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. In "Waterworld," if the world is covered with water, why is everyone so dirty? -- Stacy Horwitz, Schenectady, N.Y.
A. And where does Dennis Hopper get his cigarettes?
Q. "Waterworld" is like the "Mad Max" movies: We're in a future world with very little in the way of petroleum refining going on, yet there seems to be an awful lot of people on various gasoline-powered vehicles hot-rodding all over the landscape burning up a lot of petrol. -- George Effinger, New Orleans
A. And why is everyone so dirty, and smoking all the time?
Q. Who are the bozos that rate movies? I took my 2- year-old son to see "Free Willy 2" today, and I noticed that it was rated PG. I also noticed that the "Power Rangers" movie was rated G. WHAT IS UP??? The previews alone from "Power Rangers" upset me with their violent nature. "Free Willy 2," on the other hand, left me with a nice, calm, back-to-nature (except for the oil spill) feeling. Who's to blame? -- Juan Delgado, Philadelphia
A. My guess is they gave "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" the G because it had no sex, drugs or social problems (except, of course, for monsters attacking cities). "Free Willy 2" contained the material about the boys' wayward mother, and that was considered a more mature theme. The MPAA probably thinks children might not understand why the mother left and what happened to her. Given today's divorce statistics, maybe they should explain to kids what it means when there's a movie where Mommy and Daddy live together happily.
Q. I noticed in "While You Were Sleeping" that Sandra Bullock has a large scar over her left eye. It's even more evident in "The Net." Know how she got it? Just curious. -- Mark Blanchard, Norwalk, Conn.
A. It's not THAT large! When asked this question during an America Online chat session, Bullock said she got the scar at the age of 10, while crossing a river with her father. She hit her head on a rock, which she named "Bob." (Thanks to Douglas C. Thompson of Anchorage for this info.)
Q. In your review of "The Net," you wrote dubiously about Sandra Bullock: "She has an ultra-high-speed modem connection, I guess, since Internet stuff pops up the moment she hits the return key." You are behind the times. Bullock undoubtedly has an ISDN phone line and modem that will transfer data at 128kbps, and establish connections within milliseconds -- quietly. ISDN is a digital technology developed in the early '80s, about the same time as the Internet. It is available to the public. Speaking of Bullock, in "Demolition Man," she delivers dangerously silly throwaway lines with unassuming deftness and cuteness, lighting u the screen. How does a peon like myself go about, in a sly fashion, getting invites or tix to world premieres of films in Hollywood and New York? -- Gregory Soo, Beaconsfield, Quebec
A. Why don't you start by offering to install Sandra Bullock's own ISDN line? But first explain to me how she got an ISDN line into that hotel room where she was hiding out.
Q. I enjoy your reviews, but I think you have trouble sorting out relationships. You did this in your review of "Clueless" when you referred to Cher's "stepbrother" Paul when (if he was her father's son by a previous marriage) he was actually her HALF-brother. -- Lorna Churchill, Davis, Calif.
A. Josh (Paul Rudd) is in fact Cher's stepbrother because he is the stepson of her father (the son of a previous husband of his former wife). If he was her half- brother we would be getting into incest territory.
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A photo gallery offering snapshots from The Ebert Dinner at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.
Part ten in Scout Tafoya's The Unloved series tackles "The Village."