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Moriarty's RUMBLINGS: Right And Wrong; BATMAN BEYOND; SIMONE!!!

Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some rumblings from the Lab.

You know what really disappoints me? Putting up a review that no one reads.

In all seriousness, I have gotten more mail about my review of THE CELL (which you can read here) than about any other review I think I've written. I'm talking about the same volume as when I wrote my LORD OF THE RINGS or EPISODE I script reviews. My poor Yahoo! mailbox actually started crying by Monday morning. Thankfully, it's finally relaxed to a sort of dull whimper now as the letters peter off, and now I'm left with the daunting task of sorting through them all.

Overall, I'd say the responses were split down the middle, just like the Talk Backs. That's fine. I didn't expect I'd please everyone with it. But there were many valid points made that I think merit response. First, some people seem to think that I repeatedly called Indian filmmaker Tarsem Singh Dhandwar by the name "Tarzan" as some sort of racist slur. Sorry if that's how you read it. Nothing could be further from the truth. I frequently resort to hyperbole and just plain absurdity when I'm bored and irritated by something I'm describing. I did it last year in my WILD WILD WEST review, and that was the case again here. I find it ironic that most of the people who attacked me are the same people who have been ridiculing my last name "McWeeny" here on the site, but I guess it's a case of do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do.

Which brings us to the second point. I wrote the following sentence in my review: "I think he works under the one name because he's afraid if he gives his last name out, someone who sat through this abortion might look him up in the phone book, drive to his house, and stomp him like a narc at a biker rally." Many of you took great offense at this. You seem to have read it as an actual call to violence. And you know what? I was wrong. Even as a joke, in that context, I was wrong. Especially when I was trying to make an overall point in my piece about self-regulation and responsibility for what we say and do. Recently, THE LATE, LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG KILBORN made a very public blunder when they showed a picture of George W. Bush Jr. featuring the caption "Sniper Wanted" underneath. The FCC is still pursuing penalties against them, despite an on-air apology from the show's host. Yes, it was a joke, and I'm sure they thought it was funny, but the heat it's brought down on them isn't worth it. The idea of self-regulation is not the same as censorship. It precludes the need for censorship. I do not believe that just because you can say something, you should. I believe that the images and the words you put out into the world come back to you. Despite what many of you think about me "hiding" behind the name Moriarty here on the site, I have always made my e-mail address available, and I have had many filmmakers come to me, furious, demanding an apology. I can think of at least one case where I was a total bastard to someone's film here on the site, and I've since been fortunate enough to meet the filmmaker in question and become friends with him, something I'm grateful for. It's possible to dislike someone's work in one case without it becoming a personal war. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a hothead, and that I write from an emotional place when I'm talking about film. I love this art form with every fiber of my being, and I take movies personally. I wouldn't have it any other way. As a result, I may well continue to put my foot in my mouth in the future from time to time. But that's the only way I am capable of writing, and since Harry trusts me enough to give me this forum as my own editor, there is only one person who can be responsible for the content of my reviews and stories... me. If I screw up, then I need to say I went too far, or that I got something wrong. More importantly, I need to be man enough to actually read your responses and learn from them. The idea that you would think I actually sanction the beating of a filmmaker just because I disagree with his work -- even if I think he's absolutely talentless as a narrative storyteller, as I do in the case of Tarsem -- makes me sad. I sanction no such thing. And that internal regulation I was talking about has to start with myself.

The last point I want to make about the review before moving on is just how many of you were shocked and horrified that I would mention Roger Ebert or have the gall to take him to task for something he wrote. As I said before, I grew up watching Roger. He's been kind enough to mention me in his 1999 Film Yearbook as a "spirited" critic and in numerous articles he's written about the Internet and this site. I like Roger. I think he's a hell of a writer. There's a reason he has a Pulitzer. But when I see a wild inconsistency in his work in terms of what he will support as art and what he attacks as fascist, I have every right to comment on that, just as you all have the right to disagree with me. He is a public figure, writing a column and hosting a show, his opinion heard by millions. I still believe that his endorsement of THE CELL created a level of dialogue on this film that was unneeded. For him to call FIGHT CLUB and A CLOCKWORK ORANGE fascist and to link the structure of slasher films to the rhythms of porn while encouraging viewers to see THE CELL based on the way it looked strikes me as spectacularly wrongheaded. But that's just my opinion. I may well have ruined my dialogue with Roger, and if that's the case, then I have to accept that as the consequence of what I wrote here. But I will never understand how a man who once wrote an outraged article for READER'S DIGEST in which he essentially called for NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD to be pulled from theaters could turn around and embrace something as loathsome as this.


VARIETY basically spent their morning confirming rumors you read here first last week. First up, there's this story that confirms Boaz Yakin, Alan Burnett, and Paul Dini will all be writing a live-action BATMAN BEYOND feature film. I'd point out to the VARIETY guys that Dini and Burnett weren't just writers for BATMAN, but actually created the animated show and produced it through its full run, just as they have with BATMAN BEYOND. As much as that news was already making me dance around the Labs in anticipation, VARIETY added one little tidbit that made me literally shake in geek frenzy. Neal Stephenson will be joining the team as a creative consultant. Yes, Virginia, there is a God, and he seems to be whispering in Lorenzo DiBonaventura's ear for once.

For those of you who don't already know Stephenson, let me just say that this seems to indicate that we are in for one amazing world against which to set this film. Stephenson is, in my opinion, a genius, a remarkable fantasist on par with Philip K. Dick. His SNOW CRASH is one of the seminal works of cyberfiction, and THE DIAMOND AGE is a thing of great beauty and haunting intelligence. Last year's CRYPTONOMICON was unlike anything I've ever read, a story that mixed fact and fiction into some strange new concoction that I am still digesting at this late date.

Now all Warner Bros. has to do is get Clint Eastwood to play the aging Bruce Wayne in the film, and I will simply burst from spontaneous geek joy.


But you should definitely take a look at this story. Charles Lyons and his co-reporters did an awesome job of answering many of the questions I posed in my original article about the upcoming Andrew Niccol film SIMONE in their piece today. As I strongly, strongly hinted (since I couldn't quite quote my sources), Niccol will be using a live flesh-and-blood actress to play his CGI central character in this story of a director who creates the "perfect" woman when he can't find her in a casting call. I'm glad New Line is being open about the process, since it seemed ridiculous to throw even more fuel on the fire of discontent as the Screen Actor's Guild counts down to next year's strike. I still think there's a number of other projects around town that are similar to this one that actually sound better (and I hope to bring you the scoop on one of them soon), but I applaud Niccol for playing fair. That's all I ever asked.


Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 22, 2000, 5:53 a.m. CST

    The Dark Night Returns

    by 69sniper

    Oh my god, this could so work! This is the Classic Batman story and to make into a movie, if it was done properly would be amazing! I'm not sure that Clint's the right man for the job but he did the mean surley toughguy in Unforgiven very well indeed. I think maybe Tommy Lee Jones would be a better choice, what do you fellow AICN'ers reckon then? Sniper Out........

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 6:05 a.m. CST

    The Cell

    by Kane

    Regardless of whether 'The Cell' is or isn't a 'good' movie, that was one of the worst film reviews I've ever read.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 6:06 a.m. CST

    BATMAN BEYOND may be quite good

    by Brian DePalma

    If they take a leaf out of the Bryan Singer's book and realise that a film made from a comic or cartoon character doesn't have to appeal to 3 year olds exclusively.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 6:07 a.m. CST

    We hate it when our friends become successful

    by Nordling

    I think most of the Moriarty-hackers on the site are, really, mostly jealous. The fact is, Moriarty is read by quite a few people. No offense to Harry, but when Moriarty says something about a movie, I listen. His reveiws are pretty much dead on. THE CELL is a bad movie. Personally, I didn't think it garnered all this's a flawed film. I think Tarsem may wind up to be a better director than Moriarty can give him credit for (I think he'd direct a fantastic children's film) but in the end, THE CELL really is death porn. I don't loathe it like the other haters, simply because I do think there were scenes of some intelligence in it. The opening sequence with the boy in the desert was interesting, to say the least. Unfortunately it ended up in a bad movie. I think the real problem that most people have with Moriarty is, that unlike themselves, Moriarty has a forum from which to speak. And if you think TalkBack's a forum you're wrong...most of the people who post here would rather be inarticulate assholes than try to come up with legitimate arguments. Those in the chatroom who know me know I HATE people who can't back up what they say. If you liked the movie, don't just say "Nice visuals..." because if that's all you go to see a movie for, then, really, you don't belong here. Back it up. I think those who actually hated THE CELL had good reasons for hating it. "Nice visuals" just doesn't cut it in here. And, finally, if you insist on calling Moriarty by his last name (which I consider rude, at best), YOU BETTER POST YOURS TOO. You can't argue from a pulpit in here...that's the point of TalkBack - we're all on the same level. If you'd rahter be a child, well, go ahead. That silence you hear? That's the smart people ignoring you.

  • People just bitchin all the time drives me nuts. Anyway i really don't see the need for Moriarty to apologise in all honesty thats what makes AICN worth visiting it's the only page that deals with film on an emotional level and doesn't say a film is good because of popular opinion or because of pretensious efforts to please the (so called) coniseur. We the geek populace are the coniseurs because we can see the value in any film from any background and any genre because we appreciate film at its most raw level. If the editors don't like a film with a passion they should be allowed to tell us just how bad this film is like one friend to another and if that means the parties responsible get a battering then 'bring it on!'. Putting your art out in front of billions you better have the cajones to take the backlash if what you put out there stinks. it's Darwins own survival of the fittest in cinema that means that great directors get the funding to make there next film depending on there previous efforts. that way sieving out the crap. (of course this theory doesn't fully explain anomilies like schumacher?) Anyhoo, to get back to The Cell all the preious news I'd heard on this film suggested it was crap and then it gets to the top of the boxoffice in the states, what happened there? Actually, I guess there wasn't much else last weekend to go up against it. Oh, just before I go I read in a german magazine that keanu's talking about returning to the Bill and ted films reuniting with Alex Winter for a film when there middleaged, anyone heard anything more about this?

  • One of Roger Ebert's weaknesses as a critic is that he is too easily seduced by striking or visionary imagery. He loves quoting German director Werner Herzog's insightful remark that our age is starved for new images, and observing that our imaginations are deadened by constant exposure to the same boring imagery: people talking on telephones, car chases, gunfire. From SPAWN to THE FIFTH ELEMENT to SPEED 2, movies that show him things he hasn't seen before consistently get higher marks than they deserve. (I think he was right to give TPM 3 1/2, but I know lots of people disagree with me.) The reason he failed FIGHT CLUB, plain and simple, is that guys beating each other up isn't anything new to look at. (Not that I'm any fan of FIGHT CLUB, I'm just making an observation.) Don't get me wrong, Ebert does take moral issues seriously in his reviews, at least to a certain extent. He has said, for instance, that he tries to reserve his Zero Stars rating for films that are in some way immoral, whereas films that are merely devoid of artistic and entertainment value but not immoral he tries to give at least a half-star to. However, after reading thousands of Ebert reviews, I believe that his moral sensibilities are generally at their clearest when a film's artistic aspirations and moral aspirations are more or less on a par. In other words, he does well criticizing artistically successful films with clear moral vision (e.g., DEAD MAN WALKING), and is also an enjoyable read on poorly made films with muddled moral vision (e.g., STIGMATA). But when a film combines exceptional artistic aspirations with moral confusion, Ebert gets as confused as the filmmakers. Ebert was seduced by THE CELL's haunting visual imagery, plain and simple. Never mind that its images are visions of the very soul of misogynism, perversion, sadism, and the supreme nihilism and egotism of hell itself. Never mind that the film's attempts to visualize peace and serenity and beauty are overwhelmed both visually and narratively by the visions of evil. Never mind that Christian imagery is subverted in grotesque ways: that demonic voices begin speaking to our predator at the moment of his baptism, when he is supposed to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and that Jennifer Lopez as the Blessed Virgin Mary "baptizes" to death the little boy within the predator, not washing away his sins but euthanizing him. THE CELL's vaunted imagery is ugly, repellent, violent, and perverse, and there is no corresponding moral vision to make the descent into hell worthwhile. Other films, such as DEAD MAN WALKING and SCHINDLER'S LIST, which also force us to confront disturbing and horrifying realities, offer us a corresponding moral vision to make it worth the trip. Films with more modest aspirations generally make more modest demands upon the viewer; thus in THE FUGITIVE there is a woman who is killed, but it's filmed with far more restraint. Tarsem's imagery is there for its own sake, like a painting or statue for audiences to react to. Ebert loves this. That's why he gave the film four stars. Moriarty was right to see past this to the larger moral vacuum at the heart of this film.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 7:24 a.m. CST

    Moriarty, your review was right on...

    by Cutter20

    Don't be intimidated by any angry Talk Backers... The Cell did suck bad, and bad movies deserve scathing reviews. Your review was over the top, sure, but that's what made it so much fun to read. There's nothing wrong with implementing a little bit of humor and hyperbole to make a point! I was shocked also to see Roger Ebert embracing this film and shunning a movie with actual depth, like Fight Club. But that may just be because Ebert's on crack. Regardless... thanks for the accurate Cell review, and don't feel like you have to sheath that razor sharp fury. Did I just mix metaphors or what? Oh well... -Andrew

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 7:58 a.m. CST

    I pretty much agree with Moriarty (except for the narc in a bike

    by ol' painless

    Moriarty has rightly pointed out the grotesque game of one-upmanship that Hollywood (and crime writers, for that matter) has been pursuing lately, particularly in the mass killer/serial killer genre: people like Tarsem just don't seem to care what drives the psychological engine of a killer. Instead, they only care about presenting rather pathetic 'visualisations' of their alleged mindsets. Face it, Hannibal Lester was about as far as you can go, any attempts to go further will degenerate into desperate flailing around with random pretty images, the kind that send Ebert home with a smile on his round features. He also seems to adhere to this pathetic and dangerous idea that mental illness is a state akin to genius, and that psychological problems are a glamorous and creative alternative to the 'sane' mind. Grow up, MTV-boy. People who experience psychlogical problems do not need your facile interpretations reinforcing these myths. And they also don't need your dangerous Hollywood-esque prejudices and stereotyping making what is already painful, challenging and difficult life even worse than it is.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 7:59 a.m. CST

    Batman Beyond & Stephenson

    by thecisko

    Stephenson originally planned _Snow Crash_ as a graphic novel, which you can still see when you read the book. So he has the sensibility. If THAT'S not a good sign, nothing is...

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 7:59 a.m. CST

    P.S . . .

    by ol' painless

    yes I know the name is Lecter . . . . thththththththth

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 8:09 a.m. CST

    SDG's post would've been more intelligent...

    by Veidt

    If he didn't misindentify the guise Lopez takes in the climatic dream sequence as the Virgin Mary. I believe her appearence in that scene is actually based on that of a Brazillian water goddess - which is the picture that she glances at just before re-entering the killer's mind. I do agree that Ebert has a giant weak spot when it comes to films that trade in dazzling imagery. And while Moriarty's review had a little too much hyperbole for my taste he was right on one count - The Cell is a total waste of film.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 8:28 a.m. CST

    I respect Moriarty's opinion a lot...

    by Kikstad

    The more I read your reviews and essays, the more I respect what you have to say, Moriarty. You have a keen perception and a great writing style. I find your trepidations about SIMONE a little unwarranted, though. Personally, I've really enjoyed Andrew Niccol's career so far, and virtually every movie Al Pacino has been in, so I'm really looking forward to this upcoming film. I hope you and others give it a chance. Although this may be hyperbole and I'll probably live to regret saying this, I think Niccol has the potential to be a genre master the likes of which we haven't seen since Steven Spielberg. Yes, it's too early to tell. But let's not start the naysaying about his movie before we've even seen a single frame of it. Keep up the good work. As for Batman Beyond, I love the cartoon, but honestly, shouldn't we all be praying for a decent adaptation of the original Batman that finally captures the characters we've all grown to love over the years? -- Nick.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 8:40 a.m. CST

    SDG, your over simplified analysist is way off base..

    by Brian DePalma

    Erbert's only weakness as a critic is his perception of the film is a very personal one. But that is the thing that is intrinsically wrong with all film critics. The problem being that making films is an artform and not a job that has set guidelines as to what is and isn't good. Opinions are all we have to base what we think of film before we have a chance to view ourselves, and for deeply personal reasons someone might despise a film that we could love. I mean on the whole films do fall into one of three catogories in the media, almost universally panned, almost universally praised and split opinion. By this token one would think that we could base all our film going on what critics say, see the praised film, don't see the panned one and maybe see the one that split the critics. Doesn't always work like that does it. That's why the idea that film critics are some faciation that we all must worship is absurd, as is the idea that a film critic can ever be wrong, all his job requires is to give an opinion and whatever it takes to form that opinion is completely personal to that person. Therefore it can't be weakness to form an opinion about a film based on what you like, such as original visuals.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 8:50 a.m. CST

    I think Clint would suck as Bruce Wayne!

    by skylarking

    I mean really, there are plenty of old guy actors out there that would be better than Clint "If-you're-a-senior-you-can-phone-it-in" Eastwood. Let him stick to directing and get someone who still remembers why he acts.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 9:15 a.m. CST

    To: thecisko

    by Seabird

    I appreciated your comment on Snow Crash originally being planned as a graphic novel. I noticed the same thing when I first read the book. I felt that Stephenson was very much inspired by traditional Japanese anime. The darkly absurd situations along with the over-the-top characters would seem to gel more in an animated format rather than live action if ever made into a movie. I also felt that Batman Beyond has more than a little anime influence. Stephenson as consultant seems very natural here...

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 9:28 a.m. CST

    SDG to re VEERS and Veidt

    by SDG

    Inconsistency, re VEERS, is a bona fide critical weakness. When a critic feels it is worthwhile to raise a moral red flag over films like VERY BAD THINGS and FIGHT CLUB, but seemingly loses that moral faculty when a film's imagery fires his imagination, that is a critical weakness. I have a great deal of respect for Ebert's critical work -- I am obviously quite familiar with it -- but he has a blind spot here where an issue that he otherwise cares about consistently slips by him because his attention is elsewhere. Now, Veidt: A Brazilian water goddess? Where the heck do you get that from? I have just checked the production notes on the official THE CELL site, Lopez appears in her own mind in two guises, a "warrior goddess" (that would be the dominatrix getup with crossbows, swords, etc.), and "a nun." The "nun" appears with halo and holy-card special effects, looking for all the world to me like a thousand images of the Blessed Virgin. I thought that the image she looked at just before going back in was a holy card of the Mother of God, but I cheerfully admit that I could be wrong. Even if she's a nun, though, it's still a Christian image, and the immersion in water -- which clearly echoes the earlier demonic-baptism scene and in fact is intercut with it -- is clearly a subversion of Christian baptismal imagery. As an aside, I note that Tarsem is Indian, of a Hindu culture, and I think that for him to subvert the imagery of another religion in this manner is just plain rude. Other people's traditions deserve more respect than that. But -- a Brazilian water goddess?

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 9:35 a.m. CST

    Scott Glenn for Old Bruce

    by ReuterKJones

    Forget Eastwood. Scott Glenn is the perfect old Bruce Wayne. He can play it surly without us thinking it's "Hey, Dirty Harry Bruce Wayne". That's too obvious casting. Glenn on the other hand is talented, still very fit, and can play the part with some malice. Perfect. As far as Stephenson being on the project: Wow.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 9:41 a.m. CST

    P.S. to Veidt

    by SDG

    Even the "warrior goddess" is characterized in THE CELL's production notes as a "Joan of Arc" type, so she, too, has Christian resonance. One of the most disturbing things to me about the film is that the little boy inside Stargher WANTS deliverance, WANTS redemption, WANTS to be saved. "Can I stay here with you?" he pleads with Catherine, but is told, "No, I'm sorry, honey, it doesn't work that way." Can she help him defeat his demons? Can she work with the part of Stargher that is repulsed by what he does and wants to change? No, in the end, she offers him only the "salvation" that little Stargher gave his rescued bird: he "saves" him from his father by DROWNING him. And Catherine does the same for young Stargher, administering yet another anti-baptism that psychically drowns him, kills the monster, and kills Stargher physically. Are we supposed to breathe a sigh of relief, or be profoundly disturbed at her horrifying and morally indefensible resolution to a horrifying situation?

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 9:43 a.m. CST


    by voight-kampff

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 9:46 a.m. CST


    by voight-kampff

    Sorry about that SDG, I'm at work and someone starting actually asking me to do something, what I wanted to say is, what I think re_VEERS is getting at, is that Erbert moral inconsistances are ingrained on anything he does as a critic, but the same can be said of any critic, basically I think VEERS is saying FUCK ALL CRITICS. hee-hee.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 9:48 a.m. CST

    hooray for boobies.

    by toiletduck

    the movie the cell was a really long music video. the imagery and effects were nice (dude, the horse part) but outdid the script and everything else. like the slow motion helicopter scene, it was a nice little effect, but why? also, when she imagines she's in the lab but she's really in his sub-conscious. i don't see what the point of it was. in any case, the movie left me wanting to think, wanting something to provoke thoughts. i wanted a psychological thriller dammit.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 9:57 a.m. CST

    hooray for boobies part 2

    by toiletduck

    oh yeah, almost forgot about batman. although clint would be good, maybe michael keaton with a little more grey. i think the best would be michael douglas. or william shatner? "' out of" (just pretend it was a really witty shatner impersonation)

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 9:58 a.m. CST

    'scuse me Chief

    by SDG

    ...but on the other hand, Ebert's inconsistencies don't make him worthless as a critic. It's a logical fallacy to say that because a thing can't be done perfectly it isn't worth doing at all. You might as well say "fuck all movies" as "fuck all critics." Critics perform a valuable function, and Ebert on the whole does an admirable job. I'm much too attached to film criticism, both reading it and doing it myself, to dispense with the whole enterprise. In fact, because all critics have their blind spots, one of the things I like about reading Ebert is that I know what his are, and I can compensate for them. You read somebody whose blind spots you don't know and it's a lot harder to get anything valuable out of the experience.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 10:03 a.m. CST

    Calling Tarsem "Tarzan" - ABSURD! WILDLY ABSURD!! THE HEIGHT OF

    by BraveCapt.

    No. Dork!

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 10:04 a.m. CST

    Hey SDG, I totally agree with you

    by voight-kampff

    Its that idiot re_VEERS who has no respect for film criticism, but I have the feeling that he dislikes critics as a rule, no matter what artform they are talking about.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 10:08 a.m. CST

    "Nice visuals."

    by r_dimitri22

    Whatever floats your boat, man. To each his own. Blah, blah, blah. Personally, I found the movie uninvolving, lacking in the characterization department, devoid of suspense, and outright hollow. But I must admit I was impressed with the scenery of Stargher's (spelling?) mind. And I don't think that we should dismiss anyone who found that merit of the film to be sufficient for his/her viewing pleasure. Why should someone's opinion be taken to task because a film didn't live up to someone else's expectations? Since when is movie criticism an exact science? One of the greatest compliments I ever received was one of my friend's telling me that my film critiques often enhanced his enjoyment and perspective, so I'm not dismissing this dialogue as useless. I simply find these vitriolic debates in which everyone seems desperate to shout the loudest and/or inject his/her commentary with the most witty retorts to often be sound and fury signifying nothing. I myself would probably give The Cell two out of four stars, so I guess I fall somewhere between Ebert and Moriarty. I don't plan on revisiting the film.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 10:08 a.m. CST

    sorry Chief

    by SDG

    Pardon a bonehead for missing the irony. I'm in response mode.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 10:13 a.m. CST

    Ebert is full of it.

    by Redbeard_NV

    Ebert's commentaries have been full of dren ever since his gave an enthusiastic thumbs up to that ever classic film. "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover". An eye burning, gut wretching, sadistic waste of film and acting talent (especially Ellen Mirren), his positive review rang in my head watching this felgercarb, accompanied by the sound of my actually throwing up my popcorn, butter flavored 30 weight and all, over such a hateful, sick and misguided piece of feces masquerading as cinema.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 10:14 a.m. CST

    Sorry, make that Helen Mirren!(eom)

    by Redbeard_NV

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 10:19 a.m. CST

    "Hyperbole?" "Absurdity?" Nonsense, Moriarty

    by moviet00l

    You made fun of someone's name, exactly like those "do as I say, not as I do" people you mentioned make fun of yours. Don't try to convince us it was some kind of literary tool. What bullshit.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 10:22 a.m. CST

    Roger Ebert v's Moriarty

    by Mad Dog

    Simple solution as to whether the films good or not,lets solve this viking fashion give both of em a sword,first one to die is wrong.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 10:24 a.m. CST


    by Brian DePalma

    I never intended to sound like I was dissing film critics, what I was saying was that it was idiotic to critisize critics. See it even looks stupid when you write it down. An opinion is just an opinion at the end of the day, and a lot of them are damn interesting, but one is no more valid than another.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 10:37 a.m. CST

    moriarty...I'm with you...more or less...

    by sundown

    well dude, you went out there and did a long diatribe on whats wrong with American cinema and went a little overboard and got spanked...personally a joke is a joke and people should grow a sence of humor and get over it...your not showing a picture of the guy and saying "snipers wanted"...what you said was clearly in jest and if it had been aimed at the President himself you wouldn't have gotten in trouble. But I guess considering all your posts on this site you think it pays to placate. I agree with what you said but I don't think a follow up 'this is why I said it' was needed...the other "news" you added was old too. For what its worth Ebert is wrong on a great deal of things but so what, who agrees with everyone on everything but it is his job to know basic "good" and this wasn't it...I seldom listen to him anymore anyway, aint the same without Gene...You are right about film but I disagree on self regulation...I have no problemw ith overt gore for its own sake in any movie...THIS MOVIE WAS NOT GORY...sorry it wasn't...BUT this movie did really suck in every way and I don't think the visuals were that great, in fact I found his real world to be quite boring (there is more to directing then pretty colors and angles...there are things like structure and building scenes and getting performances out of people) and I thought not much was invented for the dream/coma/mind world I saw it all before in a mish mash of films. I don't think this film warrants any discussion as the plot was so paper thin that most of the talkbacks have been about opinions of others opinions rather than the film itself...soon this film will go to the obscurity enjoyed by the Avengers and the later Batfilms never to return. In the future Moriarty just keep to your opinions we don't need another lengthy book on why they are right so you can stay in everyones good graces...because this is the net you can say what you think If its logical even if others don't agree or are offended, without reprisal other than a logical one here is gonna lose their job over this stuff... so I hope you don't hold back in the future because of this mess.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 10:39 a.m. CST

    re VEERS: Ebert disagrees with you.

    by SDG

    The very fact that Ebert wrote to Moriarty regarding FIGHT CLUB ("You fell for it") indicates that he doesn't subscribe to your theory that criticism can't be criticized. Even in his review of THE CELL Ebert shook his head in bewilderment at those who hated the film, wondering rhetorically, "Did we see the same film?" -- which of course implies that right-thinking people who see the same film he did might reasonably be expected to come to the same conclusions. And I think the same, although in the opposite direction. This illustrates the fact that you point out, that film criticism does involve subjectivity; but not absolute subjectivity. If subjectivity were absolute and everyone's opinion were so uniquely his or her own that one opinion suggested absolutely nothing whatsoever about the probability of other people coming to a similar or different opinion, then indeed film criticism would be worthless, except perhaps as an interesting literary genre in its own right (which despite your disclaimers does seem to be more or less the view you advocate). Then Ebert would have no right to castigate films like VERY BAD THINGS as morally offensive, since that would only be his own utterly ideosyncratic response; it would be akin to saying "I personally happened to have bad thoughts as I watched this movie," which is a statement hardly worth making. Film criticism may not be a science, but it does aspire to be more than a recording of ideosyncratic personal responses that have no bearing on the film in itself or on other people's responses to the film.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 10:41 a.m. CST

    Too good to be the work of God ;)

    by AnotherThief

    The news of the movie was...great. Almost as good as the Thief 3 news. But now Stephenson? Damn it Moriarty I almost freaked out! People could get hurt... I'm just working my way through Cryptonomicon (Randy and Avi just had their tombstone/evidence/masturbation talk). Stephenson really is a genius. He has to be. There's no other way. He should invest a bit more time in a stronger story, though. Btw, "Zodiac" would also be worth to be mentioned...

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 10:50 a.m. CST

    Terence Stamp as Ras'al'Ghul

    by Palhaco

    PacoChaos nailed it with this suggestion. I don't agree with him about "forget Batman Beyond", but Terence Stamp would be perfect as Ras'(however you spell his name 8^). As far as Batman Beyond, no, it doesn't have some of the moral depth and complexity/ambiguity of Batman: the Animated Series or the interim animated Batman (Gotham Adventures?). It's more of a straight-ahead action show. One of the things I really like about all of Dini/Timm/Burnett's Batman series is the sense that when someone gets hit, they really get HIT. When something huge falls, you feel it. For an animated show, especially, that's an accomplishment. So, while I might prefer a classic Batman presentation, I'll be very grateful for a well-done Batman Beyond (without Keanu, please....)

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 10:51 a.m. CST

    Hey Mr SDG

    by Brian DePalma

    With your fancy words. All I'm saying is that film criticism is at some level subjective. Obviously it can't be completely subjective and some objectivity has to be used in order to raise from an opinion to journalism, but no one critics opinion means more to me than an others. And of course critics can complain about other critics because in order to be a critic one must first think that one's opinion on a subject is the definitive and if one doesn't argue this point then there is no basis on which to believe the point in the first place as the critic himself must not belive it. Also they look like complete tools when someone contradicts their opinion.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 11:16 a.m. CST

    Peace, re VEERS

    by SDG

    Roger Ebert thought Moriarty was wrong about FIGHT CLUB. Moriarty thinks Ebert was wrong about THE CELL. So do I. Since Ebert doesn't take offense at the concept of criticizing criticism, why should you take offense on his behalf? He doesn't need you to defend him, and I have no quarrel with you. I agree with you that criticism is on some level subjective. I don't think critics necessarily have to believe or do believe that their own opinions are "definitive." Most critics, I hope, recognize the limitations in what they're doing. Ebert's reviews sometimes contain genuine questions and expressions of uncertainty, and even when he's more confident I think he can be open to other points of view. Sometimes, of course, he believes that he's right and others who disagree are wrong. I hope he's open to rethinking his view on THE CELL. But I won't stop reading his reviews if he doesn't. Peace out, SDG (P.S. to Soul Sucking Jerk: This is my modus operandi, you may want to skip my posts from now on.)

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 12:05 p.m. CST

    Ebert and Fight Club

    by BobBarker

    What infuriated me about Roger's FIGHT CLUB review was that he seemed to get it. It looked to me as if he understood what the film was trying to say, and didn't recommend it based on his perception that some people might misunderstand. I can't think of a worse reason to criticize something than the stupidity of others. This stance, though, doesn't seem to mesh with his email to Moriarty calling it a...what was it, "Macho porn trick?" FIGHT CLUB is hands down the best film of 1999. An absolutely brilliant piece of work. It gets better with every viewing, and someday Ebert will probably be singing its praises (rather like the Clinton/Fight Club incident.)

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 12:16 p.m. CST

    To Nordling:

    by Emmet_Ray

    I completely agree with you and your points on backing up one's opinion and that whole last name issue. However, the other night in the chat room Moriarity and I were debating over the Roger Ebert issue. My argument was that he took a private letter that RE sent to him personally and posted it up for millions to see. Instead of privately sending RE a letter back, Moriarity sent RE his response but at the cost of a lot of embarrassment. He conducted himself in an immature matter when he simply could have E-mailed RE back with his points and criticisms as opposed to the latter method. When told my argument, Moriarity said "Emmet, your not going to suddenly make me see the light! I made a decision and that is that." Yes, he did make a decision but it seems that he had no valid reasons to make that decision. So, before you defend your fearless leader you might want to look into whether or not he can defend himself, let alone his decisions and ideas.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 12:21 p.m. CST

    Ebert, Armageddon, & The Rock

    by looking-for-love

    Ever since Ebert gave Armageddon 1/2 a star and gave The Rock 3.5 stars, I started to think that this guys is looney and wacko. He criticzied Armageddon for the same reasons he praised The Rock.________________If you ask me, critics in general are all in an intellectual crisis at this moment.__________Like the saying goes: "Critics are like broken pencils; they have no point, and are useless. With the exception that a penicl can be sharpened.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 12:23 p.m. CST

    Another Bruce Wayne possibility:

    by MrMsty

    James Caan. He's got the acting chops. I saw him on TV once, demonstrating martial arts with a cane. (It might be interesting to see someone who actually knows how to fight playing Batman.)

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 12:28 p.m. CST

    Roger Ebert?

    by Cheezdanish

    This is the same man who wrote "The Valley of the Dolls." Could there be a worse movie? Moriarty: Don't let the talkbackers give you any crap. You have every right to express your opinion in anyway you see fit, and don't allow these people to tell you how to think and talk. Down that road lay 1984, my friend. Niel Stephenson is a brilliant novelist and I have high hopes that SNOW CRASH will be made into an anime type movie. However, I really think that his talents could be used to more effect in places other than a new Batman movie. When will they learn? The Batman movies don't work. It is a story best saved for comic books. Don't destroy Batman Beyond too!! Please!

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 12:30 p.m. CST

    Roger Ebert?

    by Cheezdanish

    This is the same man who wrote "The Valley of the Dolls." Could there be a worse movie? Moriarty: Don't let the talkbackers give you any crap. You have every right to express your opinion in anyway you see fit, and don't allow these people to tell you how to think and talk. Down that road lay 1984, my friend. Niel Stephenson is a brilliant novelist and I have high hopes that SNOW CRASH will be made into an anime type movie. However, I really think that his talents could be used to more effect in places other than a new Batman movie. When will they learn? The Batman movies don't work. It is a story best saved for comic books. Don't destroy Batman Beyond too!! Please!

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 12:44 p.m. CST

    Sans Siskel

    by Quiddity

    While people tended to agree with one guy more than the other, I'm one of those folks who liked to hear both opinions. In fact, a lot of what you guys are doing here (Picking on inconsistancies in Ebert's reviews) are what Gene Siskel used to do. While I'd only admit to turning into their show to see the clips, without their back-and-forth I tend to agree less with Ebert's opinions on movies I've seen.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 12:45 p.m. CST

    Why Tarsem didn't give AICN a screening.

    by IAmJacksUserID

    Before you say that Harry and the gang are just giving bad reviews to The Cell because they didn't get a screening, WAKE UP! I bet Tarsem didn't give them a showing, because he knew they would rip it about like starving dingos, and thats not good for the box office numbers :-) Dingos are cool...

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 12:47 p.m. CST

    Haven't seen Cell yet...

    by Dlhstar

    ...Probably won't either, unless we get it in our theatre. But, I would like to chime in here with some of the over the top criticisms that Ebert has levied in the past. First, NORTH. I remember when I saw them review this on their show, I made sure to have a video tape handy the next day when they did the repeat to catch it again. Anyone who ever accuses the AICNer's of over the top reviewing would do good to recall this review, if possible, or read it on his web page (much tamed from the TV show review, where either he or Gene said it made them feel 'physically dirty'). Ebert is a funny sort. He criticized The Frighteners because he said the film relied too much on CG and no plot, yet a few years later, he commended SPAWN for similar reasons. Additionally, there are times he says things to me that make no sense: "Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos), who in the Japanese anime tradition can change her shape" (???) I'm sorry, but it seems any time anything is done in a film nowadays, Ebert is very, very, very quick to try to connect it to anime. Why? In his Titan AE review, rather than saying, "We need more American studios finally getting out of the singing dog and cat cartoons and doing things like this", but rather, "This is the film that could bring anime out of the video stores and onto the big screen..." The only thing I can suppose is that he has suffered like most of us over the last few decades of worthless Disney-fluff and saw anime as the great animation savior. I'm just saying, why can't we have a KC, Marvels, DKR, or Watchman animated film project...

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 12:48 p.m. CST


    by Skahtul

    Roger Ebert did not write "Valley of the Dolls" but instead wrote "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls", an X rated spoof of the original. I agree that Roger was wrong in his review of "The Cell" but I couldn't let this error slip by. PS:You rule SDG!

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 1:08 p.m. CST

    Batman Beyond casting

    by design8r

    I have some faith in this movie idea, especially since Neal (N-e-a-l) is involved. Love that guy. However, there's no way they could successfully cast Dana Tan. She'll just have to remain an animated character. :)

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 1:47 p.m. CST

    Ebert and Bruce Wayne Picks

    by Darth Brooks

    Roger Ebert knows lots about film criticism and narrative strategies and storytelling and cinematic imagery. "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" was genius in spoofery, in that you could watch the whole film thinking, "is he KIDDING or being SERIOUS?" That being said, I usually don't agree with Ebert on his likes and dislikes of films. FIGHT CLUB was revolutionary, clever, and disturbing - - something that Ebert completely missed. THE CELL was disturbing but trite and empty, something that Ebert bypassed. So why listen to or read Ebert's reviews? The simplest reason is that without Ebert, you've got nothing to discuss - Examining another thought-set of views about a film challenges the viewer to look for other strengths and weaknesses of a film. I *enjoy* disagreeing with Ebert - it makes me think about a film more and understand just *why* I don't agree with him. ---------- Okay enough about that. Bruce Dark Knight Returns Wayne should be played by Paul Newman. He'd be a great, bitter, gaunt aging billionaire. I keep picturing him in the Tunnel of Love, hunted by the police, his ribs bleeding, trying to set off the brick of C-4 with a pistol "Stupid - - - doddering-- couldn't hit the side of a b-" BLAMMM. Yeah.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 2:10 p.m. CST

    Ebert's probably right on Fight Club and Clockwork Orange

    by Fatal Discharge

    ...they glamorize their violence and instead of having people change the system from the inside they advocate violence as a cure. Don't tell me that 14-year old boys think Fight Club is the "best film ever" (as I've read countless times at IMDB message boards) because they bought into its supposed anti-violence stance. I don't advocate censorship like Moriarty seemed to do but filmmakers have to be aware that these movies along with the no-morality brand of child rearing taking place can lead to kids believing the 'violence solves problems' mentality.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 2:27 p.m. CST

    Harrison Ford as Bruce Wayne

    by Modfather

    C'mon. How come no one's mentioned this? I know everyone's been bashing him of late, but he fits the part. And if his stuff has recently been one note, that's perfect for bitter, lonely old Bruce. He looks right too: showing his age, but still has the chops to kick your ass.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 2:32 p.m. CST

    Well...that certainly sucked.

    by lester_long

    I am not sure why an apology was in order here. If that's the way he felt about the film, then he has a right to say what he thinks, but I totally disagree with him about the movie and I am still thinking that "Tarzan" was a racial slur, but anyway...that's just my opinion. and Batman Beyond sucks btw.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 3 p.m. CST

    Strike or no strike -- I side with the actors

    by Kikstad

    Personally, I hate seeing anyone make 20,000,000 dollars for acting in a movie when I'm busting my butt and making a heck of a lot less. But don't say "I can do what they're doing" because you can't. Speaking as a former actor myself, it's a lot of work. YOU're not going to "open" a movie as big as Tom Cruise can. Face facts. Most of us can't act. Oh, we can pretend that we can, but when our delusions of grandeur fade away and reality sets in, we realize that actors need talent, dedication, good material, good directors and cinematographers and costume designers and make-up artists etc. to surround them, and a heck of a lot of luck to EARN that 20 million bucks. There are hundreds of thousands of actors struggling in the business, but only a handful of actors make the big bucks. The actors union protects the little guy. If SAG and AFTRA disappeared, the Tom Cruises of the world would still be making the big moolah, because studios want the big name and pretty face that everyone recognizes attached to their project, so they'll shell out the big dough to pay for it, knowing that they'll probably get a good return on their investment. You can cast an unknown who's better, but the marketing guys would have a fit and the film goers in Smalltown USA would skip the film and see the next Julia Roberts vehicle instead. So don't bellyache about how much actors are making and "how dare they go on strike" and "you'd gladly take their place and work for free" and all that other crap, because the movie industry is making literally billions of dollars and the actors (and writers) deserve every penny they get.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 3:40 p.m. CST

    Just for the record...

    by Emmet_Ray

    To all of you talkbackers and aicn staffers who are accusing Ebert of writing The Cell a four star review due to its visuals, take a look at the below excperts from his review. You will see that he found something more where you people did not. <<For all of its visual pyrotechnics, it's also a story where we care about the characters; there's a lot at stake at the end, and we're involved. I know people who hate it, finding it pretentious or unrestrained; I think it's one of the best films of the year.>> <<Catherine, who is played by Lopez as quiet, grave and confident.>> <<Mark Protosevich's screenplay is ingenious in the way it intercuts three kinds of stories. On one level, "The Cell" is science fiction about virtual reality, complete with the ominous observation that if your mind thinks it's real, then it is real, and it could kill you. On another level, the movie is a wildly visionary fantasy, in which the mind spaces of Stargher and Deane are landscapes by Jung out of Dali, with a touch of the tarot deck, plus light-and-sound trips reminiscent of "2001: A Space Odyssey." On the third level, the movie is a race against time, in which a victim struggles for her life while the FBI desperately pieces together clues; these scenes reminded me of "The Silence of the Lambs." The intercutting is so well done that at the end there is tension from all three directions, and what's at stake is not simply the life of the next victim, but also the soul of Carl Stargher, who lets Catherine get glimpses of his unhappy childhood.>> Ya know, if you people weren't so quick to judge you might have actually READ his review for what is was, a detailed, positive, critique and analysis of a film he thoroughly enjoyed. BTW- Sweet and Lowdown was the best film of 99'.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 3:48 p.m. CST

    Regarding that "brazilian water godess" veidt mentioned

    by Seu Madruga

    I haven't seen The Cell, since it hasn't opened in Brazil yet, and i'm probably gonna skip it, but i think veidt was right when he stated that jeniffer lopez appears dressed as a brazilian water godess, and not as jesus' mother. See, we (not me, the people who believe in it) actually have such a godess, called Iemanja, who is supposed to bring good fortune to those who offer her gifts on a given day of the year (october 12th, i guess). Now, she actually looks a lot like the virgin, because back in the colonial times, the black slaves used to "dress" their divinities like the catholic ones to worship them without being disturbed. And i've also read an interview given by ms. lopez to in wich she says she's not portrayng the virgin. So, if the scene in question is, indeed, offensive, it's offensive to fewer people. Not that it helps. And i bet there's no one reading this by now

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 4 p.m. CST

    Adam West or Harrsion Ford as old man Bruce Wayne

    by TuxedoMaskRose

    When I herd about the live action Batman Beyond. Harrasion Ford and Adam West both came to mind. Don't ask me why though

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 4:16 p.m. CST


    by toiletduck

    i had someone dufferent in mind but then forgot. so i started thinking old guys and i remembered seeing a picture of michael douglas now and he looks pretty dang old. i think he'd do an okay job. but in all honesty, i think michael keaton should revise the role. or maybe get eddie murphy and a lot of latex and he can play bruce wayne. i was kidding that time.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 4:19 p.m. CST

    damn these clumsy hands.

    by toiletduck

    oops, i meant "different," not dufferent. i agree with whoever said harrison ford, he'd be pretty good too. anyone else think sean connery would be good?

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 4:20 p.m. CST


    by drac999

    This is obviously WB's lame attempt to appeal to the less-demanding teeny-bopper set -- an audience who will shell out 8 bucks regardless of reviews or the movie's faithfulness to the Batman mythos. Instead of taking a risk for once, Bonaventura's creative sensibilites have yet again succumbed to mass commercialism. "BB" is the safest bet because of its built-in tv following and the legion of devoted fanboys who'll wait in line no matter what. The fact is, setting up 2 separate Batman movies is probably the most bonehad move you can make. As it is, the current franchise has lost many fans and still hasn't recovered from the Joel Schumacher/Akiva Goldsman years. If "BB" tanks (which is a distinct possibility if you look at it from a realist's perspective) that will surely spell doom for Y1 or a Batman sequel. Essentially, we're going from having no Batman at Batman overload. WB needs to show everyone that they can make a decent Batman film (with Bruce Wayne...not this McGinnis kid) before they can risk over exposure of a character who's popularity (quite frankly) has waned in recent years. More than anything else, I'm disappointed that we may never see another "original" Batman story on the big screen. Whether it be "BB" or "Y1," either way we're getting a film whose basic premise we already know...thus limting the element of surprise. I say -- if WB doesn't think Batman is an interesting/cool enough character to portray in his 40's...why even to bother to show his early years? The simple fact is, if no one cares about The Dark Knight one's gonna give a rat's bum about how he came to be. You want "BB"? Go back and watch the first season's episodes. You want "Y1"? Go back and read Frank Miller's GN. If Batman is ever going to survive in the has to stop living in the past.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 4:36 p.m. CST

    Emmet Ray and Seu Madruga

    by SDG

    Emmet, I did read Ebert's review, several times. I know that he claimed to be engaged by the characters, storyline, and so forth. But at the risk of being condescending, I think he's rationalizing. I think he wanted to like the story and characters because he was seduced by the visuals; the same characters, the same situations, without the pyrotechnics, and he would have hated the movie. That's just my personal opinion; Mr. Ebert is of course welcome to maintain the contrary, and naturally his interpretation of his own view carries more weight than mine; but I'm still entitled to my point of view. Too many other critics have seen through the thin characterizations, formula plot twists, and uninvolving drama; and Ebert is a sharp guy. If it weren't for the visuals, he'd have seen it too. Seu Madruga, I still don't buy it about the Brazilian goddess. The official site says she's supposed to be a nun. The thing her character looks at just before she goes under looks like a typical Mexican saint's holy card; just the kind of thing a Hispanic character like Catherine might have around. Are there holy cards of Iemanja? What would Catherine be doing with one? Beyond this, where is the Brazilian goddess thing documented? I would like to see some confirmation of this, if it exists.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 5:16 p.m. CST

    That Dennis Miller rip-off

    by lester_long

    yes, warrior, I just noticed that...the "narc at a biker rally" line was stolen from Dennis Miller Live. If you're going to make violent, stupid remarks, at least make them ORIGINAL violent , stupid remarks.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 5:22 p.m. CST

    Moriarty the Pompous Ass


    Moriarty, I expended enough time on your worthless review of "The Cell" (check Talk Back to see how I put you in your place,) that there's not much more to say here. You may have felt a tinge of guilt for being a racist SOB, and that's good. At least you identify that in yourself. But your calls for censorship, are idiotic. Self censorship is still CENSORSHIP. It's the artist holding back for fear of spawning legislated censorship, and that's worse. It's forcing change under the threat of censorship, and anyone who plays that game is fucking evil, IMO. If you think censorship IN ANY FORM is a good thing in the movie industry, you are just like one of those spineless cretins who supported the Hollywood blacklists in the Fifties. As I said in my other Talk Back message under your "The Cell" review, I will fight to the DEATH against ANY effort to censor films. Self-censorship or direct, legislated censorship. It doesn't matter because they are both the same. Your review is still an insane piece of juvenile trash, and you should be kicked off this site for it. And don't expect a Xmas card from Roger. I think you've BURNED that bridge.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 6:29 p.m. CST

    Sorry, but I still want my FRANK MILLER BATMAN MOVIE

    by wash

    The fact that Batman Beyond was "inspired by" the Dark Knight returns doesn't really do much for me. All it really proves is, AGAIN, Warner is only concerned with how many toys they'll be able to sell. Ok, it might turn out to be good, but I doubt it will be great.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 6:33 p.m. CST

    I totally agree with SDG...

    by TheDanShadow

    ...and about Ebert's infatuation with cool visual's an admitted fact. It's his weak spot. Dark City was named by him the best film of 1998...for it's visuals. He loved Babe 2, which had one redeeming quality: It's visuals. He loved Spawn, and The Fifth Element, and many other visual feasts. And he'll probably love The Grinch when it comes out (not that it won't be great). That's why he loved the Cell, and I knew it the minute I saw four stars on the slugline. And if I liked The Cell (if I ever see), that would be the only reason why. Oh, and by the way, on the downside of his visual hang-up, he gave Gladiator two measly stars, saying it didn't have the visuals he wanted -- bah. It had awesome visuals. Sure, now winged purple pings flew out of Russel Crowe ass and had a tea party in the clouds, but anyway...that said, he's the best one out there, and I always enjoy reading his reviews, even if I disagree. He really gives a good sense of the film's flavor, and has interesting comments and an easy style. Great writer. However, he robbed Gladiator and Arlington Road, and if The Cell gets four stars, then The Matrix certainly did. Instead pompously ambitious failures like Magnolia get four stars?

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 7:57 p.m. CST

    bad review? plus batman

    by Andy_Christ

    If by bad review you mean the movie was reviewed as bad, yes. Otherwise, what more could you ask? Moriarty outlined clearly and coherently every problem he had with the film. He didn't just think of a dozen different ways to say "This sucks!" (or "It STINKS!" for those of you who remember The Critic) and leave it at that. I thought it was an excellent review. Anyhow, Michael Keaton's getting a bit long in the tooth...get him back as bruce wayne! :P

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 9:06 p.m. CST

    AT LEAST 'The Critic' was funny. Morty just comes off as a bitch

    by galvatrion

    Speaking of witch, anyone notice that people are talking more about morty than the subject of this talkback? ON the batman thing, Batman Beyond was one of the best toons on the kids WB, and one of my altime faves' ever. I am really glad to see the guys who made up the show are actually taking up the helm of what could possibly be the best bat movie to date. Yeah, however, I do find the fact that it could verywell DESTROY the franchise once and for all, it could also help to ressurect it, as well as the animated series for batman beyond. And, are you guys all on crack? Clint would suck some serious ass as bruce! I for one, think that not only would bruce campbel make a great batman in the present tense, as well as in the futur. Prostetics have come a long way, plus campbell is really good at being a total bastard (army of darkness, anyone?). He isn't as much of a bad actor as you would think. And as for terry, I would pick matt damon. Read the interview with dini on the wizard website. Now on to morty. Did anyone ever resd his rerview of the spawn movie? this totally explains everything, and here was no need to be such a total bastard about his review. Also, if you look closely at this movie and its' commercials, you will notice that the movie was all about the effects. What you basicly did, morty, was go to a godzilla movie expecting 'Ran'. I knew the story wouldnt be that great, but that isn't the reason to go see the movie, and i dont' remember hearing anyone say you should go to it for the BRILLIANT story. Some movies are there simply to test what you can do with special effects and weird visuals. You had to know that the dialouge and story content would suck in hollow man, but you went to ctually SEE someone be taken apart and vanish peice by piece. NO ONE EXPECTED SHAKESPEARE. NO ONE SHOULD HAVE. what dreams may come, desperado, MIB, wild wild west, ALL of the bond movies, ALL of the bat movies, Tron, dusk till dawn, and alot of other movies are there to be an escape, and not great art. They are there to intice he sences, and test the limits of effects, and alot of times, they really miss their mark, I E 1998 Godzilla, Judge dredd, anything with steven segal, jean claude van damme, or will smith. and a slew of reall BAD MOVIES. I also think that it is REDICULOUS to say that the government would have the audacity to use their power to limit ANYONES right to say ANYTHING they want to. I think it is sick that we live in an age where we have to be careful what we say, or we may get our UNCONDITIONAL NONNIGOTIABLE RIGHTS taken away. There should be NO NEED FOR IT, but you are sadly right that the next step is possible rights limitations. You are right about trying to self regulate ourselfs, but noone should have the right to TELL us whatwe can or cannot say. With that, I say that you really are the better person for responding to and answering for the things you said, but at the time, you really just came out sounding like a bitch. Adeu.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 9:12 p.m. CST

    Moriarty, you know what the hell libel means?

    by Milkman

    As writers, OF ANYTHING, even if you don't claim to be a have to learn what the fuck the basics are. Even retards undertand libel and slander. As you rise to prominence (I know you want to be a MEGA STAR...just settle down) you may actually have to learn what being a writer or journalist actually is.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 9:32 p.m. CST

    This fishy Moriarty thing

    by frozen98

    I smell something fishy in the way Moriarty apologizes for his words yet defend his stand .... People might misconstrue his self-centered essay reeking of "Oh, I'm trying to gain sympathy points here, yet come off as someone with integrity" spirit. And what he said might come off as being hypocritical as well.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 9:44 p.m. CST

    I salute doom1701!!!

    by delgue

    ...'cause there's iron in his words for all to hear. Kevin Conroy would be the PERFECT choice as Bruce Wayne. He could do that millionaire playboy character as well as anyone, he's got a set of arms that make Keaton/Kilmer/Clooney look like sissy boys (if you don't believe me, check out the tv movie ISLAND CITY), and if the character was visualized correctly, like a shadow rather than a rubber suit with nipples, the voice would be what sells the character (and who better than the actual voice from the animated series?). Add to that the fact that you could hire him for a fraction of "stars" like Kilmer and Clooney and I just don't see a downside...

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 10:38 p.m. CST

    First of all, Moriarty. . .

    by Sith Lord Jesus

    . . .you have just gone up several notches on my personal respect-o-meter because you had the colossal 'nads to post three little words in your opening statement above: "I was wrong." Despite what some may think, that is NOT an easy thing to admit--especially on THIS site! That said, I find your response to THE CELL fascinating to say the least, because that is EXACTLY the reaction I had to one of your favorites--NATURAL BORN KILLERS. I consider NBK nothing short of "death porn," to borrow Nordling's phrase; just a revolting tale of two utter scumbag subhumans who kill, rape and pillage across the country for no reason whatsoever. And then they get away in the end, whereas I wanted to see one of the SWAT units turn their asses into Swiss cheese. Or at the very LEAST have them get strapped into Florida's Old Sparky ("Oh, my--did it set someone on fire AGAIN? Dang it, Jeb. . ."). But even then, I was opposed to the idea of banning it, or that Oliver Stone should have had to "regulate" himself away from making whatever movie he wanted to make for fear of Big Brother. Sorry, but that kind of "freedom" is no freedom at all. As for THE CELL: I found it beautiful, dark, thoughtful and horrifying all at the same time. I don't believe for a second that it glorified the killer--unlike NBK, may it rot in Film Hell--just because it depicted the possible motivations behind such a sick individual. The writing and dialog, for me, worked--except for that one big plot hole which you pointed out about the killer knowing what the examination room looked like even though he had never seen it. In truth, I never even thought of it until you mentioned it. But the people making fun of the idea of Lopez being a psychiatrist are, I suspect, just being sexist. Why is it so ridiculous? Because she's beautiful and not homely or plain? Whatever. I think her acting and delivery were just fine--if you all want "wooden," just go check PHANTOM MENACE again--and Vincent D'Onofrio was stunning as the damaged shell that was Carl Stargher. And in just two hours, Vince Vaughn portrayed a haunted, driven F.B.I. agent far better then David Duchovny has in seven entire season's of X-FILES, IMOHO. In closing: no, THE CELL isn't the greatest film ever made. Yes, it DOES have it's share of flaws. And the parents a few rows down from me that brought their two pre-teen kids to see this film should be whopped upside the head with the Industrial Strength Clue Stick (comeon, people, RAISE your children!). But I just did not find it offensive the way I have some other films, and the way other people do about this one. To each his or her own. . .which brings me to the last point I want to make in this post: Your statement that anyone who liked this film is "not your friend" is sad and pathetic, to say the least. You come across exactly like the worst of THE PHANTOM MENACE-bashers, who consider anyone who got any amount of enjoyment out of that film whatsoever to be nothing short of evil with a capital "E;" that George Lucas is a greedy, money-grubbing turd on a par with the tobacco companies, etc. I hate to have to be the one to tell you this, guy, but it's JUST A FILM. O.K.? I promise that it won't bring down Western Civilization nor cause the galaxy to explode. By this time next year, it'll all be but a distant memory, and when the glory that is THE LORD OF THE RINGS spreads itself across the screen, it'll all be forgotten. Peace out.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 10:58 p.m. CST

    Moriarty unmasked?

    by ZakChase

    Wait a minut. Moriarty's last name is turned into McWeeny by vengeful Talkbackers. And urban myth has it that he's an Oscar-winning screenwriter. McWeeny...McQuarrie. Could this be? Maybe everybody already knows and I'm the last in on this. It sure would explain why Harry blew his entire wad all over "Way of the Gun." (Although I'm reasonably sure it's deserved.) Am I just tired and reading things that aren't there. Or is Moriary the father of Keyser Soze?

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 11:39 p.m. CST

    Adam West as aged Batamn!

    by xoandre

    why not use a man who is known as batman and could pull off the stubbornness of the character Bruce Wayne as an old coot. He is now about the right age and it might just help pull off the feat, as he was the only STABLE (day job) batman out there. They could also use Michael Keaton, who i think is still the only REAL batman (as good as Adam West - but different). This would help out either of these two actors' careers right now. Neither seems to be doing anything any more... xoandre

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 11:52 p.m. CST

    When Did This Become a SAG Strike Talkback?

    by YND

    I'm not a union member, but what with the flagrant misinformation being propagated on this site, I feel the need to clear the matter up. The Actors Strike has very little to do with the BIG NAME MOVIE ACTORS MAKING MILLIONS that you guys are jabbering about. The Strike's about a whole bunch of Little Guy Actors and how much they should be getting paid for commercials. If you want the real scoop, check out what they're asking for at the Screen Actors Guild website. Otherwise, don't start gettin' all outspoken on subjects you know nothing about.

  • Aug. 22, 2000, 11:59 p.m. CST

    I liked The Cell...

    by Giga-Nerd

    I found much of it disturbing, and bizarre, but then I had the same reaction to Seven... I don't consider it "Death Porn" as some people have called it, simply due to the fact that it wasn't made so that people could "get off" on it... MAke no mistake...some people WILL find those graphic images arousing I'm sure, but if so then they probably have some problems of their own.. after all, they took place inside the mind of a sick man..... which makes the film all the more impressive that the director could put himself into that frame of mind (Similiar to how criminal profilers learn to "think" like their prey)... I'll stop now, because if I say anymore I'll probably become confused, but I hope what I siad makes sense...

  • Aug. 23, 2000, 12:52 a.m. CST

    Cell Spite & Visual Storytelling

    by Dingo

    A whole lot of people have written saying The Cell is full of "empty" imagery, and I want to take a sec to rebut that... Example: Back in the Talkbacks for Moriarty's review of The Cell, a poster commented on how useless the "horse getting chopped up" scene was, how it a stupid, meaningless scene that had no place in Carl's psyche. I don't think that AT ALL. I think it's an unprecedented use of visual storytelling. In a normal Hollywood movie, Jennifer Lopez would have jacked in to Vincent D'Onofrio's brain, talked to D'Onofrio, jacked out, and said the line "Carl likes to take a beautiful thing, systematically and calculatedly destroy it, and put it on display for his own amusement." The Cell doesn't do that. In The Cell, Tarsem takes what would have been a regular ol' line of dialogue and turns it into an amazing image of a horse being sectioned by a automated mechanical contraption - it means the same thing as the line, except you're watching it instead of listenting to it. THAT is visual storytelling. It's an entirely different way to present a tale. Meaningful images - and amazing, wildly inventive ones at that - replace what would have been spelled out in a script. You never see that in Hollywood, one simple reason being that scripts always come first - you write a script, all the story is spelled out in words and stage directions. Visual flair usually just builds on what was written, but in this case Tarsem and Mark worked really closely after the script was done to add the rich visual elements. Here's my theory on what's happening with people's reactions to The Cell: Folks are seeing the pretty pictures. They puzzle them out for half a second and get nowhere, and simply don't give them another thought. Then they call them "empty eye candy" because they couldn't (or didn't bother to) come up with what they could possibly mean. And that's OK, film and art works like that. It's kind of like Lost Highway syndrome... I admit, I have no idea what Lost Highway was supposed to mean, and I didn't think it was worth spending any more of my time thinking about it, so I hated it. But a bunch of other people I know found meaning in it. Good for them. All right, fine. So now you've figured out half of the images in The Cell and assigned some sort of meaning to them. What about the rest? I admit I don't have answers for everything I saw - they seemed meaningless to me, but maybe that's only because I didn't have enough time, or the inclination, to process them. But so what if there were some throwaways? Isn't that how dreams work? Does every random image in your head advance the plotline of your life? I loved The Cell. I didn't find it amoral or irresponsible, and I didn't find it empty in the least. OK, I'm done rambling now. [Oh, and if you care, my email address is, NOT the thing listed above]

  • Aug. 23, 2000, 2:59 a.m. CST

    Roger Ebert Picked Fight Club For His Video Pick Of The Week


    Was I the only one who noticed this?

  • Aug. 23, 2000, 3:07 a.m. CST


    by LadyBitchgoddess

    no....anything but live-action!!!! there going to ruin batman beyond!!!!!they are evil! they must be stopped!!!!!!! LBG

  • Aug. 23, 2000, 6:15 a.m. CST

    Coffee could you be anymore right

    by The Founder

    If you're reading this Warners "FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THATS HOLY" keep anyone who has worked on that God-awful B&R away from BB...from the director on down to the janitor. Some of you have said that a BB movie could kill the franchise, but I disagree personally I think that a Batman year1 is bad idea, because that'll confuse the mainstream audience more so then them seeing a future version of Batman.BY1 is sort of a prequel to Batman and though it worked for TPM( i still had to explain the characters to the non SW fans that saw the movie with me)I don't think it would work as well here. Now although the Dark Knight Returns would be a great idea it'll have the same problem as the Phoenix Saga with the X-men...which is one movie wouldn't do it the justice it deserves and it would be difficult to adapt for the big screen, and we all know that changes will just piss off a lot of people. So Warners has my vote for the BB movie, and it looks like there're putting some thought into this movie so it won't turn out to be another all FX and no story( and i'm being merciful by saying that after B&R) I think hollywood is realizing some what that us fans aren't going to accept anything they throw at us, and we proved that on B&R (still upset it broke the 100 million mark) and thats why we didn't get just anything when the X-men movie came out. At any rate Warner Bros is heading in the right direction with this one and I don't think we're going to see the "it boy now" or one of the WB guys get cast as Terry/Batman for this one. If WB are smart(which they seem to be showing from the creative team they've lined up)they'll cast Wes Bently or someone on his level. Lets keep our fingers crossed and hope they don't screw it up.

  • Aug. 23, 2000, 6:34 a.m. CST

    Matt Damon and Tommy Lee Jones?????

    by The Founder

    Why would any suggest these two? Now both of these guys are fine actors, but Damon is 30 years old and no way is I'm going to buy him as a teenager(maybe collage, but then the whole making changes issue rears it ugly head). Tommy Lee Jones played Two Face so they shouldn't use him, because they'll be breaking my rule of an actor playing more than one comic character(maybe just maybe I could overlook it if it was a Marvel character or another comic co, but not in the same universe) Harrison Ford and Paul Newman would both be good picks for Wayne. Oh yeah no Client Eastwood just keep him away from this movie as well(i doubt he'd do it anyway)

  • Aug. 23, 2000, 9:09 a.m. CST

    Casting the Bat

    by Deno

    Please God let this not be the superhero role Freddie Prinze Jr. alluded to after he lost the Spiderman gig to Toby.

  • Aug. 23, 2000, 10:09 a.m. CST

    How about Roy Scheider?

    by Zath_ras

    Where have all the old men gone?Casting an old Batman is tough. Zathras agrees that Harrison Ford could play an aging bitter Bruce Wayne easily. But it would cost $20 million and he is just too much of an icon already. In the wake of Harry Potter, Zathras insists CAST AMERICAN! No Sean Connery, no Ian McKellan, no Christopher Lee, no Anthony Hopkins. Fair is fair. Scott Glenn is almost as crusty as Rudy Boesch (Hey! Can he act? Call his agent!) and might be able to pull it off, but he doesn't have much of a BW look. Michael Ironside would be perfectly threatening but he's bald, and as far as Zathras can tell, always has been. This brings Zathras to Roy Scheider - he's probably reasonably priced, not a detractingly big star now, but familiar to two generations of movie fans because of Jaws and other 70s classics. Also, he fits the build - once the tall, dark, and handsome tough guy actor, he is now mostly gray and leathery as a saddlebag with eyes (apologies to Billy Crystal). Finally, he has a great voice, which has kept him almost as busy as James Coburn doing various voice-over work. Don't let him be remembered by SeaQuest DSV!!!! Give Roy a chance!!

  • Aug. 23, 2000, 10:27 a.m. CST

    broken hip batman

    by studduck

    Eastwood is too old for dark night, and tommy lee jones screwed up by taking on the role of two-face. I hated Keaton in Batman, but put some Bat- nipples on him, some old man make up on him- and I've said it before and I'll say it again- cast Wilhem defoe as the new Joker. That would bring in the crowds in my humble but accurate opinion...

  • Aug. 23, 2000, 12:17 p.m. CST

    by noboru13

  • Aug. 23, 2000, 3:20 p.m. CST

    The One True Batman / Where's the "Beyond"?

    by noboru13

    Time to settle the casting argument on an aging Batman/Bruce Wayne once and for all. Clint Eastwood: nope Charlton Heston: nope James Caan: nope Tommy Lee Jones: gimme a break The One True Batman: Paul Newman The Skills: This is a powerful, subtle, and versatile actor. Paul's performances hint at darker emotions without getting lost in them and becoming deluded & over-indulgent like Heston. Paul's intelligence comes through in everything he does onscreen--he leads with his head, whereas Eastwood leads with his gut & just isn't as versatile. Caan just brings too many personal trappings to his roles (accent, sarcasm, cocky mannerisms, etc.). The problem with most candidates is their inability to leave behind their own identities, but Newman brings only his focus on his character. The key to Batman is versatility. Although Batman is the toughest guy around, he is not your stereotypical tough guy, and certainly not someone who gets lost in his own machismo. Bruce Wayne must be believable as a billionaire playboy who gets his kicks vacationing with starlets, throwing back champagne (secretly ginger ale, of course) at high-profile events, blowing off board meetings, and then donating loads of money to charity to feel good about himself. Newman can play Wayne as a 3-dimensional character, totally convincing and comfortable in his Bruce Wayne persona. Newman can play Wayne with a full sense of life, never letting anyone but the audience know what lurks beneath his veneer. But when he does reveal himself to the audience, it is damn scary. Even at his age now, he has a look in his eye and a tone to his voice that can stop you in your tracks. For a quick, easy example, take a look at his most recent work in 'Where the Money Is'--the scene in the trailer where he emerges from the water to confront Linda Fiorentino and can be found easily online. The Look: Is Newman believable as the man who was once the Dark Knight? Take a look at any of his films from his younger days, and you won't be able to get it out of your head. He is tall, without being too obviously tall; he is muscular and sleek, without being too bulky. And I'm not talking about some version of Batman that wears a heavy, rubber costume. I mean a realistic costume, made of light-weight, maneuverable materials. Even just from an asthetic point of view, he is perfect for it. If you don't believe me, don't argue now. Just go rent 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof'. Half the movie is comprised of shots of Newman staring out a window, brooding, so you can take your time picturing him as Batman/Wayne. Really, comic artists should be using his films as photo references any time they draw Batman. Whenever I picture Bruce/Batman, I see Newman at various stages in his life. By the way, 'Newman's Own' jokes really aren't clever, at this point. Batman Beyond: Personally, I think the show, although it has potential, is seriously lacking. So if they're going to make a movie, I hope they do it right & get enough creative input to develop the concept into something better than it is now. Because they will have to recognize the inherent obstacles they must overcome: Why should I accept this kid as Batman? His father got killed, he beat up some teenage punks, he stole the car & the costume, and Bruce just lets him be the new Batman. Say what? What did he ever do to deserve it? He's barely a Robin--even Robins went through about a year or so of intense training before they were allowed to participate. And McGinnis is completely reliant on technology, whereas Bruce was the ultimate do-it-yourself-er. Bruce used technological gadgets often enough, but he never depended on them. He depended on himself & his training. YEARS of training--YEARS of pushing himself further than any other man. Without the suit, Terry's just a decent street fighter with a knack for trouble. And why should I care about this future? What has Gotham become? Besides the flying cars, it seems pretty much the same. The danger hasn't increased. Crime is pretty much the same as it always was--a few psychos, corrupt businessmen, mad scientists, etc. None of the technology or the villains' gimmicks go beyond what I'm expected to believe in the current continuity, so how is this the future? Crime is an act of desperation, and in the current continuity, the desperation most often stems from insanity--specifically, insanity born from the harsh reality of living in Gotham's twisted shadow. Where does the desperation come from in this new future? Where does the corruption lie? Where's the risk? Where are the new challenges? Where is the brand new world with brand new rules? Where's the "Beyond"? I'm not even that thrilled about the new Batman's design. He doesn't have any sense of mystery. He's not imposing. He's not scary. He's quite obviously a kid in a suit. It lacks the kind of impact that the original Batman had. In fact, let's see... sleek, dark-but-not-scary acrobatic hero... flying cars... unoriginal vision of the future... huh... watching the show pretty much feels like I'm reading an issue of Spider-Man 2099.

  • Aug. 24, 2000, 6:49 a.m. CST

    Good on ya moriarty

    by crash_davis

    you had the guts to stick up for something you believe in and i believe you were also correct in your review. roger ebert is a flakey, senile old hack at times and needs to have his mind re-arranged sometimes...although we mustn't forget that he has endorsed some great films recently too. every reviewer makes mistakes...but this was quite a blunder. good on ya.

  • Aug. 24, 2000, 6:40 p.m. CST


    by Milkman

    Nah, I wasn't saying he ever used libel or slander, but I hope that none of the writers he ever do. I'd hate to see web sites being shut down. I do have an understanding of libel and slander. I just think that the boundaries between tasteless and careless never cross at AICN.

  • Aug. 30, 2000, 5:20 p.m. CST

    Neal Stephenson

    by orison

    If "Cryptonomicon" is really "unlike anything" you've ever read, perhaps you'd enjoy "Gravity's Rainbow," by Thomas Pynchon, of which it is a witless and tin-eared pastiche.