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An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
See the Movie. Read the Book
It is quite obvious that the vast majority of those individuals posting negative reviews have neither seen AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH nor read the book. I strongly recommend them both as a powerful introduction to the topic of global warming and climate change. Of all the facts, figures, statistics, and graphs, the one that particularly jumped out at me was the projected human population growth as we continue into the 21st century. It appears we will be in the neighborhood of nine billion people around the year 2050 (We were at about one billion in 1800 and are at about six billion now). I'm not sure the Earth can continue to sustain that many people indefinitely. So do we start making smart, incremental changes now, or do we wait until clean water, food, and energy become scarce and highly-fought-over commodities? Like many problems, the more we put it off, the more painful it will be.
Hate to crash the love-fest, but...
I went to a screening last night and unfortunately, I don't feel RENT translates to the screen very well. I love the stage version (saw it twice), but film is an entirely different medium.
The film, in my opinion, simply attempts to put the stage version "on location." Another poster made mention of the film version of CHICAGO, which I felt succeeded as a film because it was completely re-imagined for the screen.
There were some engaging moments, such as when Mark Cohen (Anthony Rapp) is briefly unconscious and dream/hallucinates the Tango: Maureen number. But most of the time, the explosion of dance and song seem incongruous in the gritty, East Village setting, and for all its heart, the film seems to lack imagination (when Angel sings Today 4 U, why do we only have to hear about his adventures? This is film, you can SHOW us what happened while he's singing, instead of having him simply jump around the apartment).
I think the opening sequence betrays the problems of this film: The cast sings Seasons of Love to an empty theater. Why? An homage or tribute to Larson's original show? Rather than being freed by Larson's boundless imagination, this film adaptation seems handcuffed by the stage version, and, unfortunately, I believe the metaphor of a song being sung to an empty theater will prove all too prescient for multiplexes around the country.
House of D (2004)
ABC Afterschool Special Gone Horribly Wrong
I saw this film at a screening yesterday and am still in agony. The International Court of Criminal Justice at The Hague should rule that David Duchovny no longer be allowed to write and direct his own films (although after seeing "Return to Me" a few years ago, I'm not sure he should be allowed to act again either).
I started off with high hopes for this movie: It takes place, for the most part, in New York City in 1973. I grew up in NYC in the 70s and was looking forward to the nostalgia of it all. And for a brief period at the beginning, the film worked in that regard. Unfortunately, after about 35-40 minutes, I realized that nothing was really HAPPENING (as in, you know, PLOT, the thing that moves the STORY along?).
Duchovny made the mistake that lots of actors make when they're given a shot at directing. They believe that ACTING is the only thing that goes into the making of a film. So there are lots and lots of scenes that go on way too long where actors are doing a lot of AAAAAACCCCCCCCCCTTTTTTTTTIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGG. Long, lingering shots of wife Tea Leoni taking a drag on her cigarette because she's DEEPLY TROUBLED. Lots of footage of Robin Williams playing, in the vernacular of the day, a retard (yet, amazingly, by the end of the film, the same character is full of sagely wisdom and advice!).
Rarely have I found myself watching a film, then feeling a violent internal revulsion against it.
Specific moments/concepts of cringe-inducing pain:
1) Tommy (boy just shy of 13) and Pappass (40-year-old mentally retarded man) are best friends (Pappass is also the custodian at his school and fellow delivery-man for a local butcher shop): None of this is credible. Tommy is not a social misfit needing a man like Pappass as his best friend, nor is Pappass a reasonable replacement for Tommy's deceased father. There are also suggestions that Pappass has a homosexual attraction to Tommy which would have driven them apart.
2) Tommy and Lady Bernadette: Again, the relationship is simply not credible.
3) Tommy's mother: Absolutely no consistency to her character. A bizarrely-written role that was also, unfortunately, completely miscast.
4) French teacher: A cute concept--tricking a foreign language teacher into making unintentional sexual innuendos, but the scene goes on way too long and loses all credibility.
5) Tommy getting kicked out of school: This ridiculous plot device was absurd. The whole "dramatic conflict" could have been resolved with a brief explanation. The scene was written so poorly, it appeared to me that the school principal, as played by Frank Langella, was having a hard time keeping a straight face.
6) The older Tommy's (David Duchovny) French "wife and son": It barely seemed that they knew each other, let alone that they were a family.
7) What New York civil servant is going to help the older Tommy look through endless mug shots to find a woman inmate he had brief conversations with years ago?
8) Was there significance in the fact that Pappass saved all the crumpled Bible pages?
9) Why was all of this such a deep, dark secret that he had to keep it from his French wife and kid?
10) Why did his son have an American accent?
Oh, there's more (lot's more!), like the hysterically funny "tear-jerker" moment of finding Lady Bernadette 30 years later, but I will stop here.
See this movie at your own peril...Ugh!