Bruce Bennett Short Bio

Bruce Bennett

Bruce Bennett has been the primary contributor to Mad About Movies since it began in 2003. He is an award winning film and theater critic who, since 2000, has been writing a weekly column in The Spectrum daily newspaper in southern Utah as well as serving as a contributing editor of “The Independent,” a monthly entertainment magazine. He is also the co-host of “Film Fanatics” a movie review show which earned a Telly in 2009. Bruce is also a featured contributor at: RottenTomatoes.com

His motto: "I see bad movies so you don't have to."

Aeon Flux

Charlize Theron goes from Best Actress to worst film

Academy Award winner Charlize Theron should’ve learned from fellow Oscar recipient Halle Berry that you don’t follow up earning the prestigious statue by starring in anything that requires you to wear a skintight black unitard. Berry has hardly been heard of since she won Best Actress in 2001 (For “Monster’s Ball”) thanks to successive flops “Gothika” and “Catwoman.” With the preposterously awful “Aeon Flux,” Theron reminds us that an Oscar doesn’t guarantee wise career choices.

Perhaps after playing an unattractive woman in “Monster” — for which she won the Oscar — and doing so again in this year’s “North Country,” where she played a mine worker, the stunning blonde wanted to (literally) stretch her artistic skills. So she chose to play Aeon Flux the rebel hero of Bregna who performs quasi-balletic fighting moves in the movie based on Peter Chung’s cult MTV animated shorts. (Production was delayed a month when Theron was injured performing her own stunts.)

Set in 2415, the film follows Aeon, one of a handful of Monicans who fight the government within the walled Utopian city which protects the five million remnants who survived a virus that wiped out 99 percent of the human race.

The best that can be said about “Aeon Flux” is that the set pieces and costumes are oddly interesting. But they can’t disguise a film without cohesion, and one that has unexplained storylines and scene after scene of monotonous, mopey dialogue. The talented cast that includes Frances McDormand, Sophie Okonedo and Peter Postlethwaite is reduced to positively Keanu Reevian levels of “Matrix” pretension. (At least the “Matrix” films had groundbreaking special effects)

In this movie, people have weird dreams, pass pills by kissing, and never smile. (Perhaps because dentistry hasn’t improved in 400 years.) Even with advanced technology that allows people to transport themselves instantaneously from one place to another, they still try to outrun bullets. Yes, bullets. Apparently guns haven’t improved much either, because they still use old-fashioned rifles — with scopes, no less. And in case you’re still interested at this point, even far into the future the bad guys are still lousy shots.

Cloning as primary subject material was better handled in the slightly better film “The Island,” which, for the first half anyway, was on the right side of intelligent science fiction before it turned into just another bombastic Michael Bay action pic. There are science fiction films which smartly address the slightly preposterous, such as “Minority Report,” and there are films that smugly pretend to talk over the heads of the audience when in reality they simply don’t make sense.

“Aeon Flux’s” makers hired a good cast and a production team with a flair for the visual, but the nearly indecipherable screenplay does them in. A contender for worst film of the year, and the kind of movie you thank a reviewer for warning you about. Consider it an early Christmas gift.

Grade: D
Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual situations and partial nudity.

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