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By Admin | September 6, 1999

The first entry in the late ’99 Johnny Depp horror film sweepstakes is in; only two more (“Sleepy Hollow”, “The Ninth Gate”) to go, kids! Unfortunately, I think it’s been sitting on the shelf for a while and got a little crusty.
Second grade teacher Jillian Armacost (Charlize Theron) eagerly awaits the return of her caring, astronaut husband, Spencer (the Deppster). However, something weird happens while he repairs a satellite during a space shuttle mission and ground control loses control for two minutes. Upon return, Spence just ain’t the same guy he used to be…
Well, the acting is okay, though this is nearly the same character Theron played in “The Devil’s Advocate” and Depp is a little too enamored of his fancy new accent. The real problem lies with “auteur” Rand Ravich, previously known best for writing Tim Hunter’s little-seen “The Maker” and the sequel to “Candyman”. In his directorial debut, Ravich displays all the restraint of a second-year UCLA film student (or someone used to directing beer commercials). Camera speeds up; camera slows down. Camera stays on through weird, impressionistic scene transition. In the end, all the arty touches in the world won’t mask this warmed-over sci-fi remake of “Rosemary’s Baby”. Roman Polanski’s film is still far superior. Actually, even “The Devil’s Advocate” is a better movie. That Taylor Hackford film could at least acknowledge its own inherent silliness. Without Al Pacino, there’s no one left to laugh at “The Astronaut’s Wife” but the audience.

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