Dark City, 1998. Directed by Alex Proyas. Rufus Sewell, William Hurt, Jennifer Connelly, Kiefer Sutherland, Richard O'Brien, Bruce Spence

Yet another movie laboring under The Curse of the Krell, this also labors under the curses of Blade Runner and Empty-V. This has an interesting premise, one worthy of Phillip K. Dick, in which alien abductees are put through their paces in a perpetually nightbound film noir nightmare of a city where their memories are mixed and matched and the city itself reshaped every night at the whims of the alien captors. This premise is never really explored, though, as the film instead follows a man whose memories are not changed and who possesses the alien's ability to reshape reality at his will. This manouvers itself into a finale in which our hero stares down the head alien in a telepathic duel that might be at home in a Marvel comic book. Pity.

Had the filmmakers chosen, instead, to follow the background premise, this might have been something. It would still be unwatchable, though, because the production design, film editing, and cinematography all combine to make an eyesore of a movie. One of the secondary premises of the film is that the city is an amalgam of the collective memories of its inhabitants and this movie looks as if this has been taken at face value. There is nothing original in its design, nor does it ever change in any meaningful way. The aliens themselves are stolen directly from Hellraiser, cenobites minus the unpleasant surgical alterations. All of this might be forgivable, though, if everything had not been done with such seriousness. This is a silly movie at heart, but because it is silly, it overcompensates with dour pretension. This is absolutely joyless. There is no fun to be had here. This is an unpleasant time at the movies that seems to stretch far longer than its hour fifty minutes or so of running time. Pop nihilism at its worst.