Rhinoceros Eyes (review)

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This is your brain on film school; this what happens when film students urgently determined to “be artistic” and “make a statement” are allowed near Final Draft and a camera. Or maybe this is just what happens when the director, Aaron Woodley, is David Cronenberg’s nephew, a close enough relation to think he shares some talent and a distant enough one to be mistaken. Utterly wrongheaded and indistinctly creepy, in that yawn-inducing way of pretentious twaddle, this is a pointless story of a naif, Chep (Michael Pitt: The Dreamers), who lives in a Hollywood prop house where the little bits and pieces of prop junk assemble themselves into Frankenstein monsters and talk to him in — self-involved film-geek alert! — stop-motion-animated sequences. Desperately “quirky” and self-consciously surreal — Chep spends half the film in a Tor Johnson Halloween mask; a costume party in which gorillas demand drinks from Santa Claus descends into a brawl; an elderly former showgirl beats her decrepit husband with her artificial arm — Eyes thinks it’s deep, and worse, funny. But it’s really kinda like Donnie Darko without any of the, well, darko, and none of Donnie’s cynical charm.

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