The Zero Theorem
Terry Gilliam's first science fiction film since "12 Monkeys" is an inventively designed but oddly inert satire on technology, God and the future of humankind.
Q. I just got back from seeing "Dumb and Dumber." To say that this is the worst movie I have ever seen would be a gross understatement. The four people who saw it with me were all ready to walk out, but I kept them there by saying, "Roger Ebert said he laughed so loud, he embarrassed himself--so it must get better." I was wrong. This movie gets a "worse-than-'Darkman'" rating in my book, and having just lost a parakeet that my wife and I have had ever since we first met three years ago, I wasn't thrilled with the parakeet joke either. (Robert S. Fish, Columbus, Ohio)
A. I did indeed write "I laughed so loudly I embarrassed myself." Then I added: "BUT because I know that the first sentence of this review is likely to be lifted out and reprinted in an ad, I hasten to add that I did not laugh as loudly again, or very often."
Q. Not sure if you've seen them, but ironically enough, you were right about being misquoted in the ads for "Dumb and Dumber." They quote you as saying, "I laughed so hard I embarrassed myself," even though you only gave the movie two stars. Are you going to do anything about this, take any revenge on them, or whatever? (Francis Rogers, New Rochelle, N.Y.)
A. I'm not really mad, because in a way I was asking for it. I am ticked off, however, that they took my words "laughed so loudly" and substituted the subliterate "laughed so hard."
Q. Regarding "Pulp Fiction," the character Jules played by Samuel L. Jackson recites a bible passage twice in the movie. It's bogus, but no reviews have remarked on this. Have I missed something or do film critics regard this sort of thing as detail-mongering? (Ken Nichols, Grand Terrace, Ca.)
A. Tarantino-watcher Paul Chapman of London, England noted in the CompuServe Showbiz Forum: "Jules says he's quoting from Ezekiel, 25:17. But he isn't. The second half of his speech corresponds closely to the biblical text, but the rest seems to be a mish-mash of invention, expansion and interpretation. The text of this speech was transmitted on a BBC radio program, which I recorded. Here is what he says:
The path of the righteous man is best on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.
"My theory is that Jules did once know the passage verbatim, but it has become corrupted in his mind and infected with black political sound bites (two mentions of the word "brother," for example) and the need to justify his profession to his conscience."
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A photo gallery offering snapshots from The Ebert Dinner at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.
An appreciation of David Lynch's "Eraserhead" on the release of the film on Criterion Collection Blu-ray.