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Gimme (Animal) Shelter
Swirling city politics, site selection, and – oh yes – animal welfare
News Story  August 24, 2007, by Katherine Gregor
"..."I am 100 percent convinced that moving the animal shelter will have no impact on adoptions," counters Town Lake Animal Center Director Dorinda Pulliam...."

American Job
Everyone knows this is nowhere, this world of minimum-wage jobs, stultifying labor, and dead ends. Another day, another meal, and we keep coming back for more of the same- not...
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Film Review  March 6, 1998, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...He just wants a bearable, entry-level, minimum-wage job. What Randy discovers is that no such animal exists..."

American Pie 2
As everyone knows, it just wouldn't be summer without a teen sex farce, and this randy sequel to Paul Weitz's 1999 smash fits the bill to a T-back. Actually, it's...
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Film Review  August 10, 2001, by Marc Savlov
"...To reveal any more of the very convoluted plotting would be a cheat, I think, and yes, I know it all sounds surpassingly inane, but here's the rub: American Pie 2 is as much if not more of a goofy, silly, and ultimately sweet triumph as the original. American Pie 2 ingratiates itself via some extensive belly laughs and the kind of risque humor that harkens back to Animal House and the original National Lampoon'sVacation..."

American Wedding
Jesse Dylan’s first feature was the ganja-infused comedy How High, which, while not exactly a high-bongwater mark in the annals of stoner merriment, managed to keep my dog fixated on...
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Film Review  August 1, 2003, by Marc Savlov
"...Starring: Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, January Jones, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Seann William Scott, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Fred Willard, Eugene Levy and Jennifer Coolidge. Jesse Dylan’s first feature was the ganja-infused comedy How High, which, while not exactly a high-bongwater mark in the annals of stoner merriment, managed to keep my dog fixated on the TV screen the other day, a feat even Animal Planet fails to accomplish all that often..."

Austin Film Festival: Popovich and the Voice of the Fabled American West
Cats and dogs living together
DAILY Screens  October 27, 2014, by Marc Savlov
"...The titular Popovich is, in real life, Gregory Popovich of the Popovich Comedy Pet Theater, a touring performance group employing trained animals and based out of Las Vegas. That’s the fact behind this kid-friendly cinematic fiction, which casts Popovich as a down-and-out version of himself..."

No Room at Austin's Animal Inn
Lack of space already dogging new animal center
News Story  December 23, 2011, by Josh Rosenblatt
"...The brand-new Austin Animal Center on Levander Loop has everything a modern city could ask for in a shelter: dog "condos" complete with indoor showers and outdoor Astroturf, state-of-the-art veterinary facilities, and numerous play areas and display rooms where animals can charm their way into the homes of prospective owners...."

Exit Interview: Animal Services Chief Tawny Hammond
Hammond championed no-kill shelter policy in Austin
News Story  May 25, 2017, by Nina Hernandez
"...Last month, after a brief, two-year tenure, Tawny Hammond announced that she would leave her position as the city's Animal Services Chief to take a job as Midwest regional director for the Best Friends Animal Society, a nonprofit group that works to spread the no-kill movement across the United States. The decision came at a time when already, many titles in the city begin with "interim."..."

Feds' Animal ID Program Raises Ruckus Among Small Farmers
National Animal Identification System favors factory farms over Ma and Pa
News Story  March 17, 2006, by Frank Rivera
"...Sayles is famously proud of her flock, even compiling tales of the chickens for her children's book, Stories From the Hen House. Lately, however, Sayles' fondness for her pets and feathered farmhands has turned to apprehension, as Texas legislators have been preparing local farmers for the application of the new National Animal Identification System..."

The Q&A Hole: What Extinct Animal Would You Bring Back To Life?
With Matt Oztalay, Peter-John Byrnes, Wiley Wiggins, and more
DAILY Books  February 11, 2013, by Wayne Alan Brenner
"..."Of course the one species you bring back to life is a dinosaur – that goes without saying. Anyone who picked an animal who wasn't a dinosaur either misunderstood the question or would like to change their answer now..."

American Meat
Throwing conventions aside and bringing the farmer back to the table
DAILY Food  February 17, 2013, by Anna Toon
"...American Meat documents both conventional and organic farming methods. Not for the faint of heart, the film not only depicts the conditions in concentrated animal feeding operations, the dreaded CAFOs, but also the ritual of slaughter..."

The Luv Doc: The Hot, Fiery Furnace of American Stupidity
You should never trust the kind of woman who would go on a date with you
Columns  May 11, 2017, by The Luv Doc


American Caste
Seven authors react to the photos and documentation in Rich Crawford's Texas Death Row.
News Story  October 20, 2000, by Louis Dubose


American Caste
News Story  October 20, 2000, by E. A. Eads
"...And the factual records of the two cases that I have in there were accurate: Thomas Barefoot, who was the fourth one in the book, was one I did. And Jerry "the Animal" McFadden was another one..."

Dead Dogs Don't Lie
If your pet escapes, pray for Animal Control
News Story  July 4, 2008, by Laurel Chesky
"...According to Bryant, Butter had one dog's muzzle in his mouth, then turned on the officer and growled at him, prompting Bryant to shoot the dog three times, killing him instantly. Animal Protection & Control was called after the dog was killed...."

How Many Cats Did Austin Save Last Year?
By the numbers, shelter and animal advocate efforts show significant progress
News Story  April 3, 2009, by Patricia J. Ruland
"...What should the City Council – and Austin­ites generally – believe about the animal shelter and the city's animal welfare programs?..."

Walking the No-Kill Tightrope
As Austin's animal welfare center moves to a new building, will the delicate balance of 'no-kill' and resources be maintained?
News Story  November 4, 2011, by Josh Rosenblatt
"...Here's what must happen on Nov. 10 to make sure the scheduled opening of the long-awaited $12 million animal shelter on Levan­der Loop two days later goes according to plan..."

Safety Net or Dead End?
The politics of Austin animal welfare
News Story  February 18, 2011, by Josh Rosenblatt
"...For nearly 30 minutes, the Town Lake Ani­mal Center volunteer coordinator had been sitting quietly while a seemingly endless stream of speakers took turns explaining to the Austin Animal Advisory Commission what was wrong with her volunteer program. One complained about its poor retention rates and its onerous application and training process..."

White Dog
With typically blunt, disturbing, combative, unconventional storytelling, Fuller tackles the disease of bigotry with this story about a racist dog.
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Film Review  July 10, 1992, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...The discovery of this chilling truth is horrifying in its disturbing bluntness and its dog's-eye point of view. McNichol takes her dog to Noah's Ark, a training center for movie animals run by the equable Burl Ives..."

The Chaos of Eros
Isabel Coixet's 'Elegy' for a dying animal
Screens Story  August 22, 2008, by Raoul Hernandez
"..."Consume my heart away; sick with desire/And fastened to a dying animal/It knows not what it is." – Yeats in Philip Roth's The Dying Animal..."

He Knew Just the Guy for the Job
Meet the multihyphenate Matt D'Elia
Screens Story  March 18, 2011, by Josh Rosenblatt
"...In American Animal, Los Angeleno Matt D'Elia plays Jimmy, an engaging, narcissistic, terminally ill eccentric who takes three friends on a 24-hour trip through his own private phantasmagoria of humor, pain, performance, and delusion, hoping to free them, and himself, from the shackles of normalcy and inevitable doom. The Austin Chronicle recently sat down with D'Elia – who also wrote, directed, co-produced, and co-edited the film – to talk about South by Southwest and the surprising benefits of directing yourself in a movie you wrote...."

Weiner
An eye-popping, jaw-dropping doc about sext-happy ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner
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Film Review  June 3, 2016, by Steve Davis
"...This eye-popping, jaw-dropping documentary about the 2013 New York City mayoral bid of sext-happy ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner may be the most fascinating and yet most frustrating movie you’ll see this year. It begs the question asked whenever a public figure orchestrates his own fall from grace: “What were you thinking?” In the case of this particular political animal, the query is a rhetorical one operating on two levels..."

The Golden Compass
The special effects are mostly spectacular in this story of a 12-year-old orphan whose fate is connected to a holy, multiverse war yet to come.
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Film Review  December 7, 2007, by Kimberley Jones
"...The film (and series at large), inspired in part by Milton's Paradise Lost, charts the coming of age of Lyra Belacqua (Richards, a dirtied delight), a 12-year-old orphan living in a steampunk universe parallel to Oxford, England, whose fate – which has something to do with a holy, multiverse war yet to come – was long ago predicted by witches. Yup, it's that kind of world: witches, gyptians (seafaring gypsies), and, most delightfully, daemons, which are the animal manifestations of human souls..."

Sorority Boys
The filmmakers would have us believe that their new cross-dressing comedy Sorority Boys is Some Like It Hot by way of Animal House. The truth is something more like Bosom...
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Film Review  March 22, 2002, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Starring: Kathryn Stockwood, Brad Beyer, Heather Matarazzo, Tony Denman, Melissa Sagemiller, Harland Williams, Michael Rosenbaum and Barry Watson. The filmmakers would have us believe that their new cross-dressing comedy Sorority Boys is Some Like It Hot by way of Animal House..."

Bedrooms and Hallways
If, with her second feature film, director Rose Troche was trying to prove her versatility, she has accomplished her mission. Bedrooms and Hallways and its polished focus on twentysomething gay...
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Film Review  September 24, 1999, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...It never delves too deeply into the ramifications of all this, but its breeziness may also be part of its charm, even though it does seem to lag at several junctures. The depiction of the men's group is hilarious, with its drum-beating and animal pelts and honesty stones, and as the group's leader, Simon Callow is devilishly funny..."

Raining Stones
This politically scathing British film by director Ken Loach (Riff-Raff) might best be described as “kitchen-sink comedy,” named after the late-1950s to '60s British school of principled filmmaking that focused...
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Film Review  June 10, 1994, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...As the movie opens, he and his pal Tommy (Tomlinson) are seen stealing a sheep from the countryside. But they have trouble killing the animal themselves and take it to a butcher who tells them they've caught worthless mutton and not lamb..."

Meet the Feebles
Imagine Kermit the Frog had been a junkie. Imagine Miss Piggy had been a grade-z torch singer with a preposterously ample bosom and a runaway case of manic depression. Imagine...
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Film Review  April 8, 1994, by Marc Savlov
"...Bearing a striking resemblance to the late Mr. Henson's darkest nightmares, the Feebles in question are a theatre troupe of bizarre animal puppets, who, on the eve of their biggest show, fall prey to libidonistic in-fighting, rampant drug abuse, and all manner of flatulent, visceral, and thoroughly revolting depravity..."

Spike & Mike's 1992 Festival of Animation
Featuring 18 different animated shorts from around the world, this 1992 collection highlights the best and the brightest (as well as the tedious and the wholly unoriginal, occasionally) in animation....
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Film Review  August 21, 1992, by Marc Savlov
"...Not all of the shorts that Spike and Mike have collected this year are as promising as the ones above: as in all animated collections, the whole is wildly uneven with a few masterpieces, a couple of bombs, and more than enough also-rans to go around. American Lance Kramer checks in with “Singing Ding-A-Lings,” an apparent homage to the talking animal 'toons of Warner Bros..."

Potential Neuter to Austin’s No-Kill?
The rules dictating when city animal shelters should spay or neuter lost pets may be changing, and may have an effect on the future of no-kill shelters
News Story  November 17, 2016, by Nina Hernandez
"...If a pet owner's animal isn't fixed and finds its way to the Austin Animal Center, that owner will spend a pretty penny getting it back. It's $100 for the first impound fee, $5 a day for room and board, and a $50 fine to avoid a spay/neuter..."

From Bethlehem to Austin
A journalist moves from the violence of Palestine to the safety of Austin, and finds herself dazed by the difference.
News Story  October 19, 2001, by Muna Hamzeh
"...Getting comfortable with my sudden freedom in Austin was going to take time. I had to adjust to no longer feeling like an animal inside a cage..."

Scanlines
Animal Farm
Screens Story  August 29, 1997
"...The genuinely charming Babe has a timeless quality to it that should make it as enjoyable in 10 years as tonight. To be sure, Babe and Animal Farm have a lot in common: a small farm setting, a spirit of revolution, a dose of hayloft sermonizing, an untimely death, a comic duck, and, of course, talking pigs in lead roles..."

Elegy
In this smart adaptation of Philip Roth's A Dying Animal, Ben Kingsley and Penélope Cruz turn the table on the standard May-December romance.
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Film Review  August 22, 2008, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Consuela is not unlike the others who annually fall sway to his lust, yet there is a quality about her that stirs Kepesh’s dormant desires for love and commitment, an awakening he finds all the more disturbing for having believed such impulses to have been vanquished decades ago, when he chose to leave his wife and son. Kepesh is a recurring character in Philip Roth’s fiction, and Elegy is based on his short novel The Dying Animal..."

Chicken Run
Absolutely delightful filmmaking, chock-full of gorgeously goofy animation and a storyline that cleverly echoes everything from Stalag 17 to Cool Hand Luke. – Marc Savlov
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Film Review  June 23, 2000, by Marc Savlov
"...That was about the time that Park's work began cropping up on stateside television via his wonderful claymation advertisements for Chevron (with Techron!). Remember those talking, vaguely mopey automobiles that were all the rage? (I have a toy model of one sitting in front of me as I write this, so, yes, I'll bet you do.) Park had already nailed three Academy Awards in the animation category for his work on two Wallace & Gromit shorts -- 1996's A Close Shave and 1994's The Wrong Trousers -- as well as an earlier work from 1991, the sublime talking-animal gag Creature Comforts..."

Pi
Brilliant, surreal, and emotionally draining, this first feature from American Film Institute grad Aronofsky recalls such low-budget sci-fi epics as Tetsuo: The Iron Man and more traditional paranoiac suspense films...
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Film Review  July 31, 1998, by Marc Savlov
"...Starring: Sean Gullette, Mark Margolis, Ben Shenkman, Pamela Hart, Stephen Pearlman, Samia Shoaib and Ajay Naidu. Brilliant, surreal, and emotionally draining, this first feature from American Film Institute grad Aronofsky recalls such low-budget sci-fi epics as Tetsuo: The Iron Man and more traditional paranoiac suspense films (Adrian Lyne's Jacob's Ladder in particular, but also Polanski's Rosemary's Baby) and yet manages to be a wholly original animal..."

A Certified Shame
The Sad State of the American Steak
Food Story  October 18, 1996, by Robb Walsh
"..."You can read the whole history of the cattle in the way the beef is marbled," says Coyote Cafe chef Mark Miller. If it's just fat around the edge of the steak, the animal was fattened up at the end of its life and it's going to be lower quality..."

Fluff and Stuff
If BuzzFeed's animal empire is trying to infiltrate hard news and traditional media outlets are still trying to get in on the cat cash cow, where does it all end?
Screens Story  July 26, 2013, by Dan Solomon
"...Maybe you clicked on a link on Facebook that sent you to "Micro Pig Has His Belly Rubbed." Or maybe you saw "Cat Learns How to Twerk" on Twitter and had to click it. The New York-based site – which was founded in 2006 by current CEO and Huffington Post co-founder Jonah Peretti, along with John Johnson – doesn't exclusively run animal stories, but they're certainly a big part of what it does...."

Nanny McPhee Returns
Emma Thompson stars as the titular nanny in this family film, which she also wrote.
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Film Review  August 20, 2010, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Her magic also can make goats and baby elephants appear as bedmates and cause pigs to fly and perform synchronized swimming routines. The film’s humor is designed to work for both kids and adults, and even if the film seems a little old-fashioned in its family-entertainment goals, there are plenty of modern-day poop jokes as the muddy farm generates torrents of animal excrement and a gaseous bird becomes the source of a climactic wind gust..."

Wendy and Lucy
From the director of Old Joy comes this minimalist story about a girl (the elfin Michelle Williams) and her dog getting by in society's margins.
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Film Review  February 20, 2009, by Kimberley Jones
"...Because Wendy and Lucy is so lean on plot and dialogue, there are long spaces to contemplate Wendy and her situation, and the logistics are mind-boggling: Her car goes into the shop, and suddenly she has nowhere to sleep. Her dog goes missing, and she has no cell phone to provide as contact number for the local animal shelter..."

Marley & Me
Sweet and wise and often laugh-out-loud funny (just like Grogan's book), Marley & Me, starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, isn't just for dog people.
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Film Review  December 26, 2008, by Marc Savlov
"...Dog people – I count myself among their ranks – will enjoy Frankel's adaptation of journalist John Grogan's bestselling account of life, love, deadlines, and death with the "world's worst dog," a yellow Labrador retriever named Marley. Marley is played, very realistically, by several actual Labs, among them Clyde and Brody, who, although I can't tell them apart, frankly, have clearly mastered the craft of animal acting..."

Eight Below
We smell penguins, even though Eight Below's animals are really a pack of sled dogs in a wonderful man-and-dog movie.
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Film Review  February 17, 2006, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Starring: Paul Walker, Bruce Greenwood, Moon Bloodgood, Jason Biggs and Gerard Plunkett. I smell penguins, even though Eight Below's animals are really a pack of sled dogs..."

The Honeymooners
Instead of reworking the original TV show’s subject matter regarding class and marriage, this is plodding mimicry featuring a predominantly African-American cast.
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Film Review  June 10, 2005, by Marrit Ingman
"...Instead, the film engages the issue of racism only once, in its only good joke: fashionably high-strung, glad-handing white partygoers are unable to distinguish two Asian musicians from Ralph (Cedric the Entertainer) and his doofy neighbor Ed (Epps). Sure, there’s a reptilian property developer (Stoltz, who doesn’t have to do much besides show up) threatening to snatch away the Kramdens’ only chance at homeownership, but the movie cares more about its "make money" montages, mother-in-law jokes, and the doleful eyes of a spotted greyhound (animal actor Iggy) rescued from a Dumpster..."

Wolf
A werewolf movie for the Nineties. Nicholson is Will Randall, a New York book editor who strikes a wolf one night while traveling through Vermont. When he leaves his car...
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Film Review  June 24, 1994, by Marc Savlov
"...Nicholson is Will Randall, a New York book editor who strikes a wolf one night while traveling through Vermont. When he leaves his car to check on the animal, it bites him, and, before you can say Maria Ouspenskaya, he's stalking deer in his stocking feet and howling at the moon..."

Sommersby
Sommersby is an updated American adaptation of a popular French story made in !982 as the film The Return of Martin Guerre. Maybe executive producer and star Gere mis-read the...
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Film Review  February 13, 1993, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...His memory about certain things is infallible, on other things he draws a complete blank (but war and Yankee incarceration will do that to a man). His dog doesn't recognize him (but the animal inexplicably turns up dead)..."

The Miracle
After his big-time, American-made film (the painfully unfunny comedy We're No Angels) went bust, director Jordan returned to his Irish seaside hometown of Bray to regroup. The result is this...
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Film Review  August 23, 1991, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Their mutual cat and mouse game ultimately crescendos into a classicly perverse Oedipal love knot. Meanwhile, Rose, who's really smitten with her best companion Jimmy, occupies herself with “humanizing” the circus's rough and ready animal trainer..."

Earth
This nature film is derived from the Planet Earth miniseries and is edited with an eye toward the kid-friendly audience.
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Film Review  April 24, 2009, by Kimberley Jones
"...release, with a nice mix of gravitas and playfulness (as when he plays wingman to a preening bird of paradise: “How could a girl resist?”). Earth tracks the migration patterns of a trio of mothers – elephant, polar bear, and humpback whale – and their newborns, as well as provides a snapshot of animal and plant life in various ecosystems around the world, oftentimes via time-lapse photography as gorgeous and surreal as anything you’d find in a Michel Gondry film..."

SXSW Film: The Whole Enchilada
Red-hot and really long list of all the titles to date
DAILY Screens  February 2, 2011, by Kimberley Jones
"...American Animal Director & Writer: Matt D'Elia Jimmy - eccentric, delusional, dying - feels betrayed when roommate James gets a job. During one night of drinks, drugs and women, a classic battle of wills ensues as James prepares for work and Jimmy goes mad..."

The Revenant
Iñárritu’s Western loses the forest for the trees, but oh, what trees
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Film Review  January 8, 2016, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...The film is based in part on the novel by Michael Punke, and opens with magnificently choreographed and filmed action sequences during which the fur-trapping party is forced to beat a hasty escape after a deadly surprise attack by Arikara warriors. (The Revenant was shot by Emmanuel Lubezki, winner of the last two Academy Awards for Cinematography – 2014’s Birdman and 2013’s Gravity – and his contributions to this 2015 Western cannot be underestimated.) While out hunting for provisions for their overland trek to the nearest fort, Glass is viciously mauled by a mother bear protecting her cubs (and, no, DiCaprio is in no way, shape, or form raped by the animal)..."

Five on the Second and Four on the Fourth
Adoption fees reduced for holiday at two shelters
DAILY News  June 30, 2011, by Jordan Smith
"...Feeling patriotic? Feeling like doing the right thing and adopting an animal in need? Want to merge those two fabulous feelings into one? Over the long weekend you'll have two chances to do so – while saving money at the same time. Now if that isn't the American way, I don't know what is...."

The Sound of One Psycho Cracking
John Cale talks abut composing the original soundtrack for American Psycho
Screens Story  April 14, 2000, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...I remember having a discussion with Mary [Harron, the director and co-screenwriter] about how horrendous she wanted this scene to be. There were actually animal noises that would really fit into this..."

Try To Remember
How two kids from UT changed the course of the American musical
Arts Story  October 15, 2010, by Robert Faires
"...Panelists: Brian Danner (director of stage combat, American Academy of Dramatic Arts Hollywood), Todd Lowe (actor, True Blood), Bruce McGill (actor, National Lampoon's Animal House); moderator: Michael Barnes (Austin American-Statesman)..."

DVDanger: The Larry Fessenden Collection
Horror's underappreciated auteur on existential terror
DAILY Screens  October 20, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...However, his professional debut brings together the two themes – environmentalism, and the inscrutable uniqueness of individual experience – that dominate his work, with issues raised about the ethics of animal experimentation. While the film makes clear reference to Frankenstein, he said, "There's nothing the doctor's doing that's outside of our ethical approval." Moreover, it has become a fascinating milestone for the shifting sands under science..."

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