East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Thursday, January 24, 2008


A Beautiful Mind (Ron Howard, USA, 2001): Talk about an insult to the intelligence. The problem isn't that it's unfaithful to John Nash's life, it's that it's not faithful to anyone's life. Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly work their asses off so that it's only the third or fourth least plausible movie romance of all time. C MINUS

Talk to Me (Kasi Lemmons, USA, 2007): Muddled both politically and chronolgically -- the whole thing seems stuck in the Seventies instead of spanning twenty years. That only matters a little, because the performers are Don Cheadle and Chiwetel Ejiofor and the indomitable Taraji P. Henson, who, in total contrast to Hustle & Flow, is louder than her Pam Grier outfits: Tarantino should make her tribute now. B PLUS

Superbad (Greg Mottola, USA, 2007): Pretty funny, but it seems like it was written by teenage boys. What? It was? B PLUS

Hot Rod (Akiva Schaffer, USA, 2007): Yep, another movie where the man-child gets the girl because the man-man is an asshole or a lawyer or something. Funny, I remember my peers when I was fourteen being much dickwadier than my peers now (except you, Mike). C

Away from Her (Sarah Polley, Canada, 2006): Who was the last filmmaker who displayed such a command of narrative first time up -- Charles Laughton? Sure, it helps to be working from an Alice Munro story, but Polley neatly fills out the story of an Alzheimer's suffer (Julie Christie) and her husband (Gordon Pinsent), strengthening Munro's spiralling ironies with some sharp gags (the hockey commentator who can't give up his job, even in the nursing home, lets Polley get a wicked cheap shot in on Pinsent's character), though the movie's ending gnaws at you rather than crushing you. Christie is as exceptional as you've heard: many actresses could get the tics right, and the great ones could stand up to Polley's camera circling their tear-stained faces, but who else could sustain the perfect tone throughout the picture? Wise, frightened and sly, irresistible and unforgettable -- except there's no such thing. A

Office Space (Mike Judge, USA, 1999): Threatens to undermine capitalism for a few minutes. Soon wusses out into fantasies of Jennifer Aniston, but remains funny. B

The Warlords (Peter Chan, China, 2007): Watched it without subtitles and my Mandarin is non-existent, so no rating, but seemed good for what it was -- blood brotherhoods breaking and impalements galore. Jet Li looked strangely like a good actor.



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