Friday, July 31, 2009
It’s a simple truism that funny people are often angry people, and angry people are often sad people. Humor, to funny people, is a coping mechanism; if the world can be made into a joke, if something horrible or offensive can be deflated without violence, then life becomes manageable.
Friday, July 24, 2009
There’s something unusual about Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman), or so the ad campaign for Orphan more or less says. She’s a charming young girl with a faint Slavic accent and a hypnotizing stare. Other kids don’t seem to get along with her, but that may be due to her apparent maturity; she speaks with a clarity and depth that outstrips most adults. She’s also a gifted painter and pianist, and likes to dress herself in frilly princess dresses. What aspiring parents wouldn’t want to adopt her?
Friday, July 10, 2009
French director Francois Truffaut is often quoted as saying that it is impossible to make an anti-war movie, as the filming of war will inevitably glamorize the violence by exciting the audience. I respectfully submit that Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker succeeds, at last, at portraying war as a brutal and endless game of attrition.
Bruno is the kind of movie that has 90% of the audience howling with laughter while the other 10% hurriedly exits the theater. This is not speculation; I witnessed this happen several times during the screening, and could only wonder what, exactly, these people thought they were getting themselves into. Bruno, a flamboyantly gay Austrian fashionista, is the second Sacha Baron Cohen character to get the big screen treatment, trailing behind the 2006 release Borat. But you knew all that, didn’t you?
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Michael Mann’s Public Enemies begs a comparison to Heat, his masterful crime film starring Robert De Niro as a bank robber and Al Pacino as the cop who’s pursuing him. In Public Enemies, those roles are occupied by Johnny Depp (as John Dillinger) and Christian Bale (as FBI agent Melvin Purvis), along with a myriad B-cast that covers much the same range as the secondary players inHeat. It’s a shame, then, that Mr. Mann, who gave us such masterful characterization and intense action in Heat, can only give us a shallow and ultimately unsatisfying glimpse at the final exploits of Dillinger.