Monday, November 02, 2009

Movie Potpourri

Other movies I've seen lately:

  • Gone Baby Gone: outstanding movie dealing the moral ambiguities of Child Protective Services. One of the best films of 2007.

  • Eagle Eye: a fun, politically double-edged romp about the danger of information technology.

  • Leaving Las Vegas: yuk. I mean, I guess it was well executed, and it won Nicholas Cage an Oscar, but really, who wants to watch this crap.

    Parenthetically, whatever happened to Elizabeth Shue? Her role in Leaving Las Vegas (1995) got her an Oscar nomination, but her work since then has been sporadic, mostly in minor films for which I can't even recall seeing a trailer.

  • 10,000 B.C.: I can imagine Warner Brothers' thought process went something like, "Hey, if Mel Gibson can make Apocalypto, then we should be able to take the same storyline, add in some cool CGI of giant critters like woolly mammoths and sabre-tooth tigers, set it in 10,000 B.C. to make sure that no identity interest groups get on our case, and then put in lots of anachronisms like metal weapons and ziggurats, and the public will buy it! Because, you know, Gibson made Apocalypto . . . ."

    There aren't too many movies so bad I don't finish them, but this was one.

  • Equilibrium: What should we make of the fact that we find animal suffering more affecting than human suffering? Equilibrium treats us to the graphic murder of an untold number of people charged with "sense offense", but when the Grammaton Clerics find a dog kennel, the butchering of the dogs is kept safely off screen, and it's a puppy that inspires compassion in Christian Bale's character where human beings have not. Is it a sign of Western decadence that we love animals more than our fellow men? Is the elevated status of household pets part of our Anglo-Saxon heritage? Or have all cultures always had a soft spot for defenseless animals?

UPDATE: In the comments, Peter provides a detail about 10,000 B.C.:

[I]t featured one of the best movie bloopers of all time: a startled character exclaiming "Jesus!"

All too believable.

11 comments:

Justin said...

Speaking of misplaced pet love: a coworker, after Katrina, told me she donated to animal rescue, but not human rescue. A liberal Jewess, "not a racist bone in her body", just admitted to caring for animals more than people.

I think it has something to do with low birth rates and transferred maternal instinct.

I always mock animal rights activists when I get the chance: "so you're against animal cruelty, but FOR abortion???"

ironrailsironweights said...

10,000 B.C. indeed was a wretched movie, thankfully it was only a $1 Redbox rental, however it featured one of the best movie bloopers of all time: a startled character exclaiming "Jesus!"

Peter

Φ said...

a startled character exclaiming "Jesus!"


You're sh!tting me! Dude, I would have totally stuck out the movie to hear that line!

newt0311 said...

So, Equilibrium has some of the most realistic martial arts scenes (the ones that don't involve guns that is). Especially the sword fight scene at the end. It's not Zatoichi but its pretty close.

Is it a bad sign that my primary metric for movie quality is the quality of all the choreography of the fight scenes by how realistic they are?

Seems like the only fun thing left in most movies.

Zetji said...

Regarding animal vs. humans: Humans can be argued to have free will, and thus bear some responsibility for their own misfortune, some times even deserving it.

Animals on the other hand lack free will, and could thus be argued to sometimes being more deserving of sympathy.

I'm sympathetic to this view myself.

Φ said...

Newt: I hadn't thought about the realism of the sword fighting at the end. I'm pretty sure that you can't slice a man in two that cleanly though.

And really, the ultimate in swordfighting is still Ryan v Dorkman 2.

newt0311 said...

RvD2 is nice but cannot compete with the swordsmanship in Zatoichi. I would highly recommend seeing this movie.

In Equilibrium, the slicing in two is a bit made up but the scene before that with the bodyguards is surprisingly realistic.

DaveinHackensack said...

"Parenthetically, whatever happened to Elizabeth Shue?"

She gained imperishable fame from her role in The Karate Kid.

"Speaking of misplaced pet love: a coworker, after Katrina, told me she donated to animal rescue, but not human rescue. A liberal Jewess, "not a racist bone in her body", just admitted to caring for animals more than people.

I think it has something to do with low birth rates and transferred maternal instinct."


My girlfriend, who is neither a Jewess nor a liberal, makes all of her charitable donations to animal organizations too. I think it has something to do with people often being assholes, and animals seemingly not being assholes. Plus, the animal charities send her calenders and stuff with cute pictures of animals on them.

Justin said...

Phi, thanks for the lightsaber duel link. That is the best, EVER.

Dave, your gf, no babies, right? That's what I mean about transferred maternal instinct. If she had actual babies, she wouldn't be as obsessed with animals. Just guessing. All of the animal obsessed women I've met were childless.

DaveinHackensack said...

Justin,

OK, I see your point, if the lack of kids is the main causal factor. If my GF and I get married and have kids, we'll see if she still donates to the animal charities exclusively, or broadens the giving out to human charities as well. I suspect another causal factor is at work though: living in an area where strangers tend to be somewhat unfriendly.

Justin said...

Yeah, true, never underestimate the raw power in misanthropy as a motivating factor in the liberal mind.

The funny part is, I don't think strange animals are very friendly either! Heck, even the intimately known and cared-for animals can be pretty darned unfriendly, if we count the hundreds of kids maimed by family dogs every year.

Oh well, expecting consistency from the female/liberal mind is never a fruitful bet.