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By Herb Kane | May 5, 2002

PAPERHOUSE ^ (1988) ^ By Herb Kane ^ * * * * * (out of 5 stars) ^ CRITIC DOCTOR EXAMINES: Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times) ^ Roger Ebert apologized each night to his audience warning parents “Paperhouse” (chosen for the free family matinee on Saturday) was rated “PG-13,” not “G.” He even said, “There will be free popcorn for those who wish to leave.” The movie wasn’t that bad, but there were indeed some “intense” moments.
I watched one little girl clutch the arm of her mother and I could only imagine other children doing the same thing. But I think most handled it pretty good. There were moments even I about jumped out of my seat.
“Paperhouse” is a strange movie about a little 13 year-old girl, Anna, who draws a picture of a house and boy in the upper window. She gets sick and dreams about the house and meets the sad boy. His name is Marc and he cannot walk. The house is cold and empty. When Anna awakens, she adds more things to her drawing like a staircase, toys, a fruit tree and flowers in a garden.
Ebert said, “‘Paperhouse’ is not in any sense simply a children’s movie, even though its subject may seem to point it in that direction. It is a thoughtfully written, meticulously directed fantasy in which the actors play their roles with great seriousness.”
The film becomes very serious and intense when she draws another man in the scene. Things get really weird and scary. Even stranger, Anna wakes up to find out her doctor has a patient named Marc who is struggling with paralysis. Is he the same Marc in her dream?
Watch this movie and find out.
DIAMOND MEN ^ (2000) ^ By Herb Kane ^ * * * * (out of 5 stars) ^ CRITIC DOCTOR EXAMINES: Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times) ^ The movie “Diamond Men” seemed like an average movie in the beginning. Eddie Miller (Robert Forster), a man who travels from town to town selling diamonds to jewelry store owners, has a heart attack. He lives, but his career is now about to die. His employer says they can no longer insure him since he carries a million dollars of product in his car. He is then forced to train a new guy, Bobby Walker (Donnie Wahlberg).
Initially, I thought this Bobby character was a joke. He came across like some immature idiot and I didn’t foresee this film getting any better. To my surprise, Wahlberg and Forster made a fine team – and their relationship was interesting and believable.
Roger Ebert said in his review, “The movie keeps surprising us. First it’s about salesmen, and then it’s about lonely men, and then it’s about sex, and then it’s about romance, and then it’s about crime. It reinvents itself with every act.”
What won me over was the fact Bobby really cared about Eddie – and Wahlberg’s performance was very important in that respect. Bobby saw that Eddie was unhappy (his wife died of cancer) and wants to get him laid. So he takes him to a brothel. The beauty of all this is that Eddie doesn’t give in – even in the midst of a beautiful, naked woman – he wants love, not lust. He later finds it.
You really respect Eddie and you cannot help but admire Bobbie’s intentions. I met Forster while at the festival and he was very friendly and a gentleman at that. I look forward to seeing him more films.
“Diamond Men” has a nice twist in the end, but I hope I don’t have to twist your arm to go rent this one.
METROPOLIS ^ (1926, silent film) ^ by Herb Kane ^ * * * * * (out of 5 stars) ^ CRITIC DOCTOR EXAMINES: Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times) ^ I never saw “Metropolis” until tonight. The Alloy Orchestra brought this silent film to life!
Roger Ebert said, “The movie has a plot that defies common sense, but its very discontinuity is a strength. It makes ‘Metropolis’ hallucinatory – a nightmare without the reassurance of a steadying storyline. Few films have ever been more visually exhilarating.”
This 1926 film used huge sets, 25,000 extras and impressive special effects. The story is of two cities – one above ground and the other below and a battle ensues. It reminded me of the ship Titanic where the rich lived above and the poor workers below. Ebert points out the movie is considered by many to be the original sci-fi movie inspiring many well-known movies.
The images on screen and the music and sounds supplied by the Alloy Orchestra seemed to take me into another dimension – in another time. Unfortunately, you had to be at the “Virginia Theater” in Urbana, IL to experience this. Perhaps one day in the future we will have a DVD of this movie with the Alloy Orchestra accompaniment.
Ebert adds, “‘Metropolis’ does what many great films do, creating a time, place and characters so striking that they become part of our arsenal of images for imagining the world.”
Ebert’s review is as fascinating as the movie itself. If you can, find this movie and watch it – then read his review. I give “Metropolis” four bright stars to add to its skyline.
METROPOLIS ^ (2001) ^ by Herb Kane ^ * * * (out of 5 stars) ^ CRITIC DOCTOR EXAMINES: Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times) ^ I didn’t like this movie. Maybe it’s because I was spoiled watching the original ‘Metropolis” first. However, this movie isn’t a remake. It may have been inspired by the 1926 film, but this definitely is no ‘Metropolis.’
Frankly, I was bored throughout this film. Yeah – the visuals were top notch. In fact, Ebert said in his review, “The movie is so visually rich I want to see it again to look in the corners and appreciate the details. If you have never seen a Japanese anime, start here.”
I like animated movies, but this film didn’t do a thing for me. I would guess that someone who is more into comic books and anime has a better chance enjoying this movie. I appreciate the artistic effort put forth, but sleep sounds more appealing to me than having to sit through this thing again.
I can’t blame Roger for this one. This is purely a difference in taste – and this movie left with me a bitter after-taste. If you want to watch ‘Metropolis,’ get the 1926 movie. Even the silent version without music would be more entertaining than this movie.
Get the whole story in part six of THUMBATHON: ROGER EBERT’S OVERLOOKED FILM FESTIVAL>>>

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