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A film that brought something great, something beautiful to the big screen
It's a funny thing when you see something expand before your eyes beyond the sum of it's parts. In the movie Serenity, it's the Firefly-class transport ship. Each piece has a certain value, but put it all together and you have a ny-indestructible starship that will take you anywhere.
The characters in this movie are the same, actors drawn from gritty Vietnam soldier stories, light and funny ABC comedies, and even a cheesy WB sci-fi program, come together and produce not only a t.v. series, but also a movie that tugs at your heart strings and doesn't let go of your emotions.
The backdrop of space, resistance, and the search for freedom allows those who live within it to appeal, to touch the viewer in some way. We hope for kaylee to get together with Simon, we wait for Mal to really see Inara, and that somehow River will find peace.
Another Indy movie must be made, if only to restore the franchise reputation
I remember seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark at the Wellfleet Drive-In on Cape Cod when I was 5 years old. The movie was so intense in spots, especially the Wrath of God Nazi-melting ending, I ended up hiding in the back of the car and peeping above the back seat so I could "safely" watch the rest of the film.
That movie set a standard for me, the perfect amalgum of the old action/adventure serials of the 1930's giving us a smart and witty rogue who always fought the bad guys no matter what crazy situation he was thrown into. He got the girl, saved the precious artifact, and made sure the world stayed safe from the bad guys.
But this film, this construct of creative genius's, show not only are they well past their prime but how they have encapsulated themselves into their own little world and not realized how badly they have maimed the treasured memory their fans carry of Indiana Jones.
The film, on paper, has all the aspects of a great film: fascist bad-guys, rare and exotic antiquities, remote locales, double-agents, hostile natives and lethal fauna, and even the return of a long-lost love with an important (if predictable) secret.
But put together in the ham-fisted way they were, with poor direction and mediocre screen writing, it wrenched my heart to see the mess that appeared on-screen.
I will not fault the actors, but I lay the blame squarely at the feet of the producers, writers, and directors. I *wanted* to like this film, very much so. I saw it with my brother, and for a week afterwards we were in a kind of shock; we would say to each other, "Yeah, that was a pretty good film." After a time though, we slowly admitted to ourselves, "God, it was awful. Why was it so bad???"
Another Indiana Jones movie must be made, if only to wash from our mouths the terrible taste of this one.
The House Bunny (2008)
Faris is stellar, as usual
Faris was the warm pink frothy center of this film, and while her bunny-isms took a little while to get used to there was a definite theme of Pollyanna outgoingness to her character that charmed all. I would give this an 8 out of 10 but Lindsey Lohan's careening through scenes as the "straight man" to Faris' comedy diluted the laughs and generally skewed the comedic timing. I barely even recognize her from Mean Girls, both in looks and acting. She reminds me of a summer-stock extra suddenly finding themselves with a speaking role. And while the sorority house motley crew was a bit too motley to be believable, I did enjoy their role in being clay ready to be molded by the happy-go-lucky House Bunny.
He shaped the world we live in
It was great seeing a more balanced biography of Walt Disney after all these years. I felt like there have always been 2 extremes: the sugary and perfect Walt who loved children, and the diabolic Communist smasher that hated Jews. Well, here's a news flash: he was human. Walt was a taskmaster, and perfectionist, but he was dedicated to entertaining people and making them laugh. This movie showed us how he was a 12-year old at heart, full of the vigor that made his cartoons great and prone to being naive when it came to labor and politics. To work for Walt was probably a roller-coaster, being "under the eyebrow" one moment when he was concentrating on a project, then elated when he dispensed a single iota of praise from his gruff businessman persona. The next second he could transform himself into a character from the storyboard he was demonstrating, brimming with energy and enthusiasm like a middle-aged Huck Finn. People have tried to villify him over the years, pecking away and trying to drag down his overly-sweet reputation perpetuated by the studio after his death. But you can say this about him: he loved children, wanted to make people laugh, and in some small way felt that by making the childhood of others happier, he was a happy child himself.
Agatha Christie's Poirot (1989)
The quinticential Poirot
At first I was somewhat lukewarm towards the Poirot series; although my family was enthused with the episodes I found them a bit bland. The Sherlock Holmes programs from Ramada starring Jeremy Brett made them seem boring in comparison (and perhaps a vague memory of Ustinov playing Poirot didn't help much). But after seeing Finney in Murder on the Orient Express I was interested, and during a stay at isolated Bar Harbor, Maine I decided to check out an episode of Poirot from the local library (oddly enough the same one reviewed here previously).
Suffice it to say David Suchet is the definitive Poirot. He has in the past played American movie chieftens and diabolical Middle Eastern terrorists, but he portrayal of Hercule Poirot transcends them. The settings are perfect, proficiently replicating the Art Deco feel of the early 1930s. And Poirot's fastidiousness and simple directness make him unique amongst Agatha Christie's creations.
I highly recommend viewing these episodes.
The Fountainhead (1949)
It was so close...
I saw the movie before I read the book. I remember that I saw the movie when I was going through a classics phase in college; Jimmy Stewart, William Powell, Cary Grant, etc. So I started in on Gary Cooper one day and rented this. When I watched it, the theme of man vs. society was new to me and I enjoyed the individualist overtones it represented (considering how individualistic I'm surprised it made it through the hollywood studio machine). But later when I read the book, and then watched the movie again, I saw how it was a rushed, almost confused mock-up of the novel. The beginning was rushed, not surprising given the length of the book, but then the dialog was tampered, giving certain characters lines others had in the book. But the killer of the movie was the delivery by the actors. Raymond Massey was perfect for the role of Gail Wynand, and Patricia Neal was good for the part of Domonique, but she lacked the firmness of her in the book. Gary Cooper, as much as I liked in the man in Sgt. York and Ball of Fire, simply couldn't bring life to the role as Roark had in the book. First, he looks somewhat haggared and drawn, the opposite of the kind of being that Roark is. And his glances at Neal in the quarry were romantic yet lacked the energy of Roark in the book, and the subsequent romantic overtones were ridiculous, mockeries of the tight sexual tension that existed in the book made obvious for cinematic purposes. The coup de gras were the interchanges with Roark and others, especially Wynand. The delivery was...limp. I may be judging Cooper too harshly, as it might be difficult to bring to life the voice of such a potent character, but the evergy that the words from Roark in the book contained were lacking when Cooper talked, too much emotion on the face and too much nervousness in his movements.
The Fountainhead is ripe for a remake. In this day and age audiences would be more receptive to its ideals, and it could be done much more faithfully to the novel.