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Like some others, I went to see this with diminished expectations, but it wasn't as bad as some folks let on, at least for me. Dakota Fanning was good, the hero was properly anti-heroic, and the Pretty Girl was *very* pretty -- kind of a cross between Selma Blair and Carole Bouquet.
I'm sure the plot holes would crater the moon, but I assume a comic-book style action movie is going to be utterly hokey so I don't even try to make real sense of them. In fact, several plot twists were extremely original and intelligent. Really, for my taste, Push is no more ridiculous than Matrix or Heroes. It's a lot of fun. The cinematography and location (Hong Kong) are fantastic cool and beautiful, so see it on the big screen. Also, there's somewhat more plotting and character, and less action, than some others in the genre.
Add in a lot of wildly entertaining characters and a couple of new twists on the standard set of "mutant" skills, and it's a very satisfactory popcorn movie.
The Christophers (1952)
A tribute to what honest and unpretentious "televangelism" could be
This series began airing on network TV (ABC) in 1952. I don't know when ABC canceled it, but it is still produced every week and broadcast on cable channels in 18 states as "Christopher Closeup".
The weekly half-hour series featured individuals from various walks of life who used their gifts to make the world a better place. Shows were theme-based, covering topics involving how people translate ideals into everyday life. It was (and is) a definite religiously oriented program -- The Christopers organization was founded by Merryknoll priests -- but it presents largely non-sectarian spiritual values and how they can be used to solve everyday problems. The tagline -- "It's better to light one candle than to curse the darkness" -- was taken from an ancient Chinese proverb and encapsulates the show's general theme.
Issues addressed are such matters as family life, facing difficult economic situations, looking after the poor and homeless, substance abuse, etc. The thematic material has remained contemporary, including problems like AIDS and meth addiction.
It's a poor comment on modern life and television, when one compares this show to modern televangelism. It has never denigrated other groups or spiritual beliefs, pounded the viewers with requests for money, been involved in scandal, or otherwise failed to live up to the ideals that it espouses.
Breaking Vegas (2004)
Really a pretty good dramatic recreation of the popular MIT blackjack team. It tells the story without adding a lot of unnecessary dramatics -- the documentary style really suits the subject matter. The actors were quite good and the pacing and editing skillful for such a limited budget film.
The shortcoming of the movie is that not enough substantive mathematics is explained. I doubt the counting method shown was the one actually used by the players, as there are much more powerful methods that are very nearly as easy to use, such as "red 7". Also, they didn't flesh out the mysterious "other techniques" used.
The comment saying that their system could be "gamed" is ignorant. The entire basis of counting cards and changing bets when the count is favorable effectively changes the odds in favor of the player. I'm not sure what "gamed" means, exactly. If it means the casinos cheated, well, I highly doubt it -- if they got caught, it would cost them many hundreds of times more than any counting team could take.
Les anges exterminateurs (2006)
Blurring the Line Between Porno and Art; Porno wins again
Since the legalization of hardcore pornography -- which I'll define narrowly here as filming genitals being manipulated to orgasm with the primary effect of sexually exciting the viewer -- there has been a constant tension between pornography and "legitimate" depiction of sexual conduct on camera, that is, actual sexual conduct graphically filmed, in order to make some greater philosophical or artistic point, so compelling that the message outweighs the sexual titillation.
(I realize I haven't done any better a job with these definitions than anyone else. Oh well.) Whether any film will bridge the two genres successfully, or whether it's even possible, I don't know. I do know that this one fails. It comes off as porno that has been dressed up with a tissue-thin veneer of pretense to psychological or social commentary, perhaps hoping that it can be shown in art-movie theaters. I'm not going to address the apologists for this waste of celluloid. The effect of this film is depression without elucidation, a result in which only some avant-garde critics seem to find any legitimate purpose.
It does manage to avoid some degree of cheesiness, but sacrifices any sort of joy or loopy humor. It's below pornography. It's the intellectualization of sexual predation. All it celebrates is the right of women to be stupid and self-destructive enough to masturbate and perform lesbian sexual acts on camera for money.