Dwayne Johnson sings a Stryper song… or does he?

As a former Stryper fan — I bought all but one of their albums when I was a teen, and I attended two of their concerts, once on the To Hell with the Devil tour, when they were still dressed in yellow and black and throwing Bibles into the audience, and once on the Against the Law tour, when they were wearing different clothes and actively downplaying their Christian connections — I have to make note of it whenever a movie makes a reference to them.

Five years ago, one of their stickers appeared in the background in the office of a grocery-store manager in Wendy and Lucy. Then, four years ago, one of their T-shirts played a significant role in Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut, Whip It.

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Review: The Island (dir. Michael Bay, 2005)

The Island is a movie about clones, and so it comes as no surprise that the movie is, itself, something of a clone. But it is also something of a chimera; that is, it seems like the sort of movie you would get if you took pieces of two very different movies and squished them together, and the result is a monstrosity.

On the one hand, we have a dystopian science-fiction movie about people who live in an artificial environment under a totalitarian regime, oblivious to the fact that they are actually clones who have been manufactured as spare parts, or “insurance policies,” for the rich and famous of the world. The all-white production design and the theme of escape, as two clones try to break out of their world, brings George Lucas’s THX 1138 to mind; but the emphasis on genetic engineering and sterile perfection recalls Andrew Niccol’s Gattaca, and the way the creators of this society use comfort and fear to discourage curiosity about the outside world — all of the inhabitants believe they are survivors of a global catastrophe — recalls Peter Weir’s The Truman Show (also written by Niccol).

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