December 27, 2005

Holiday Movie Roundup

Hope everyone had an excellent holiday weekend. I spent my four days doing not much but spending time with the girlfriend's family, and seeing movies, lots of them. A few brief reviews:

"Brokeback Mountain"- Ang Lee's "gay cowboy movie," as you may have heard it called, was certainly a quality film, and deserves much better than to be a mere avatar for every viewer's political prejudices. In fact, it's lack of any type of political statement was probably my favorite thing about it. At any rate- wonderful cinematography, great performance by Heath Ledger- just don't expect it to change cinema as we know it.

Meanwhile, I'm amused to no end by the idea of Karol having gone to see the film with Ace of Spade and Allahpundit- oh to be a fly on the wall for that post-movie conversation.

"March of the Penguins"- After reading about a thousand articles about it, I finally caught this one on Netflix last week, and... I really don't see what the big deal was. They're penguins, they go a really long way to mate, we get it. How is this any more intriguing than your average Discovery channel special? And I can think of at least five other movies, better than this one, that are narrated by Morgan Freeman.

"Rumor Has It..."- This Rob Reiner-directed Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy is what it is- cute, and with the eye-wink of a hook that the heroine's family was the basis for "The Graduate." It's enjoyable, but don't expect to ever think about it again after you see it. My two biggest questions- since the movie is set in 1997, why don't all the women- Aniston included- sport the "Rachel" haircut? And if the movie is based on "The Graduate," why is the Benjamin character played by Kevin Costner and not Dustin Hoffman, who is still alive, active, and a successful actor?

"Syriana"- Not since "American Beauty" has a Hollywood film been so clearly calculated to flatter liberal prejudices. A hodgepodge of potshots at oil companies, the CIA, and other lefty buggaboos circa the 1970s, this nonsensical film plays like an unintentional homage to Bush Derangement Syndrome- "we're mad at lots of things, and we're not sure how, but they're all connected!" It also tosses in a "corruption is good" speech, which is at the same time wildly unconvincing, and ripped directly from Michael Douglas' "Wall Street" monologue.

We're also asked to believe that the CIA regularly assassinates reformist Arab princes at the behest of oil companies- when in fact, it's now the uberconservative Bush Administration that supports reform in the Arab world, and the CIA that opposes it. And we're also introduced to a shadowy group called the "Committee for the Liberation of Iran," which is depicted both as consisting of several evil white oilmen and no actual Iranians. Couldn't Iran stand to liberated? I wish the CLI actually existed, because I'd be sure to join it.

Richard Cohen, the liberal Washington Post columnist, has the best take on this laughable motion picture:

"It would be nice if those who agree with Hollywood -- who think, as [director Stephen] Gaghan does, that this is a brave, speaking-truth-to-power movie when it's really just an outdated cliche -- could release their fervid grip on old-left bromides about Big Oil, Big Business, Big Government and the inherent evil of George Bush, and come up with something new and relevant. I say that because something new and relevant is desperately needed. Neoconservatism crashed and burned in Iraq, but liberalism never even showed up. The left's criticism of the war from the very start was too often a porridge of inanities about oil or empire or Halliburton -- or isolationism by another name. It was childish and ultimately ineffective. The war came and Bush was reelected. How's that for a clean whiff?"
Conservatives should set aside their outrage about "Munich"- which, for all its political faults, truly is an amazing cinematic achievement- and cackle about "Syriana" instead.

Posted by Stephen Silver at December 27, 2005 02:13 AM

Bravo BLOGGER on knocking Syriana. I saw it with my dad and he really liked it. I was bored as hell since living in DC while going to a liberal school and heard stuff like this all the time..which is why I left DC among other reasons. As for the post-graduate movie...the book describes Benjamin as a Robert Redford or I guess Kevin Costner look alike. But in the movie, they decided to go darker..which is why we get Dustin Hoffman. So the movie you saw did make sense in that respect.
I also saw Producers last night and really liked it. Those songs are so damn catchy. Happy New Year's won't hear from me again until Jan.6th

Posted by: A at December 27, 2005 10:10 AM

It's a Hanukkah miracle!

Posted by: Anonymous at December 27, 2005 04:21 PM
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