Monday, October 31, 2016

I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House

(2016) ****

“Three days ago, I turned 28 years old, I will never be 29.”

Nurse Lily has been sent to care for an elderly horror author, Iris, during her final days in an old house in Braintree, MA. Soon after moving in she becomes unsettled. The large house seems to be from a bygone era and it is slowly decaying. Iris will only call her “Polly” and during moments of lucidity she accuses “Polly” of leaving her, only to return. While perusing Iris’ many novels she discovers a character named “Polly” and she begins to piece together the terrible secrets of the old house.

I loved this movie. Dripping in atmosphere the simple story follows Lily over a period of one year. This is a slow burn replete with a disquieting aura, the darkest of hallways, a crackling, creepy ambiance and a minimal score. Beautiful cinematography and excellent performances add a level of quality to the eerie tale. This is a very slow burn (e.g. think “House of the Devil” or “Lake Mungo”) that induces impalpable dread. I highly recommend this Netflix exclusive.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension

 Image result for paranormal activity ghost dimension





(2015) ***
Family moves into a home, strange things start happening, captured on home video, yada yada yada.  This is the sixth Paranormal Activity movie, and they’ve all had the same plot, so I’ll skip that part.

Looking at previous reviews of the PA series, all our reviews range from 2 ½ to 3 ½ starts.  And that’s where I find this one falling as well.  It’s no better or worse than any of the other entries.  The marketing for this movie really tried to differentiate it from the others, it that now we can “see” the activity.  And yeah, that was true, and kind of cool, but it also leads to basically a huge plot hole in the movie.  The parents of the young girl in this movie videotape their daughter sleeping, see a ghost standing over her, see the ghost assault the mother, see the ghost gaining a more concrete shape, and their only response is to call a priest and continue videotaping said ghost.  Really????  There’s never any reason given for why these parents don’t leave the house except for a throwaway line from the priest like, “the spirit may follow your daughter no matter what”.  Sure.  Wouldn't seeing this picture make you have your kid sleep in bed with you...

Image result for paranormal activity ghost dimension
In terms of answering questions for fans of the series who paid attention to the first five movies, there is a continuity in the series, and this movie kind of answers questions.  It turns out that a demon has been trying to possess a child.  In this 6th movie they add, oh, it turns out the demon needs two kids.  Oh.  Okay. 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

House of Good and Evil (2013)

***

So imagine a "soon to be" talented writer building his very first script.  That is this picture.  It has potential.  The story starts in the city where you see a couple having a fight, domestic abuse happens.  The next scene, you have the pregnant wife and husband rushing to the hospital for the delivery.  I will leave the rest from here to you.
Then following scene, they are driving up a very country road to their new home.  No TV, no telephone, no cell, the place runs on generator.  Sounds heavenly to me, but not in the flick. Anyway.. the movie is about a woman going crazy.  Nothing new, I know, but the ending was a great twist.  I thought I had it figured out, but I was wrong.
No special effects.. Heavy mood..  Rather enjoyable.

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Sand


(2015) **1/2

During a late night beach party two teens find a large, slime-covered object and carry it to the party to show off. It is viewed and quickly forgotten. In the morning 8 of the party-goers wake up to find that something is strange. The beach is deserted yet piles of clothing, blankets, etc. remain. Waking up (topless!) on top of a picnic table, Marsha, steps onto the sand and finds that she is unable to move. Screaming to her friends she slowly sinks into the sand and disappears in a bloody mess. The remaining twenty-somethings quickly ascertain that the sand is holding a deadly secret. Fortunately for the survivors they are all safe as long as they do not step onto the sand. Four of the party-goers slept in their car (that no longer starts) with their cell phones trapped in the trunk. Two others slept in the lifeguard tower and one unfortunate soul was stuffed into a trash can during the party. Together they try to figure out the sand’s deadly secret while attempting to get off the beach.

The Sand is basically Blood Beach (1980) but much more enjoyable. Essentially a predicament movie involving attractive people in their bathing suits, the story unfolds quickly and makes the most of its meager budget. This is just dumb, mindless fun but I bet you will watch it from beginning to end (you just won’t admit it).

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Ouija: Origins of Evil



 Image result for ouija origins of evil


(2016) ***1/2


In the 1960s, a widowed mom and her two daughters live meekly as they all help mom’s medium for hire business, by assisting in the theatrics such as blowing out candles and shaking the table when mom summons spirits to “give us a sign”. 

To heighten the theatricality, mom buys a ouija board, paints the bottom of the planchette with a metallic paint, and practices manipulating it back and forth with her knees underneath the table.  But then, the younger daughter seems to actually be communicating with the spirit of her late father, and thigns get progressively stranger. 
Image result for ouija origins of evil
The original movie, Ouija, was the epitome of scary movie clichés.  Ouija 2 (sorry, but "origins of evil" is a dumb title), also suffers from many of these clichés.  The microbudget horror movie is becoming surprisingly common: Lights Out, The Insidious series, The Conjurings, Annabelle, etc.  Some of these films work and some don’t.  Ouija 2 works.  There’s nothing new or original here, but what is presented, is executed very well.  

The small budget gives us a small cast and less CGI so that we have more time exploring our characters.  None seem expendable, and the sense of dread is ratcheted up a bit.  The pacing and tension is done well too - an exponential curve where scares go from slow burn, to gradual, to persistent. 

Oddly enough, for anybody who actually remembered the first Ouija movie, there’s even some fan service thrown in.  Ouija 2 works both as a standalone, and a clarifying prequel to explain the history behind Ouija (impressive since that movie wasn’t begging for a backstory). Infinitely more enjoyable than its predecessor, Ouija 2 is familiar and fun. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Light's Out

(2016)***

Closing up shop in a mannequin factory one evening, Paul is terrorized by a creepy specter that can only be seen when the lights are turned off. Following his grizzly demise his surviving daughter, Rebecca, moves out of her parents’ home leaving her younger brother, Martin, alone with their clinically depressed mother, Sophie. Soon Martin informs her sister that their mother is acting strange and speaks to an imaginary person at night named “Diana”. Mirroring her own experience growing up with her mother, Rebecca decides to remove Martin from the home to live with her. When this arrangement does not work out Rebecca, her boyfriend, and Martin decide to live with Sophie until they can resolve her problem, namely Diana, who stalks them at night whenever the lights are off.

Creepy at times with a killer “creature”, Light’s Out never quite figures out what Diana is supposed to be or to what the extent of her powers are. It could be argued that the narrative is really a story about mental illness (i.e. clinical depression) and that Diana is a symbol of the pain and depths of despair that comes along with depression like compulsive hoarding is the outward manifestation of anxiety. Although produced by James Wan, who made several films I dislike including The Conjuring and Insidious (1, 2 &3), Light’s Out has some actual scares with a likable cast. The story stems from a 3 minute short created by director David F. Sandberg (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adap4rzlM2I) and it can be argued that the story has been “stretched” across 80 minutes. Still there are at least 2 standout sequences that raised the hair on my neck. Check it out or just watch the short.

Nerve


(2016)***

Vee is having a high school identity crisis. The boy she has a crush on has no interest in her and her best friend hogs all the attention. Frustrated, she makes the impulsive decision to join an underground online game called “Nerve” where contestants are wired money upon completing “dares” cooked up by “watchers”. She becomes hooked on the game instantly when her first dare (“Kiss a stranger for 5 seconds”) nets her a quick hundred bucks. What starts out fun quickly becomes dangerous once she hooks up with another player, Ian, who is bent on winning the entire affair. Only one person can win and there are strict “rules”.

Nerve is a cautionary tale about the perils of desiring fame through social media and a willingness to do anything to obtain that fame. If you can get past the idea that such a complicated and dangerous “game” could fly under the radar of law authorities and parents than you will have a fun time watching pretty people engage in risky behaviors for the sake of fame and fortune. It is never clear who created/maintains the Nerve game but who cares because that’s not why you’re “watching” it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Curious Dr. Humpp


1969 **

I never actually owned an issue of Dynamite magazine, but I saw enough to remember the "bummers" on the back cover, little illustrated life foibles that all started with "Don't you hate..."  Well, don't you hate when you sit down to watch a nice horror movie and it turns out you're watching soft-core porn?  Me too!

Hi everybody, really sorry I've been such a ghost so far this month.  I finally got my computer back and blah blah boring.  If I'm going to bother making excuses, I should think of one for not guessing "Dr. Humpp" would be a doctor of mad sex-science, because that's what he is.

The movie surprised me right out of the gate for the combo of full-frontal nudity in black-and-white, and this just a few minutes in.  Saucy!  I soon realized what I'd wandered into, thanks to the subtle clue of a full fifteen minutes of dialogue-free scenes of tawdry people behaving in a tawdry manner, only to be menaced (and sort of off-screen kidnapped) by a hideous lurching creature with a silly mask, or maybe a silly face.

That little bump in the center of his forehead is a blinking light.  And why not?

This movie is brave enough to unflinchingly depict scene after scene of society's worst engaging in sex-like behavior.  I say sex-like because what happens is a lot of twisting and writhing and hands kind of nearing various naughty bits but never actually touching them. It's like minute after minute of first-stage foreplay, with a voice track of feminine moany noises and breathing.  Some kids making out in a car, a pair of lesbians, a quartet of stoned, orgy-having hippies, that woman in the top photo just having the same weird non-sex with herself -- everybody gets a visit from Mr. Lopsided Coconut Face and then we're onto the next scene of guttery action. For FIFTEEN MINUTES.

It took me three nights to watch this movie.  The same vibe that informed the opening cavalcade of yawn sex is felt throughout the movie, so for every boring quasi-sex scene there would be two scenes of Dr. Humpp's nurse ruthlessly measuring how long it takes to check things on a clipboard, prepare an injection, or put away stuff.

That's not to say the film is not completely without merit.  It's from the late sixties, when even an exploitation movie from Argentina could possess a certain stylish classiness.  And Dr. Humpp is a bona fide mad scientist, albeit not a very good one.  In addition to his big ugly monster, he has gang of mindless henchmen,

"Psst!  Hey dude, are you a statue or a guy?"

he takes his orders from an angry brain in a jar,

"No, I am not growing sea monkeys in there.  Stop asking."

and he maintains a colony of doped-out sex fiends so he can use the brain's vital sex-juices to keep him from succumbing to some awful deteriorating skin condition.

And the monster plays the lute!  Or whatever the heck that is.

He backs up these stylish trappings with the right attitude.  At one point the forgettable hero gets in his face and declares "You're a murderer!"

"So what." says Dr. Humpp.

Nevertheless this is one of those times in which the quirky vintage charm of the movie just doesn't make up for the Kmart clearance aisle quality.  I want to like Dr. Humpp's lecherous evil, but I don't want to spend three whole minutes watching him sit at his desk playing with flasks.

Trying to sum up this movie's dissatisfying vibe, I keep thinking of the many scenes in which people who are supposed to be on opposite sides of a room were clearly shot in different rooms on different days.  That disjointedness can get distracting.  The overall product isn't quite bad enough to be good.

For fun I like to pretend the cheapness of the production infused the narrative; that in the world of Mad Science, Dr. Humpp is considered third-rate, a hack.  Even his brain in a jar is crappy at being that, in the end it goes on an angry tirade and catches on fire.

TAKE THAT YOU GODDAMN SEA MONKEYS

Like many, many Horrorthon viewings past and future, I can't exactly recommend this, but it might be enjoyed with a friend or two, or some fireball whiskey, or all of those things.


The Amityville Terror

(2016) **

Todd, along with his wife Jessica and their petulant teenage daughter, Hailey, move into his sister’s sprawling home for temporary housing as the family copes with some recent upheaval. Hailey is unhappy to be there and constantly clashes with her free-spirited aunt. Her mood does not improve when she starts attending high school and runs into a clique of mean girls who attempt to annoy her at every turn. Meanwhile as the family juggles to adapt to their new life, otherworldly things begin to happen in the house. There are strange noises, smells, and Mike’s sister seems possessed. Befriending a local boy, Hailey begins to learn about her home’s dark history and it is a race with the clock to get her family out of the house.

This is the 13th Amityville film of the (almost) 40 year franchise, who knew? I thought I had kept up with the series but a sip of coffee and a quick Google search shamed me. Let’s face it; The Amityville films have never been good. Seriously, have you watched the original recently? It’s terrible and scare-free. Still, there is something fun about the whole idea of a house that fucks with you. Like the Hellraiser film series, the Amityville films have been direct-to-video for years now which means extra gore and at least two boobs. “The Amityville Terror” is really no better/no worse than any of the films in the series and it’s somewhat of a return to form given that a lot of the other installments focus on other things such possessed lamps or dollhouses rather than the mean house. Fun schlock.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show and RHPS:LDTTWA

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) ****
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again (2016) *



When I first saw Rocky Horror I was eighteen years old and I was put off by the musical numbers and homoeroticism. I dismissed it as a freak show for social outcasts and that was the end of that. I didn’t revisit it until many years later when Crystal brought me to a midnight showing in El Cerrito. It was still a freak show for social outcasts except I realized that it was a glorious freak show that should be celebrated. My favorite things about California* have always been the progressive mindset and the celebration of cultural diversity and whatever sexual preferences one might have. As you can imagine seeing Rocky Horror in the Bay Area was quite the spectacle and it gave me a whole new appreciation for it. If I'm not mistaken it was the very first "cult classic". I love the infinite possibilities of hilarious shout-outs that can be made by the audience, many of which Crystal had already explored.

I also grew to appreciate the campiness, the low budget 70’s grittiness and the constant sexual innuendos. And what’s not to love about Meat Loaf on a motorcycle? It’s no coincidence that RHPS has developed such a strong following over the years because I cannot think of any other film of its time even remotely like it.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again removes all traces of everything that was fun, clever, scary and sexually deviant about the original and replaces it with a soulless sanitized American Idol inspired musical shit show. Where’s the sleaze? I don’t need to describe it because it is exactly what you would expect from the High School Musical director. It fails on every level except maybe the costumes.

No, this is not Zoolander you stupid idiot.

The decision to present it as a movie within a movie was particularly insulting and irritating. I can’t even.

In conclusion, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that RHPS: LDTWA might one day become a midnight movie of its own but if it does it will be for all the wrong reasons.

*Aside from the weather, wine, food, beaches and wilderness

Monday, October 24, 2016

Makkhi

aka: Eega
 (2012)****

Nani, a very pleasant and enthusiastic young man is in love with Bindhu a micro artist. Though she continually thwarts his efforts we can see by her hidden smiles that she is just playing hard to get. Their adorable game of cat and mouse is interrupted by Sudeep, a wealthy narcissistic man who is quite boastful about how he can have any woman he wants because he's so rich and powerful and charming (sound familiar). Sudeep spots the beautiful Bindhu and knows he must have her so he donates a large sum of money to her charity and asks her to lunch. Bindhu accepts his invitation, as Sudeep orders he explains that the dish he has asked for is a lovers meal to be shared by two, she is to feed him a spoon and he is to feed her a spoon signifying that their relationship will go beyond friendship but Bindhu isn't listening to him she is watching the nearby Nani who is flirting from a distance in his usual way. When the meal comes she begins to eat without feeding Sudeep, he realizes she is focused on Nani and not him and becomes inwardly enraged. That evening Nani professes his love to Bindhu, yes it's done in song but not Bollywood style, and Binhu finally breaks down and tells Nani she loves him too. She runs up to her apartment to finish an art piece that Nani inspired and as she is running down to show him Nani is kidnapped by Sudeep. Sudeep beats him to death and with his dying words Nani pledges to kill him. This is where the story gets strange, Nani is resurrected as a fly, he is able to reveal his identity to Bindhu who uses her micro skills to erect fly armor and the two set out to put an end to Sudeep. This leads to the most satisfying PITA(pipe in the ass) torturous revenge that I've seen in awhile.


More of a comedy but the revenge is quite sweet. Who would think a fly could get the best of a man but the progression is genius. Nani buzzes in and out of his ears preventing Sudeep from getting any sleep which breaks down his sanity. His henchmen all think he's lost his mind babbling about a fly so they lose respect for him. He blows a huge deal with some colleagues as Nani lands on the investor's head and Sudeep goes in for the kill. I was quite apprehensive about diving into another Indian horror/thriller for these past experience reasons:

a) The language and subtitles are infuriating. Not only do they talk fast and frequent causing you to speed read but they constantly jump from english to hindi and when the english starts the subtitles stop not giving your brain enough time to adjust to listening instead of reading. It's a total mind fuck!

b) Bollywood, enough said.

Makkhi has some of the above but the subtitles continue even when they slip into english, the dialog is at a normal pace and the singing is kept to a minimum without all the Bollywood flare. I rated it high for it's entertainment value and the sweet, sweet revenge. This film is currently streaming on Netflix.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Science Fiction, Double Feature

Rocky Horror Picture Show
(1975) *****
Combining elements of B-horror movies and science fiction, Richard O’Brien’s creation of The Rocky Horror Show quickly gained momentum as a stage play in London, 1973, before being made into the cult classic film we know and love today, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Following a wedding ceremony of mutual friends, protagonists Brad and Janet get engaged and are eager to share the good news with their former science teacher and friend, Dr. Scott. However, their car gets a flat in the middle of nowhere and they must seek help at a nearby castle. They are not suspecting a party hosted by a gender-bending “sweet transvestite” who is about to unleash his creation upon the world!

RHPS was made on a modest budget of $1.4 million, and it shows. An “anti-matter laser beam” (pictured above) used by Riff Raff is obviously a repurposed pitchfork. Costumes resemble thrift store finds and odds ‘n’ ends from the dressing room, and Meat Loaf, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Curry were relative unknowns!

Personally this movie holds a lot of positive and entertaining memories for me. I recall watching it as a preteen and wanting to be as cute as Columbia, as edgy as Eddie, and as daring as Dr. Frank N Furter. I was the weird kid who listened to weird music and had a weird sense of humor in school but somehow got along well with most everyone. In college I would take anyone and everyone I knew for a midnight showing. Once, when I went on my birthday I got pelted so hard by a roll of toilet paper my glasses flew right off my face. Later that night we didn’t have enough room for everyone to fit in my car so a friend of mine offered to ride in the trunk.

For me, Rocky Horror Picture Show embraced freedom that came in the form of sexuality, song, and expression of self. “Don’t Dream It, Be It” was and still is an anthem for myself and many others to disregard the status quo of heteronormativity and get creative with our badass selves! To this day I still sing along and talk back to the screen even if I’m just watching at home with my two cats. They won’t judge me.

Before Re-Animator became a musical, Rocky Horror Picture Show was the truck stop at the intersection of Musical-Horror-Science Fiction. It wasn’t a very busy intersection for 1975 but it did pave the way for future eccentric tales to be told, and re-told as we saw last Thursday in Fox’s made for TV reboot of O’Brien’s creation.


Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again
(2016 TV movie) **

Remakes and reboots as we know them, serve no purpose unless they bring something new to the discussion. Was the soundtrack re-scored to fit a different genre? Are all the roles gender-swapped to raise awareness of double standards? Perhaps a modern retelling of a classic tale? Are there zombies and werewolves involved?

No?

Well, then, what’s the point?!??
There's no point, you guys. Go home.
Kenny Ortega of High School Musical directing fame tackled the direction and production of this cult classic remake, failing bigly to compensate for any of its original charm, edginess, or abundant sexuality between the eccentric cast of characters. Ortega accomplished ruining this gem, firstly, by making it a made for TV movie, and secondly by turning every musical number into an over-the-top production with backup singers, dancers and a very busy set.

Does the movie take place at a castle or at a movie theatre? Turns out it is a little bit of both, as the film opens on Trixie, the “Usherette” going to work outside of a castle that is also a movie theater and guiding people to their seats. The appeal was supposed to be in the audience participation, which we see so little of it is almost irrelevant. Is it a stage show or a film the audience is watching? Set design suggests a hybrid of the two: Dr. Frank N Furter’s entrance occurs on a crane rolled in by a couple of stagehands; however, in earlier sequences we see Brad and Janet frolicking around a graveyard singing and dancing.

So, does this mean we are watching a film of an audience watching a film with scenes inside and outside, or are we watching a film of an audience watching a stage play that, for some unexplained reason, has outside shots?

Other redeemable qualities I found were exposure to a new generation of fans: preteens and young adults who somehow overlooked the movie and thought it might be fun to watch. My hope is that they will be saved someday when they view the original and see the greatness in its nuances and details, and know that not everything cool must come from multiple sparkly costume changes and layered vocals. I also liked seeing a multiculturally diverse cast. And although I griped about Dr. Frank N Furter’s entrance on a crane (rather than an elevator a la Tim Curry, 1975), it was a spectacle to behold. The final compliment I have for this film is towards the covers of “Dammit Janet” and “Planet Schmanet Janet.” They did the original film justice, and the rest of the songs were total garbage that should have been left on the Glee cutting room floor.
It's not easy having a good time: looks, glam and glitz can't save this remake.

My final point has got to be the [mis]casting: Laverne Cox as Dr. Frank N Furter, Annaleigh Ashford as Columbia, Adam Lambert as Eddie, and Reeve Carney as Riff Raff. I will start with Columbia and Eddie -- at no point in Let’s Do the Time Warp Again did they seem intimate or even more than buddies as Eddie forcibly belted out the verses to “Hot Patootie.” Now that I think of it, general sensuality and lustful glances are all amiss in this remake! WTF?? Anyway, I can deal with a better-looking Eddie than the original Meat Loaf, but this Eddie showed no awareness of Columbia or affection towards her. (In the original they could hardly keep their hands off each other and whipped out some cute dance moves.) Annaleigh Ashford as Columbia just flat out stinks as she delivers her lines with flatness in her voice and takes all talking and screaming cues half a beat late. If the desired effect was campiness, she surpassed it and went right into the realm of bad acting.

Carney and Cox’s performances of Riff Raff and Frank N Furter, respectively, have the same deficiencies that they were trying too hard to sound like their predecessors (Richard O’Brien and Tim Curry). Referring back to my introduction, what is the point of the remake if you are just going to regurgitate messy British pronunciations? Cox addressed our male protagonist as “Braid” and Carney painfully forced an “R” and the end of Magenta’s name to sound more like O’Brien. A performance where they weren’t trying to sound like previous actors would have been more authentic and sexy.

The plot remains the same, but the overall execution of the Rocky Horror remake has put nails in the coffin of ever re-envisioning this classic in film again. I think we can all agree the moral to this two-hour TV torturous special is just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. When the original genius behind the production you are creating will not give you his blessing, as Richard O'Brien did, it's a sign.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Richard III

(Image result for bbc hollow crown richard iii





2016) ****1/2

Richard,  the hunchbacked youngest brother of the King is nostalgic for times of war and chaos.  He would also like the crown.  At his basest, he's a serial killer by proxy.  Richard is sixth in line for the succession of the crown, which he uses an excuse to commit five murders.

The first half of Richard III shows the manipulations and machinations Richard enjoys while murdering his way to the throne.  Not only does he dispatch with the five others ahead of him, but there are many other associates who don't support him that Richard has murdered as well.  Once Richard has the crown, his mental state spirals downward as he becomes paranoid with keeping the crown.
Image result for cumberbatch richard iii
Richard, here played by Benedict Cumberbatch, is wonderful.  Many talented actors have played Richard, and many have made him a wonderful villain.  Of Shakespeare's roles, this is one that most put off until they are much older.  Cumberbatch's youth and energy make this Richard so energetically maniacal that he is hard not to enjoy.

Certain elements of this production place it squarely in the horror realm, rather than the historical drama that most other adaptations do.  The opening scene show Richard, his shirt off, his spine, deformed and twisted, as the camera follows the spine up and around his shoulder like a snake, leading to its head, which happens to be Cumberbatch's dignified, yet sinister look, as he delivers the opening monologue.  Undoubtedly, this will be the Richard III that sets the standard for our generation.

Dark City (1998)- Not "horror" BUT Terrifying




In the opening scene, a man wakes in a room naked and confused.  He breaks a fish bowl containing a single gold fish..  THAT is the crux of the movie.  What a great movie it is too.

Mr. Murdoch exists in an experiment orchestrated by the Strangers and Dr. Shreber.  The Strangers are a race that is in decline and close to extinction.  They have learned to put humans to sleep and alter reality, they call it Tuning.  The scene where you see the city morph to something new is amazing.  Slowly, Mr. Murdoch begins to unravel the "fish bowl" and expose the Strangers (through Dr. Shreber's help).  This is a big movie, dark and glorious.

I cannot say enough about the movie.  It is a combination of film noir, Dr Who, Paranoia nightmare, 1984, and Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer all rolled into one.  You can compare The Matrix with Dark City, and The Matrix comes up way short..  And Jennifer Connelly is MUCH hotter than Carrie-Anne Moss (aka, the chick who needs to eat a sandwich)

On duty tonight, so lots of movies to watch.. :-)