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Thursday, Dec. 2, 2004 09:53 pm

movie review

What the #$*! Do We Know!?

Grab a bag of Oreos and ponder the meaning of it all

This movie spoke to me loud and clear, and it said, "You're just too stupid to write a review of me."

First, there's a lot of lecturing about the unifying structures of the micro- and macrouniverse, and that makes my head hurt. Quantum physics is involved. Quantum physics makes me very confused. I'm in such a state, I don't know whether I'm coming or going (that's a quantum-physics joke I just made up).

Basically What the #$*! Do We Know!? is a PBS special with some sex and a couple of curse words thrown in for the adults in the audience -- a really cool PBS special that will never be seen on broadcast television because it breaks the rules about what can be in an instructive, dare I say educational, film. It makes you think about the basic tenets of your own existence. Everything is questioned. Everything is up for grabs. Everything is brought down to a level playing field. Everything is relative. It'll drive the Christian Coalition crazy.

So smoke a lot of pot and see it with five people you trust. Then go home, break out the Oreos, and stupefy each other with existential conundrums from your old Philosophy 101 textbook. See, see, I told you -- after you watch the movie, you'll start to feel a little unhinged. It makes you have wild, impulsive thoughts about your existence. It releases your inner geek.

The images are stimulating, the acting is adequate, and the plot doesn't get in the way of the ideas that bombard you visually and verbally.

It's all about those ideas -- ideas that are connected by a brave but tenuous filmmaking framework.

Some of the time you're following an anxious woman through her wreck of a life. Some of the time you're being lectured to by people with multiple PhDs across a wide spectrum of disciplines describing how we apprehend and alter the basic structure of our existence by observing it. Some of the time you're watching wild special effects and funny animated peptides bounce across the screen. Yes, you'll learn all about peptides and the way your brain and body are wired. The film is a mess of interconnected thoughts, an interesting chaos.

The ideas at the core of the film are beyond human description or understanding. Higher mathematics would have to be employed to provide the subject a deeper meaning. Look at the problem I'm having describing it to you right now.

But it's worth seeing and worth spending some time and money on.

So now I know I'm too stupid to write a review of the movie. At least I learned that one thing today. Now I have to see it over and over again.

Also in theaters this week. . .

After the Sunset [PG-13] A master thief retires to an island paradise. His arch nemesis, FBI agent Stan Lloyd, keeps an eye on him. Parkway Pointe

Alexander [R] Alexander, King of Macedonia, conquers most of the known world. Oliver Stone directs. Parkway Pointe, ShowPlace East

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason [R] Bridget Jones is growing uncomfortable with her relationship with Mark Darcy. Plus, Daniel Cleaver is back. ShowPlace West, ShowPlace East

Christmas with the Kranks [PG] Luther Krank is fed up with Christmas commercialism and decides to skip the holiday and go on a vacation with his wife. When his daughter comes home, he's forced to celebrate the holidays.ShowPlace West, ShowPlace East

The Incredibles [PG] A family of superheroes lives quietly in the burbs thanks to the Witness Protection Program, until they're called into action to save the world. Animated. ShowPlace West, ShowPlace East

National Treasure [PG] Benjamin Franklin Gates hunts for a war chest hidden by the Founding Fathers prior to the Revolutionary War. ShowPlace West, ShowPlace East

The Polar Express [G] Based on the popular children's book, a story of a boy who is whisked by train to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. ShowPlace West, ShowPlace East

Ray [PG-13] Jamie Foxx portrays musical legend Ray Charles. Parkway Pointe, ShowPlace East

Saw [R] A man wakes up in a dark room, chained to a pipe. On the other side of the room: another man, also chained. One man must kill the other -- or his wife and daughter will die. Parkway Pointe

Sideways [R]A failed writer and divorcé and his best friend, a faded actor, take a weeklong trip through California wine country, where they explore their failures and, um, drink wine. Parkway Pointe

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie [PG] SpongeBob SquarePants leaves Bikini Bottom to track down King Neptune's stolen crown. Parkway Pointe, ShowPlace East


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