January 26th, 2005

Swan rampant

DVDs and movie news -- Orli's latest

About those DVDs I mentioned yesterday ...

Hard Core Logo:  I couldn't find a copy to rent, so I just went ahead and bought the DVD.  People whose opinions I respect have written enough good things about the film and the actors that I figured it would be money well spent.  And I wasn't disappointed.

The BankThis is a very good Aussie film that had a one-week run here in Los Angeles a couple of years ago, which is when I first saw it.  If you like David Wenham (LOTR's Faramir), Anthony LaPaglia (Without a Trace's  Special Agent Jack Malone playing very much against type), international finance, or mathematics (chaos theory and fractals), then I think the film is worth a couple of hours of your time.

The Village:  I'm beginning to think that M. Night Shyamalan only had one good film in him.  The Sixth Sense was remarkable, but it's been downhill ever since, imo.  This latest film is just plain silly, and the critics rightly panned it when it was released last summer.  So why did I bother to rent the DVD?  Morbid curiousity I guess -- wondering if it could really be as bad as I'd heard.  Well, it was.  A terrific cast (Adrien Brody, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, and Bryce Dallas Howard -- the actress who's going to take over the Nicole Kidman role in the sequel to Dogville) couldn't do much to save the film.  Knowing the movie's big secret in advance also means that you're free to pay more attention to the dialogue.  Every time a character spoke, I pictured a cartoon bubble over his/her head, with all the words capitalized:  "Those We Do Not Speak Of," "The Bad Colour," "The Shed That Is Not Used," etc.  And then, with hitherto unrecognized masochistic tendencies in full flower, I followed The Village with ...

Troy:  I had a lot of things to talk about, but then I went back and reread the long discussion that alinewrites and morgared had last month.  That just about covered everything.  I did like the performances that Eric Bana and Peter O'Toole gave (Hector and Priam), but I'm afraid it's thumbs down to everything else.  My pet peeves en bref:  (1)  The war had been going on for 10 years before Hector was killed; the film made it seem that the whole story took maybe 10 weeks or 10 months;  (2)  How can you do a film about the Trojan War and leave out Cassandra and her prophecies (Paris warned the Trojans about the horse -- oh, please);  (3) While someone may have thought it was nice symmetry to make Brisëis Hector and Paris' cousin and a priestess of Apollo, so that her loss of her cousin Hector could balance Achilles' loss of his cousin Patroclus, that's not at all who or what she was;  (4)  The filmmakers can't have it both ways:  if the homoerotic elements are going to be taken out of the story to preserve the innocence of the target viewing audience, then Achilles' reaction to the death of his "cousin" Patroclus (a reaction that would be completely understandable if they had been portrayed as lovers) is just wildly over the top here;  (5)  Agammemnon:  His whole motivation seems to be the desire to bring Troy under his sway, but what about the all the bits and pieces of the story that are left out:  (a)  He's doubly bound to help his brother, as Helen is not only his brother's wife, but she's also the sister of his own wife Clytemnestra; (b) Once he starts against Troy he can't give up, lest the sacrifice of his daughter Iphigenia be for nothing (and where is she in this story, btw?); (c) If he's killed by Brisëis at Troy, then how can he return home to be murdered by Clytemnestra and her lover?  I could go on, but I'll spare everyone and stop here lol!

Now, just a bit about "Orli" (Orlando Bloom) and his latest project.  The first thing I want to say is that I think he should hurry and put away his toys (swords, bow and arrows, etc.) before he's seriously and irreversibly typecast.  I'm already finding it difficult to picture him in a modern role, unlike Dom Monaghan, who shed his furry hobbit feet as fast as possible and scored a great coup with the role of Charlie on Lost.  Finally, a word about Kingdom of Heaven, which is due to be released on May 6th and which gives Orlando Bloom star billing.  Is it just me, or does anyone else out there think that this film, which is set in the Holy Land and is about the Crusades, is a really really bad idea given the current state of the world?  I don't know how this film was ever greenlighted by a studio, or how they got an actor of the calibre of Jeremy Irons to sign on.  I personally don't think the film should have been made in the first place or should be released now.  I know that the upsurge in Christian/Jew hatred and violence that was predicted to follow the release of Gibson's The Passion of the Christ didn't happen, but I think there's a much greater risk with this film.  Any thoughts on the matter?

Now I have to do some work ....   

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Swan rampant

Train crash

I don't normally post more than once a day, but this is a special case.  Some of you may have already heard about this on the news; if not, you're sure to read about it in your morning papers tomorrow.

About 6:00 a.m. today, in the early part of the morning rush hour, there was a report on the radio of a commuter train derailment in Glendale (maybe 10 miles or so northwest of downtown Los Angeles).  The story was sketchy at first, but got more and more coverage in the next hour until by 7:00 a.m., when I was walking out my front door, it was the only thing being shown or talked about on television stations here.  The word was that two Metrolink trains, one headed into Los Angeles from Ventura County and filled with commuters, the other headed out from Los Angeles, had somehow sideswiped one another, causing one or both of the trains to derail.  There was also talk about a Union Pacific freight train engine that was somehow involved.

Well, here's the story as it stands now at 3:40 p.m.:  A man who apparently wanted to commit suicide stopped his truck on the train tracks (this happens more often than you might think).  At the last minute, though, he changed his mind, jumped out of the truck, and survived.  One Metrolink train hit the truck and partially derailed, causing it to sideswipe and derail the second Metrolink train.  The freight train engine was also hit and overturned.  The casualty count right now is 10 dead, 200 injured (40 seriously).  The guy driving the truck is in custody and will be charged with murder.

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