Michael Peyser

Michael Peyser

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Six O'Clock News Review


Very Good
Six O'Clock News has often been called Ross McElwee's least "personal" film: That is, it's the film that has Ross McElwee and his friends and family in it the least.That's true, but rest assured, the first from of Six is a lingering photo of McElwee's son. Six O'Clock News follows McElwee's formula of voice-over and interviews (with other people or with himself, when no one else is around) fairly faithfully.That said, there are fewer of McElwee's usual pals in the film, though Charleen Swansea has a good 15 minutes of screen time. At least it makes sense: In Six, McElwee becomes fascinated with the news, and in particular, natural disasters. When Charleen's house is damaged by Hurricane Hugo, Swansea earns her talking time.More interesting are moments he spends with other victims: a man who was trapped under a fallen parking garage after the L.A. earthquake, a widower who made it through a long legal battle to put away the man who murdered his wife. McElwee asks (out loud) the deep questions about how things like this can happen, and whether it's inevitable that we end up on the six o'clock news like these poor saps do.Of course, since this isn't really a movie about McElwee -- rather, it's about God, the universe, life, and everything else -- he can't really answer any of the questions he poses. That makes the film a bit less fulfilling and ends things on a more sour note than in McElwee's more uplifting movies about the human condition, but it's still a pretty good film.The DVD is part of the exhaustive Ross McElwee Collection.

Hackers Review


Very Good
Hackers is more techno-paranoia from Hollywood, instilling the fear of rampaging computer geeks into America once again in yet another take on 1983's WarGames. 12 years later, the game is a little different: the bad guys are big business types instead of the government, the good guys have dreadlocks and multiple body piercings, and the computers can do full motion video over a phone line.

Okay, so some liberties have been taken with technology (an Intel P6 chip powers an Apple PowerBook), but at least the terminology the hackers use is essentially right. The story may sound familiar. Bad corporate computer dude Eugene aka Plague (Fisher Stevens) and his accomplice (Lorraine Bracco) team up for a little multi-million dollar theft, when a bunch of young punks stumble upon the plan. The gaggle of teen-aged of hackers includes Dade aka Crash Override (Jonny Lee Miller), Kate aka Acid Burn (Angelina Jolie), and the show-stealing Cereal Killer (Matthew Lillard), among others. Together, the hackers have to foil the theft and avoid having numerous felony charges pinned on them, plus save the world from ecological disaster thanks to a Plague-written virus that capsizes oil tankers.

Continue reading: Hackers Review

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