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Ghost in the Machine Review


Grim
Technology has been the Luddite boogeyman since the dawn of time. But it's no longer fashionable to eschew all modern conveniences; the guy who can't turn on a computer has automatically thrown himself out of the gene pool. Heck, at my office (yes, even we esteemed film critics often have day jobs) one of the tech nerds is approaching 80. You've got to evolve to survive, and in our day and age of wireless hotspots and podcasts, fear of the machine equals pariah status. The Luddite is a Cro-Magnon. But our modern culture has always been about dichotomy. And in a purely American way, the Luddites - while unable to download a song or even run a spell check - have something that we techies have lost: an appreciation for the simple, quiet life and old-fashioned, nose-to-the-grindstone work. It goes like this: You can love the machines and get a kick from using them, but rely on them too much and you'll lose your soul. It's like a modern day Descartes-ian dilemma: what really separates us from our technology? The makers of films like Ghost in the Machine argue that all our technological advances have improved our lives but they can't fight off the "real" evil that always surrounds us. The type of evil you can't ctrl-alt-delete away.

Debuting before uncaring audiences in 1993, director Rachel Talalay's (Tank Girl) Ghost in the Machine is a derivative sci-fi/horror hybrid that adds nothing new to the old "amok machine" genre that is represented best by director Donald Cammell's Demon Seed. The plot concerns Karl, the "Address Book Killer," (the horror!) played by Ted Marcoux (Dark Blue), who is killed in a freak accident and has his ever-living and ever-evil soul transferred directly into the power supply. (Don't even ask.) Karl roams the electric highway, possessing all manner of gadgets and kitchenware, as he stalks lovely Karen Allen and her son.

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The Guilty Review


Good
Weird and creepy pot boiler has Bill Pullman as a high-profile Manhattan lawyer who gets mixed up in a scheme to off a girl (Anwar) whom he sorta-raped in a drunken haze. Only it turns out the would-be hitman is the long-lost son (Sawa) he never knew he had!

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Johnny English Review


Terrible
Rowan Atkinson is a very funny man. Unfortunately, though his British television shows Mr. Bean and Black Adder have drawn cult audiences the world over, he just can't seem to translate this magic to the silver screen.

Johnny English (Atkinson) is a third-string spy working for British intelligence. When his uncontrollable bungling blows up all of England's first- and second-string spies, English is the only hope to save the precious crown jewels (and his country) from the plot of evil French mastermind Pascal Sauvage (John Malkovich). Along the way, fellow spy Lorna Campbell (Natalie Imbruglia -- okay, so English isn't really the last spy in Britain, which raises questions best left unanswered) steps in to give English and his less moronic assistant, Bough (Ben Miller), a hand.

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