HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES

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CAST

Anjelica Huston (50/50)
Raul Julia (Street Fighter)
Christopher Lloyd (Back To The Future)
Christina Ricci (Lizzie Borden Took An Axe)
Jimmy Workman (As Good AS It Gets)
Joan Cusack (Working Girl)
Carol Kane (Gotham)
Carel Struycken (The Witches of Eastwick)
David Krumholtz (Serenity)
Dana Ivey (Two Weeks Notice)
Christopher Hart (Idle Hands)
Peter MacNicol (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Christine Baranski (The Big Bang Theory)
John Franklin (Children of The Corn)
Mercedes McNab (Angel)
Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City)
David Hyde Pierce (Hellboy)
Peter Graves (Airplane)
Monet Mazur (Just Married)
Ian Abercrombie (Birds of Prey)
Tony Shalhoub (Men in Black)
Sam McMurray (Drop Dead Gorgeous)
Nathan Lane (The Producers)

addams-family-values-DI-2One of the rare sequels that actually equals the output of the first film, “Addams Family Values” shows the material still has enough not yet mined for a second picture – it works. I wouldn’t think of doing another one of these pictures, but “Addams Family Values” manages to be successful, mainly due to the return of director Barry Sonnenfeld, who gets the tone and humor exactly right. Not only that, but he even has a small role in the picture.
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The film starts off with Morticia(Angelica Huston) announcing that she’s going to have a baby. “Right now”, she says, in her usual deadpan manner. Taking enjoyment in the pain of delivery, the Addams soon have another member of the family, which they name Pubert. They find the need for a nanny to take care of the new addition, and Debbie Jalinsky(Joan Cusack) arrives. At first, she seems like the perfect nanny. She’s good with the children and doesn’t seem to mind the upside-down world the Addams live in.

Soon though, her intentions are revealed. She marries rich men and her newest target is Fester(Chistopher Lloyd). While the gags during the early portion of the film when the baby is new in the house are funny, there are a number of equally funny moments when the two kids are sent to Summer camp.addams-family-value-stillIt’s a very funny movie and a solid sequel, proving that the characters had enough good material to make a second movie work.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE ADDAMS FAMILY (1991)

CAST

Anjelica Huston (50/50)
Raul Julia (Street Fighter)
Christopher Lloyd (Back To The Future)
Christina Ricci (Lizzie Borden Took An Axe)
Jimmy Workman (As Good AS It Gets)
Dan Hedaya (Commando)
Elizabeth Wilson (The Graduate)
Judith Malina (When In Rome)
Carel Struycken (The Witches of Eastwick)
Dana Ivey (Two Weeks Notice)
Christopher Hart (Idle Hands)
John Franklin (Children of The Corn)
Mercedes McNab (Angel)

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After so many attempts at making feature films out of old TV series have failed, the handful that actually are successful and creative stand out. In recent times, “The Addams Family” is certainly one of the best. Director Barry Sonnenfeld is at his best here, and he’s lucky to be surrounded with the perfect cast.


We’re introduced to the family; Morticia(perfectly played by Angelica Huston), Gomez (a wonderful performance with great energy by Raul Julia) and the two children, Wednesday(a perfect Christina Ricci) and Pugsley. Instead of the usual fights between children, the two go after one another with deadly weapons. And in the film’s best non-speaking role we have Thing, a hand that races around the house and acts as sort of a family pet. There’s also the film’s other “star”, the Addams mansion, which has been built down to the last detail.The plot revolves around the “appearance” of Gomez’s long-lost brother, Uncle Fester. This Fester (Christopher Lloyd) though, is an impostor, planning to raid the Addams vault and the plan is brought together by the family lawyer (Dan Hedaya).

The movie occasionally has a few slow points, but it’s a lot of fun and the performers seem to have enjoyed their roles as well. The cinematography is a lot of fun as the camera rockets through the various halls of the house. It’s the performances though, that capture the characters perfectly. A very good first directing effort from Sonnenfeld.

REVIEW: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1987) – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Linda Hamilton (The Terminator)
Roy Dotrice (Game of Thrones)
Jay Acovone (Stargate SG.1)
Renn Woods (Church)

Ron Perlman and Roy Dotrice in Beauty and the Beast (1987)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

John McMartin (No Reservations)
Don Stark (That 70s Show)
Ray Wise (Robocop)
Michael Bacall (Gangster Squad)
Dorian Harewood (Earth: Final Conflict)
Delroy Lindo (Get Shorty)
Edward Albert (Elliot Burch)
Richard Biggs (Babylon 5)
Mayim Balik (The Big Bang Theory)
Jeffrey Combs (The Frighteners)
Nancy Lenehan (Catch Me If You Can)
Ellen Albertini Dow (Wedding Crashers)
Christian Clemenson (Apollo 13)
Paul Gleason (Die Hard)
Cliff De Young (The Craft)
Vito D’Ambrosio (The Flash)
Richard Herd (V)
Jason Bernard (Liar Liar)
John M. Jackson (Bones)
John Franklin (Children of The Corn)
Rutanya Alda (The Deer Hunter)
James Avery (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)
Rosalind Chao (Star Trek: DS9)
James Hong (Blade Runner)
Tony Jay (Lois & Clark)
Jeffrey Nordling (Flight 93)
Bruce Abbott (The Net)
Raymond Cruz (Breaking Bad)
Alan Blumenfeld (Heroes)
Armin Shimerman (Buffy: TVS)
David Greenlee (Fame)
Mimi Craven (Vampire Clan)
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Back during Beauty and the Beast’s brief three season run, there were numerous letter writing and phone call campaigns by rabid fans who tried desperately to keep the show from getting the axe. Never a top ratings winner, its fate on the network schedule was always at risk, and yet, the fans made it known how they felt, and they may have indeed saved the show on more than one occasion.batman-ninjaBeautiful corporate lawyer Catherine Chandler (Linda Hamilton) chafes at the restrictions imposed on her life. She works for her father Charles (John McMartin), a highly successful New York City lawyer, but doesn’t feel what she does is necessary or that she’s achieving anything independent of his influence. In a relationship with ambitious, self-centered Tom (Ray Wise), Catherine balks at the insensitive demands of her boyfriend during a dinner party, and leaves to go home. Outside, a couple of thugs kidnap her in a van, and horribly disfigure her face; we later learn that she was a victim of mistaken identity, and that the criminals thought she was someone else. Left for dead in Central Park, Cathy is rescued by a mysterious, hulking figure who carries her below the streets of New York City to a fabulously appointed underground lair. Her eyes and face bandaged, she can’t see the person who is caring for her, but — rather rapidly and with almost no set-up — she comes to love her care giver, Vincent (Ron Perlman).26aefdfe75e396171a91adf55d86b177Vincent resides below the city for what he believes is a very good reason: he apparently is half-lion  and doesn’t want to be the object of pity and terror because of the way he looks. Hiding a beautiful, tortured soul behind his mutation, Vincent strides among the many other residents of the “Tunnel World” as their unofficial leader and protector. Naturally, Cathy is taken aback when she sees Vincent for the first time, but she longs to stay his friend. Vincent, tortured by his impossible love for Cathy, tells her that he has developed a psychic bond with her: her pain is his pain. Taking her back to the “real” world, he tells her he will always be there for her, if she needs him.26aefdfe75e396171a91adf55d86b177After perfect plastic surgery, Catherine decides that she must do something worthwhile with her life, and takes a job as an assistant D.A. with the city. Tracking down the thugs who assaulted her, she finds outs they’re part of a bigger corruption scandal involving prostitution, and decides to go after them. Catherine, hearing Vincent outside on her terrace, goes to him and shares one momentof impossible love with him. Cornered in a house with her attackers ready to kill her, Cathy’s psychic pain reaches Vincent, who immediately hops on top of a speeding subway car, and, bursting through the house’s door like either the Incredible Hulk or the Kool-Aid pitcher, literally rips apart her assailants with his razor-sharp claws, and saves her life.BEAUTYBEAST-0004It was a new take on the old classic. Hamilton is a compelling heroine. She has enough femininity to be romantic but also enough power to fight. Ron Perlam as the Beast was on his most famouse roles before Hellboy and he showed even back then just how good an actor he was. The show is a must see for fans of the 2012 series and fans of  Ron Perlman.

 

REVIEW: CHILDREN OF THE CORN 666: ISAAC’S RETURN

CAST
Natalie Ramsey (Cherry Falls)
Gary Bullock (Species)
Alix Koromzay (The Haunting)
Stacy Keach (Sin City 2)
John Franklin (The Addams Family)
William Prael (Dracula 2000)
John Patrick White (Galaxy Quest)
Sydney Bennett (Whip It)
Nancy Allen (Robocop)
Paul Popowich (Mutant X)
Hannah, the first child born of the original Gatlin corn cult, visits the town of Gatlin to find her real mother. On the way, she picks up a street preacher by the name of Zachariah whose car broke down. He tells her about her name, and then vanishes. After crashing into a corn field a lady sheriff suddenly appears and takes Hannah to a hospital in town . Once there, she finds out Isaac was not killed by “He Who Walks Behind The Rows”, but instead went into a coma. The hospital appears to be filled with strange patients who speak of a prophecy involving Hannah and Isaac before the scene changes.
After she leaves the hospital and resumes her journey, she is nearly driven off the road by a mysterious truck. After pulling into a strange motel, she almost steps on a dead crow and then is startled by a smiling young boy (Daniel L Nicoletti) who suddenly appeared in a chair next to her car. In the motel office, she meets a pair of romantically-involved teenagers, a girl and her boyfriend, Matt. She then checks into the motel. The next morning as Hannah is leaving the motel, a small crowd gathers around her car, fascinated by her. Meanwhile, the scene changes and it is revealed that Isaac has awakened from his long 19 year sleep (in which He Who Walks Behind the Rows left him in at the end of the first film) and that he has a son. Hannah returns to the hospital where she begins having visions in the empty hallway before Gabriel appears behind her. He shows her to the record-room so she can look for her birth-certificate. While they’re in the dark, she is almost killed when Jake tries to split her head open with an axe. Gabriel leaves Hannah alone to take Jake back to his room. While alone, Hannah finds a scythe pinning what she thinks is her birth-certificate into the wall.
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In the middle of the night, a strange woman tries to touch Hannah while she is lying in bed, but leaves once she realizes Hannah is awake. Hannah recognizes her truck as the one that drove her off the road. She follows the truck until dawn into the middle of the corn-field, but before she can follow the person she runs into Jesse: another strange teenager carrying a machete. He tells her the owner of the truck is Rachel Colby, the same name on the birth-certificate. In her motel-room, Hannah discovers the words “GET OUT OR DIE!” written in what appears to be blood in the shower. Back at the church, Rachel confronts Isaac. It is revealed that Rachel is the wife of Amos (Children of the Corn) and she believes her daughter to be dead. When she leaves, Isaac tells how she will be punished for her betrayal. Rachel later talks with Dr. Michaels, who just wants to move on beyond the ideas of cults and sacrifices. He tells Rachel to do whatever she needs to do to try to stop Isaac.
Dr. Michaels comes back to the hospital, he finds Jake has clogged the sink and caused water to go all over the floor and is now muttering mindlessly on his knees. Isaac steps out of the shadows, displaying supernatural power. Michaels stands, unafraid of him, warning him to leave Hannah alone, exposing himself as the one who took Hannah away from the town. Isaac pulls a sparking electric cord from the wall and drops it on the wet floor, electrocuting Michaels. Later, Isaac approaches the son, who is revealed to be Matt. He is proud in the belief that his son will carry on his legacy. Matt, though, seems less than enthusiastic. While Gabriel talks with Isaac in the cornfield, Hannah is meanwhile driven off the road again, this time by a drunken Matt. After she yells at him, he hands her a shovel and tells her he is a descendant of Isaac and for her to trace her lineage. Hannah begins digging up the grave of Baby Colby, Rachel’s apparently dead child. As she digs, the bloody dead body falls right above her head hanging from a tree; however, this turns out to be only an illusion. Rachel is in the graveyard with her and warns her that there’s no going back if she continues. Hannah then says she’ll only leave if Rachel tells her the truth. Rachel denies her this, calling it “repulsive”. As Hannah prepares to open the casket, a desperate Rachel tells her the prophecy: “The firstborn daughter of the children will return on the eve of her nineteenth-birthday to find out who she is and He-Who-Walks-Behind-The-Rows will awaken”.
Hannah opens the casket to see it is empty and Rachel knew Hannah was her child and wasn’t dead. She tells a distraught Hannah that Isaac wants Hannah to make a new, “pure” race. Hannah accuses her of insanity and runs away. In the corn-fields, all of the cult has gathered to celebrate as Matt is branded as the first of the chosen. While Hannah is walking through the corn-fields that night, she is surrounded by children, one of whom injects her with a sedative. Hannah wakes up surrounded by the cult-members and a blazing bonfire. They place a crown of corn-husks on her head and brand her hand like they did Matt. They begin to perform a union-ceremony between her and Matt, but Hannah escapes. They try to catch her, activating the irrigation-system and driving motorcycles through the fields. Rachel appears before the cult-members, claiming Isaac is a fraud. In the fields, Matt’s girlfriend attempts to help Hannah escape, because she wants to be with Matt. They are soon cornered by the cult-members who capture them. It turns out that Gabriel was on the bike Hannah was put on and takes her out of the cornfields. Matt’s girlfriend, though, isn’t so lucky and Isaac orders Matt to kill her. Matt refuses and Isaac, cursing his son, splits her in half with Jesse’s blade. With that, Matt runs into the corn-field.
Gabriel tends Hannah’s wounds in a barn, helps her bathe and kisses her. They begin to have intercourse at the exact moment the clock strikes twelve. Matt then soon appears in the barn, Hannah asks about her mother and, after not receiving any answer, leaves to look for her. While in the barn, Gabriel shows Matt his collection of all of the farming tools of the original children and promises that Matt will be with his girlfriend. He leaves the barn with Hannah and Matt impales himself on a scythe. In the hospital, Rachel is being held in the basement and Hannah is being led to her by visions of her being beaten by Cora. In the hallway she meets Jake, who warns her of “a false-prophet, sheep’s-clothing, raving-wolves!” while Gabriel kills Jesse with his supernatural-power. Hannah now confronts Isaac, who now believes himself to be ‘He-Who-Walks-Behind-The-Rows’ and has gone mad with power. Gabriel storms down the halls of the hospital and, when Cora tries to shoot him, with a flick of his wrist and the word ‘bang’, has her kill herself. He then confronts Isaac and exposes that he was the firstborn child of the children and that Isaac denied him his birthright in favor of his own son. Gabriel tells Hannah to kill Isaac, but listening to her mother, Hannah does not. Gabriel goes on to explain how everything that has happened has gone according to his plan. He then levitates Isaac with his power and reveals himself to be ‘He-Who-Walks-Behind-The-Rows”. He restrains Isaac to the ground and stabs him with the broken end of a lead pipe. Rachel stabs Gabriel, then she and Hannah flee from the hospital. Gabriel, though, is healed almost instantly and begins to set off explosions which kill Jake. Rachel and Hannah are then seen walking down the road, with Hannah now pregnant with the child of ‘He-Who-Walks-Behind-The-Rows’.
666 is my personal favourite COTC sequel, because of Isaac returning.. This film has everything a COTC film should have, a great leader, a sinister cult of children, He who walks behind the rows and some gore.

REVIEW: CHILDREN OF THE CORN (1984)

CAST
Peter Horton (Brimstone)
Linda Hamilton (The Terminator)
R.G. Armstrong (Predator)
John Franklin (The Addams Family)
Courtney Gains (Faster)
Julie Maddalena (Masked Rider)
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In the fictional town of Gatlin, Nebraska, Sarah, a small child who is a resident of the town, tells the story of how the town became a haven for a group of young cultists. The economy of the town is mostly agricultural, and the town is surrounded by vast cornfields. One particular year the corn crop fails and the people of Gatlin turn to prayer in an attempt to ensure a successful harvest. A young boy, Issac Chroner, takes all the children of Gatlin into a cornfield and preaches to them about the prophecies of a strange, bloodthirsty incarnation of the Abrahamic God called “He Who Walks Behind The Rows”. Issac, through his lieutenant Malachai, leads the children in a revolution, brutally killing all of the adults in the town. Over the ensuing years, the children take any adults passing through as sacrifices.
Three years later, Vicky and her boyfriend Burt pass through Nebraska while driving cross-country to Burt’s new job as a physician in Seattle, Washington. As they travel in their car they hit a small boy out on the highway, one of the Gatlin children who tried to escape the iron hand of the syncretistic death cult. After some inspection of the body and the boy’s suitcase, Burt determines that the child had had his throat slit before being hit by the car and had already been dead for a couple hours. Leaving the body on the road, they take the blood-soaked suitcase as evidence and set out to find the nearest telephone to call for help. Pulling into a rundown service station, they encounter an old man who refuses to help due to his secret agreement with the children to supply them with oil and gasoline in exchange for his life. However, Malachai breaks the pact against Isaac’s will and murders the old man and his dog once Burt and Vicky leave.
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Vicky and Burt finally end up in seemingly abandoned Gatlin. The two enter a small diner hoping to find a phone, but find that the diner is abandoned and strewn with dead corn leaves. While searching an abandoned house, the two encounter Sarah, who explains that she is hiding from Isaac and Malachai. Isaac leaves Vicky to stay with Sarah in the house and goes on foot into town to continue searching for a phone. He finds that most of the buildings are in a state similar to the diner; rundown and strewn with corn leaves. Even the school and the town hall are abandoned, with various lines from Isaac’s sermons written on the walls in blood. Meanwhile, at the house, Vicky is ambushed by Malachai and a group of followers, led to her location by the parked car Vicky and Burt came in. Vicky is captured and brought to a clearing in the cornfield where she is lifted onto a cross, ready to be sacrificed.
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Downtown, Burt enters the church to find a congregation of children performing a birthday ritual for an older teenager, in which a pentagram is cut into the boy’s chest and his blood is consumed by the congregation. The girl leading the ritual tells Burt about He Who Walks Behind The Rows, and about the ritual: that it is a preparation for the ritual sacrifice of a child who has grown to adulthood. Burt is attacked by the girl and flees the church, finding Sarah and learning that Vicky is being held hostage. Burt is chased through the town and is rescued when Job, Sarah’s brother, stops him and beckons for him to hide in the fallout shelter built by the siblings’ father, now deceased.
Meanwhile, in the clearing, Isaac scolds Malachai for breaking the pact with the old man, whose gasoline is needed by the children. However, Malachai and the others have grown weary of Issac’s arrogance. Assuming command over the children, Malachai orders for Issac to be sacrificed in Vicky’s place. A furious Issac warns them that they will all be punished for this affront, as by sacrificing him they will have broken their covenant with He Who Walks Behind the Rows. Night soon falls and Burt enters the cornfield, stealthily waiting for the right moment to intervene. Suddenly, an unnatural wind descends upon the field and a bright, amorphous light seemingly devours the screaming Issac. Burt attacks and battles Malachai, telling the children that their minds have been poisoned and their humanity sacrificed in the name of a false god. As Malachai tries to regain control of the children, a demonic voice calls out to him. Isaac’s bloodied corpse appears, seemingly reanimated and speaking in an unnaturally deep and commandingly loud voice. Burt, Vicky, and all the children flee the scene as Isaac seizes and kills Malachai by breaking his neck.
The wind becomes a terrible storm that gathers over the cornfield as Vicky and Burt gather the children inside a barn to protect them from both the storm and the supernatural forces at work. As the storm intensifies all around them, Sarah shows a Bible verse to Vicky and Burt that indicates that they must destroy the cornfield for the evil to cease (it is heavily implied that He Who Walks Behind The Rows is not the God of the Bible but an aspect of the Devil). While filling the irrigation pumps with gasohol fuel, He Who Walks Behind The Rows (this time in the form of both a demonic red cloud) lashes out at Burt, and prepares to destroy the barn. However, Burt is able to spray the fields with the flammable liquid and lights a Molotov cocktail, tossing it into the field, burning it and seemingly destroying the demon.
Vicky, Burt, Sarah and Job survive and are able to leave Gatlin as the cornfields burn. They arrive back at the car but see that it had been disabled by the children earlier. Deciding to walk the 19 miles to the nearest town, Burt sits in the front seat and searches in the glove compartment for a map. Suddenly, the teenage girl who was leading the pre-sacrifice ritual at the church earlier jumps out at her from the back seat and attempts to stab her. Burt grapples with her and manages to escape the car. Burt knocks the girl out with the passenger door, and the four leave the scene.
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Children of the Corn has sort of stood up to the test of time. If nothing else it’s interesting to see Linda Hamilton in a completely different role to her most known part as Terminator’s cyborg-killing Sarah Conner. I found the second half of the film more engaging than the first. My advice: if you haven’t seen this before and are watching it again for the nostalgia factor, know what you’re getting. It’s a bit cheesy in places, but still pretty good fun for a film that takes itself very seriously.

REVIEW: WAG THE DOG

CAST

Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man)
Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)
Anne Heche (Spread)
Denis Leary (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Willie Nelson (The Dukas of Hazzard)
Andrea Martin (Black Christmas)
Kirsten Dunst (All Good Things)
William H. Macy (The Cooler)
John Michael Higgins (Stil LWaiting)
Suzie Plakson (Red Eyed)
Woody Harrelson (The Hugner Games)
Suzanne Cryer (Veronica Mars)
Phil Morris (Jingle All The Way)
John Cho (Sleepy Hollow)
Marguerite Moreau (Easy)
Craig T. Nelson (My Name Is Earl
David Koechner (Anchorman)
James Belushi (Red Heat)
John Franklin (Children of The Corn)
Jack Shearer (Star Trek: First Contact)
Dustin Hoffman and Kirsten Dunst in Wag the Dog (1997)
The President of the United States is caught making advances on an underage “Firefly Girl” less than two weeks before Election Day. Conrad Brean (De Niro), a top-notch spin doctor, is brought in to take the public’s attention away from the scandal. He decides to construct a diversionary war with Albania, hoping the media will concentrate on this instead. Brean contacts Hollywood producer Stanley Motss (Hoffman) to create the war, complete with a theme song and fake film footage of a photogenic orphan (Dunst) in Albania.
When the CIA learns of the plot, they send Agent Young (Macy) to confront Brean who convinces him that revealing the deception is against his best interests. The CIA announces that the war has ended, but otherwise maintains the deception and the media begins to turn back to the President’s abuse scandal. Motss decides to invent a hero who was left behind enemy lines, and inspired by idea that he was “discarded like an old shoe” has the Pentagon provide him with a soldier named Schumann (Harrelson) around whom he constructs a further narrative including T-shirts, additional patriotic songs, and faux-grassroots demonstrations of patriotism. At each stage of the plan, Motss continually dismisses setbacks as “nothing” and compares them to past movie-making catastrophes he averted.
When the team goes to retrieve Schumann, they discover he is in fact a criminally insane Army prison convict before their plane crashes en route to Andrews Air Force Base. The team survives and is rescued by a farmer, but Schumann attempts to rape the farmer’s daughter and the farmer kills him. Motss then stages an elaborate military funeral, claiming that Schumann died from wounds sustained during his rescue.
While watching a political talk show Motss gets frustrated that the media are crediting the president’s win to a tired campaign slogan of “Don’t change horses in mid-stream” rather than Motss’s hard work. Despite previously claiming he was inspired by the challenge, Motss announces that he wants credit and will reveal his involvement, despite Brean’s warning that he is “playing with his life”. Motss refuses to back down, so Brean reluctantly has him killed and makes it look as if he had a heart attack. The president is successfully re-elected and a news report about a violent incident in Albania is shown, but it is ambiguous whether this is a true event or simply a continuation of the fictional war.
“Wag the dog” gathers a very good cast to tell a clever story about politics and its close connection to the TV business. Although the story sometimes seems to be topped by real-life events (Clinton-Lewinsky) it still remains a very entertaining flick. This is due to the many great characters and its precise dialogue which delivers a whole lot of sharp little comments on the dirty business of politics.