As a look into the lives of factory workers in an economically depressed town turns into a noir (as Steven Soderbergh himself notes on the commentary track), I caught a whiff of class anthropology. That said, I understand Soderbergh’s point that critics’ charges of exploitation are condescending; the non-actors are intelligent human beings who wholly knew what they were getting into.
With this project, Soderbergh is tackling several unknowns at once: high-definition video, the feasibility of simultaneous release, and the storytelling device of drawing on the real-life experiences of non-actors. How does one tell if an experiment is a success when there are so many variables?
This is simultaneously fascinating and enraging. I sympathize with parents who don’t have time to keep up with popular culture and need an unbiased information source to judge for themselves whether or not a movie is appropriate for their kids, but I don’t think this is it. Who are these people? Who appointed them? I’m worried they are indirectly censoring films, under the guise of informing parents. It’s about the children, you understand.
Let’s see, what did we get out of Apple’s latest extravaganza:
iPod Hi-Fi: No doubt a fun toy for flush audiofiles, but kinda useless for a New York City apartment-dweller like myself.
Mac Mini: Take out the video card, add a remote control, and it costs $100 more? Although to be totally honest, I must admit I don’t really understand what a video card does. While the whole concept of a Mac media center thingie on my TV sounds really neat, the price hike completely soured it for me.
Leather iPod Case: insanely overpriced cow-flesh sleeve with no access to the face. In other words, it’s designed specifically to scratch your iPod. I just have to join in the chorus here: What were they thinking?
Richard Curtis and David Yates’ The Girl in the Café, a BBC movie aired in the US on HBO, was incredibly cute, and my heartstrings were indeed pulled, but I couldn’t shake the sense the love story was mere dressing for the real purpose of the film: explicating the issue of extreme poverty to help warm the public up for Live 8. Of course, I feel heartless for criticizing this aspect of it.
Plus, the age difference between Bill Nighy and Kelly Macdonald was so vast that — forget about their characters’ conflict over whether to battle or defer to stubborn politicians — it’s an issue unto itself. But if possible to overlook that, it’s a perfectly charming and lovely movie.
Reykjavik should hereby pass an ordinance decreeing its name shall heretoforth be spoken only in Macdonald’s Scottish accent.
A 2007 Genesis reunion tour, including departed members Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, and Steve Hackett? Their official statement, Via Tony Smith Personal Management: “There are no decisions by Genesis to perform anywhere whatsoever at this time. This situation will not alter in the next twelve months.” However. Even if nothing comes of this, there are still the 5.1 surround reissues to look forward to.
I swear I had nothing to do with this. In fact, none of us over here in New York had any idea what our LA counterparts had done until it hit the news. Almost as exciting as when their Wedding Crashers site was debated in Congress.
Marvel is evidently running out of plotlines for Spider-Man. I grew up during their last attempt to change his look, which was both way cooler and no doubt easier on the artists.
More dogs! Fewer people! In fact, how about no people at all? Then this two-plus hour slog could be transformed into a nice hour of lovely nature photography and cute fluffy pups fighting adversity.
I hope Disney makes it clear this is a PG film not for the really little ones, for there’s a scene in there that scared the bejeezus out of a room full of seasoned adults. But it is often too cute; most notably in the scene where the dogs suddenly begin “talking” to each other. And the lovable canines remain plump and well-groomed despite starving in the tundra for 3 months.
Like Something About Mary and American Pie, sometimes the most well-observed character-based comedies come in disguise as crass gross-outs. They also have a tendency towards saccharine sweetness, but there are worse crimes.