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The 100




entropy
(1999)
Reviewed by Walter Chaw
Rating: 8 Beans

ord deliver us from directors who busily feel sorry for themselves even as they’re so beaten by life that they feel smarter than every single person in their pragmatic audience. I call them (us, we) the “pragmatic audience” because we’re the hard-headed, down-to-earth types that are not the director Phil Joanou, and also not the director Phil Joanou’s mother. In other words, we don’t have to like it when Joanou decides to strike the martyr pose on the million-billion dollar cross of AN ARTIST IN HOLLYWOOD, and we most certainly don’t have to genuflect at his lonesome altar of self-absorption.

ENTROPY is a film that is named after a cosmological idea that everything tends towards chaos. A good example of “entropy” is having a presidential election decided by a blow-job and the representationally similar act of poking a little stick through a pre-perforated note card – another sign of “entropy” is my nagging concern that “cosmological” means “pertaining to make-up products and hair styling” and that I’ve inadvertently made an ass of myself. I generally like to purposefully make an ass of myself – that entropy’s a bitch, ain’t she?

Stephen Dourff (BLADE) is a first-time filmmaker that looks to be making some kind of film noir period piece starring Lauren Holly. That’s his first and second mistake (the second one is fatal). He falls in love with a space alien European model named Stella (Judith Godrèche: MAN IN THE IRON MASK) who is so nice that if she didn’t look like a giant-eyebrowed Valeria Golina would probably look like E.T.. Before I forget, let me mention here that there’s a moment where Stephen Dorff holds a baby’s hand and realizes how low he’s come in his life. Imagine me sticking a finger down my throat and making gaggy barfy noises.

ENTROPY is a film that is edited and shot with an overwhelming amount of heat and style. It is all blue suffusions and whip pans, low angles, time lapses, and big empty apartments inhabited by skinny cats and frazzled gen-X directors drowning under the mantle of that bogeyman of the twenty-first century – the Hollywood Oz-ian sidekick producer with no heart, no courage, and no brain. Did I mention that Bono has something of a cameo in the film? Just an excuse, really, to show some U2 concert footage. If you’re struggling for the connection – the connection is that Joanou directed U2’s 1988 concert flick RATTLE AND HUM (filmed just about half an hour down the road at Red Rocks).

If you’re wondering what Bono and U2 has to do with ENTROPY – the connection is that Joanou directed U2’s 1988 concert flick RATTLE AND HUM. It’s as good an explanation as any, although I’m still struggling with the appearance of Elvis about three-quarters of the way through. Have I mentioned that ENTROPY is a smug, self-indulgent little thing?

Before I forget, let me mention that the editing, done by Joanou, is credited to John Galt. John Galt is the hero of Ayn Rand’s objectivist masterpiece ATLAS SHRUGGED (did I say “masterpiece?” meant to say “piece of adolescent shite”) – and that masturbatory ethos of stuff=morality drenches every single frame of this film like Korbel all over a slice of Wonder bread. Most puzzling is Bono, that latter-day icon of championing the disadvantaged, appearing in a film that joyfully celebrates venal consumption.

Ah – who’m I tryin’ to fool? I’m roughly as shocked to discover that Bono is an uncle-raping ass-gibbon as I am to discover that Rand’s objectivism makes for a really bad ethic for not only a life, but a movie.

Phil Joanou, who’s made it a career of making overly-stylized almost-good movies like THREE O’CLOCK HIGH, STATE OF GRACE, and HEAVEN’S PRISONERS – finally makes a film that shows his true colors. He’s the drunk dude at the party that laments his inability to make a good film because those assholes at studio are stifling his creative genius. Ironic that this staggeringly bathetic statement comes in a film that was not only written and directed by him, but. . . hold onto something – produced by the self-pitying little fucker, himself. Here’s yer chance, Phil – why’d you waste it on a giant, sleek-looking, hysterically-apologetic stroke-off?






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