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October 18, 2004


Movie Roundup

Due the anxiety caused by the upcoming election, constant polling, continued reports of devastation and chaos in Iraq, and news of a horrifying Billy Corgan solo album to be released this spring, sometimes even hardened news analysts like Amy's Robot have to spend a whole weekend escaping it all in movie theaters. Here's our report.

I Heart Huckabees (elaborate website for the movie here) has gotten some criticism for being too opaque, too intellectual, too forced, and too pointless. Obviously these are critics who don't appreciate the undeniable gratification of watching Tippi Hedren say "fuck" on camera. The themes of this movie--identity, the thankless search for meaning, the comic genius of Lily Tomlin--are similar to those in David O. Russell's earlier Flirting With Disaster, the one about Ben Stiller searching for his birth parents. I agree with Ebert's assessment that many of the actors in this movie are too self-aware of the ironic nature of their characters, and spend too much time winking at the camera. The biggest exceptions to this are Mark Wahlberg and Naomi Watts, whose performances are the best and funniest, because they play them relatively straight. Mark Wahlberg even gets the otherwise winky and ironic Jason Schwartzman to drop his pretenses in their scenes together, which are the best parts of the movie. Existential philosophy, being, and nothingness are not going to appeal to many moviegoers, but movies that suggest how to resist getting caught up in all the garbage of life (or "cruelty, manipulation, and meaninglessness", as Isabelle Huppert's nihilist character describes it on her business card's tagline) always get me excited. Lily Tomlin also wears some outstanding suits. The Times liked it pretty well too.

We also saw Team America, the movie by the South Park guys. Maybe this is one of those movies that ridicules everything it touches, and if you say that you think it "went too far" then you risk looking like an unhip po-faced dork. Some people also have criticized this movie for attacking the agents of American imperialism and exceptionalism, and the Hollywood people that protest them, without assigning any specific blame to the Bush administration. Here's the thing though: this is a movie by the South Park guys that primarily is a spoof of Jerry Bruckheimer movies. In this endeavor, it is wildly successful and is one of the funniest movies I've seen all year. I know that everything is about politics and hating Bush these days, but sometimes you can just string together a few hundred sight gags and a bunch of bad musical-theater songs and make a very hilarious and successful movie.

We also strongly recommend Shaun of the Dead, but then, we love all the zombie movies.

categories: Movies
posted by amy at 10:52 AM | #

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