Articles in the February 2009 Department
Won't you come out to play?
Good Night, and Good Luck is a 2005 film directed and co-written by George Clooney, and stars David Strathairn as journalist Edward R Murrow in a dramatic retelling of Mr Murrow’s televised duel with Senator Joseph McCarthy, carried out over the CBS program See It Now in 1954. The film is presented in black-and-white, with a sharp contrast that seems to add a crisp sense about anyone and anything it envelopes. The contrast also serves to make seemingly perpetual cigarette smoke more noticeable than it …
Here’s the best part about being a film geek: you can become genuinely excited about the stupidest things, and it profoundly impacts the way you see a movie. Like a certain actor showing up. They don’t even have to do a good job; the quality of the performance may even be tertiary to your glee. You’re just amped that they showed up. Push is full of faces that bring me joy; joy for no other purpose than to know that they are getting work in troubled economic times. Even if times weren’t troubled, I’d be happy these actors were working, so that I could just soak up their onscreen charisma from my theater seat like a roly-poly incubus.
Dollhouse: ~ Ghost
“Ever try and clean an actual slate? You always see what was on it before.”
After a five year hiatus from television, Joss Whedon has returned, re-uniting with some familiar faces to create his new world. This project, which stars Eliza Dushku as the main doll, focuses on a secret organization that allows people with needs and money to access their every desire. You need a date for the weekend? This organization will make you the most compatible date you have ever had. You need …
Tsui Hark is a director often praised for his ability to inject pop-entertainment with a subversive message — and that might be what makes him a bit dangerous. His best films are politically and socially charged, as well as incredibly entertaining. So why do so many people often forget this particular Tsui-ism when discussing Knock Off?
Ah, Valentine’s Day. Few holidays seem to raise the ire of internet denizens, brooding teenagers and twenty-something counter-culture warriors like good ole V-Day1. Depending on your point of view, it’s either a cultureless wasteland of affected sentimentalism and crass commercial cash-ins or a special day for you and your beloved. Then there are the rest of us: those of us who have experienced some sweet & thoughtful Valentine’s Days and remain effectively neutral on the holiday2. We don’t quite understand those people who will wheedle dates, arrange extra weekend meetings, …
Paul Blart: Mall Cop is a star vehicle for a man who’s not really a movie star; it’s a comedy with a slack pace and PG-rated sense of humor. It doesn’t go for the gut, the nuts, or the intellect. It’s just sort of there to vaguely amuse, perhaps entertain. Certainly, it gives you someplace to go in the midwinter doldrums. I could curl up with a stupid movie at home, or I could get out and see a stupid movie at the cinema. Why not the latter?
Co-written and produced by France’s own action auteur, Luc Besson, and directed by his cinematographer-cum-protege, Pierre Morel, Paris is presented as a hotbed of corruption and weak-kneed complicity. In other words: a town in desperate need of a karate-choppin’ cleanup. Apparently Jean Reno was out of the country on business, so Besson & Co. imported a giant Irishman who has, for the last several years, made a living playing doomed mentors to young heroes in Campbellian summer movies.
Since the advent of iTunes and Amazon MP3 downloads, I’ve purchased more music than I ever have before – yes, including the time I spent working at Tower Records. I feel that these MP3 download services offer fair prices, a good product, great service, and I don’t have to leave my chair – I can shop for tons of music at work even. That is awesome. Here are some of my musical discoveries of 2008.
This year’s pseudo-foreign import — just in time for Academy Awards season! — is a Horatio Alger story (called a “fairy tale” by some), Slumdog Millionaire, whose mouthful of a title may make usage in conversation a bit of a self-conscious affair, but whose supposed “momentum” in the Oscar race is unsurprising. Slumdog Millionaire is rooted in the detritus of India, but like any good former-colonialist-turned-tourist, director Danny Boyle takes Mumbai and universalizes the struggle of its impoverished inhabitants.
While Inkheart leans heavily on the darker side running under the surface of good children’s literature, the mind-blowing dimensions of its premise are undercut by an extremely workmanlike aesthetic approach and plot holes that go unaddressed. The film itself subverts its ostensibly honest approach to common human themes like loss, breaking away from self-imposed emotional prisons, the complicated relationship between parents and children, and the nature of evil and suffering. Y’know. “Kid’s stuff.”