| Movies, Moonlight, Amazing Race
||[Jan. 14th, 2008|12:19 pm]
Beyond the Gates (Shooting Dogs) and 28 Days Later
I’m combining my reviews of these two movies because they deal with very similar subject matter. In 28 Days Later, it’s a virus that turns people into enraged killers, leaving a few not-infected survivors in a desolate and dangerous Britain. In Beyond the Gates, it’s genocide (in Rwanda) induced by many years of hate and prejudice on both sides. Both movies deal with the moral issues that occur in such harsh circumstances, both movies treat violence as a plague (though in very different ways), and both movies have at their center a message of hope and optimism. Both movies contain an element of betrayal that is absolutely chilling. Both movies are very good despite some annoying flaws.
There are some big differences between them:
Beyond the Gates/Shooting Dogs (you’ll find it listed as Beyond the Gates on Netflix and Shooting Dogs on the IMDB) is based on actual events. In fact, several of the crew members were directly affected by the events depicted (one of them lost 30 family members). The movie contains little actual violence, and instead focuses on the aftermath of the violence. The photography is good, but not excellent. John Hurt does a great job as a cynical, elderly priest. Hugh Dancy’s Joe is occasionally a little over-the-top with his sincerity and innocence. He’s also absolutely adorable, even in terrified failure, and I had a hard time taking my eyes off of him. The major flaws in the movie are that it spends too much time on the Europeans and their moral dilemmas and not enough on the Rwandans and the tragedy they are facing and also its rather heavy-handed agenda. It’s not as bad as many agenda movies, and in this case, it’s pretty hard to argue against the movie’s message. The frustration experienced by all the characters is tough to watch, but Joe’s loss of innocence and its after-effects were the toughest part for me. The Hutus are clearly depicted as villains, and yet their paranoia is also explained. Like most true stories of genocide, this one is a tragedy for everyone.
28 Days Later is purely fiction. It has wonderful atmosphere and photography. The loneliness and desolation are almost tangible objects. The plot is fairly tight and the acting is mostly excellent. There wasn’t any outstanding eye candy for me to mitigate the distress caused by the subject matter, but that’s a very YMMV thing. Its major flaw is that the depictions of violence are a little too graphic during one segment of the film, which makes it unfortunately descend into pornography for that brief portion.
I could probably start a movie-induced rant about violence, bigotry, and the general way we humans treat each other, but since the end message in both movies is one of hope, I’ll pass this time.
I highly recommend both movies, with the warning that they are not suitable for young viewers, both contain a multitude of dead bodies, many of whom are children and be especially warned that 28 Days Later contains allusions to rape and sexual slavery.
Kate and Leopold
This was my Friday Night Fluff to Relax to, and it worked quite well in that regard. I’m no fan of Meg Ryan. She’s a little less annoying here than in she is in the weepier/soapier of her chick flicks, but she’s still Meg Ryan and she’s clearly the major flaw in the movie. Fortunately, the movie belongs almost entirely to Hugh Jackman. The funniest scenes are the ones in which he is discovering the future world on his own and in those he is truly hilarious. His scenes with Breckin Meyer are also excellent. He’s also handsome, charming and sometimes insufferably right. But he steals the movie almost completely. Liev Schrieber and Breckin Meyer are very good in supporting roles. There are plenty of anachronisms and plot holes. No matter. You’re watching for Jackman and he is well worth watching for. He may even make you believe that knights in shining armor really do exist. I’d watch it again, just for him.
John Travolta reprises his Chili Palmer role from Get Shorty in this sequel. Like many sequels, its not as good as the original, but it’s still clever and funny enough to be entertaining. I dozed off because I seem to be creating a tradition of a Sunday Movie Nap, but I don’t think I missed much. The outcome is obvious before the movie even gets started. Still, it’s a fun couple of hours. The best parts are all nods to other movies made by John Travolta (when asked if he can dance he says, “I’m from Brooklyn.”) and of course watching Travolta and Uma Thurman dance is as enjoyable in this movie as it is in Pulp Fiction. Be Cool is nothing special and its depiction of the music industry is very silly and a little trite and smug, but the lines are clever and Travolta obviously has a good time with this character.
This is the only scripted TV I’m still watching, and it’s still enjoyable to me so it must be doing something right. (Beyond the obvious – it has some awesome eye candy.) I do like Mick/Beth (though I’m not a fanatic for it) and I realize that ship does not appeal to some. I probably liked this episode more than a lot of people did. I missed the first 15 minutes or so and I’ll try to go back and watch it later. I’m a little sad they killed off Josh, because I liked him and thought the actor playing him was doing a great job with the character. I liked the conflict he created for Mick and Beth, as well. But I also thought the episode was pretty well-written and well acted.
The Amazing Race
OH. MY. GOD!!!
GO OLD PEOPLE!!!!
I have never been so happy the spoilers I had were incorrect!
Yes, I had read the TWoP spoilers thread for this race and the consensus was that Nate and Jen were definitely in the final 3 and probably the winners. Now instead of two teams I dislike and one team I like, I get two teams I like and one I dislike, and it’s the lesser evil of the two teams I dislike. After the airline agent said the dreaded word, “upgrade,” I was so worried that Ron and Christina were going to get dinged with a penalty and eliminated. I guess as long as you pay for the coach fare you can sit anywhere you like.
The tasks didn’t seem that difficult in this leg, which surprised me. My recollection is that the end tasks are usually pretty difficult. I would have had problems with the under water thing, possibly but 17 seconds really isn’t that long.
While I’m glad they’re gone, I can’t bring myself to rejoice that Jen was Phileminated on her birthday. And watching Nate cry was rough.
Still, I’m very happy with the final 3 we got. Also, it was a lot of fun watching Christina use her awesome language skills two weeks in a row. Go Christina!!!
I love this show!!!