Changing Terminology (comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)
Mini Reviews, Part 2 (JURASSIC WORLD--DOMINION, THE LOST
CITY, CRIMES OF THE FUTURE) (film reviews
by Mark R. Leeper and Evelyn C. Leeper)
This Week's Reading (THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE)
(book and film comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)
TOPIC: Changing Terminology (comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)
When Ray Bradbury wrote FAHRENHEIT 451 in 1953, he could use the
ambiguity of "fireman" to startle the reader. Now that the term is "firefighter", either one would seem antiquated in using the word
"fireman" or one couldn't use the current term ambiguously
(although I suppose a "freedom fighter" is someone who fights for
freedom, not someone who fights against freedom). [-ecl]
TOPIC: Mini Reviews, Part 2 (film reviews by Mark R. Leeper and
Evelyn C. Leeper)
This is the second batch of mini-reviews, all films of the
JURASSIC WORLD--DOMINION: Before the start of JURASSIC
WORLD--DOMINION, the dinosaurs (and mosasaurs, and pterodactyls and
probably other non-dinosaur animals) were rescued from Isla Nublar
and taken to a mainland refuge. However, they escaped and spread
throughout the world.
It is surprising that so many of the characters from the first
chapter are still around to show up to this reunion, and also that
the old good guys turn into new good guys. (But why is she always
*Doctor* Ellie Sattler, and he is just plain Alan Grant?) The plot
manages to allow for some exotic international locations, sort of
like a James Bond film. And at least one scene had us saying, "We
haven't seen anything like this since VALLEY OF GWANGI."
But the multiple locations contribute to making the plot a little
hard to follow, and the film longer than it really needs to be.
The re-uniting of the original cast, and the really bad Hollywood
touch at the end, would seem to indicate that this is the
conclusion if the series. (And the final silhouette sequence,
while poetic, raises more issues than it resolves. For starters,
if currently existing species are endangered by habitat loss,
wouldn't adding more species effectively occupying the same
ecological niche just make it worse?)
Hey, it's got giant dinosaurs and all, so it's not a total waste of
time, but it is basically relying on that to carry the entire film.
Released theatrically 10 June 2022. Rating: high +1 (-4 to +4), or
THE LOST CITY: THE LOST CITY starts with a "bodice ripper"
sequence, which turns out to be an imagining of the main
character's latest novel. Yes, the is an adventure comedy in the
Very intentional tradition of ROMANCING THE STONE. For starters,
the book tour promoting the book is called "Romancing the Page".
While it never quite reaches the level of ROMANCING THE STONE
(Channing Tatum is no Michael Douglas, and the presence of Daniel
Radcliffe does not make up for the absence of Danny DeVito), it is
an enjoyable enough way to pass an evening.
Released theatrically: 25 March 2022. Rating: +1 (-4 to +4) or
CRIMES OF THE FUTURE: CRIMES OF THE FUTURE is David Cronenberg's
return to science fiction after a twenty-three year hiatus
(EXISTENZ was in 1999). This is not to be confused with
Cronenberg's 1970 film of the same name, which had an entirely
different plot. Cronenberg either kept some of the props from
EXISTENZ, or used the same prop master. (Cronenberg likes to
work with the same people: this is his fifth film with Viggo
Mortensen and his fourth with Don McKellar.) Cronenberg has
returned to his favorite science fiction trope: body horror.
But this one gets more into the philosophy of body modification.
Still, some of the images may be a bit intense for some people,
so be warned.
Released theatrically 3 June 2022. Rating: +1 (-4 to +4), or 6/10.
TOPIC: This Week's Reading (book and film comments by Evelyn
I recently wrote about THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE, both the book
by Muriel Spark and the 1969 film with Maggie Smith. But there is
also a 1978 mini-series from Scottish Television, which I just got
on VD, and it provides yet a third version of the story. For
example, in the book it is Jean Brodie's politics that bring about
her downfall, in the 1969 film, it is her morals, and in the 1978
mini-series, there is no downfall.
In fact, while the 1978 version has its own virtues (more
background, more time with the girls, and so on), it really softens
and whitewashes Jean Brodie's character. She is not the "Mussolini
of Marcia Blaine", she doesn't inspire anyone to go off and get
killed for the wrong side in a war, and indeed when presented with
opposing views (on Mussolini, on advanced schooling for girls whose
families cannot afford it, etc.), she is amenable to changing her
Perhaps because this was made for television, rather than the
theaters, there is in fact almost nothing of the questions of
morality. Jean Brodie seems true to the memory of Hugh, refuses
Teddy Lloyd's advances, and the music teacher is nothing like the
Mr. Lowther of the film, and certainly no romantic interest for
Indeed, this version seems to want to rehabilitate Jean Brodie into
a sympathetic and even admirable figure, rather than one who
justifies Sandy's proclamation in the film, "You are dangerous and
unwholesome, and children should not be exposed to you!" Part of
this may be that the anti-establishment mood of the late 1960s had
given way to a more conservative period (although still a year or
so short of Margaret Thatcher's Prime Ministership). [-ecl]