Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Movies I watched last week, from favorite to least.

The first half establishes Ralph Nader as one of the most admirable, fascinating and influential men of the last hundred years. The second makes clear just how pathetic and misguided blaming Nader for the rise of the Bush administration is. Recommended to anyone who scoffs at either stance or merely takes them on faith.

Peter Fonda as a blue collar Henry Fonda paying for his son's crimes. Probably the best role of his career, and he does Dad proud.

Not as erotically provocative as hyped (I wouldn't be surprised to find out it pales to Paul Verhoeven's '70s work), and many of the double-crosses come off as Hollywood implausibility ("the events are true, the story is not" he says), but it's been a long time since he's made a film this lively without relying on camp for juice.

Mark Ruffalo and Peter Krause are respectively a passive-agressive douchebag and a passive douchebag. Laura Dern and Naomi Watts are their respective frustrated housewives. All check to see if the grass is greener on the other side. None of the actors play for sympathy or devolve into gross caricature, which makes it pretty respectable for a "marriage is hell" flick.

A problem with films about artists defending their work from commercial compromise is how hard it is to make us believe that the artist is defending something worthwhile rather than being pretentious. For instance, Call Me Crazy IS a better title than The Wexler Chronicles. Leila says Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip is even worse in this regard, which makes me wonder if that show at least achieves unintentional hilarity. The only funny things here period are David Duchovny drugged, the idea of Slut Wars, and Fran Kranz imitating Penn, DeNiro, Brando and Pacino at the same time. Everyone in this film needs a better agent.

No comments: