EDtv - FORCES OF NATURE - THE HARMONISTS
THE RAGE: CARRIE 2 - TRUE CRIMES - RAVENOUS

EDtv

True TV is a fact-filled documentary cable channel whose ratings are on a rapid, downward slide. The station is even losing ground to The Gardening Channel and program director Cynthia Toppin (Ellen DeGeneres) has to turn things around. Desperate to boost the station's failing ratings, she embarks on a novel idea - find someone, an ordinary Joe, and put his life on TV 24 hours a day! The hunt to find the star of the show ends with an unambitious video clerk, Ed Pekurny (Matthew McConaughey), and begins the unscripted, unedited, unrehearsed and unpredictable Ron Howard film, "EDtv."

Robin's Review of 'EDtv'

The screenplay, by long time Ron Howard collaborators Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, is based on the 1994 French-Canadian film, "Louis XIX: Roi des Onde," by Michael Poulette. Remember MTV's "Real World" or the PBS experimental documenary on the Loud family 20 years ago? With thes4e, and other shows like "Cops," a 24-hour day-in-the-life, every day TV show about an average guy is a plausible reality. This is a completely different premise than the film that "EDtv" will be most compared to - "The Truman Show."

The difference between "EDtv" and "The Truman Show" lays in the very natures of the two films. "The Truman Show" is a fantasy world of the future where the media has the power to create an entire universe to house and grow the naive and unknowing Truman for his whole life. The entire world is contrived by its creator, Christof, and everything in it is there to keep its star unaware and guileless. "EDtv" is a modern day parable about fame, where being special is no longer a criteria for being famous. In Ed's world, people are considered special for just being famous - accomplishment is no longer a measuring stick for celebrity. It also delves into privacy and the effect it has when it is no longer there. Heady stuff packaged in a light-hearted comedy.

The beginning of the film - the idea, the casting for its star, the debut of the show - is the best part as we get thrust into the world of Ed. The honesty of the show and the appeal this has on the viewers is handled in a light comic manner, with some watchers completely mesmerized by Ed's life and others throwing their hands up, not understanding the appeal of EDtv. The surprises, for Ed and his viewers as they both get to know his new, public world, are amusingly handled as Ed gets to know the price of fame. Cuts to the viewers are much the same as in "The Truman Show," but that just seems inevitable.

"EDtv" takes a turn to formula in the last half as the specter of greedy corporate interference and manipulation rears its ugly head in the person of Whitacker (Rob Reiner), a slimeball network boss who doesn't care a naught about Ed or those around him. He only cares about the ratings. This brings about a David and Goliath story as Ed connives to get out of his unfair contract. Ed takes on Whitacker and gaggle of yes people and fights back, getting control of his life once again. I've been down this story path one too many times. I would have preferred if the writers kept with the early themes and not take the easy way out with pot shots at corporate America (not that it doesn't deserve it).

McConaughey, as Ed, gives his most natural, assured performance to date. He has a knack for comedy, that, so far, outshines his dramatic persona (with the exception of his performance as the young sheriff in the under- praised John Sayles drama, "Lone Star.") He has a likeable presence on the screen and does a fine job as a working-class stiff coping with being in the limelight.

Jenna Elfman (TV's "Dharma & Greg") plays Shari, the love interest who starts out as Ed's brother Ray's (Woody Harrelson) girlfriend, but falls into Ed's arms (live on TV) after learning, through the show, that Ray is not exactly faithful to her. Elfman starts off with a good-natured romantic/comedy performance, but, as the character's insecurities come out, her perf is more a riff on some of Meg Ryan's comic-emotional moves in films like "When Harry Met Sally."

Woody Harrelson is perfectly cast as Ed's sleazy brother Ray, looking like Ed's elder sibling and effecting a fair comic performance, though his character fades as the film progresses. The rest of the cast consists of a veteran crew of accomplished actors with the likes of Sally Kirkland and Martin Landau as Ed's mom and stepdad - both giving full performances in very small roles. Ellen DeGeneres (TV's "Ellen") does a first-class job as the creator of EDtv, who sees the station's responsibility to Ed, not just the ratings and money. Her Deep Throat impersonation, near the end, is a nice comic touch to a solid perf. Rob Reiner, Dennis Hopper and Elizabeth Hurley have name draw only, getting and giving nothing special.

Ron Howard and company, behind the camera, perform deftly in their handling of the visual excitement of renegade television. Mixing video and film, fast-moving camera work and the high-tech look of the film help keep the conventional story moving along briskly. Cinematographer John Schwartzmann ("Armageddon") keeps the camera work tight and crisp as the video crew following Ed get in-your-face footage of his life.

"EDtv" is not the best of Howard's work, but it is certainly a solidly crafted film that pokes fun at the media, and us, as we fall into the near-hypnotism of such television events as the OJ trial or the whole Monica Lewinski debacle. I give it a B.

Laura's review of 'EDtv'
Ron Howard's "Ed TV" is the third of the 'life as television' films following the masterful "The Truman Show" and well crafted "Pleasantville." This is the least of the three films, yet it's an amusing romp and certainly not superfluous.

Unlike "The Truman Show," video store clerk Ed (Matthew McConaughey) willingly agrees to have his life broadcast 24 hours a day for fledgling cable station TrueTV. The ensuing fame and celebrity which initially seem exhilirating and highly profitable for Ed's entire clan eventually result in romantic problems and multiple family rifts.

Howard has assembled a stellar ensemble cast with surprisingly exceptional turns from Ellen DeGeneres as the show's producer ('I'm the golden queen of television!' she revels, jumping on her bed, when Ed's life finally has a dramatic moment), Sally Kirkland as Ed's untruthful mom and Martin Landau, excuding sweetness as Ed's wheelchair bound stepfather. McConaughy finally proves he can carry a film - comedy appears to be his forte ("Dazed and Confused"). His concentration on clipping his toenails, treating the job like it's a minor art form, is revoltingly hilarious.

Woody Harrelson looks like McConaughy's real brother as jealous sibling Ray whose lowlife ways are exposed on the air. Jenna Elfman is Ray's girlfriend Shari who becomes Ed's passion while turning off his audience. (The film's biggest flaw is that Ed's attraction to Shari isn't very believable.) Rob Reiner is crass and blustery as DeGeneres' boss and Howard gives his brother Clint his largest part in a Howard film as Ken, Ed TV's camera supervisor. Howard even manages to make such overused cameo appearances as Jay Leno entertainingly fresh.

Ed TV takes jabs at the media (Ray pens a book, 'My Brother Pissed On Me,' USA Today runs polls as to whether Ed should dump Shari) and the audiences who fuel tabloid TV (in Trumanesque fashion, several groups of television watchers comment on Ed's saga and even cheer when Ed bests his producers, DeGeneres comments on Ed 'If he's good, great. If he's bad, even better.')

With a running time of 122 minutes, "Ed TV" takes a little too much time to build to its climax, but good comedies are hard to come by and this is a solid and fun effort.

B


FORCES OF NATURE
Ben (Ben Affleck) is on a flight from New York to Savannah to wed Bridget (Maura Tierney, TV's Newsradio) when the first natural disaster hits - a seagull is sucked into the plane's engine during takeoff causing it to skid off the runway. The second natural disaster is Ben's seatmate Sarah (Sandra Bullock) who accompanies him on a crazy road trip and causes him to question his life's path in "Forces of Nature."

Laura's review of 'Forces Of Nature'

"Forces of Nature" is a hit and miss romantic comedy/road movie. The natural disasters come in the forms of hale storms, two heart attacks, fire and a hurricane (at one point Ben sits down and declares 'I'm just going to wait for the locusts to come'), yet the analogy doesn't really work as Sarah's character isn't a strong enough force.

Ben Affleck is a likeable actor, but he's a little too subdued here. His tight collared Ben is never really believable because he's introduced as too assuredly in love with his fiance and fearless about his upcoming wedding. Sandra Bullock has a better vehicle here than her last effort ("Practical Magic") and she has some fine moments, particularly in being able to showcase her singing and dancing abilities, but Marc Lawrence's script forces her into some ridiculous situations (an evening spent in an all-night KMart plays like a silly music video montage). Maura Tierney does admirable work making her anxious bride-to-be a fleshed out character rather than a plot necessity. Ronny Cox ("Robocop") has some fun as the bride's father who prefers his daughter's previous boyfriend to her intended. Steve Zahn as Ben's brother and Blythe Danner as Bridget's mom are wasted here.

Ben is constantly hearing tales of marital woe (Oscar Wilde is even quoted - 'One should always be in love which is why one should never marry') and Bridget discovers her parents have separated, but the point is as murky as the disaster analogies (showy shots of raindrops notwithstanding). The "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" aspects of the film work much better. Affleck and Bullock spark the brightest when she offers him up as a stripper in a gay nightclub in order to get some cash to continue their journey and when they infiltrate a busload of senior citizens being taken to visit time share condos.

There's never any real doubt as to who Ben will end up with. Sarah is en route to see her 10 year old son who chose to live with his dad instead of her and whom she hasn't seen in two years. Their reunion is too pat, immediate acceptance and no sign of Sarah's former husband in sight.

The film's bittersweet edge raises it a bit above cliche while its misfires keep it from totally coming together. "Forces of Nature" is cute but forgettable.

C+

Robin's Review of 'Forces Of Nature'
"Planes, Trains and Automobiles" meets "The Sure Thing" meets "The Out-of-Towners" meets "Silver Streak" in director Bronwen Hughes' ("Harriet the Spy") "Forces of Nature," a road movie romance starring Sandra Bullock and Ben Affleck.

Ben Holmes is an uptight young man who has to have control over his life, every facet of it. His journey from NYC to Savannah for his wedding to beau, Bridget (Maura Tierney, TV's "News Radio"), is meticulously planned and timed. Of course, the unexpected happens and Ben's plane sucks a seagull into an engine during takeoff and crashes, throwing Ben, literally, into the arms of another woman, the beautiful, lively, enigmatic Sarah (Bullock).

From the very beginning, Ben is assaulted by omens against his looming marriage. For example, an older couple gleefully admits to their infidelity and the lack of love in their own, long-time marriages. It's marriage=prison, Sarah=freedom for Ben and Sarah head for Savannah, each with an agenda to find happiness. The close proximity of the two for their two day journey puts doubts in Ben's mind, causing him to question his intended life with Bridget.

Ben Affleck is boring as book jacket copywriter Ben. He is so flat, Bullock seems to be struggling to generate any spark between them. She fails despite her valiant efforts. Affleck is totally unsuited for the role of the uptight control freak.

Bullock, on the other hand, gives one of her most energetic, satisfying perfs since her debut in "Speed." Her Sarah is pretty, smart, confused, healing and wants to do the right thing for her long-estranged child. Her last outings in "Practical Magic" and "Speed 2" caused me concern about her abilities. She comes back in "Forces of Nature."

Maura Tierney, in the role of the beleaguered fiancee waiting on the sidelines for he return of her Ben, makes a pleasing splash with a hard role. Bridget believes in her husband-to-be, but EVERYTHING around her works against the wedding. She's a strong-willed young lady who knows what she wants, even if it opposes her doting parents. She remains the rebel to the end, slugging down shots from a bottle as her fianci remains among the missing and a hurricane threatens to destroy her wedding.

The supporting cast is an embarrassment of riches with nothing to do. The wacky Steve Zahn ("That Thing You Do"), given the best buddy role has nothing to do. Blythe Danner, who usually lends her all to her performances, is completely wasted as the bride's mom. Ronny Cox, at least, gets to emote in the role of the angry father of the bride who is against the marriage. The rest of the cast are little more than stick figures.

Technically, director Hughes has a solid crew assisting behind the camera with the photography by Elliot Davis ("Out of Sight") especially flattering for Bullock.

It has all been done before, and better. I give "Forces of Nature" a C+


THE HARMONISTS

It's 1927, Berlin. Times are tough in Germany, but the city is still a vibrant center of music and arts. Musical jack-of-all-trades Harry Frommerman (Ulrich Noethen), a big fan of the American a capella singing group, The Revellers, decides to use his talents to put together his own quintet of vocalists in director Joseph Vilsmaier's true life story of song, anti-Semitism and survival in the period drama, "The Harmonists."

Robin's Review of 'The Harmonists'
Vilsmaier, who created the brutal, but excellent, World War II film about the eventual defeat of the German Army in the 1996 masterpiece, "Stalingrad," has put together a more personal period drama starting with the creation of the popular a capella group, The Comedian Harmonists. The concept for the group is developed by music-lover Harry, who knows his art, has a terrific voice (even impersonating instruments) and a knack for arrangement. He can't get any work with his existing skills, so he decides to audition singers to form the quintet of his dreams.

Initially, Harry is swamped with auditioners, none of whom have the vocal talents he is searching for. The flamboyant arrival of the charismatic, forceful and, most important, talented baritone Robert Biberti (Ben Becker) turns things. Robert sees his competition for the talent-less oafs they are and convinces Harry to search elsewhere. The pair's search efforts turn up three more gifted vocalists (played by Heino Ferch, Heinrich Schafmeister and Max Tidof) and a talented pianist (Kai Wiesinger) to accompany the group. Once formed, they work hard to find their particular hook into popularity, listening to the American group, The Revellers, and trying their hand at different styles. Their first audition, to a big-shot agent, is a disaster and Robert gives the group a month to get their act together. Nothing seems to work, until one day, the piano player, Erwin Bootz starts fiddling with the Duke Ellington song, Creole Love Call, and they suddenly find their mitier.

The band debuts for a major talent promoter who sees the raw talent of their artful combination of music and humor and dubs them the Comedian Harmonists. The group begins a meteoric rise to fame under their new moniker and become the musical darlings of Germany and the continent, touring all over and bringing pleasure wherever they go. The future of the Comedian Harmonists seems assured until historical events change things. When Hitler and his Nazi thugs come to power in Germany, instituting the harsh, anti-Semitic Racial Laws, the band believes their popularity will protect them, even though half the member are Jewish. Their popularity continues to swell as they gain international fame, even performing in the US, but the hate growing in Germany is too great. On their return home, they are ordered to disband, under the Laws, but not until they give their last, sold out performance before the cream of Munich politics and society.

"The Harmonists" is a musical delight coupled with a piece of musical history not generally known, especially among American filmgoers. The music of the film makes it a truly international achievement. The universal appeal of the film's wonderful tunes, regardless of language, makes for a remarkably entertaining couple of hours. Vilsmaier, who photographed as well as directed "The Harmonists," does a world class job of presenting the true life rise and fall of a group who cannot continue to bring their gift to the world because of the bigotry and hate of the Nazis. He deftly ends the film leaving the viewer with a melancholy regret for the loss of such great talent to the world.

The production is vibrant with the many concert performances done elaborately, with a formal look to the members of the group, while an inherent relaxation of each man gives the audience a sense of comfortableness.

Acing is solid across the board. A story with this many main, plus supporting, characters is bound to take liberties with concentration on the individual characters, so the focus is on Harry and Bob. These two are the heart and force of the band, with the story more keyed to the lives of the pair. The rest of the Harmonists are given some depth in their drawing and in their depiction by the actors. Each man is a unique individual with a life and love (for one member, Ari, many loves) and their own problems.

I give "The Harmonists" an enthusiastic B+ with an A for the great music.


THE RAGE: CARRIE 2

It's twenty years later and no one but Bates High School councelor Sue Snell (Amy Irving, "Carrie") and her institutionalized mother realize that Rachel (newcomer Emily Bergl) is not a normal girl. In fact, she's Carrie White's half-sister, and a tough goth-chick outcast whose best friend has just thrown herself off the school's roof after being dumped by a football playing jock. When the sensitive member of the team, Jesse (Jason London, "Dazed and Confused") falls in love with Rachel, his teammates and the cool girls club are aghast and set Rachel up for humiliation. It will be their downfall.

Laura's review of 'The Rage: Carrie 2'

"The Rage: Carrie 2" isn't so much a sequel as it is an updated remake. Unlike the classic original, this is howlingly bad, so ludricous it's entertaining.

It's bad enough that the film opens with young Rachel witnessing her mother painting their home with a red stripe to drive out devils before being hauled away by the men in white coats (a cheap reference to the original Carrie's far scarier, bonkers, religious nut mom, played by the Oscar nominated Piper Laurie). "The Rage" even resorts to some misguided flashbacks to the original film, with no real rhyme or reason to their insertion (when Sue Snell reveals to Rachel that she had a traumatic experience in high school, we're shown the 'tampons in the shower scene,' where Carrie was being traumatized and Sue was one of the taunters - huh? I think the filmmakers just wanted to make sure the audience understood that Irving was a link to the first film.) Things get seriously hilarious when Sue brings Rachel to the ruins of the original high school - still there in the middle of a green field (what happened to the parking lot?) over twenty years later! Then Snell breaks Rachel's mom out of the looney bin by putting chewing gum on the institution's gate!

Emily Bergl is outstanding in the role of Rachel, displaying a talent this film doesn't deserve. The camera loves her face and she's an empathetic heroine. Jason London also does good work as Jesse. They're a couple to root for. Amy Irving is laughable. The rest of the cast is simply standard.

The screenwriter of "Hackers," Rafael Moreu, proves he's a real hack. Director Katt Shea ("Poison Ivy") moves things along at a nice pace. Editor Richard Nord makes some questionable choices, creating more than a few choppy transitions. Special effects by Roy Arbogast ("Close Encounters of the Third Kind") offer some neat twists and special effects makeup artist Tom Burman has some fun with Rachel's tattoo.

"The Rage: Carrie 2" is entertaining both in spite of and because of its idiotic script. It's a 'so bad it's almost good' movie featuring a breakout performance by Bergl.

C+


TRUE CRIMES

Steve Everett is a top-notch investigative reporter for the Oakland Tribune, but, he has always had problems with authority, he's an alcoholic with only two months on the wagon and he is about to lose his latest wife because of his infidelity. If it weren't for his good friend, the editor-in-chief of the Tribune, Alan Mann (James Woods), he wouldn't even have a job. A twist of fate, the accidental death of another reporter, has Steve assigned to cover the execution of Frank Beachum (Isaiah Washington), a young man convicted of the brutal murder of a young, pregnant store clerk. Everett, with only 12 hours left before the completion of sentence, uncovers the real truth of the case and frantically tries to get justice served in "True Crime."

Robin's Review of 'True Crimes'
Steve, during his routine coverage of Beachum's final hours, uncovers discrepancies with the crime scene layout and, more importantly, the testimony of the key prosecution witness, Dale Porterhouse (Michael Jetter, "Air Bud"). Porterhouse identified Beachum as the killer in the convenience store, but a quick look at the scene tells Everett's nose for news that something is amiss. The suspicion of inconsistency leads Steve to uncover the truth about the events that placed Beachum on death row in the first place. Once the hope of innocence is raised, "True Crime" takes on a beat-the-clock air as Steve races to find the truth and save an innocent man. For the Eastwood fans, there IS a car chase toward the end of the film.

The screenplay, by Larry Gross, Paul Brickman and Stephen Schiff, tries to cram too much stuff into its 12 hour time span. The compressed time is used to create a sense of urgency to uncover the truth, but there is too much going on to realistically only fill half a day. Not only does Steve have to save a man's life, he also has to cope with the threat of losing his job, a failing marriage and a trip to the zoo with his young daughter. Two days would have fit the story better, but the writers are going for a tick-tick-tick pace requiring the shorter time. The combination makes for story inconsistencies. Also, the incredible convenience Everett has when looking for obscure evidence gives the tale a perfunctory, get-things-out-of-the-way feel.

"True Crime" bears a marked similarity to the 1948 Henry Hathaway film starring Jimmy Stewart, "Call Northside 777." Both films deal with a reporter having a "human interest" piece about a prison inmate thrust upon him, getting an inkling that the prisoner's constant plea of innocence is real, and the plodding, unrelenting search for the truth. "Northside" builds the drama more fully by taking the time to give its tough reporter (Stewart) a chance to dig for the truth.

Eastwood is OK as an aging Lothario and veteran news reporter. He is, obviously, comfortable with his role and his director (Eastwood), and still has the presence to hold the screen. He is a little to old to be the sex symbol he once was, but he is still a charmer.

James Woods has an incredibly good time as Steve's chief editor and long-time friend, Alan Mann. Woods mercilessly chews up the scenery as the hard-boiled, loud talking and blaspheming boss-man and is fun to watch. Denis Leary, as the city editor and Steve's immediate superior, is given a two dimensional role as the man cuckolded by Everett and wants rid of the man both personally and professionally.

Isaiah Washington ("Bulworth") gives an intriguing parallel performance to Eastwood's as Death Row inmate Beachum. Washington is convincing as a former bad boy who, with the love for his wife and for Jesus, has found redemption in life, only to have it being taken away. The actor utterly conveys the strength of his belief in God and himself, facing his impending death with dignity and innocence.

"True Crime" goes through its paces well enough but is predictable every step of the way. Even the up-beat outcome is no surprise. I give it a B-.

Laura's review of 'True Crimes'
From its opening shot of San Quentin, we know we're in Eastwood country with "True Crime," his 41st leading role, 21st directing job and 14th turn as producer.

Eastwood is Steve Everett, a wreck of a man two months on the wagon on the verge of losing his family due to his constant womanizing. All he has left is his journalistic nose. When he's directed to pick up a human interest piece on death row inmate Frank Beachum (Isiah Washington), Ev smells something bad. Meeting the man and his religious wife convinces him that Beachum is innocent of shooting a pregnant convenience store clerk and he only has 8 hours to prove it.

Steve Everett is a quintessential Eastwood character. Steve acknowledges his flaws and the irony of meeting his antithesis in Frank Beachum begins to humanize him. Everett tries to play the good dad by honoring a promise to take his young daughter (played by Eastwood's child by Frances Fischer, who also has a cameo here), but turns the trip into a game of 'speed zoo' in order to meet up with a questionable witness. The child is returned home scraped and bruised from being pitched out of her stroller to his wife's disgust. At the Oakland Tribune (where the banter, written by Larry Gross, Paul Brickman and Stephen Schiff, flies), Eastwood is being given the evil eye by his editor (Denis Leary), who's learned that Ev is having an affair with his wife. Ev's editor-in-chief (James Woods, in prime hyperactive style) loves the guy, but is at the end of his rope saving him from himself.

The supporting cast is well chosen beginning with Isiah Washington's decent family man and his desperate and loving wife played by Lisa Gay Hamilton ("Beloved") who heartbreakingly demands to know why Ev, who believes their story, wasn't on the scene sooner. Seeing Woods and Leary in a scene together makes one wonder if they didn't affect weather conditions (although Leary demurs to Woods in the energy department). Also featured is William Windom as Ev's local bartender.

The script, unfortunately, plummets into cliche as the frequently noted clocks tick on. Ev breaks into a dead colleague's apartment hunting for clues only to have her father find just what he's looking for in a notebook upturned to just the right page on the floor. When Ev hears that Beachum's confessed (prison politics involving a chaplain and the warden are alluded to, but never fleshed out), he falls off the wagon only to have a last minute relevation that has him racing to the newspaper owner's mansion as the lethal injection has begun.

"True Crime" is a good, well acted film that offers no surprises.

B-


RAVENOUS

Captain John Boyd (Guy Pearce, "L.A. Confidential") is shipped to a remote outpost in the Western Sierras after undergoing the horrors of the Mexican American war. Fort Spencer houses a strange cast of characters - commanding officer Jeffrey Jones is entertained by his dithering padre (Jeffrey Davies, "Saving Private Ryan"), peyote maddened cook (David Arquette, "Scream 2"), drunken army doctor (Stephen Spinella) and one over enthusiastic soldier (Neal McDonough). When Colqhoun (Robert Carlyle, "The Full Monty") stumbles into camp and confesses to having survived three months in the wilderness where cannibalism among his fellow travelers ran amok, the group journeys out to save a woman Colqhoun's left behind, but Colqhoun begins to show different colors along the way.

Laura's review of 'Ravenous'
Director Antonia Bird ("Priest"), who took over the reins of "Ravenous" after it was already in production, clearly didn't have a clear vision of what she wanted to accomplish with this film. Part horror, part black comedy, part western and part mumbo-jumbo Christian allegory, "Ravenous" never attains cohesion.

Too bad, because Bird had quite a cast assembled here. Robert Carlyle creates a creepy character as an immoral military officer who discovers near invincibility by partaking of human flesh. His transformation from the meek Colqhoun he's invented to a raving monster is truly startling. Boyd's realization that he's alone in the middle of nowhere with a man who just killed and will dine on their entire rescue party is unsettling indeed. The film never attains this level of horror again.

Guy Pearce, so good in "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and "L.A. Confidential" is just wooden as Boyd, a man who inadvertently drank the blood of his fellow soldiers when hiding from the enemy beneath their dead bodies, and Colqhoun's intended recruit ('It's lonely being a cannibal,' Boyd's told by another of Colqhoun's surprise followers.) Jeffrey Jones also gives an entertaining performance as the dryly lenient commanding officer. Jeffrey Davies is almost unrecogniable as the religious zealot, but he has one shining moment after an injury on the rescue mission - 'He's licking me!' he screams in the darkness of a camp tent, when Colqhoun can't wait to set his trap. David Arquette is amusing, but wasted in this small role. Joseph Running Fox and Sheila Tousey maintain tremendous dignity as the Native Americans who fear a Wendigo, an Indian legend about a monster who grows strong by eating his enemies, is in their midst.

The film features some stunning location photography (Czechoslovakia stands in for the Californian mountains), but by its end, "Ravenous" left me feeling completely neutral.

C


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