Film Reviews


From the fertile mind of University of North Texas film teacher Justin Wyatt (who's also the author of High Concept, a compelling analysis of Hollywood's blockbuster mentality) comes one of the boldest and most provocative film festivals this city has seen in a while.

Titled The Cinematic Body: A Film Series, it explores the representation of the human body in cinema, with emphasis on features that portray people who for a variety of reasons don't fit into easily definable categories. Among them are people enduring flesh-altering surgery (The Body Beautiful, about a white mother of a mixed-race daughter who undergoes a radical mastectomy, February 13) and aging (the Faye Dunaway modeling melodrama Puzzle of a Downfall Child, February 20); transsexuality (the rarely seen Rainer Werner Fassbinder sex-change feature In a Year of 13 Moons, February 27); and androgyny (the Nicolas Roeg-David Bowie cult classic The Man Who Fell to Earth, to be shown March 6 in its original directors' cut with 20 minutes of previously unseen footage). There's also an important film dealing with AIDS: independent filmmaker Gregg Bordowitz's free-form, autobiographical 1993 documentary Fast Trip, Long Drop, screened with the director in attendance February 13.

All showings are free and take place Mondays at 7 p.m. through March 6 at the Lyceum, UNT campus, Denton. Call (817) 565-2537 for details.

If you happened to read the February 1 Wall Street Journal--the one with the story about the Kevin Costner sci-fi epic Waterworld--you're probably as amused and appalled as I am. The film's budget is reportedly hovering near $175 million, making it the most expensive motion picture ever made. For grins, I've decided to use the figure for a Hollywood budget equations game. Here are my entries. If you feel like offering your own, E-mail them to the address below. The best will run in a future "Rushes" column. There is no reward--except, of course, for your own sick satisfaction.

Waterworld's budget will buy:
* Two remakes of Ishtar, four of Heaven's Gate, and six of Cleopatra;
* An action package of sequels to True Lies ($115 mil), Speed ($30 mil), and Under Siege ($30 mil);

* Approximately 22 movies by Quentin Tarantino (going by the reported $8 million cost of Pulp Fiction);

* With postproduction and marketing costs figured in, 1,175 El Mariachis;
* 35 smarmy voice-overs by Bruce Willis, who earned $5 million up front for playing the inner voice of the toddler in the original Look Who's Talking;

* Between 30 and 60 perverse cameo appearances by Marlon Brando (rates vary according to how many cue cards he's expected to read).

--Matt Zoller Seitz ([email protected])

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Matt Zoller Seitz