This page spent much some of the holidays in the dark, surrounded by total strangers, revelling in moments of escapism and high drama. No, I was not stuck at the airport. Like many of you, there are two times during the year that I like to go to the movies: during the Holiday season and during the Summer. In the summer the cinema it's the one place that's open which has air conditioning, and in late December it's the one place that won't be packed with stressed-out bargain hunters (unless one believes a $12.50 ticket and $5.00 bag of popcorn is a bargain). Anyway, here are some capsule reviews of films I sat through over the past couple of weeks:
Quantum of Solace: I would have to go back and watch this movie again because everything in it happens really fast. Lots of car chases and explosions and Olga Kurylenko looking like she's going to beat the tar out of someone, but very little actual Bond. My take on 007 is he's supposed to be the coolest, smartest guy in the room, not a tortured soul perpetually out for revenge. If I wanted Batman, I'd pop in the DVD of The Dark Knight.
The Day the Earth Stood Still: One would be led to believe from the promotional material that this film is a re-make of the 1951 sci-fi classic of the same name, when actually it's a remake of Al Gore's 2006 documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. It has better special effects than Gore's PowerPoint presentation, but Gore still has more charisma than Keeanu Reeves. The super-sized Gort was cool, but I left very disappointed that no one found the occasion to utter the magic words 'Klaatu...berada....nicto....'
Australia: Baz Luhrman, who is better known for movies about drag queens and ballroom dancing, delivers a sweeping, Michener-esque epic about a Widow (Nicole Kidman) taking over her murdered husband's Outback cattle operation. Cattle drives, World War II, and Hugh Jackman taking his shirt off (much to the delight of the squealing Sheila's like Walnut Boat). I don't think I've ever laughed so hard at a kangaroo being shot from a truck.
Valkyrie: This film is the first of a wave of WWII films from the German perspective (coming soon to a theatre near you: The Reader and Defiance). Tom Cruise manages to channel the same relentlessness in jumping up and down on Oprah's couch into his portrayal as Colonel Von Stauffenberg, who spearheads a doomed coup against Adolf Hitler. It was also nice to see what looks like from the inside - it's more about working the phones than stockpiling the ammo. Sure, Cruise may be somewhat of a nutty shill for Scientology, but he's been making way better movies lately than that nutty shill for Opus Dei, Mel Gibson.