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I watch movies. On DVD, at the theater, via cable TV. Sometimes I want people to know what I think about the movies I watch, regardless of whether or not they care. I promise I will make my reviews short, but I won't be ashamed to throw around cliches like "beautiful cinematography" and "post-modern irony," so be warned.

Sunday, November 27, 2005 :::

Good Night and Good Luck

Why I saw it: The ads tout its own excellence.

What I think about it: Good Night and Good Luck could never be considered entertaining. It's almost cruelly uninviting, with harsh lighting, brash close-ups, and no musical score. But that's kind of the whole point. The movie details the battle between CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow and the infamous Senator Joe McCarthy during the 1950's. To run down the plot and the cultural significance of these events would be to presuppose that you've never taken any sort of American History class in your entire life, so I'll spare you those details. But the point of the movie is not really to act as a docu-drama about those historical events, but rather to slap the face of the American media as well as the American public for being so insulated and manipulated when it comes to politics, international policy, government and military power and corruption, and all other topics that should be considered mandatory responsibilities in order to qualify for American citizenship. The whole movie is about responsibility: the responsibility of the American media to report the important stories and news that face Americans instead of the tawdry fluff pieces and Entertainment Tonight specials that the audiences admittedly crave; and even more importantly, the responsibility of the American public to actually pay attention. Anyway, I guess what this movie is trying to say is that director George Clooney is pissed at you, American Public, for not being more interested in international policy or even your local government. He's mad that you'd rather sit around and watch Hard Copy than write your local congressman about the injustices and faulty public policies that really bother you. He's angry that you would give up the chance to protect your own civil liberties if it conflicted with an opportunity to see Lindsay Lohan's latest nipple slip. He wants you to wake up, stop watching reruns of Seinfeld, and become a valuable, sentient member of society. Do you think you can do that for just one second, Average Joe? Jesus, would you wise up and pay attention already?

I don't know. It seems that the type of people who really need this message hammered into their heads are never going to see this movie, and even if they did, they probably wouldn't understand its intentions or heed its Call to Arms. I guess it can serve as an important reminder to everyone else, but is that really necessary? As I said before, it wasn't an entertaining movie, but then how could it be when one of its loftier goals is to rally the American Public to forgo its love of mindless entertainment for long enough to tackle some weighty social issues we have facing us today? So you see, it would be hypocritical for this movie to be fun to watch. So I guess in that sense, Good Night and Good Luck succeeds, because most of the times it's like watching paint dry.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 6:22 PM :: #

Me and You and Everyone We Know

Why I saw it: It got good reviews, and it deserved them.

What I think about it: Arty yet approachable, Me and You and Everyone We Know simply follows characters of all ages around for a few days while they interact with each other and maybe even date a little. The plot is paper thin, but the details and characterizations are far more compelling than what you would find in most movies, and therefore it's more than able to sustain even the most fickle viewer's interest during its short running time. Plus, the main relationship between the two central characters is fun to watch as it develops. There are countless moments in this movie that will make you smile or wince, and even more that will make you impressed with the writer's subtlety and ability to make even the oddest moments seem entirely genuine. It won't wrap itself up with a pretty bow for you at the end, but if you allow yourself to relish in the details along the way, you won't care.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 6:18 PM :: #

Friday, November 11, 2005 :::


Why I saw it: I'll see any movie that Todd Solondz makes.

What I think about it: Todd Solondz movies are sticky little things that always manage to glue themselves into my conscience for days after watching them. That's probably due to the numerous references to bodily fluids and other secretions, or the smarmy, grimy auras that most of his characters exude. But regardless, I can't get his movies out of my head. Palindromes is not different. It follows the odyssey of a naive young girl as she finds herself pregnant and is forced into an abortion by her mother. From that point on, it gets rather controversial to say the least, and to make matters even more confounding, the main character is portrayed by many different actresses as the movie progresses, from overweight black adults, to slim white children. It's hard to tell if this technique is more distracting than it is effective, but it definitely leaves an impression, as does the main character's eventful stay at Mama Sunshine's house. To figure out what I mean but that, you'll just have to see the movie, because I couldn't even begin to explain it.

I'd say that this is my least favorite Solondz movie to date, and it seems a lot less polished or consistent than his previous movies, but it's still worth your time. If only to see the eventual fate of the characters from Solondz' first movie Welcome to the Dollhouse, who all make cameos.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 6:07 PM :: #

Thursday, November 03, 2005 :::

Code 46

Why I saw it: It got good reviews.

What I think about it: The new criteria for science fiction movies appear to be Samantha Morton with a short haircut, sparse set decorations, and desolate locales. Throw in some really small apartments (as if predicting a future population explosion), a few allusions to Orwellian Big Brother-ism, and a globalized language that sounds like a mixture between Chinese, English, and Spanish (a'la Blade Runner), and you've got all the ingredients to make a modern day sci-fi drama classic! You might want to make sure you have an interesting plot first, though. In spite of an almost immersive tone that the director manages to sustain for a good portion of the running time, it's kind of hard to appreciate a movie where nothing interesting happens and where they erase the memory of each character just as you are beginning to empathize with them. Oh well. A for effort, D for the final result.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 6:00 PM :: #


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