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Manufacturing Dissent (2007)
Despite being yet another attack on Moore, it offers some unique perspectives
I liked that this film did not focus too much on the same stuff we've all read about before. About half of the film discusses Michael Moore before he made Bowling for Columbine. Specifically, they examine his work as a magazine editor, and they examine Roger and Me. But even then, the main focus wasn't to illustrate Moore's manipulative techniques. Most people already know about that. Instead, the main focus in the film was to illustrate that Moore, himself, is a phony.
There is a distinct parallel to the plot of Roger and Me, which I thought was too much of an homage to Moore, but perhaps appropriate given the context of this documentary. The film crew is constantly struggling to get an interview with Moore, and Moore consistently gives them the runaround.
So I guess one interesting aspect of the film is that they show how Moore is very willing to put other people in uncomfortable situations or catch them off guard so as to juxtapose their fumbling against his well-prepared rhetoric. However, when Moore is threatened with the same tactic by his opponents, he cowers and fights dirty to avoid it. He knows how chicken sh*t it is.
Black Snake Moan (2006)
Well-made. Not profound or provocative. Worth watching.
I attended a screening of this movie. The acting was great. Justin Timberlake did a decent job (I use that word loosely, and I'm probably just saying that because he wasn't on camera a whole lot). Christina Ricci and Samuel Jackson had such great on-screen chemistry; I really enjoyed watching their characters interact. They were quite interesting.
Ricci's character was so pitiful. At first you hate her, but then you grow to feel bad for her throughout the movie. Jackson's character, Lazarus, has got to be my favorite, though. He was a mixture of funny and crazy, and Jackson did an excellent job. Ronnie (Timberlake) was so pathetic, though. I really wanted to see him get cut out of the story. I didn't like that character at all.
My only real issue with the movie was that it isn't very profound. You don't get to take anything with you. It's just sheer entertainment, no life-lessons to be learned, no philosophical concepts (a la The Matrix). Consequently, it almost felt like an 80's movie, but its story was just so interesting, albeit bizarre that it's certainly worth watching at least once.