(Via Slublog.) I was unaware that they were making a movie about Johnny Cash. The trailer looks like it might be pretty good and Joaquin Phoenix seems to nail the role, especially the singing out of the side of his mouth thing that Cash did.
The blogosphere (and the world) certainly doesn't need another review/slamming of Revenge of the Sith but since I saw it yesterday I might as well throw up some thoughts.
[Any possible spoilers are below the fold.]
First, my wife and I and another couple saw the 11:45am show yesterday morning. The theater probably only had about another 30-40 people in it. The weather here was pretty nice yesterday morning and for the first part of the afternoon so that could explain why it was relatively empty. Still, it looks like The Longest Yard may beat RotS this weekend.
I consider myself to be a moderate Star Wars kind of guy. Nonetheless, I was so deeply disappointed in the last two movies that on the drive to the movie yesterday I found myself having a severe physical reaction as we recapped the first two that I wanted to punch something. Like maybe Hayden Christensen or Lucas himself. I was talked off that ledge.
After seeing RotS though, Lucas did redeem himself to a certain extent but the movie should have been better.
While I have zero plans to see "The Interpreter" and am not likely to do a complete survey of reviews from the critics to see how many others knocked the UN like Kurt Loder did in his review, I did find Loder's call on the UN enjoyable.
The gimmick that's supposed to gun our engines about "The Interpreter" is that it was shot inside the United Nations headquarters building in New York. That's right: Inside the UN! A first! Never been done![Emphasis original.]
Unfortunately, this is a gimmick without a payoff. And the deal that had to be struck to acquire this dubious bragging right is deplorable. In order to shoot the picture inside the UN, the filmmakers reportedly had to give top UN bureaucrats the right to approve not only the script, but all the footage shot within the building. And so the completed movie has all the zing of one of the droning diplomatic blather-fests in which the UN General Assembly, when it's assembled, generally specializes. (This would also appear to explain why, although we hear lines like "Human rights are fundamental" uttered without irony, we are not informed that the current composition of the UN Human Rights Commission includes such odious tyrannies as Sudan, Zimbabwe and Saudi Arabia.)[Emphasis mine.]
Went to see Hitch tonight as part of the four day Valentine's extravagana which results when it falls on a Monday. The movie was actually better than I expected. The wife has a pretty big thing for Kevin James so there was no way to get out of it. She did come out of the movie upset however. In one particular close-up of KJ after one of his many pratfalls, you could clearly see that he was either wearing a toupee or had some kind of plugs going. All very upsetting to his #1 fan.
It's been years since I've seen Miller's Crossing but it is one of my favorites. The Corner has taken up a minor discussion of the movie. I'd have to watch the movie again to jog my memory but I disagree with John Podhoretz.
I once horrified Jonah by saying that the secret to understanding Miller's Crossing is that Gabriel Byrne's character is gay and he's in love with Albert Finney -- but that's only because I AM RIGHT!!!!!
I guess it's possible but it would be a stretch. I'm with Jonah.
I still don't buy that Byrne is gay in Miller's Crossing for, among other reasons, his constant bedding of the films main "twist" Verna. Not that I know a lot about such things, but chronic alcholics with gambling problems, it seems to me, would have a hard time arousing the energy to "fake it" night after night.
Yes, homosexuality is a theme in the film but it seems odd to me that the Coens would deal with it so directly in the case of Bernie and then be so mysteriously subtle when it comes to Byrne. Sure, Byrne has feelings for Albert Finney but I think it's a big leap to say they're homosexual feeling. I've never found another reviewer who agrees with John on this. I think he needs to turn down the gain on his gaydar.
When we were in college frequent F?WF? commenter Chris A. worked at a video store. He would bring home a movie and we'd watch it everyday for a week or two. (This was sophomore year, we didn't get cable until our fourth year.) Miller's Crossing was watched probably a dozen times and I missed the gay subplot about the first ten times until Chris and the other guys clued me in. Now when I watch it it's totally obvious but I don't think Byrne's allegiance to Finney was because he was gay. I'm inclined to think it was an Irish thing.
...This website devoted to the film looks to be pretty comprehensive. I'll file a report if there's any comment on this topic.
Other than rooting for the Lord of the Rings franchise the last three years, I don't think I've ever really had much of an interest in the Oscars.
The only Oscar ceremony I remember watching was the one in 1994. The only reason I remember that is because it was held on my birthday and two friends and I were holed up in a fleabag motel in Savannah, GA on our way down to Daytona for spring break. We created a drinking game that involved a deck of cards and a case of Meister Brau. I have no idea what the rules were but they included drinking based on what was going on in the Oscars. I think. I also remember the tribute to John Candy who died a couple of weeks before.
I checked out the Academy's website and followed it to this database of all nominees and winners since they started giving out the awards in 1928/29. I reviewing the list, I realized I really haven't seen most of them. Forget the old ones, I haven't really seen many of the ones made in my lifetime.
I prefer to go to the actual theater rather than watch them at home. Though going to the movies has its own drawbacks. When I'm home, I'm too preoccupied to devote 2+ hours to sit on the couch and watch a movie. Weird, I know. That and that no matter who I'm watching the movie with will insist on dimming or shutting the lights off entirely which really bothers my contacts. So, I've pretty much avoided watching movies at home or at friends'. It used to be a joke with my friends that they would suggest we rent a movie, knowing that I would shoot down the idea.
Also, if it's only cable, I'm also too distracted to watch a movie straight through without flipping to another channel. I may possible have Adult ADD in this respect. I think I also fall for the "I'll read the book before I see the movie" thing, then never get around to reading the book or seeing the movie.
Basically, if I didn't see it in the theater the odds are I haven't seen it. Below the fold is the list of Oscar nominated movies since 1972 (the year I was born) and whether I've seen them or not. While it was fun to go through the list, I'm sure it won't make for interesting reading, but that has never really stopped me before from posting so, what the hell.
These are just two of my favorite paragraphs in this WaPo review of Oliver Stone's "Alexander." The review is by Stephen Hunter.
Alexander's great love was said to be Hephaistion, who is played in the film by Jared Leto, but unless you know Jared Leto by face, even late in the movie you'll have no idea which one he was. I thought he was this other guy, equally handsome, equally vapid, equally unmemorable, whom Alexander prongs with a spear in a drunken rage late in the movie. But that was some other guy.
Then there's Angelina Jolie as Mom. Really, words fail me here. But let's try: Give this young woman the hands-down award for best impression of Bela Lugosi while hampered by a 38-inch bust line. Though everyone else in the picture speaks in some variation of a British accent, poor Jolie has been given the Transylvanian throat-sucker's throaty, sibilant vowels, as well as a wardrobe of snakes. She represents the spirit of kitsch that fills the movie, and with all her crazed posturing and slinking, it's more of a silent movie performance than one from the sound era. Theda Bara, call your agent.
It's more of a fisking than movie review. And if you need balance, read this mostly positive review that describes Jolie's performance as "haunting."
SERIOUSLY, DO NOT READ ANY MORE IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE RETURN OF THE KING YET. BELOW THIS PICTURE I'M GONNA LET IT RIP AND WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR RUINING ANYONE'S LOTR EXPERIENCE.
Here comes my oblogitory post on The Return of the King. (For real, turn back now, I will be giving away things you may not want to know.) I chose the picture of Samwise above because he was my favorite character when I read the books. Of course, Aragorn is the coolest, but Sam is the hero of the story for me. Sean Astin has made a perfect Sam and continues the strong performance in this conclusion of the trilogy. But before I get to the actual review of the movie I would like to memorialize a few things about reading the books.
Probably back in 1999 one of my friends was reading the books and he thought I'd enjoy them (his fantasy football team that year was The Tom Bombadils). I had never read them or The Hobbit for that matter. At Thanksgiving 2001, one of my aunt's friend's teenaged son was reading The Two Towers and I decided I'd better read the books before the movie came out that December. So I read the trilogy in one giant lumbering volume that was very cumbersome to carry around. I read it in the month before The Fellowship of the Ring came out. I'm not going to go on and on about what a mindboggling genius J.R.R. Tolkein was, but I was riveted from page one through all the appendices, family-trees, etc. When I got to The Return of the King, I was insane. When I would speak with Chrissy on the phone, I would give her updates on Frodo and Sam's progress. Emotionally, Sam's love, courage, and steadfastness blew me away. While all the storylines can be emotional, the two that really got to me were Aragorn's reluctant acceptance of his fate (more later) and Sam. I remember calling Chrissy, "You're not going to believe this, Sam is carrying Frodo up the mountain! He put him on his back and marched." I had such a strong image of these two hobbits; Frodo, the "chosen one" debilitated by the weight of his burden, being carried by his dutiful, indefatigable friend Sam. Tolkien's message became fully realized at that point for me. Or at least, what I take to be his message. It is those moments of doom and certain disaster that we me face and despite the fear, press on into the Shadow. Since Sam is my favorite character and he is the hero of the final book I've been fighting bouts of geek-like excitement for the new movie, which I finally saw today. (I'm writing "finally" but I still have seen it with in 24 hours of its opening-what a dork.)
As for the movie it was awesome. A few weeks ago Chrissy bought me a Newsweek with half the issue dedicated to the movie. I haven't opened it yet, and have averted my eyes from all reviews, most cast interviews, news stories, etc. Although I did find out that Peter Jackson chose to omit The Scouring of the Shire from the movie (it will be included on the extended DVD). Going into the movie there were scenes that I could not wait to see.
1-When Sam carries Frodo up the mountain.
2-When Eowyn slays the Nazgul-King.
3-When the Rohirrim join the fight.
4-When Aragorn accepts his fate as King of Men and receives the re-forged sword, Andúril.
I was satisfied at the portrayal of all of these. After the Nazgul tells a helmeted Eowyn that no man can kill him, Eowyn gets the Schwarzenegger-like line "I am no man." It was as I envisioned it. Obviously all the battles scenes were as good as it gets. I'm too tired to keep this going, this is starting to sound like "The Chris Farley Show" so I'll quote him and say "It was...awesome." Maybe I'll write another post after I see it again. And if you're really a Tolkien fan you must check this out.
The first of many awards for The Return of the King. This movie better win the Oscar. Peter Jackson should have won every award they have for the last 2 years. This year would have made it a hat trick. Damn Oscar Jackasses.
NEW YORK (AP) - Normally a champion of arty, independent fare, the New York Film Critics Circle on Monday chose "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" as the top film of 2003.
The three-hour-plus epic, which is the final part of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy novels, is a sweeping spectacle of computer-generated imagery - and it couldn't be more different from the rest of the films the group honored.