- The Washington Times - Friday, May 16, 2003

Deja vu

“I went into ‘The Matrix: Reloaded’ with the same quasi-religious expectation that my universe would be rocked. Barring that, I was hoping for maybe a good night out at the movies.

“The grim news is that ‘The Matrix Reloaded’ is as messy and flat-footed as its predecessor is nimble and shapely. It’s an ugly, bloated, repetitive movie that builds to a punch line that should have come an hour earlier (at least). …

“Almost from the start, ‘Reloaded’ feels different from the original more stilted, mechanical, blockbuster-business-as-usual. … The fighting is twice as complicated … but because it’s essentially the same thing all over again, it has about a hundredth of the impact.”

— David Edelstein, writing on “Neo Con,” Wednesday in Slate at www.slate.com

Last taboo

“If the Catholic scandals of the past few years have done anything, they have made people aware of the evils of child molestation, one of the few sexual activities which ‘enlightened’ opinion still thinks is wrong. …

“It is odd that ‘enlightened’ opinion condemns child molestation, since for many years ‘progressives’ have been repudiating one after another of traditional sexual taboos, to the point where almost anything can be rationalized.

“There has long been a movement, just barely out of public sight, agitating for sexual relations between children and adults, a movement institutionalized in the North American Man-Boy Love Association. …

“But, like other people reaching ‘liberation,’ they have to move boldly to assert their legitimacy. With media cooperation, they are now doing so.

“The Los Angeles Times … has given its annual book award to Judith Levine … whose work is titled ‘Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children From Sex.’ …

“Not that Levine advocates child molestation heaven forbid. What she advocates is ‘consensual’ sex between adults and children as young as 12, as well as primary schools where children can engage in sexual activity with one another. …

“Even if young people think they are acting consensually, they often suffer severe traumas from such experiences, traumas which may haunt them for the rest of their lives. All this has now been defined away by Levine and the Los Angeles Times.”

— James Hitchcock, writing on “Hypocrisy on Pedophilia,” in the May 15 issue of the Arlington Catholic Herald

Infantile cinema

“I have come to accept, if not to understand, that a movie starring Eddie Murphy can be ‘Shrek’-tacular or a steam pile of ‘Pluto Nash.’ … when he focuses his abundant but distractible talent in the service of younger viewers, he’s capable of satisfying successes. … My radar is busted, though, by ‘Daddy Day Care,’ a parent-and-kid-oriented comedy about the adventures of men doing the hard work of mommies, which couldn’t be more timely or less delightful. …

“The two business big shots set themselves up as day care providers. And they learn, of course, that implementing corporate mission statements is easy; implementing nap time is hard.

“That smack-on-the-forehead revelation, however, isn’t enough to sustain the movie, which settles for cataloging average kiddie antics (that any mother, the movie implies, could handle while multitasking), contrasting this preschool behavior with the dum-dum-hood of educated, affluent men. …

“For the record, the biggest laughs in the family-filled screening I attended went to a kick in the crotch administered by a small child to a large man the last refuge, as Dr. Spock and Mr. Rogers knew well, of grown-up moviemakers in need of a timeout.”

— Lisa Schwarzbaum, writing on “Fluff Daddies,” in the May 16 issue of Entertainment Weekly

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