December 2006

Eragon

by Alan Rapp on December 15, 2006

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Eragon
  • IMDB: link

Eragon is based off the novel by Christopher Paolini who began writing the novel (of the same name) at the age of 15. By the age of 17 he had a New York Times Bestseller on his hands, and is now working on the third and final book of the “Inheritance Trilogy.” The film, as I suspect the book does as well, plays very much like it came from the mind of juvenile.  While that’s not all bad, it is limiting.

The story begins with a long prologue from an unseen narrator (Jeremy Irons) explaining the world of Alagaesa ruled by King Galbatorix (John Malkovich, who opens the film with what might be the dumbest line in cinema history) who has killed off all the dragons and taken control of the kingdom.

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Marie Antoinette

by Alan Rapp on December 1, 2006

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Marie Anoinette
  • IMDB: link

For a historical perspective almost every choice is head-scratching.  Kirsten Dunst in the lead role?  A supporting cast featuring the likes of Rip Torn, Molly Shannon, and modern pop music?  Many thought Marie Antoinette was going to be a disaster.  Well, let me tell you a little secret for those of you thinking Sofia Coppola was ready to stumble with her third film.  Not only does Marie Antoinette not fail, but Coppola produces one of the most original films of the year, in fact of our time.  Is it a traditional historical perspective?  No, it’s something much more interesting, that defies all expectations, and leaves us wondering if Kirsten Dunst might actually have given the best performance in films this year.

What Sofia Coppola decides to give us is an emotional tale of a fragile naive young woman, sheltered from the realities of the world, lost in the lush settings Versailles, and trapped in a world of societal customs, manner, procedures, and a marriage made out of an alliance between two nations but lacking in intimacy.

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Life is Often Stranger than Fiction

by Alan Rapp on December 1, 2006

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Stranger than Fiction
  • IMDB: link

Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) is an IRS agent whose life is structured, scheduled, and numbered.  Nothing ever exciting happens to Harold until he starts to hear the voice.  Out of the blue Harold begins to hear a woman’s voice narrating his everyday actions, with extreme accuracy, an eye for detail, a knowledge of the future, and, as Harold puts it, a better vocabulary.

Kay Eiffel (Emma Thompson) is a famous author of tragedies where good men and women meet grisly fates.  She is struggling with her new book.  The publishers have sent her an assistant (Queen Latifah) in hopes of ending her writer’s block and getting her book in before the deadline.

Kay’s major obstacle is she doesn’t know how to kill her main character – Harold Crick.

The bizarreness of the story is terrific as it isn’t attempted to be dissected or given a simple explanation (dream, etc.).  Harold Crick is real, yet his actions and his destiny lie in the hands of a Englishwoman with a typewriter.

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  • Title: Shut Up and Sing
  • IMDB: link

“Wherever they burn books, they will also, in the end, burn people.”

I don’t think they like you Mr. President

There is a scene from the documentary where organized protesters burn and destroy copies of the Dixie Chicks CD’s, not because they dislike the music, but because of a single sentence expressing a personal opinion about George Bush.

The quote above is from German poet Heinrich Heine who knew something of censorship, for his views against class structure.  For his own views, which were argued against, but never proven wrong, his works were banned.

“Just so you know, we’re ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas.”

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The Departed

by Alan Rapp on December 1, 2006

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: The Departed
  • IMDB: link

Martin Scorsese has given American cinema some great films.  Who could forget Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, and Casino?  His recent films however have recieved a mixed reaction.  The Aviator was exqusite and sleek, but lacked the heart and soul of the film it must always be compared to, given its subject matter, Citizen KaneGangs of New York was brutal and honest, but some unfortunate miscasting and near week-long running time was a little too much to bear.  And most critics agree 1999’s Bringing Out the Dead was, at least in a small way, a blunderous misstep.

Here Scorsese returns to a cops and maifa story, re-uniting with DiCaprio, and giving us a tale of intrigue and thrills that relies more on story than gun play, and more on character than body count (at least until the last 20 minutes).  The result?  It’s his best film in years.

The film follows two new members of the Boston State Police Department fresh from the academy and put to work in Boston.

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