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Ultraviolet Review


Grim
The look is called super-saturation or over-saturation. It's when the colors are all bled out, or excessively sharpened, and it's normally done to connote flashbacks or sentimentality. In Kurt Wimmer's Ultraviolet it is everything, every single sequence, every frame. It looks incredible, but unfortunately, it means absolutely nothing.

Believe me, I wanted - at times frantically - to like Ultraviolet. While the plot is entirely reductive, the acting painfully amateurish, most of the special effects uniformly crummy, Ultraviolet is breathtaking to watch. At times it looks like a 3rd generation bootleg of some ultra-obscure New Wave music video (perhaps, Experimental Projects' "Glowing in the Dark" - try tracking that one down), at others like goofy outtakes from Kill BillKill Bill: Volume 1. The film rampages wildly through neon infused colors and minimal THX 1138 styled sets, Matrix stunts, and gaudily shot sentimental close-ups. The entire film is an uncanny buffet of cult culture - we've got everything from Grant Morrison to Max Headroom, Tron to the Wachowski's Doc Frankenstein comic book, Iggy Pop's abs to Cassavetes' Gloria, all stuffed into a weirdly affected plot.

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Once Upon a Time in Mexico Review


OK
Once Upon a Time in Mexico has everything it needs to rise to the grand occasion the film's title suggests. And written on the theater marquee, the title resonates nicely with two classic Sergio Leone epics, Once Upon a Time in the West and Once Upon a Time in America. Director Robert Rodriguez has his El Mariachi / Desperado trilogy in the right place to deliver on such a grandiose promise: the lead character comes to the film with a tragic history and a cult following. The cast qualifies as "all-star," featuring matinee pretty boys, sultry Latin ladies and some of Hollywood's most recognizable baddies. The characters run a larger-than-life gamut of legends, presidents, corrupt government agents, and cartel leaders, each with enough grudges, ferocity, and posse to start a professional wrestling federation.

But Leone developed similar elements into films that ran more than three hours. Rodriguez packs it all into 97 minutes and can't help but give only suggestions of a plot and impressions of the forces that drive it. Nevertheless, once the bullets start flying and the one-liners start ricocheting, it doesn't matter much that Once Upon a Time in Mexico is a confusing mess of a film. When it works, you don't care about all the times it doesn't.

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