- Wow. What human endeavor can accomplish, given lots of time and plumbing.
- Remeber when Pac-Man was just a little yellow circle that ate smaller yellow circles? I guess this is Progress.
- “It’s tiny, it lives in acid and it has these bizarre grasping fins.” I love this kind of stuff. But not as much fun as when a “new” dinosaur, giant squid, or a cyclopean kitten turns up.
I initially dismissed Lord of War when the trailers and posters first appeared. In other words, it got caught in the crude mental filters that routinely handle my first-pass “ignore” of all the crap that flows through my eyes and ears all day every day. But when my regular email newsletter from Amnesty International endorsed the film, it seemed possible this was something more substantial than National Treasure.
And it is. In an impressive marketing slight-of-hand, Lions Gate marketed it as an action comedy. But like Syriana, Lord of War is actually a very strongly-felt topical film loosely based on actual events. It has a more human and darkly comedic tone than Syriana, which often felt like a very consciously-constructed intellectual puzzle. But on the other hand, Syriana’s strict focus is perhaps a virtue; Lord of War’s several dramatic plotlines involving the main character’s marriage and wayward brother don’t always sit very well against the larger themes of entrenched human violence.
For another Nicolas Cage treasure hidden in plain sight, I recommend Ridley Scott’s Matchstick Men.
I had heard Red Eye was a refreshingly unpretentious thriller that played on Americans’ changed relationship with air travel in a post 9/11 world. While technically true, it’s actually a very disappointing runaround decidedly lacking in the most routine pleasures that come with thrillers. Where’s the expected third-act twist? Is the twist that there actually isn’t one?
- In interactive design news, Microsoft announces a “Flash Killer“? Please. Adobe tried it, failed, and resorted to buying their only competetor. Can somebody please explain to me how that’s legal? So I suppose one way to look at things is that a resumption of competition is good news.
- Yo, watch the way I navigate! The new Gorillaz EP Feel Good Inc is new to the iTunes Music Store. Kudos to the iTMS for carrying more music otherwise only available on pricy imports.
- Memo to Costco: what with your fancy-pants biometrics technology and all, keep an eye out for that crazy Wendy’s lady. It’s gotta be a big-time world-spanning meme if it hits Aljazeera.
- Better pundits than I have surely already opined at great length at this, but isn’t it odd Google will bend over for China but fight for its right to party in the US?
- Snakes on a mutha#*$&ing Plane! Another piece de resistance from New Line Cinema. I gotta get me one a these mutha&$#@s!
- Maybe I was wrong to have such a pet peeve with sci-fi films with efficient public transportation set only about 10 years in the future.
Woody Allen’s Match Point is fantastic. Brilliant. Morally complex. Almost unbearably intense. It plays with your sympathies in way I haven’t seen since Hitchcock’s Frenzy (which I personally found cruel and sadistic, unlike Match Point).
Amazingly, upon a second viewing I didn’t care for Woody Allen’s Manhattan nearly as much as I remembered. Perhaps its status in the canon has retroactively enhanced my opinion. But it still inspires as a big, fat, sloppy kiss to my city, and a poster of Woody & Diane beneath the Brooklyn Bridge hangs on my wall.
About the only saving graces of this piece of gorilla dung are: A) Jessica Lange actually does a pretty good Marilyn Monroe, and B) Seeing the movie now provides some unintentional emotional oomph: Kong is actually drawn into Manhattan by the primal lure of the World Trade Center.
Whose idea was it for Kong to walk upright? Would it have been too much work for the guy in the suit to hunch over and drag his knuckles a little? And he throws like a girl.
Why didn’t I know better? Although I stand apart from nearly all (it seems) critics and fellow cineastes, I hated Badlands, Days of Heaven, and Thin Red Line. And The New World is, of course, more of the same. The problem isn’t necessarily the pacing, although it is indeed punishingly slow. It’s partly the storytelling technique of mumbled interior monologues of inarticulate characters grappling with giant issues beyond their comprehension, in voiceover over admittedly gorgeous nature photography.
Sample sequence from Thin Red Line: shot of stream running over eroded boulder. US Grunt: “Why… are… we… KILLIN’… each udder… in duh jungle…?” Shot of pelican. Repeat.
And this was a screening of The New World DIRECTOR’S CUT, with TWENTY additional minutes! Arrrrrgh.
Explicit in more ways than one: surprisingly, the theme is pretty much spelled out in voiceover in the first sequence. A man reflects on a past relationship in terms of concerts they went to together and the arc of their sexual life. I can only speak for myself, but those are exactly the kinds of mental landmarks that mark my past relationships.
Did they learn nothing from Spider-Man 2, clearly the pinnacle of the superhero genre (and I will fight a Marvel Team-Up with anybody that dares disagree with me)? FF is an aggressively stupid series of one missed opportunity after another. It just narrowly escapes one star by making me laugh a handful of times.
And another thing. Jessica Alba does nothing for me. I see hotter women every 10 seconds just walking down the street here in NYC. She just has an uncommonly small waist! But even wearing glasses couldn’t help her pull off a line like “The space cloud has fundamentally altered our DNA!”