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Category Archive for ‘movies’ at Three Roads Blog
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Archive for the 'movies' Category

The Great Race

At the repeated request of a friend, we watched “The Great Race” this weekend.

Though I was already a fan of the late Jack Lemmon, I am now a super fan. His performance as the villainous daredevil Professor Fate will stick with me forever. (As will his simultaneous performance as the prodigal drunkard Prince Hapnick.)

Anyway, I must spread the word and encourage you watch this delightfully loony movie, which, by the way, includes a four minute pie-throwing scene.

“More brandy!”

WALL-E

Idiocracy. Children of Men. Now WALL-E.

Is it me or are there more dystopian movies being made? Heck, even Disney is making them now.

Here’s Wikipedia’s plot summary of WALL-E. Note the none-too-subtle social commentary:

In the 2100s, the megacorporation Buy ‘n Large has assumed every economic service on Earth, including the government. Overrun by un-recycled waste, the planet eventually became so heavily polluted that it could no longer support life. In an attempt to keep humanity alive, Buy ‘n Large sponsored an exodus to space aboard hundreds of massive “Executive Starliners,” the largest of which is the Axiom. Thousands of adaptable robots known as WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter-Earth-Class) were left behind to clean up the planet. However, seven hundred years later, only one WALL-E (Ben Burtt) remains operational. The planet is still covered in trash, arranged by WALL-E into neat towers. After centuries of living in micro-gravity, the humans aboard the Axiom have lost considerable bone and muscle mass, rendering them too obese and weak to stand or move without robotic assistance. Every task is now automated, including piloting the ship, which is handled by the autopilot AUTO (voiced by the program MacInTalk).

[Looking for Mike Judge in the credits ... ]

Apparently WALL-E is doing incredibly well at the box office—a mystery if there ever was one, since summer movies (well, movies in general) are usually more about temporary escape from social ills than satirical commentary on them. I suspect kids are dragging their unwitting parents to see the movie.

Freedom from Netflix

It wasn’t until we suspended our subscription for the summer that we realized—to our embarrassment—how much low-level pressure we felt to watch movies in order to get them back into the mail so we could get more movies. Ridiculous? Yep.

Scandinavian Diversions

From Sweden: Lykke Li

From Norway: “Elling”

Movie Review: No Country for Old Men

Anton Chigurh, the assassin in No Country for Old Men, has three deadly weapons at his disposal, and he uses each one with such calculating dispatch that you’ll be hard pressed to find a creepier and more competent villain in any movie, ever.

The first weapon is a cattle gun, which doesn’t actually look like a gun at all. Carrying around an air canister and attached hose, Chigurh uses it to both kill people and blow out door locks. The second is a shotgun with a silencer. The third weapon? The scariest haircut you’ve ever seen.

According to Wikipedia, it’s known as a pageboy: “It involves straight hair hanging to below the ear where it usually turns under. Often there is a fringe (bangs) in the front.” It’s a style associated with old English pages, or servants. Now, it’s associated a homicidal maniac.

The only person Anton Chigurh serves is his internal psychopath. Hired to recover money that was lost in a drug deal gone awry, Chigurh seems less interested in money or finer points of his job description than with stalking and killing. In fact, I think he’d take any job provided it gave him an excuse to do those two things.

No Country for Old Men, made by the Cohen brothers, is an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s 2005 novel of the same name. Like many of McCarthy’s stories, there’s a lot of violence, an unglamorous western landscape, and an assortment of taciturn characters.

The movie is unlike typical Cohen brothers movies, however. There is very little humor, for one thing. And there is no soundtrack—nothing but contextual sounds of Texas borderland circa 1980. None of the usual stock characters that populate their movies are there: no John Goodman, Steve Buscemi or John Turturro.

That’s not to say I didn’t like it—I did. But it’s sort of unsettling to enjoy a movie that’s so dark …

Movie Review: Michael Clayton

If you need reasons to go see this movie, here are four that quickly come to mind:

  • Because it was written and directed by Tony Gilroy, the guy who wrote the screenplays for the Bourne movies. It’s as fast-paced and suspenseful as those are, but not a single round is fired.
  • Because Tom Wilkinson, who plays a manic-depressive trial lawyer with a newfound conscience, will surely get the Oscar for best supporting actor. (You heard it on Three Roads first!)
  • Because Tilda Swinton is far more cold and ruthless as the executive of a polluting agribusiness than she was as the White Witch.
  • Because George Clooney “gives a beautiful, modulated performance, and he’s never been more likable,” says New Yorker critic David Denby.

Say it with me: Jean-Claude-Van-Damme

Dilbert creator Scott Adams likes saying the words “monkey god” over and over, because “for some wonderful reason, that combination of words – monkey god – releases a little snort of serotonin directly into the part of my brain that likes it the most.”

For me (and at least one or two other people) the words Jean-Claude Van Damme produce a similar effect. It’s hard to say why this is so. If you have any clues as to why the name of a short Belgian martial artist/actor would be so intrinsically funny, let me know.

As it happens, there is a new movie on the way that will star Jean-Claude as Jean-Claude. It’s called JCVD in JCVD. It sounds like a documentary but it isn’t. It’s a biopic that will star the actual subject.

Leave it to Jean-Claude to break with convention and create an entirely new film genre—the auto-biopic. I’m sure that my blogging comrade Visionary Larry saw this coming.

Suggested reading:

Happy Belated Birthday, Jean-Claude Van Damme!