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Blog // Thoughts
July 28, 2006

Multiple Micro Movie Reviews – Part One

I really should have blogged more film reviews when I was living in London. My personal web pages from 1999 to 2001 were mostly devoted to resources for studying religion and popular culture and had a few film reviews and lots of links to others. During those years I was seeing 2-3 new release films […]

I really should have blogged more film reviews when I was living in London. My personal web pages from 1999 to 2001 were mostly devoted to resources for studying religion and popular culture and had a few film reviews and lots of links to others. During those years I was seeing 2-3 new release films a week, most of them art house as well as attending festivals, premieres and a score of seminars. Oh well.

During the recently finished Delhi years, I attended the cinema less and less, in part because of incidents like this, in part because of the dearth of interesting western films (the compensation, of course, was an immersion in the best of Bollywood). So in the past year I’ve been a DVD glutton, catching up on a lot of hyped and commented upon films. Here is the first of a mini-swarm of micro-reviews (if I wait to write more in-depth reviews, it just won’t happen).

Capote – Good in-depth of evil, historical fiction, media and blocked creativity. Of course, it is a case study in capital punishment, but also a brilliant piece on narcissism and the perils of fame. Also, for our times an interesting study in he framing of news and opinion.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang РExcellent. Not quite Pulp Fiction excellent, but close. Good cast working well, good plot executed in a knowingly post-modern, but interesting fashion. The narrator-device is tired, but it works here. In keeping with the post-modern style, it is very much an “identity” film and worth watching for that reason alone.

Crash РSuperficially interesting, but in the end rubbish on many levels. It was assine for exactly the same way as Magnolia. Any sense of “redemption” was lost on me because the characters were nothing more than plot-devices, so it was hard to care about them. In terms of theology and culture it is far more interesting to study the way Crash was marketed (especially in terms of the Oscars) than to analyze it as a film. You could watch this film as an aid to thinking about redemption, but why bother?

Walk The Line РExcellent, if a touch hagiographic. Could have done more with explicit treatment of Cash’s faith, but in the subtlety was the film’s strength (such as in the treatment of Cash’s relationship with his father). A case study in the power of music and the redemptive power of love and forgiveness and surprisingly, in the changing role of men in society.

Sideways РSomewhat brilliant, if the end a touch too farcical. A nice twist both on the road movie and coming of age genres (especially as 40 is in some ways the new 18). A worthwhile exploration of truth, friendship and “maturity” for want of a better way of saying it. On second viewing I spent the whole film thinking about the idea of “special occasions.”

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind – A stand out, one of the best films I have seen in a decade. Genuinely moving treatment of memory, identity and love. What makes us who we are is the way the memory of us persists in others, a very difficult philosophical idea to explain, but masterfully handled in this film. Without doubt, Kaufman is a genius.

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