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Flow: For Love of Water (2008)
I saw a screening of FLOW at AFI Dallas, and it's one of the best documentaries (perhaps even THE best) I've ever seen.
The film covers a lot of ground. In fact, Salina probably could have made a series of films from her research. But instead she's managed to condense it down to a very watchable hour and a half. As she said in a Q&A after the screening, she realized during her research that although there is a wide range of water problems spread all across the globe, they are all connected, and it's important to look at the big picture. And from the viewer's perspective it's also interesting to see the connections between water problems in communities in India or Bolivia where privatization is putting poor communities in serious danger and communities in Michigan where Nestle is stealing water from the aquifers without paying a penny.
And, like any good documentary, this one doesn't stop just after presenting a problem; it also talks about how communities are fighting back, providing inspiration for viewers to take a stand as well. This film should be required viewing.
Jumper was entertaining, but it was difficult to make myself care about any of the characters. There's no development, so you really don't understand the motives of either the bad guys or the good guys. And what really bothered me was that the "good guy" is completely hedonistic. He doesn't use his powers to help people (the best scene in the movie was when he disinterestedly walks away from a television news report about people in drowning in a flood); he just travels the world and robs banks. At times, he even endangers the public by using his powers irresponsibly. Although this could have been an interesting take on the superhero story, the film doesn't do enough to turn it into that; the writers hardly seem to realize just how self-involved the hero is. It was almost enough to make me pull for Samuel L. Jackson's character
if only he hadn't been so one-dimensional. Although I was entertained for the duration of the film, it left me feeling cold.
The 11th Hour (2007)
terrifying, uplifting, and motivational
This is a wonderful and important documentary. The film is full of terrifying images and fascinating interviews from some great minds. But, luckily, it does not spend too much time making its case about our destruction. After getting the viewer sufficiently terrified, the film shifts its focus to the causes of the problem. The film also inspires viewers to go out and make a difference (and tells them how).
Of course, comparisons will be made to An Inconvenient Truth, so I'll cover that too: it's clear that this project was always intended to be a film; it didn't begin as a PowerPoint presentation. It also doesn't waste time with a biography of it's narrator. But, most importantly, it's got a better mix of fear and inspiration; DiCaprio's film made me want to change the world.
More than one of those all-too-common pseudo-intellectual films where a bunch of seemingly unrelated people all end up having connections
I never saw a trailer, television ad or any other kind of promotion for Crash, but I read about it online and knew that I wanted to see it. Based on what I read online, it was one of those all-too-common pseudo-intellectual films where a bunch of seemingly unrelated people all end up having connections before the end of the film. Because I'm a sucker for those types of movies, I wanted to see it, but I got far more than I was expecting.
It's a movie about racism, and it will keep you thinking for several hours (maybe even days). It's got some pretty funny dialogue, but you feel a little guilty for laughing at most of it. Most of the dialogue, however, is frighteningly honest and real.
Crash also has some incredibly suspenseful moments; a couple scenes had my wife squeezing my hand so hard that it hurt.
It's also got great acting: Don Cheadle, Ryan Phillipe, Thandie Newton, Sandra Bullock, Brendan Fraser, Jennifer Espisito, Matt Dillon, as well as some other great actors who were new to me.
See this movie! It deserves far more attention than it's getting.
The Bourne Identity (2002)
Wasn't there a book by that name?
Considering that the majority of this country's population is illiterate and would choose to see the movie rather than read the book, there will probably be many people who enjoy this film. Unfortunately for the literate minority, this film took a wonderful book and destroyed it. The plot of the novel was hacked to pieces and it is painful to watch for any fans of Ludlum's book. Everyone else seems to think the movie is "lots of fun," so I urge you to see it before reading the book, but if you want a good plot turn to the book and please don't rate this film until you've done so and can give us an informed opinion.
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
David Lynch doesn't answer any of the questions he puts in the audience's head because he doesn't know the answers. There are no answers in fact. The movie's intrigue is in that the plot in left behind halfway through and never picked up again. The movie takes off in a bizarre direction (and I use the term direction very loosely) and never makes any attempt to reconnect. The movie may be thought-provoking, but I don't think David Lynch deserves any credit for creating a confused audience by throwing out the plot. The only reason this movie received any acclaim is that people were too afraid to admit that they don't understand it. Don't be embarrassed; there's nothing to understand.
Great Adventure Film
Fortress was a wonderful adventurous, suvival story. I was surprised to see an 80's made-for-tv movie grab me like that, but it really drew me in. By the end, I was on the edge of my seat and I loved the Lord of the Flies-esque twist at the end.