Renee Shafransky

Renee Shafransky

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Monster In A Box Review


Extraordinary
After proving his ability to dazzle audiences with his monologue Swimming to Cambodia, Spalding Gray returns with this follow-up that outlines his experiences in Los Angeles (having found minor fame with the prior film), traveling to Russia as part of an American cinema tour, fearing he has AIDS and seeking psychoanalysis, and -- most importantly -- attempting to write a novel called Impossible Vacation (which can now be found used for about a quarter). Directed with a light hand by documentarian Nick Broomfield, Gray remains on top of his neurotic game here, with, as his therapist says, his subconscious so close to the surface you "can see its periscope." Awesome.

Monster In A Box Review


Extraordinary
After proving his ability to dazzle audiences with his monologue Swimming to Cambodia, Spalding Gray returns with this follow-up that outlines his experiences in Los Angeles (having found minor fame with the prior film), traveling to Russia as part of an American cinema tour, fearing he has AIDS and seeking psychoanalysis, and -- most importantly -- attempting to write a novel called Impossible Vacation (which can now be found used for about a quarter). Directed with a light hand by documentarian Nick Broomfield, Gray remains on top of his neurotic game here, with, as his therapist says, his subconscious so close to the surface you "can see its periscope." Awesome.

Gray's Anatomy Review


Very Good
You know from the start that this is not your typical Spalding Gray video (there are now four in release). First off, as opposed to his typical man-behind-a-desk scenario, Gray's Anatomy begins with ten minutes of other people's monologues, and the film continually cuts back to them as it progresses. Compared to his stage version, Gray has pared out about half of the original material regarding his wild search to cure a rare eye condition, a quest which led him from a Native American Sweat Ceremony to a Filipino psychic surgeon and beyond. The guts of the story are still there, but with Soderbergh's bizarro direction, you may have a hard time plucking them out. Yet, in spite of Soderbergh and the painful lack of an audience/laugh track, Gray's story is immediately compelling, proving that once again, a talking head can truly entertain an audience. And we are given a welcome relief from the usual Laurie Anderson cacophony with a smooth score by Cliff Martinez. While I've always felt this monologue was a bit disappointing due to its lack of a real ending, Gray's Anatomy makes for required viewing for anyone wrestling with a medical condition and the angst that surrounds it. Gray fanatics and neurotics in general are also encouraged to pick up a copy.
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