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MOVIE REVIEW: The Conspiracy to Get You to Care About Bland ‘X-Files’

Written by Eric Kohn on . Posted in Arts & Film, Posts


An early scene in X-Files: I Want To Believe, Chris Carter’s belated follow-up visit to Fox’s cult show, signals a statement of defeat. Characteristically deadpan Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and meekly distant Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) revisit their old stomping grounds at the FBI to advise on an apparent supernatural case, culling from their backgrounds as former agents for the government’s least-discussed division. But those were different times, and things have changed: They pause at the door to contemplate the adjacent photographs. Cut to a close-up of George W. Bush, and cue the classic eerie whistle that X-Files fans consider their theme song. In the frame across from Dubya, J. Edgar Hoover projects a blank stare. A whispery echo blows through the soundtrack; Mulder and Scully stare back. For the first time in the history of these characters, they look legitimately frightened...

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MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Step Brothers’ Makes Me Miss Bill Murray

Written by Eric Kohn on . Posted in Arts & Film, Posts


Will Ferrell makes me miss the old Bill Murray. In his present state, Ferrell’s persistent blank stare and mock gravitas in increasingly tedious studio comedies make for a cheap facsimile of Murray’s wry bewilderment in his endearing early accomplishments. To that end, Ferrell’s latest vehicle, Step Brothers—which pairs him with a less grating John C. Reilly—makes me miss the era of What About Bob? Both movies portray dangerously unstable grown-ups as sources of dysfunction in seemingly wholesome American families, but where Murray’s Bob Wiley develops into an object of striking comic juxtaposition to the stable Marvin family, Ferrell and Reilly are content to bounce off their varying expressions of instability. The rest of the suburban clan is a cardboard illusion...

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