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Brazil Review


Essential
Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) is a civil servant Dilbert at the Ministry of Information. He's a low level office grunt typing his way through a lifetime of meaningless papers in a retro-future totalitarian state. His one escape from his dreary life is his dreams. Bursting with vivid colors, Sam's visions see him with armored wings rising into the bright sky above the cold city. There, in the firmament, Sam battles with Darkness to free a blonde beauty (Kim Greist) imprisoned in a floating cage.

Unfortunately, there are no happy endings for dreamers in this alternate world. Sam always awakens to his mind-numbing existence, only plugging away in a system that rewards only blandness, appeasing his socialite mother (addicted to face lifts) whose only wish is to see her meek son move his way up a corporate ladder to nowhere.

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Zoe Review


OK
Think of it as Stand by She.

This all-female road movie/coming-of-age movie improves dramatically on the last attempt at this genre -- the Britney Spears vehicle Crossroads -- but unfortunately once Zoe (Vanessa Zima) loses her punk friends and hooks up with a British woman named Cecilia (Jenny Seagrove) and her cremated mother, the film loses some of its luster.

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Manhunter Review


Extraordinary
He's a completely different monster than the Wagnerian cannibal glimpsed in The Silence of the Lambs. Released five years earlier, Manhunter (based on the book Red Dragon) views Dr. Hannibal Lecter (spelled Lektor, here) with clinical restraint, as glimpsed in a clean, antiseptic white cell. Respected British actor Brian Cox (Rushmore) would not be so gauche as to flare his nostrils while smelling you -- he'd catch you off guard, throwing away the line about your cheap after shave with "a ship on the bottle" with a bemused note of thinly veiled contempt.

One could discuss Cox's superb performance for the length of an entire review yet he's only in three crucial scenes opposite his captor, semi-retired Will Graham (William L. Petersen, To Live and Die in L.A.). As in Silence, Graham users Lektor as a vessel to recover the mindset of tracking serial killers for the FBI. Lektor's chilly, sensual brilliance pervades the entire film, taking a psychic toll on Graham. Their scenes together alternate between mindfucking stabs ("Dream much, Will?") to vague, unsettling attraction.

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Brazil Review


Essential
Categorically, one of the greatest films of the century--about a lowly clerk in a postmodern dystopia fighting to regain a sense of self against the all-powerful machine of government tyranny. As fought-over as Citizen Kane. As filled with nuance and meaning as A Clockwork Orange. As prophetic as 1984. Anyone who doesn't like Brazil is a fascist. You can tell them I said so.

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