MT VOID 07/06/01 (Vol. 20, Number 1)

MT VOID 07/06/01 (Vol. 20, Number 1)

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Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
07/06/01 -- Vol. 20, No. 1

Big Cheese: Mark Leeper, Little Cheese: Evelyn Leeper, Back issues at All material copyright by author unless otherwise noted.

Table of Contents


The Science Fiction Club library will be donating several of its reference books to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) Medical Fund auction at Worldcon this year.

We are still looking for a home for the thousand or so science fiction books, preferably an organization that can come pick them up from Holmdel. Any pointers welcome!

For those of you who get HBO Plus, this month it is showing OSCAR, Sylvester Stallone's best movie. This was voted even funnier than SOME LIKE IT HOT when we showed them as a double feature several years ago, and we highly recommend it. Showtimes are July 19 at 1:30PM EDT and July 22 at 6AM EDT. [-ecl]

Rights (comments by Mark R. Leeper):

This week is the anniversary of the signing of one of the classic documents on human rights, the Declaration of Independence. You hear a lot of talk about rights these days: reproductive rights, civil rights, entitlement rights, animal rights. Leaning liberal and libertarian myself, rights are very important to me. But this week I would like to think a little more about human rights and what they actually mean. And I want to be open enough to see them upside and downside.

People of around the time of 1776 had more time to make moral decisions and thought about them more carefully. That was a time when the pace of life was considerably slower. It was not because people were different and moved more slowly, but because there were fewer choices of which people could avail themselves. These days if I wake up at three in the morning I can get in my car and do my grocery shopping. Or I can talk to people by computer. Or I have a chess opponent right in my den that I can play against. Or I can see a movie. With there being more and more we can do with our time the demands have also increased. We are expected to achieve more in our lifetimes to keep up with other people who also have the opportunity to achieve more. You can see in literature that writing styles have gone from florid and unrushed as Dickens wrote, to short and punchy in Hemmingway's style, to pre- illustrated with the emergence of the comic book as a major, serious art form. Fast microwave cooking is becoming popular because people can do it quickly and move onto the next thing. The path to popularity may not guaranteed by saving the consumer time and effort, but that is becoming a prerequisite. What does the pace of life have to do with rights? More than you might think.

What exactly is a right? It is a sort of simplifying assumption. It is a short cut to turn what can be a tough moral decision that takes time to decide into a "no brainer." This can be a good thing or this can be a bad thing. An example may explain how a right is a laborsaving device. A Hindu wants to practice his religion in this country. Historically where different religions have interfaced in the past there have been problems. We want the Hindu to be happy, but we do not want the social strife that may follow. This is a difficult moral question. But we give everybody the right to choose the religion they want. A Hindu has the right to practice his religion. End of discussion. I think most people would agree the right decision was made here. Just as the quality of coffee may be lower if use the "instant" version, so to your moral decisions may be of lower value with too great an emphasis on the "instant" version.

As another example a magazine wants to publish the recipe for making a fertilizer bomb. Making the information public might put it in the wrong hands and may actually endanger the public. On the other hand, the public might be better off knowing how simple the process is and in how much danger they stand. This is a tough moral decision. Here again the thinking is sidestepped because the magazine has a First Amendment right to say what it wants. There is no need for moral discussion beyond that point. Once you have a right to do something you can ignore anyone who tells you it is immoral and you should not do it. In this case it is much more debatable whether the automatic decision is the right one.

The problem is that we have given out more rights than we should have. And we have not checked them for consistency. Frequently we see rights in conflict and we are returned to moral decisions to see which rights are more basic. The newspaper has a right to obtain and print news. A celebrity has a right to be free from aggressive photojournalists. Those rights are inconsistent.

The greater stress on rights these days is necessary because they are shortcut moral decisions. There was a legal case a few years back about a man who was staring at a woman at swimming pool. The woman brought suit claiming that she had a right not to be stared at. The man claimed a right to look at whatever he wants. It was a difficult issue. Each by claiming a right said it was really unnecessary to consider the issue. Thank goodness both were wrong about the existence of rights. It was a difficult moral issue and it should have been. We neither have an unlimited right to look at what we wish, nor to be free from observation. A well-meaning society could have legislated either right or both rights previously. Issuing one right would have severely limited privacy, issuing the other would limited the press. And if both rights had been issued then we would have had a case of rights in collision, one that is extremely difficult to resolve. If the issue was difficult to resolve, our society provides means of making the decision. They are slower and more difficult than just making new rights, but they are far less hazardous. Rights are a fundamental of our political system, just like money is. But minting either too freely is a short route to chaos.

Creating new rights in an ad hoc manner is a dangerous path. Defining new rights has to be done with the utmost care. The more we are tempted to do it the more it is necessary to resist. Putting too many trump cards in the deck only leads to chaos. [-mrl]

A.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (a film review by Mark R. Leeper):

CAPSULE: A very short story is expanded into a longish but powerful film about time, durability, and purpose of existence by the combined efforts of the late Stanley Kubrick and of Steven Spielberg. There are some very nice sequences in this film, but overall it is stylistically uneven. The story of the robot that wanted to be human is getting a little hackneyed for this film to really work throughout. Though some of the views of the future are very powerful. Rating: 9 (0 to 10), +3 (-4 to +4)

Permanence is a major theme of A.I. I am told a glass bottle takes a million years to biodegrade. The purpose of that existence may end after a month--essentially its first moments of life, but the bottle goes on. Its whole reason for existence is just the barest beginning of its journey. This is bad for the environment, but not really for the bottle because it has no feelings. But what if a machine could be given feelings and told to love one person? What happens to a machine that has emotions, but also longevity far greater than that of its reason for existence? And can a machine really have feelings? If not, why not since an accumulation of biological cells, what a human is, can have feelings? These questions are the heart of A.I.

A.I. was a project developed by Stanley Kubrick going back to the early 1990s. It used as a springboard the 1969 short story "Super-toys Last All Summer Long," by Brian W. Aldiss. (A copy of the story can currently be found at I am not sure I understand why Kubrick saw so much potential in this particular story. It seems to me to be a variation on an episode on "The Lateness of the Hour," an episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. (The story in the film seems to lean more toward a different episode, "I Sing the Body Electric.") However, Arthur C. Clarke's "The Sentinel" would also seem an unpromising source and it made one of the classics of cinema 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY.

Much as he had previously done with Clarke for 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, Kubrick wanted to partner with Brian Aldiss on the project of adapting his story. Together they looked at a lot of variations on the narrative, none of which where suitable to Kubrick. Kubrick then called in Clarke as his partner, but they could not agree where the story should go. Kubrick tried science fiction author Bob Shaw, but Kubrick did not have a film until he brought in Ian Watson. Allegedly when Kubrick thought the time was right he arranged a two-film deal, one film on the subject of sex, one returning to the science fiction field where he had enjoyed working in the past. Those films were, of course, EYES WIDE SHUT and A.I. Unfortunately, Kubrick lived only long enough to complete the former and to get the project moving on the latter. Enter Steven Spielberg to inherit the A.I. project and bring it to completion. Now, of course, it is unclear what is Kubrick's contribution and what is Spielberg's, but the resulting film is very different from either director's previous work.

Whatever the truth is on who contributed what, the film is wildly uneven in style like a landscape painted by a committee. That is not necessarily a bad thing, it just makes the future world seem a bit schizophrenic. It uses a variation on the Aldiss story as a core, but abruptly goes off in other directions. There is even some feeling that the story was being held back by spending too much time on the Aldiss themes.

One might speculate that Kubrick filmed the first and last sections of the film and Spielberg did only the middle section. Certainly acting styles seem that way. In the first part of the film people appear pensive and insular in their own shells. Not unlike the characters in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, people just do not seem to be connecting with each other. The middle section of the film is set in a frenetic world like from TOTAL RECALL OF BLADERUNNER BEYOND THUNDERDOME. The viewer should be warned that this is a film of about two and a half hours. Parts of the film, particularly toward the end when the pace slows, seem drawn out as it is. If the viewer is expecting the film to wrap up, the final reel may seem interminable.

The story follows David (played by Haley Joel Osment), the first and only robot who has been given a capacity to love. David is built for a couple, Monica and Henry Swinton (Francis O'Connor and Sam Robards), whose own son Martin is in a frozen state. At first Monica wants no part of an artificial surrogate son, but that resolve starts to crumble. The story takes off from there. This is a lot like the plot of BICENTENNIAL MAN or Ray Bradbury's "I Sing the Body Electric," but the story goes places that those stories do not. It would be a spoiler to say how, but eventually we are introduced a friend for David, a Gigolobot named Gigolo Joe, programmed to dance through life as he performs his Gigolo function. That programming cannot be dropped even when he is on the run for his life. Like David's, his programming outlives its purpose.

Spielberg (or whoever) did a fairly good job of setting the story in some indeterminate future. For once an automobile looks like it might have come from a future world. In the first part the whole world seems subdued. We go from one scene shot with a filter to give a hazy image, then we go to another scene with a lot of fractured pieces coming together. A crisper image is used for the middle section of the film and toward the end the camera returns to a soft focus. David, the main character, has a special makeup that makes his skin look glossy like smooth plastic. Most of the film is shot in cold lifeless colors, though there are some reds and earth tones in the middle section of the film. The middle section also has a faster pace with images suddenly coming very fast at the viewer. It is like going from sensory deprivation to sensory overload. The final part of the film is again slow and introspective. Most Dreamworks films work an image of the moon into the story someplace, more or less as their trademark. A.I. goes a little overboard in giving us a moon image that is hard to miss. Several celebrity voices are used in the film, though frequently they are only subliminally noticeable. I recognized Robin Williams as the voice of a futuristic vending machine, but reading the end-credits I realized I had missed several of the others. It should make for an interesting game for owners of the future DVD to search out the other voices.

Steven Spielberg was perhaps a very good choice as a replacement for Kubrick. A director of some stature was needed, but also because few directors could handle the poignancy of the final parts of the story. The film has already been criticized for its sentimentality, but the emotion is precisely the point. Spielberg is one of the few directors of mass audience films who are not afraid to put emotion into a film when it is appropriate. The critics who complain about Spielberg's sentimentality would rob cinema of much of its impact. The final dilemma of this film is an emotional one and that is how the story should be told. I rate A.I. a 9 on the 0 to 10 scale and a +3 on the -4 to +4 scale. [-mrl]

Hugo Comments (comments by Evelyn C. Leeper):

Here are my observations and comments on the Hugo nominees in the fiction and dramatic presentation categories. Since I doubt my opinions will sway anyone, this is not a blatant attempt to sway your vote. :-)


Nominations for Novel:

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson
The Sky Road by Ken MacLeod

First of all, I'll note that there is only one American here, and no American science fiction novels. Two of the five are fantasy, and three of the five are in book series. Since my feeling is that a book (or story) must stand on its own to be worthy of a Hugo, this has affected my opinions.

Though everyone raves about Ken MacLeod, THE SKY ROAD is the second of his books that I have started and given up on. (The fact that I went back to Plutarch and found him much more readable says more about me than about either MacLeod or Plutarch, no doubt.)

And after reading a chapter or so of A STORM OF SWORDS, I gave up. I felt that I would have to read the first two to even make sense of this volume, and therefore it doesn't meet my personal criteria for a Hugo.

I was surprised to see MIDNIGHT ROBBER on the ballot. Its patois makes it much slower going than most science fiction and I would have thought narrowed its audience, but apparently not.

CALCULATING GOD is good solid writing, but a bit too pat in parts.

But my vote goes to HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE. Yes, it's part of a series, and since I have read all the preceding books I may be having difficulty judging whether it stands alone, but to me it seems to.

Nominations for Novella:

"A Roll of the Dice" by Catherine Asaro (Analog Jul/Aug 2000)
"Oracle" by Greg Egan (Asimov's Jul 2000)
"Radiant Green Star" by Lucius Shepard (Asimov's Aug 2000)
"Seventy-Two Letters" by Ted Chiang
"The Retrieval Artist" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Analog Jun 2000)
"The Ultimate Earth" by Jack Williamson (Analog Dec 2000)

I found "Radiant Green Star" the hardest to read, not because of the content, but because the page size of ASIMOV'S, combined with Shepard's long paragraphs, meant that I was being presented with an almost-solid block of over five hundred words on each page, and with more lines per line than in an average book.

That aside, what about the stories themselves? Asaro's "Roll of the Dice" just didn't do anything for me (though I did finish it). Similarly, I couldn't see the appeal of "Radiant Green Star." "The Ultimate Earth" proves that Jack Williamson still can write classic science fiction in his tenth decade--and I suppose that his story covers a large time span is quite fitting. Rusch's "Retrieval Artist" was very good, with its realistic feel, but the winner hands down (as always) is Ted Chiang with "Seventy-Two Letters," an absolutely superb story based, as was Richard Garfinkle's CELESTIAL MATTERS, on the premise that what in our world is a previous view of science since discredited, is in reality the accurate one. For Garfinkle, it was Aristotelian science. For Chiang, it's a different theory of biology. (See also James Alan Gardner's "Three Hearings on the Existence of Snakes in the Human Bloodstream.") Chiang just sold a collection to Tor, which I eagerly await.

Nominations for Novelette:

"Agape Among the Robots" by Allen Steele (Analog May 2000)
"Generation Gap" by Stanley Schmidt
"Millennium Babies" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Asimov's Jan 2000)
"On the Orion Line" by Stephen Baxter (Asimov's Oct/Nov 2000)
"Redchapel" by Mike Resnick (Asimov's Dec 2000)

I have no great insights into this category, though I thought many of them represented the authors doing again what they're known for without any really new additions. Nothing wrong with that in general, but I thought that "Millennium Babies" did stand out as, if not astonishing new and fresh, at least not as predictable as some of the others.

Nominations for Short Story:

"Different Kinds of Darkness" by David Langford (F&SF Jan 2000)
"Kaddish for the Last Survivor" by Michael A. Burstein (Analog Nov 2000)
"Moon Dogs" by Michael Swanwick (Asimov's Mar 2000)
"The Elephants on Neptune" by Mike Resnick (Asimov's May 2000)
"The Gravity Mine" by Stephen Baxter (Asimov's Apr 2000)

Didn't I see some of these people elsewhere on this ballot? :-)

Seriously, if you have to vote for Dave Langford for a Hugo, vote for him in this category.

But seriously, seriously, his was the best story and I'm not sure I can even pin down why. I liked the idea of "Kaddish for the Last Survivor" but didn't find all the premises convincing. I liked "The Elephants on Neptune" but thought it very reminiscent of ANIMAL FARM. And so on. But something about "Different Kinds of Darkness" was new and interesting and enough to make suspend whatever disbelief I might have had.

Nominations for Dramatic Presentation:

Chicken Run
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Frank Herbert's Dune

In spite of my comments in the Retro Hugos section regarding a bias toward science fiction over fantasy, I still give the nod here to fantasy--maybe because I thought the fantasy works were *so* much better here than the science fiction ones. FREQUENCY had a lot of promise and started well, but turned into yet another "unstoppable psychotic killer" movie. (Mark described this as "convergent alternate history"--rather than a single past forking into multiple possibilities for the present, a variety of premises for films all merge into the same conclusion. FRANK HERBERT'S DUNE (to distinguish it, no doubt from the other DUNE which wasn't Frank Herbert's?) was workmanlike but uninspiring. The same was true (for me, anyway, of X-MEN. On the other hand, CHICKEN RUN was a true delight, full of in-jokes and characterization and puns ("Chocs away!") and just a joy to watch.

But the winner has to be CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. It has everything: fantasy, real characters, great cinematography, a marvelous score, .... Too often we are reduced to choosing a Hugo winner from a set of films that may be good science fiction (though not even always that), but are not good *films*. (Or television shows--the same criteria apply.) If one looks at some of the films nominated for Hugos in the last decade, one sees a lot of films that were completely undistinguished as films. For example, any Oscar consideration for them would be for special effects or (Ghod help us) sound effects. The very fact that CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON garnered ten Oscar nominations at least implies that it's good as a film as well as being good as a fantasy.


Nominations for Novel:

The Dying Earth by Jack Vance
Farmer in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein
First Lensman by Edward E. Smith, Ph.D.
Pebble in the Sky by Isaac Asimov
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

The longest of these is shorter than the shortest of the "non-Retro" novels; together they are only abour twenty pages longer than the Martin by itself. It has been argued that THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE is actually a novella, and the Vance just a collection of short stories.

It's hard to decide whether to vote for what I would have voted for in 1951, or what I would vote for now, even allowing me to vote as I think I would have from a fifty-year-old's perspective in 1951. At the time, PEBBLE IN THE SKY and FARMER IN THE SKY might have seemed great, but now both appear very dated. (The references to tobacco, and the German/Dutch stereotyped farmer, in the latter are particularly jarring.) I still find THE DYING EARTH unreadable, and having tried to read FIRST LENSMAN, I can now add that to the list of books I just don't get or can't read.

This leaves THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, which is readable, and not dated. This may be one advantage of fantasy. At any rate, it gets my vote. (And the Lewis estate gets my raspberry, for authorizing new Narnia books that eliminate all the Christian symbolism, and a line of Narnia plush toys.)

(What was it with smoking in 1950?! Just about every one of the Retro nominees has people smoking as a major aspect of it. Even Mr. Tumnus smokes a pipe!)

Nominations for Novella:

"...And Now You Don't" by Isaac Asimov
"The Dreaming Jewels" by Theodore Sturgeon
"The Last Enemy" by H Beam Piper
"The Man Who Sold the Moon" by Robert A. Heinlein
"To the Stars" by L. Ron Hubbard

The magazine version of "The Dreaming Jewels" is probably a novella, but I suspect everyone is going to vote on the novel version (14% longer) instead. Similarly, "...And Now You Don't" (the second half of SECOND FOUNDATION) is also skirting between novella and novel, but at least I think the book version is identical to the magazine version, as is "To the Stars" in its re-incarnation as the first half of RETURN TO TOMORROW.

At one time, "The Man Who Sold the Moon" might have appealed to me. Now, after thirty more years' worth of similar preaching from Heinlein, I find it annoying and couldn't force myself to read more than a third of it. "The Dreaming Jewels" is not my usual cup of tea, but stands up better. "The Last Enemy" and "To the Stars" are also okay, but my vote here has to go to "...And Now You Don't." I realize this may sound inconsistent based on my criterion that a book (or story) must stand on its own to be worthy of a Hugo, and one major problem here is that the "Foundation" series is so much a part of the landscape that it's hard to pretend the rest don't exist. So all I can do is say that as best I can judge, this has enough background recap to stand alone.

Nominations for Novelette:

"Dear Devil" by Eric Frank Russell
"Okie" by James Blish
"Scanners Live in Vain" by Cordwainer Smith
"The Helping Hand" by Poul Anderson
"The Little Black Bag" by C. M. Kornbluth

This is a strong category, and tough to decide. "Okie" seems somewhat dated, as does "Scanners Live in Vain." (Of course, if I'm trying to vote based on 1950 sensibilities, this shouldn't count.) "The Helping Hand" is just too obvious. Maybe it wasn't then, but the whole phenomenon has been discussed so much since then that it's hard to see this as thta original. "Dear Devil" has sentiment on its side, but my vote has to go to "The Little Black Bag" as the best, and certainly the most memorable.

Nominations for Short Story:

"A Subway Named Mobius" by A. J. Deutsch
"Born of Man and Woman" by Richard Matheson
"Coming Attraction" by Fritz Leiber
"The Gnurrs Come from the Voodvork Out" by Reginald Bretnor
"To Serve Man" by Damon Knight

"A Subway Named Mobius" is the clear winner here for me. I know people liked "Born of Man and Woman"--I just don't know why. "To Serve Man" is good, but I don't believe would be on this ballot if there had not been a "Twilight Zone" episode of it. (And if you think about it enough, the ending doesn't actually stand up.) I can't believe anyone liked "The Gnurrs Come from the Voodvork Out" enough to nominate it--it must be one of those butterfly ballot things. And "Coming Attraction," while good technically, just doesn't have the certain something of "A Subway Named Mobius." (Of course, I do have a degree in mathematics, and read this story back in Clifton Fadiman's FANTASIA MATHEMATICA about a zillion times, so that might have something to so with it too.)

Nominations for Dramatic Presentation:

Destination Moon
Rabbit of Seville
Rocketship X-M

I couldn't locate a copy of "Rabbit of Seville" and don't remember ever seeing it. CINDERELLA I have seen, but only as an adult, and I am not as enthusiastic about the Disney classic cartoons as many. ROCKETSHIP X-M was a quickie made to beat DESTINATION MOON to the box office. (Which is not to say that sometimes the quickie isn't better than the major film: consider TOMBSTONE versus WYATT EARP.) HARVEY *is* very good, but I'll admit to a certain bias toward science fiction over fantasy here--particularly since this was the beginning of the massive cinema science fiction boom of the 1950s--and give my vote to DESTINATION MOON.

So there you have it. Now everyone can tell me how wrong I am. :-) [-ecl]

THE ANNIVERSARY PARTY (a film review by Mark R. Leeper):

CAPSULE: This is a film of characters and interactions rather than pyrotechnics. The film is driven by the personalities of the characters. That's good. What's missing is the reason to care much about these characters and their interactions. That's bad. The film has a gamut of emotions presented but few rub off on the viewer. We need not just more films like this but also better films like this. I would invest interest in Jennifer Jason-Leigh and Alan Cummings not for current value but for growth potential. Rating: 5 (0 to 10), low +1 (-4 to +4)

THE ANNIVERSARY PARTY is a film about characters and relationships. Most of what happens in the film is talk. We have seen a number of such film like John Sayles's THE RETURN OF THE SECAUCUS SEVEN, Lawrence Kasdan's THE BIG CHILL, and a personal favorite, Bruce Beresford's DON'S PARTY. I am not sure why the latter is a favorite of mine unless perhaps because it is Australian and has a little bit of that country's politics. In any case these films are perhaps cautionary tales suggesting that parties and get-togethers should be kept brief and free from mind- altering substances to avoid indecent exposure of painful truths (and assorted body parts).

THE ANNIVERSARY PARTY does not take place in an exotic local (assuming that DON'S PARTY does) unless you consider the suburbs of Los Angeles exotic. The film is produced, directed, and stars Alan Cummings and Jennifer Jason Leigh, but sports a hefty ensemble of actors from independent films who are anxious to play opposite other actors rather than digital effects.

Sally and Joe (played by Jennifer Jason-Leigh and Alan Cummings) are celebrating their sixth wedding anniversary, but not celebrating six years together. They have been together only a few months of the six years and have just recently gotten together again. They have invited their friends, most of whom they cannot stand. Though the film Joe is to direct has a character based on Sally, He has cast a younger actress, Skye (Gwyneth Paltrow), in the role and Sally is less than pleased with Skye. Also among the invitees are the neighbors (Denis O'Hare and Mina Badie) with whom a thin coat of civility covers a festering feud over the behavior of Tom and Sally's dog.

Where THE ANNIVERSARY PARTY failed for me was in my lack of empathy for any of the characters. The script fails to give us much reason to care whether these people are going through a bad patch or not. The script seems contrived to set up ironic dramatic revelations and superficial insights into people's characters. These people are more involving than checkers on a board, but less than chess pieces.

There is not much that can be told in a review about a film like this because the characters are introduced, they party, and then there are ironic plot twists about the characters. Introducing the characters without telling the plot twists is pointless. Revealing the plot twists would spoil the experience of seeing the film. Not that what happens is so dramatic, but in a description of such a film less is more.

Alan Cumming and Jennifer Jason Leigh have assembled a cast of familiar actors including themselves and Paltrow, but also Kevin Kline, Phoebe Cates, Jane Adams, John C. Reilly, Jennifer Beals, and Parker Posey. If you do the math, not every one of these can be use to his full potential. Each is part of some small subplot and each does a little fun acting exercise. The feel is as if Cumming and Leigh wanted to actually throw a party for their friends, mixing business and pleasure. The result is diverting enough to eavesdrop upon but really rather un-engaging as a while. THE ANNIVERSARY PARTY keeps several plots going, each of which will be resolved by the end of the party. Once they are resolved the viewer will happily simply drop them. There is little to think about here after the film is over. I rate THE ANNIVERSARY PARTY 5 on the 0 to 10 scale and a low +1 on the -4 to +4 scale. [-mrl]

                                          Mark Leeper

Quote of the Week:

       Kill one man and you are a murderer. Kill millions and
       you are a conqueror. Kill all and you are a god.
                                          -- Jean Rostand

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