THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan


Kevin Spacey may or may not be a produce-loving alien in the drama K-Pax
K-Pax stars Kevin Spacey as a guy who claims to be from another planet, and Jeff Bridges as the psychiatrist who tries to cure him. The problem is that Spacey is so convincing that Bridges starts to believe he really is from outer space. Despite the scorn of his colleagues (as well as his own sense of reason), the psychiatrist continues to probe the mystery man's mind, looking for clues about his true identity. Movies about delusionals are not new (Bridges himself once starred in the similarly-themed The Fisher King), but K-Pax is one of the few that really works. To its credit, the film does make you wonder if this guy is telling the truth. Kevin Spacey does such a good job of being...well, spacey...that it actually seems kind of possible. In fact, this is one of the best performances ever from the man I consider to be the greatest actor working today. Spacey alone is worth seeing the movie for, but K-Pax also benefits from a smart, compelling story with a thought-provoking conclusion, as well as an equally solid performance from Jeff Bridges. This is good, solid entertainment.

( out of four)

Mirror, Mirror on the wall - who's the fairest of them all in 13 Ghosts?
Two years ago, Dark Castle Films (run, in part, by Cast Away director Robert Zemeckis) remade the cheesy William Castle horror flick House on Haunted Hill. That movie was kind of fun in a tongue-in-cheek, Tales From the Crypt-sort of way. Now the same people have pushed their luck with 13 Ghosts, another Castle remake. Tony Shalhoub and Shannon Elizabeth play a father/daughter team who inherit a gigantic glass house that has 13 spirits imprisoned in the basement. The spirits break loose and begin a bloody rampage. Believe me when I say that's about all there is to this movie. It's been a long time since I've seen so much gore splattered so gratuitously across the screen. Director Steve Beck tries to achieve a spooky atmosphere by using a really annoying technique: every time a ghost appears, he "flashes" the image onscreen while the soundtrack blasts a nails-on-chalkboard noise at deafening volume. There must be 500 of these flashes total. By the end of 13 Ghosts, I was half-nauseous and I had a headache. If that's your idea of a recommendation, be my guest. All others, beware.

( 1/2 out of four)

K-Pax is rated PG-13 for a sequence of violent images and brief language and sensuality. The running time is 1 hour and 58 minutes.

13 Ghosts is rated R for horror violence/gore, nudity and some language. The running time is 1 hour and 30 minutes.
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