eXistenZ 1999, Director by David Cronenberg, 97mins, 1.85, Dolby Digital, Rated R, 35mm, Studio print. 7PM
David Cronenberg's labyrinthine take on video games and virtual reality was most commonly compared to The Matrix when it was released in 1999, and the general consensus was that it suffered in comparison. Mainstream audiences were confused by its darker tone, and some critics, expecting dazzle, wrote it off as a lesser effort in the Cronenberg canon. In retrospect, eXistenZ is a much better science fiction film than The Matrix, with real ideas, and much better performances including ones by leads Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Don McKellar. A fairer comparison is to Cronenberg's own reality-bending works, like Naked Lunch and Videodrome, and it stands up well. So yourself plug in, play the game, and watch for those clues.
Cube 1998, Directed by Vincenzo Natali, 90mins, 1.85, Dolby SR, Rated R, 35mm, Archival print
Cube was the first feature film produced out of Norman Jewison's Canadian Film Centre. An impressive directorial effort from Vincenzo Natalie, Cube follows the trials of seven individuals as they mysteriously awake inside of, and try to escape from, the Cube, a morphing prison-puzzle filled with death-traps. A true representation of the sci-fi “What If” scenario, Cube acquits itself well both as a science fiction film and as a model of ingenious low-budget film making.