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The Bourne Supremacy

Save it for DVD
There are great movies about innocents being caught up in spy activities. Note THE 39 STEPS and NORTH BY NORTHWEST and THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH. This is a great formula. Bourne is an innocent made innocent way by amnesia. The first version THE BOURNE IDENTITY was a classic. The SUPREMACY is ruined by the hand-held shaky camera and by the use of extremely fast editing and the use of close-ups during chase scenes. I think it a waste to stage such scenes and then ruin them by not making them watchable. I wished for a DVD slo-mo version so that I could follow what was happening.

The whole movie seemed liked a trailer, it was cut so fast. The experience was very disappointing and a directors mis-applied technique.

21 Grams

Be a careful driver
The most I took away from this film was a reminder to drive carefully. I found the film ponderous and self-conscious. The most interesting part was the picture-puzzle editing. The most disappointing was the under-explained and poorly developed relationship between Penn's character and Watts' character.

Szerelmem, Elektra

Not your average movie
More like a play filmed on a barren plain, this movie is marked by long takes and constant motion of people and horses in the background. A nice re-telling of the wait for Orestes' homecoming blending anachronistic props and ancient rituals seeming to come from "Le Sacre du Printemps." Constant dancing and mass movement of horses with the the drumming of the hoofbeats and the gunshot cracks of whips makes sound a character itself and adds tension to the whole movie. Avoid this unless you like art films and the unusual.

28 Days Later...

wait until it comes to second run
This film is not that bad. It is an interesting version of the biologic apocalypse theme. It appears to be an indie film since the special effects and production values are not first rate. There is only a bit of character development. The film is shot very much too dark and most of the infected are barely visible. The plot summary does not mention that the plague is only on the main British Isle and not worldwide. An gruesome touch would have been for the flyovers to sterilize the whole island. Better film versions of this theme would be TWELVE MONKEYS and RESIDENT EVIL. Great short stories on this theme are by James Tiptree (Alice Sheldon), namely, THE SCREWFLY SOLUTION and THE LAST FLIGHT OF DR. AIN.

How to Deal

Casting was a nod to hollywood
Mandy Moore was miscast in this film. She is too pretty and too tall for believability in the role. Perhaps the marketplace dictated her selection and not the director and writer. If one wants to see a more gritty depiction of divorce and death, one should try BLUE CAR.

Far from Heaven

romeo and juliet redux
This film is well acted, with great production values. My disappointment is that Cathy's character demanded spontaneity from her husband yet strict discipline from her children. She did not seem to realize that Frank was also "the only one" in her world as was she in Raymond's world and as Raymond was in her world. She thinks of herself as broad-minded but seems to unable to see things from her husband's perspective or from her children's perspective. Perhaps this irony is intended by the writer and the director.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Better than the first
This sequel is more tightly edited than the first Potter film and lacks the gee-whiz amazement with itself of the first film. Lots of ironic humor with Kevin Branagh's character and good character development of Potter, Weasley, Kate, and Lucius make CHAMBER a treat. I loved the ghosts, monsters, and violence and I would rate this an R for scariness, not a PG-13.


HIGH NOON on a moon
Sean Connery does a good job playing head of security in a titanium mine on Io, a moon of Jupiter. The plot is remarkably similar to that of HIGH NOON, with Connery playing Cooper's marshall. The acting is good. The special effects are not great. Worth a look, but see HIGH NOON first.

Blue Crush

great visuals
See this for the surfing visuals. The plot is common, the music is too harsh and too loud, some of the cutting is too fast. But the photography underwater and above is extraordinary and worth seeing. By comparison, ENDLESS SUMMER (1966) is much more about surfing and not about surfers. Most of its photography is above water but its music is not offensive and the takes are slow and lovely.

Waking Life

not a movie
The animation is unusual and worth seeing. The background of the animated scenes is continually shifting and so may cause motion sickness in the sensitive viewer. The monologues are well written but a bit long and the story line is minimal. I think this is more of a seminar than a movie.

Sexy Beast

what was that he said
Biggest failing is difficulty in understanding the language. The English dialect is so thick that subtitles would have helped. Kingsley's character is so over-the-top as to be from a mental ward. The local newspaper gave this movie a four out of four. I guess I'm missing something. I gave it a 6 out of 10.

Cast Away

little dialogue goes a long way
This film impressed me because of its long stretches without dialogue. To me that is the height of great movie-making and reminds me of 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY in that regard. The movie is not a pleasant one emotionally. There are many instances of loss and survival. I wish that Zemeckis had spent more time on the protagonist's readjustment to American society.

Hollow Man

an excellent film for Halloween
My luck was to see this film just before Halloween. I think it one of the best horror films ever. The exquisitely rendered views of living tissue appearing and disappearing must appeal to some primal sense. Added to this the judicious use of blood in several scenes makes the effects viscerally affecting. I can understand some of the negative comments already expressed, but I must put give this film an 8(of 10) and put it in a class with ALIEN.

Story of G.I. Joe

good but not great
This film cannot compare with SAVING PRIVATE RYAN or THIN RED LINE in attractiveness. On the plus side, it is not excessively patriotic or heroic. On the negative side, it is sentimental with minimal production values. No blood is ever visible, but no one ever shouts jingoistic platitudes. Motivations and objectives are obscure. The stress is on everyday discomforts and the constant threatening presence of death and adverse weather. Perhaps its focus on these miseries is what makes it an accurate war movie.

The Big Lebowski

might have been
I enjoyed the story and found it comparable to Pulp Fiction in depicting the antics of low-lifes doing wicked things to wicked people. At times it was hilarious. The dream sequences were excellent. What ruined the movie overall for me was the extremely excessive use of the F word and the stuttering and repetition of Jeff Bridges' dialogue. Better dialogue writing would have made this movie a real gem. I gave it a 6.

Bian Lian

beautiful and sentimental
I enjoyed the cinematographic recreation of China in the 1930s in this beautiful film. The story is simple. An older male performer wants to pass on his art to a young man although he has no living children. The faces of the actors are marvelous to see. The story reveals the devotion and gratitude of children to those who treat them well and their longing to be treated well. The operas in the film remind me of FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE, which was more sophisticated and intricate. The story here reminds me of a Dickens tale of days when children were almost chattel. The plot is a bit predictable and a bit too sentimental for me but well worth the time to view for the heroism, humanity, and history portrayed.

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