent anything. It's their job, it's what they get paid to do. Other customers are in the same quandry you are and word of mouth is always the best recommendation (my opinions notwithstanding).

When walking through the store tapes with dust on them are usually bad choices. Now, when you find a tape hidden behind other tapes (especially those with dust on them) this is a good choice. Someone has hidden it so no one else can rent it and they're saving ot for next time. This is a winner.

Look for warning labels on the movies. For instance, avoid any films whose boxes carry words like "Adam Sandler," "Robin Williams," "Billy Crystal," Moulin Rouge or any movie with numbers after the title. Any thing that has Ebert & Roper giving a 'thumbs up' to is also a bad sign.

So remember: no staff picks, no dust, no Blockbuster and no Adam Sandler. Good luck!

Reprinted from the Project: Popcorn website at:

Monday, October 14, 2002

Sweating 03: Batmania Vs. Supermanga


Batmania Vs. Supermanga

Reviewing: Secret Files & Origins To The DC Universe 2001-2002, Sugar and Spike Replica Edition #1, Birds of Prey #42, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Batman: The 10-Cent Adventure, Superman #178, 182, Adventures
of Superman
#603-605 and Ultiman Giant Annual #1

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

DC has been doing these Secret Files books for awhile, sometimes they're worth it, sometimes not. I'd have to say Secret Files & Origins To The DC Universe 2001-2002 was not. This was a commercial, and false advertising at that.

Let's just look at the cover. Superman (who at least looks like Superman, a rarity as we'll see below) appears in six panels in the lead story. Wonder Woman, two panels. Hawkman, the reason I bought it, was mentioned once and appeared barely in two panels. Saturn Girl, also two panels. Krypto, apparently the star of the book, six panels like his master. Azrael gets a vague non sequitor two page sequence. Orpheus, a new character gets a text piece - an ad for his new book basically. And Steel? Only on the cover. What a rip!

Inside the book we get a jumbled but touching story about a working couple who hardly have time for each other because their jobs have them each running around the DC universe. It's interspersed with mentions of various major plotlines going on in many DC books this past year. The highlight is a fictional movie ad for "Topeka" a movie made about the Worlds At War series that ran through the Superman books.

Then we have the blatant ads, the pin-ups and text pieces on upcoming series or books DC wants to push. Suicide Squad (already on the cancellation block), Haven, Doom Patrol (yes, another new Doom Patrol), Orpheus (a Bat spin-off I won't bother with cuz I don't want to buy the other fifty Bat-books to keep up), Power Company (actually quite good, but this dry text piece sure wouldn't have sold me on it), Josie Mac (also quite good but dry as well) and Legion which is completely unrecognizable to me as the Legion but makes sure to make itself inaccessible to new readers. Hmmmm, ads that don't work, another $4.95 down the drain, I think I won't be buying any more Secret Files.

To wash the sour taste of that one out of my mouth I also purchased the reprint of Sugar and Spike #1 originally published in 1956. This was a joy by the master Sheldon Mayer and worth every penny of $2.95. Why can't we have more comics like this?

Birds of Prey is a hot topic lately. It's been picked up as a series for the WB by the same people who do "Smallville." To be aired Wednesdays at 9:00 PM it will be in the future as "Smallville" is supposedly in the past. Also in common with "Smallville" the comics continuity is thrown out the window, in other words some of the characters in this show will have the same names as characters in the comics. The plot for the pilot has Batman (played by the actor from the OnStar commercials) fleeing Gotham City after the Joker (voiced but not performed by Mark Hamill) kills Catwoman and cripples Batgirl. Years later Batgirl, now a computer hacker tries to fight crime with help of two new female crusaders.

Casting for the moment has Dina Meyer (who was so hot in "Starship Troopers" and "Johnny Mnemonic") in the Oracle/Batgirl/Barbara Gordon, Rachel Skarsten as the telepathic (?) and teenage (??) Dinah Laurel Lance (not called Black Canary in the pilot but sources say her mother appears in later episodes and is referred to as Black Canary) and Ashley Scott ("A.I.", Fox's "Dark Angel") as the Huntress/Helena Kyle (reverting to the original comics continuity as the daughter of Batman and Catwoman). Recent casting changes have Sherilyn Fenn ("Twin Peaks"), who was to have played Dr. Harleen Quinzel who eventually becomes the Joker's companion Harley Quinn, having her scenes reshot and replaced by Mia Sara ("Ferris Bueller's Day Off", "Time Cop") because she could not commit to the series.

Now I don't follow the comics series because it's so tied up with the Bat-continuity and I don't want to buy fifty books a month for one story but I know enough to know the show certainly won't attract viewers to comics, they'll be hopelessly confused. The most recent BOP I picked up was #42 because of Power Girl.

I'm a big Power Girl fan mostly because of the Justice Society and the 1970s All Star Comics series. That said, this issue read and the horror of what's been done to the character in the intervening years I think the only writer that should be allowed near her is Paul Levitz. The story in this book, why Power Girl no longer works with Oracle, is good by Chuck Dixon (who should be pounded in the head for getting PG's secret identity wrong - it's Karen Starr, not Steele. Hello? What do these DC editors get paid for anyway?), it's just not my Power Girl.

As long as we're on the Bat-books, this summer welcomed the long-anticipated sequel to the classic The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller. I bought all three issues of The Dark Knight Strikes Again or DK2 at a tragic $7.95 each and am wondering who I see about getting it back. Who said we needed a sequel anyway? The original was just that, original. It had things to say, trends to set, unexplored territory to explore and talent to show off. Unfortunately I think Frank Miller (like Peter David and the Hulk in my last column) has said all he has to say about Batman and should quit while he's ahead. DK2 is drivel, and a waste of money - for me, for you and for DC cuz I'm sure Miller did not come cheap.

On the other side of the Bat-coin this summer was the Bruce Wayne: Murderer story arc running through all the books. I only picked up the first part; Batman: The 10-Cent Adventure. Ten cents… I find the marketing ploy rather curious considering most comics shops gave these away for free. It's a great story, the best Batman I've read in years, by Greg Rucka. You get the origin, the motivation, brings you up to date in continuity, springs a great cliffhanger to launch this summer's story arc and entertains as well. As interested as I am to find out what happens I just don't have the cash to buy all the Bat-books this summer to find out. Shame, cuz the start is terrific.

It was recently announced that Wolfgang Petersen, director of action films like "Air Force One", "The Perfect Storm", "Outbreak" and "In The Line of Fire", was online for preproduction of a film project called "Batman Vs. Superman". Sadly from interviews it seems the German director knows very little about these two great American icons. It will be based upon the old day vs. night, hero vs. anti-hero cliche which is from a script by the multi-talented Kevin Williamson ("Scream", "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and "Dawson's Creek") which is at least a good sign. Petersen wants to cast unknowns in the title roles rather than actors already established in the parts. It should be noted that there is also a "Batman Year One" (Darren Aronofsky), a live action "Batman Beyond" (Neil Stephenson) and a new "Superman" (McG) all in preproduction and unrelated to this project right now as well.

If we were to do a Batman Vs. Superman as far as comics quality this summer Bats would be the sure winner because the Superman books surely do suck. Over the past months the art has been turning more and more manga. Sorry this is not my Superman, he's not big eyes and cartoony exaggerated muscles. My Superman is Max Fleischer, Wayne Boring, Curt Swan, even John Byrne or Alex Ross but no how no way manga. If I want that crap I'll watch one of my videos or read Impulse. It ain't Superman.

With my thoughts on the deteriorating art stated I'm just going to review the writing on the following books. Superman #178 features a visit to Smallville (do I smell a marketing link here?) and the return of Quality Golden Age great Uncle Sam. Sam has been restored to his original form after a stint as the costumed Patriot (a biiiig mistake in my eyes) and engages Supes in a Marvel Comics style brawl for no apparent reason (shades of the Hulk and the Thing). Superman #182 has Supes saving Lois from various members of the newly-re-formed Suicide Squad (now this is a marketing ploy) like Killer Frost, Solomon Grundy (again? Wow, between the "Justice League" cartoon and the comics this has been one busy summer for old Grundy) and Deadshot. As with the Batman 10-Cent Adventure above both these books have great cliffhangers but are so continuity-heavy in the subplots it kills any desire to pick up the series regularly.

I also picked up Adventures of Superman #603-605 because I'm a sucker for the Crime Syndicate even if they're not the evil Justice League from Earth Three anymore. Crisis still burns me up, I was five when I was introduced to the concept of parallel Earths (Justice League of America #91 to be precise) and have never had a problem understanding it. I still maintain it was the idiot editors at DC who didn't do their jobs that were the morons who didn't understand it, not the readers. Jeez, how did anyone watch "Sliders" if it's such a hard goshdarn concept???

Post-Crisis the Crime Syndicate now hail from an anti-matter universe which of course makes even less sense than Earth Three thanks to the twisted mind of Grant Morrison (don't get me started…). Here again, the art… ick. Mirror Mirror is an appropriate title for this trilogy because the manga-ish art has turned into some dark twisted Bizarro version of manga - it hurts my head to look at it, let alone read it. Any coolness the story may have had was destroyed by the visuals. It will be a loooong time before I pick up another Super-book.

For us Superman purists at least there is still Big Bang Comics. These folks specialize in paying homage to the Golden Age and the Silver Age of comics. Their version of Superman, Ultiman, has the Ultiman Giant Annual on the shelves this summer. Set up like the DC 80-Page Giants of the 1960s we get a few Silver Age style stories of Ultiman, a Thundergirl (sort of Mary Marvel meets Supergirl), and a Blackjack and his Flying Aces (Silver Age DC Blackhawks). A great tribute to the comics of the sixties. Ahh, memories... definitely pick this one up.

reprinted from

Sweating 02: It's Not Easy Being Green


It's Not Easy Being Green

Reviewing: Green Arrow: Quiver graphic novel, Green Lantern #151, Green Lantern Secret Files #3, Green Lantern: Brightest Day Blackest Night, Spectre #18, 19, Suicide Squad #10 and Incredible Hulk: The End.

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

Have you seen the video for "Papa Don't Preach" by Kelly Osbourne yet? Terrible, isn't it? The sound is a miracle of studio magic and visually it looks like a musical performance from a 1970s variety show, I almost expect the music to stop and Sonny and Cher to come out and do a skit about women's lib. This is in the top ten, MTV's playing it constantly. How do they get away with this crap? Easy, Ozzy Osbourne and his MTV reality show are on top of the world right now, he can get away with anything.

Kevin Smith is the Ozzy Osbourne of the comics world. He can get away with anything. Thus is his run on Green Arrow now collected into the graphic novel called "Quiver." If you're a Kevin Smith fan and want to try out his comics work, this ain't the place to start. The man who wrote the most accessible comics movie script ever for the unproduced "Superman Lives" has gone the other way completely for Green Arrow.

If you don't read comics you'll be lost from page one on this one. Kevin Smith takes great care in weaving his story through the rocky terrain that is the continuity of the DC universe. In bringing a dead hero back to life and confronting his friends Smith has perfectly used Oliver Queen (deceased), Black Canary (ex-lover), Arsenal (adopted son), Hal Jordan (deceased friend, now the Spectre), Connor Hawke (son, and the new Green Arrow), Batman, the Demon and even Stanley and his Monster without fouling up their current whereabouts like most editors would allow. Smith has done his homework, something most of DC's editors should do more often.
It's an epic story worth reading as well. Can't wait to see what he's got planned for Spider-Man later this year.

I met Judd Winick at the Philadelphia Wizard Con, for a celebrity (late of the only "Real World" that was entertaining, the one in San Francisco with Puck) he was very laid back and approachable, something that can't really be said of all comics professionals. He was very excited about his run on Green Lantern and so am I.
I love Winick's writing style, I'd read anything he wrote. I'd read anything he wrote, if he re-wrote the phone book or Moulin Rouge I'd devour it. Likewise I can't say I've liked everything he's done with Green Lantern but nonetheless I enjoyed reading it. He has made me like Kyle Rayner, a character I'd previously written off as a cipher.

In Green Lantern #151, a great jumping on point for the series we get a new costume and a new storyline. Folks in New York are going temporarily insane for no reason and Kyle gotta stop them. It's typical superhero fare but with style. If you're not reading Green Lantern, pick it up, if only for Judd Winick. The characters feel real and you care about them - if they're just going to work or hanging out or saving the universe, you'll still wanna read about them, try it.

If you are into Winick, check out Green Lantern Secret Files #3 for a taste of Kyle Raynor's fictional comic strip to see what else he can do. You also get a lead story by Ben Raab (who also wrote the incredible Legend of Hawkman earlier this year) ably aping Winick's style and a pin-up by golden age great and creator of Green Lantern Mart Nodell.

Speaking of the Golden Age Green Lantern, Brightest Day Blackest Night is also on the stands now, it features Alan Scott's first encounter with Solomon Grundy by Steven T. Seagle who masterfully wrote some of the best Sandman Mystery Theatres recapturing the golden age. We get to see Alan's first meeting with Doiby Dickles, how he moved to Gotham City, his first female companion Irene Miller, a planeload of Nazis, all this and Solomon Grundy too! This is what Seagle does best, takes existing continuity and builds upon it without changing it. A very satisfying tale for the golden age fan.

Staying with the green theme we next have the Spectre who is now former Green Lantern Hal Jordan. In Spectre #18 we have two distinctly different tales that should have perhaps occupied two different issues. In one we have the continuity heavy story of Abin Sur returning home - too dense for anyone not familiar with the whole Green Lantern mythos but a good story anyway.

Then we have Materna Minxx teaching Jordan's young niece in a tale worthy of the old Sandman series. It's magical and fantastic in that way and made me long for Neil Gaiman and the days when comics were written up in Spin magazine; too bad it won't happen here because of the other intertwined story in the book.

In Spectre #19 we have the return of John Ostrander the writer of the previous (and must read, it's brilliant) Spectre series. Here we get a wonderful morality tale of good and evil as the Spectre confronts Darkseid over a little girl persecuted by his minions. Why is there evil? Deep stuff. Must read. Ostrander is, as always, an excellent writer.

In Suicide Squad #10 we get a lost tale of our boys in green, Sgt. Rock and Easy Company, where they encounter Rip Hunter and the dinosaurs of the island that time forgot. Rock and Bulldozer recall this special mission in a flashback to 1959. Great story featuring why Rock doesn't like superheroes and a cameo from Solomon Grundy (him again? He's having a good month. There's a tale I'd like to see, when did Easy face off with Grundy??). This is the second flashback issue with Sgt. Rock in this series, why doesn't DC just bring back Our Army At War already? I'd rather read that than this bad re-wash of Suicide Squad.

Lastly we jump over the fence to Marvel for Incredible Hulk: The End. Writer Peter David wanted one last shot at the character, a chance to tie up all the loose ends from his decade long run on the book - supposedly this was it.
I think Peter David ran out of things to say about the Hulk a long time ago. This wordy poorly overwritten piece of crap cost me $5.95!!! Who do I see at Marvel to get my money back? Nothing is tied up, this is an unneeded sequel to the Maestro story from a few years back, David has come out from his shadow of great comics writer to be labeled a hack with this one. Don't waste your money.

reprinted from

Sweating the Small Stuff - Intro



Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

Who cares that the Earth-Two Superman wore blue boots in 1938 instead of red? I do. Continuity. It's a dirty job but somebody's gotta do it.

Somebody's gotta do it. When talented writers like James Robinson are linked to ineffectual editors like Archie Goodwin (R.I.P.) in "Starman" we get wonderful glitches like the original Black Canary's name becoming Diana rather than Dinah, the JSA murdering the Rag Doll and other horrors that could have been prevented had someone responsible been paying attention.

In coming columns we're going to sweat the small stuff together. Were Fury, Miss America or Wonder Woman ever really members of the Justice Society? We're gonna find out. What war produced Iron Man? Korean, Viet Nam, Cold or Desert Storm? We'll get that one straight too. Who is Kang really? That too. We'll even take a shot at that whole Hawkman mess.

So stay tuned for small stuff as well as reviews of the newest comics on the shelves and maybe a golden nugget from the past thrown in for good measure.

Continuity. It's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it.

Reprinted from

Sunday, October 13, 2002

Rollerball (2000)


A Video Review of "Rollerball" (2000)

Copyright 2002 Glenn walker

Chris Klein ("American Pie," "Say It Isn't So"), who took the part after Mark Wahlberg bailed out (to do that other 1970s scifi remake "Planet of the Apes"), is completely dull. Boring as sin, he is a no action hero but inexplicably cast as one here.

The best sequences are of the Rollerball game itself. The side story (which is unfortunately the side story, and the plot) seems as dull as Chris Klein himself.

It's a shame because boreboy's co-stars LL Cool J and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos are intriguing in their parts but sadly their backstories are as lacking as Klein's charisma.

Why remake a classic if it's going to be such a mess? This disappointment from director John McTiernan ("Die Hard," "The Hunt For Red October") will make me think twice before seeing another one from him.

Maybe more character development or more actual gametime would've saved this one. Maybe not.

All About the Benjamins

A Video Review of "All About the Benjamins"

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

Co-written, co-produced and starring Ice Cube. You know, I never considered it, but he's one hell of an actor. Ice Cube is the best thing about "Ghosts of Mars" and he owns "Friday" and "Next Friday." Here, he's a bounty hunter in Miami whose prey loses a winning lottery ticket in the middle of a diamond theft by an evil criminal mastermind.

Michael Epps (Omar's brother maybe?) is quite good. The chase for the diamonds and the lottery ticket is reminiscent of some of those old Bill Cosby/Sidney Poitier flicks from the 1970s and yet it never really tips into the comedy realm but never loses that urban thriller edge either. The ending however was a little too "The Whole Nine Yards" for me.

Great action sequences, nasty villains and good guys to root for. Look for Anthony Michael Hall as a white trash trailer park deadbeat. Not a bad rental.

Birds of Prey

A Television Review of "Birds of Prey"
Episode: "Pilot"

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

Batgirl, the Huntress and the Black Canary? Birds of Prey the comic book this is not.

This very loose comic book adaptation by the folks who brought us "Smallville" (there's a line about meteor showers thrown in that's hilarious) is visually stunning. The action sequences (if they could just get rid of that cat howling sound when the Huntress does her stuff they would be perfect) and CGI shots of New Gotham are amazing. You should see it just for that, but there's more, some of it not so good.

Dina Meyer (Johnny Mnemonic and sooo sexy in Starship Troopers - the scene where she takes off her shirt is permanently engraved in my head) is Barbara Gordon alias Batgirl, crippled by the Joker and now called Oracle, master computer hacker chick. Ashley Scott (A.I., "Dark Angel") tries really really hard to act as Helena Kyle (hold on, it's complicated - well, not for comic readers - but most tv viewers are much thicker than comic readers), the Huntress, the daughter of Catwoman and the Batman, who has metahuman strength and reflexes. Rachel Skarsten, a relative unknown plays the role of teenage Dinah Lance (not called the Black Canary - although rumor has it Lori Loughlin, formerly of "Full House" will be appearing as her mother who as the Black Canary was a former ally of Batgirl) who has strange telepathic abilities - woefully unexplained in the pilot.

Rounding out the cast are Ian Abercrombie (Mr. Pitt of "Seinfeld" - which is why I can't take him seriously) as Alfred, Bruce Wayne's butler and heartthrob Shemar Moore ("The Brothers," "Young and the Restless" and if you want to see the website of a man whose ego is completely out of control, check out as Detective Jake Reese, the David to the Huntress' Maddie. Mia Sara (Legend, Time Cop) plays the series' villainess psychiatrist Dr. Harleen Quinzel (known in the comics as the Joker's main squeeze, Harley Quinn) who was originally played by Sherilyn Fenn. All of Fenn's scenes were re-shot with Sara.

Oracle, the Huntress and Rachel join forces to stop a fear-inducing metahuman from killing innocents (as much as it sounds like the Scarecrow it ain't). Discounting the complicated backstory this is real simple. The backstory, told in flashbacks (and way too few of them) that are the best part of the show, has the Joker killing Catwoman, crippling Batgirl and driving Batman out of Gotham City. The daughter of Bats and Catty, the Huntress, is taken under Barbara Gordon's wing where she learns to be a crimefighter. The flashbacks, with the voice of the Joker by Mark Hamill who has perfected the part on the Batman animated series, and the actor from the On Star commercials playing Batman, are by far the best thing about the show. Especially Dina Meyer in the Batgirl costume. She outsexes Yvonne Craig and leaves Alicia Silverstone in the dust, no contest.

If they get rid of the howling, teach Ashley Scott to act, get her a real costume (instead of the Victoria's Secret get up she wears in the pilot), clear up the convoluted backstory and maybe write some decent scripts this might not be that bad. Rule number one for watching "Birds of Prey" is the same as "Smallville," forget the comics and it's enjoyable.

Want to read more of my opinions about comics on television? Check out Comic Widows at:

Saturday, October 12, 2002

Spirited Away

A Film Review of "Spirited Away"

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

Hatao Miyazaki is a genius. He brought us "Princess Mononoke" and "Kiki's Delivery Service" as well as one of my personal favorites "Castle of Cagliostro." The animation is second to none - vastly superior to anything Disney (who distributed this feature in America by the way) has done lately.

Featuring the voices of Lauren Holly and Suzanne Pleshette this is the story of a young girl who wanders away from her parents at an amusement park and becomes the workslave of demons in an extradimensional bathhouse. No. Really. I couldn't make that up.

It comes off as an anime version of "Alice in Wonderland" meets "The Wizard of Oz." The fun stuff comes when Miyazaki takes the idea of the lost little girl in another world and then throws in everything including the kitchen sink. We get every lind of spirit, demon and monster you can imagine and more.

It's a wild ride and a fun ride (long too, your butt will get numb). It doesn't always make sense but it's definitely worth the price of admission. And besides it's always a thrill to see anime on the big screen.

For more reviews by yours truly, check out

One Hour Photo

A Film Review of "One Hour Photo"

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

Robin Williams is not a favorite. But here, in his second sociopathic role (the first being Insomnia from earlier this year), his understated subtle performance may win him another Oscar nomination. Usually Williams strikes me as waaay over the top in an annoying Jim Carrey (like in "Jack" or "The Survivors") but that probably is due to suffering through his stand up act or early "Mork and Mindy" brainwashing. Otherwise he is this annoying sympathetic character just this side of Tom Hanks (a la "Bicentennial Man" or "Dead Poet Society").

In "One Hour Photo" Williams is Sy Parrish, a middle-aged photo developer at K-Mart wannabe Sav-Mart who becomes waaay too attached to a family whose pictures he's done for over a decade. As obsession turns to stalkingthe line between reality and fantasy blurs and Sy becomes downright dangerous. Robin Williams is pricelessly creepy and deeply disturbing, almost as if he were channeling Anthony Perkins or Anthony Hopkins.

No one in the audience can help but squirm as Sy visits the family's nine year old son at a soccer practice and just gets too close. You want to yell for the boy to run. It's positively chilling. Must see.

Welcome to Hell...

GLENN WALKER is a professional writer who has done stints in radio, journalism and managing a video store. Ask him about any subject and give him a moment he'll talk your ear off and tell you much more than you ever wanted to know. Ask him about movies, television, music or especially comics you'll be hard pressed to shut him up. He is currently working on his first novel, a cyberpunk thriller called The Beast Without as well as the comics review website Comic Widows which can be found at He has waaay too much free time. Obviously.