Monday, May 20, 2002

Review – The Body

What if a body turned up in a tomb in Jerusalem, and what if all the evidence strongly suggested that it was the distinctly un-resurrected corpse of Jesus Christ? The concept alone is worth the rental price. To get much beyond the premise, however, you have to be willing to buy Antonio Banderas as a priest. Yeah, no kidding. I enjoyed the archaeology-driven parts of the plot, but I felt the filmmakers’ attempt to keep things going with a lot of West Asian intrigue fell more than a little flat. The end also left me cold, but perhaps that was just because I was in an especially cynical mood when I saw it and thus was almost completely unreceptive to the movie’s touchy-feely conclusion. Mildly amusing

Saturday, May 11, 2002

Review – Apocalypse Now

At the outset I have to admit that this is one of my all-time favorite movies, so I can’t really give you an objective, critical analysis of it. It would probably suffice to say that Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” and the Vietnam War make an astonishingly good combo. On top of that, Francis Ford Coppola manages to escape his normally-prosaic directing style and create a visually poetic movie. Be forewarned, however, that even for those of us who like it this is a long and somewhat emotionally draining production. Further, I recommend seeking out the “Redux” version. It’s even longer and more emotionally draining than the original theatrical release, but it contains some genuine enhancements (rather than just crap that belonged on the cutting room floor). In particular, the protagonist has a slightly less monomaniacal personality in the re-edited version. The disc doesn’t include much by way of special features (and with a movie this long that’s to be expected), but the picture clarity is worth going ahead and getting the DVD. Buy it

Saturday, May 4, 2002

Review – Ali

I admit that before I sat down to watch this movie my assumption was that the low point of the production (with the obvious exception of Mario Van Peebles as Malcolm X) would be Will Smith’s effort to portray the title character. But I have to confess that I was pleasantly surprised by Smith’s performance. Yes folks, the scrawny little Fresh Prince actually does a good job as one of the great legends of sports history. Sadly, his work goes largely to waste. The plot is so jumpy and the script so stiff that more often than not our hero comes across as a spectator in his own life. Once the movie abandons its Spike Lee aspirations and settles down to the task of telling its tale, it’s entertaining enough. I just can’t fight the feeling that with a little more support from the writers and director Smith might have been able to make a better film out of this concept. Mildly amusing

Friday, May 3, 2002

Review – Bones

Oddly enough, for a Snoop Dogg movie this actually isn’t too terrible. Sure, it’s a handful of visuals wrapped in a thick blanket of hip hop false consciousness and grossly stereotypical (however sympathetic) portrayals of women and minorities. The story – a tale of a reanimated drug dealer who exacts effects-intensive revenge on his slayers – is nothing short of stupid. The dialogue is laughable. It’s clearly aimed at empty-headed teens. Despite all that, the production values are high enough, the gore clever enough (however fake looking), and the action constant enough to keep things at least somewhat interesting. Though clearly not a Palme d’Or candidate, this flick’s entertaining enough for a Friday night at the end of a long week. Mildly amusing