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NewCityNet Film Tip of the Week

The X-Files.

By Ray Pride

JUNE 22, 1998:  "The X-Files" movie is a dour romp, ostensibly a grand unified theory of paranoia, composed of many lightly tossed-off non sequiturs. But there's a silly plot that's hopelessly incoherent, particular to anyone unfamiliar with the burgeoning "X-Files" mythologies. And yes, Mulder smiles. Any kissing? Well, first you have to know about the Africanized honeybees and the black oil and the frozen caves. Producer-writer Chris Carter and series director Rob Bowman work at a rapid clip confecting their snazzy paranoia for Mulder and Scully, with mostly perfunctory dialogue studded with deadpan references to things like "The impossible scenario we never planned!" The widescreen visuals aren't bad - dust or smog or damp clings like dread to almost every shot. While one would like to hear smart jabber transposed from the talk-friendly circumstances of television, the talk here is mostly jumbo-sized mumbo-jumbo. David Duchovny's star stare gets a workout, making the most of scenes where he gets to say, "Just get dressed, I'll explain on the way," followed by whirlybirds shadow-spidering over a world-sized, screen-filling "E.T."-style full moon. Along the way, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, is posited as "the secret government," while the duo are stripped of authority, allowed to become renegade outsiders. If there is joy in this movie, it is from the poker-faced likes of a character pausing two beats and saying, "You're saying this is a... cover-up." The worst moments come with a hapless supervillain's-lair kind of climax, but the ending brings the mood back to six-feet-under gravity. My treasure from the pic comes when Duchovny shrugs off leaks from his father's old friend, played by Martin Landau, by dismissing "that end-of-the-world apocalypse crap you write." Landau, pleased, lights up, asking, "You know my work?" Panavision. 138m.

(Ray Pride)

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