Siskel and Ebert Movie Reviews

Original movie reviews untainted by time!


Dark City, Kissing a Fool, An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, Krippendorf’s Tribe, The Real Blonde, The Long Way Home, 1998

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Oscar Pick – The Long Way Home

I would like to thank old fashion guy for finding this one! I have always been curious to see how Roger and Gene reacted to Dark City! Finally!

Film quality is not good, but it will have to do until we can find better!

6 thoughts on “Dark City, Kissing a Fool, An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, Krippendorf’s Tribe, The Real Blonde, The Long Way Home, 1998

  • So was The Matrix really a rip-off of Dark City? And was it intentional? I haven’t seen Dark City unfortunately. The footage of this review is the most I’ve ever seen it. These agents hunting down the hero do seem very reminiscent of Mr. Smith. Have the Wachowskis ever been asked about the similarities?

    • That is a ridiculous statement. How can you say the Matrix is a rip off of Dark City when you haven’t even seen it? If you want me to spoil it for you, I will and first and foremost, Dark City a terrific film especially in its’ restored director’s cut which is 111 Minutes and that is the version you have to see and thankfully on Blu Ray. Secondly, The Matrix was already in production when this was released by New Line by this point and the Wachowski ladies had this script for years before Joel Silver and Warner Bros. agreed to finance it after they directed Bound in 1996 and then got it got greenlit.

      Third, Alex Proyas took alot of what he directed for The Crow and concentrated on this project after that. Proyas did not rip off The Wachowski’s or vice versa despite some simularities between both films. Proyas intent for Dark City was a Sci-Fi film noir like say Paycheck or Minority Report years later with elements of Christopher Nolan’s Momento which also came out years later.

      Fourth. The Matrix if you haven’t figured out has alot of religious elements to it and Dark City does not. Dark City is a film noir complete with a 50’s styled detective played by William Hurt and the damsel in distress played by Oscar Winner Jennifer Connelly with a scientist played by Kiefer Sutherland, playing against type who tells Rufus Sewell, the hero of this story what is really going around the world him in Shell Beach with a mysterious other worldly The Strangers, who are searching for Sewell, who cannot remember anything and holds the key to unlock or set free Shell Beach. I will not spoil that much. The Matrix meanwhile, has Neo or Thomas Anderson also doesn’t know what is going on and goes down the rabbit hole if you will to discover the real truth. There is no rabbit hole in this film except for remembering what is going on and why it’s going on in Dark City. The 100 Minute theatrical cut omits alot of important scenes that flesh out the storyline that was restored in the Director’s cut.

      The Matrix does have alot of production design similar to the Dark City and that isn’t by accident since they shared some sets in Australia where the film was made. However, the storylines are not even close to each other but there is only thing that they do share is the “who is behind the curtain?” mystery and Dark City does it a bit better than The Matrix, which left you a little disappointed at the end despite how good that trilogy is. Dark City really is an overlooked film now and it is a shame because it like the Matrix, is a great looking film and storywise compares to the original Matrix and Proyas direction is terrific.

      Ebert was right on the money about this film and it’s a shame that it did not catch on until home video and especially on DVD, where the film was given special treatment including a rare commentary track by Ebert himself who talks about everything especially why he chose it as his best movie of 1998.

      See the movie. See both cuts. See the Matrix again. Then you decide if it’s a rip off. Don’t go by a short clip! See the movie and then make a judgment. I’ve seen both versions and the Matrix, so I stand firmly with my assestment of it. It’s worth it.

  • Lot of bad shit they had to go through before hitting Dark City. Three bad films at first, two with Jenna Elfman.

    • I wanted to see the Alan Smithee review though. What’s strange about the movie is Arthur Hiller refused his director’s credit and had them put Alan Smithee on as the director of the film. But it’s unclear whether he really hated the film or just did that as a publicity stunt or an in-joke. This movie also apparently led to the industry completely retiring use of the Alan Smithee credit within a couple of years.

      • No, he hated it. He came out and said so before it was released. Disney and Cinergi Production took the movie away from him and completely tamed it down from what Hiller directed and sided with Ezsterhaus and went with his version of the film. Hiller’s version was a completely biting satire that was going to be his version of S.O.B. by the late Blake Edwards and a much better film all around. Sylvester Stallone and Jackie Chan didn’t agree to act in this film if they didn’t like what Ezsterhaus wrote and in the end, Cinergi was the one who ruined it and Hiller completely disowned it. So Hiller took his name off it and given credit to Alan Smithee for the last time which was retired after the film came out, in 19 theaters throughout the country that year and it was a major bomb losing close to 10 Million dollars.

        Walter Hill tried to use it on Supernova since MGM took the film away from him and was not happy with the finished product that involved Jack Sholder and Francis Ford Coppola (who also directed and edited it) and Hollywood finally retired the name and then Hill called himself, Thomas Lee. The other name used as a “Alan Smithee styled” name for a director was “Shortcut To Happiness” which was directed by Alec Baldwin and was a remake of “The Devil and Daniel Webster” which starring himself, Anthony Hopkins and Jennifer Love Hewitt which had run out of money by 2003 and then picked up by the infamous Bob Yari Productions in 2006, which took Baldwin’s original vision and sliced and diced it without Baldwin’s input and immediately disowned it. His credit as director on that film was “Harry Kirkpatrick”. Shortcut did come out on Blu Ray recently, but it was not Baldwin’s original version but the Yari edit.

  • Dark City definitely is a classic even after 24 years

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