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If I Could Just Get It On Virtual Paper

Monday, August 23, 2004

I've been a very poor correspondent lately and I promise to get right back on track.

Part of the reason for my delays between blog updates is the fact that I've been insanely busy with various columns and writings for the site itself. Just in recent weeks, I've introduced Book vs. Movie, which means I'm always reading. So far, I've taken a look at I, Robot, The Bourne Supremacy, The Manchurian Candidate and The Door in the Floor/A Widow for One Year. Next week's entry will be A Home at the End of the World.

Additionally, I'm currently the Trailer Hitch guru. In the past day or so, we've had new previews for The Machinist, Birth and Head in the Clouds appear on the scene. I'll be taking a look at those in addition to several others when that column hits on Thursday.

I've put several updates on my Big Board as well, with the most significant entry being a new number one film for the year. Be sure to check it out, along with boards from other BOP staff members.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

I added a big batch of films to my Big Board over the last few days, but I'll cover them right here as has become my habit.

The Door in the Floor

This film wanted to be good. I could see something impressive in there just trying to escape. Unfortunately, this pseudo-adaptation of John Irving's A Widow for One Year just didn't have it. The performances were all quite solid; however, the film dragged and was simply too discomfiting to really sit well. Incidentally, Dakota Fanning's younger sister Elle. She might be even creepier than Dakota in her preternatural abilities.

Collateral

I really loved this film, and can't wait to see it again. It's possible that on a subsequent viewing, it might be my favorite of the year. I really appreciate Michael Mann's style, and both Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx give outstanding performances in their respective roles. There's a moment in the film that felt like a mini-version of the death of Detective Zito (John Diehl) in Miami Vice. Very impacting.

Little Black Book

My god, are romantic comedies ever dreadful this year. Little Black Book is not funny, not romantic, not touching, and simply is not good at all. I generally like Brittany Murphy, but her character, who we're supposed to be rooting for, had practically no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Also, I thought Ron Livingston was billed as the romantic lead, but he might have been in the movie for all of two minutes. I missed Ron the other 95 minutes. Badly.

Metallica: Some Kind of Monster

It's getting to the point that documentaries are becoming my favorite "genre". This film, which follows Metallica through the highs and lows of creating their most recent album, St. Anger is fascinating and repelling all at the same time. That group has some incredibly powerful personalities, and while I always viewed Lars Ulrich as the real driving force (partly due to his ability to talk and talk and talk and talk without ever letting anyone else get a word in edgewise), I think the group actually fears James Hetfield more. His dark side is powerful.

Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism

There's nothing particularly groundbreaking here, but the skewering of Fox News is generally fun to watch. I say generally because there are times that some of the stuff that was going on made me sick to my stomach. As someone who once aspired to be a journalist (before disillusionment set in), the tactics employed by Fox News in the name of "fair and balanced" reporting really piss me off.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

I saw a whole slew of 2004 releases over the weekend, bringing the total number of films I've seen so far this year to 62. No wonder I'm so tired.

Thunderbirds

I'm as shocked to say this as you are to be reading it, but this film is actually a lot of fun. It has some really bad movie moments, to be sure, but it embraces its weird qualities and just totally goes with it. If nothing else, it's totally worth seeing for the complete oddity of the Lady Penelope character and her assistant Parker.

The Manchurian Candidate

I love Liev Schreiber. He's simply fantastic as the tortured Vice Presidential candidate in this film. I do think that the original is a brilliant, masterful piece of filmmaking. It's satirical, terrifying and intelligent. That doesn't mean I can't like the remake almost as much, though. It's a film that has been updated to match our times. Where in the original film the troops were subject to mind control via drugs and some form of hypnosis, the remake switches off to computer implants, a much more believable and relevant technique for our time. Additionally, it places the context within a modern setting and it works very well. Jonathan Demme's film is a smart, engaging film that really makes one think. Perhaps its biggest flaw is that it is significantly more self-serious than its predecessor.

The Village

I like this film much better on reflection than I did immediately after seeing it. In fact, I think I'd almost like to see it again before commenting much, particularly as anything I might have to say would be filled with spoilers. Let's just say it works very, very well as allegory.

Strayed

Emmanuelle Béart is really, really pretty. Strayed is one of those films that has fascinating performances that really pull the viewer in, but ultimately I was left a little empty. I was particularly impressed by Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet as Phillipe, the 13-year-old son of Béart's character. It does provide a somewhat timely look at families that are tragically displaced and wayward as a result of war happening around them.

Never Die Alone

Vile. Just vile. I can't say enough how much I hated this film.


 
     


 
 

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