Monday, November 07, 2005

More on Movies

Saw Kingdom of Heaven starring Orlando Bloom Thursday night. I'll give you a thumbnail: Christians bad. Muslims good. Secular Humanists the very best ever, ever, ever!

The only redemention for the film? Orlando Bloom is H-O-T hot! (Hey, don't scoff! We could have had to endure this film with an ugly lead. It could have been worse.)

Watched Spanglish Saturday night. Another thumbnail: Downsized corporate babes are aimless meanies and terrible mothers. Illegal immigration is good. All white people are rich and vacation for the summer in oppulent beach homes. White people don't know the meaning of life like Hispanic people do.

The only redemption for the film? The main protagonists--Adam Sandler's husband character John Clasky, Tea Leoni's wife character Deb and Paz Vega's domestic help character Flor choose the morally right thing to do. The husband and wife stay married. The" simple yet wise" maid moves on rather than split up a family.

Tea Leoni's portrayal deserves special note. Her Deborah Clasky was a hyperkinetic spaz with almost zero sympathy. Inept in all things domestic or wifely, so narcisstic she leaves her husband hanging during sex, she seemed to be an appendage on an otherwise functioning family. Is that how working mothers are? Some, I suppose. A friend of mine whose husband worked with Carly Fiorina chatted with her during a wedding and guess what Carleton talked about? That's right HP stock. Nooooo, she talked about her kids, of course. Maybe James Brook's mom worked outside the home.

Sunday night, we watched Revenge of the Sith. This film we should have seen in the theater but didn't have time. Yes, we are just that pathetic. It's effects earn a big screen. Alas, we settled for our wildly out-of-date TV.

The special effects seemed to me to be one of the only special things about Lucas' so-called last installment. Lucas, like every other condescending Hollywood insider, cluck clucks through this movie, "What if the very Republic we are trying to defend has become the evil that we're fighting?" Padme asks. Argghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I want to kill myself! Self-serving gibberish does not belong in entertainment. Is anyone listening? Does anyone care?

The exchanges between our doomed heroine Padme (Natalie Portman) and her dark-hearted love Anakin (Hayden Christenson) feel empty and leaden at the same time. Both deliver lines like stilted rather than jilted lovers. Or is it the ridiculous script?

Violence reigns in Stith. I had been warned to not look by Mr. Dr. moments before Anakin offs a room full of Younglings thankfully not on screen. After seeing the new Vader do that, no amount of, "Luke, I am your father" will erase the over-the-top memory. Why was his murderous rampage necessary to set up his dark heart? Killing a Jedi and the whole separtist movement isn't enough?

The worst scene, the one that makes all the bleeding and exploding appendages seem like nothing (and they gave Peter Jackson crap about black blood gushing from the cut off neck of a very bad Orc? How do the raters decide these things?), shows the fallen Skywalker on fire melting and somehow surviving. The camera lingers on this gruesome moment forever. I couldn't wait for the mask to be put on already. Ugh.

The Villians include a Sith, General Greivous and Palpatine the baddest of them all. The Sith gets offed by Anakin at the goading of Palpatine. Greivous is a weird machine with a real beating heart and what looks like someone's eys and perhaps a brain. I dunno. Heck, I still don't know what Storm Troopers are. Are they people in weird armor or are they some kind of active droid? Anyway, he fights with Obi Wan and we all know who must win!

Palpatine and our favorite good guy, Yoda get into it. That was fun to watch. Yoda was probably the best actor in the whole film. Samuel L. Jackson was fantastic as ever and always deserves more screen time than he gets. He portrays stately, stern, regal and commanding better than just about anyone.

Finally, after all the saber throwing, one must ask: what is the point of these movies? Lucas, being the smarter-than-you director sums up and gives Obi Wan (Ewan Macgregor) the line, "Only the dark side thinks in absolutes." So the key then is balance. Yin yang. Nobody is really that good. Nobody is really that bad. Padme's last words trail off, "I know there is still some good in him."

Even with all this, Revenge of the Sith got me jazzed about going back and watching the original Star Wars trilogy. I'm just sorry to have missed the ending of this epic on the big screen.

So there you go. My reviews of three recent Hollywood films. None stellar. Doesn't that bug you when someone has nothing good to say? Makes me want to watch another movie or two so I can say something nice.
More blogs about the woodlands rita.