Tuesday, January 2, 2007


It's been a while since I've talked about movies on this thing. I'm going to be honest with you about something: I have a lot of contempt for movies. I think it's very rare to see one that's nearly as good as a book. There are, however, some good movies out there, a fact I rather grudgingly admit. Here are a few I liked:

The Big Country
$13.48 at Bn.com UPC: 027616859013
Gregory Peck leads the cast in this classic western produced in 1958, as an eastern navy man who moves to the Old West to get married. He finds himself in the middle of a feud between his fiance's family, the McKays, and their sworn enemies, the Hanniseys. It's a real gun-slinging western with almost Shakespearean themes: loyalty, betrayal, and justice in a land with no laws. A young Charlton Heston is the perfect macho ranch hand, and my favorite: Burl Ives as the chief of the Hanniseys, who plays it savage yet somehow noble. The scenery is mind-blowing, the musical score unforgettable, and the all-star cast with terrific writing give this 5 stars. It's an oldie, but it's not boring!
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
$11.68 at Bn.com 097363434146
Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Angelina Jolie head the cast in this retro-futuristic thriller. Giant robots are invading New York City and only one man can save us! Sky Captain and the plucky reporter Polly Perkins try to hunt down the source of this menace before it's too late. Hot on their trail is a mysterious stranger in a black cloak with seemingly supernatural powers. A non-stop thrill ride filled with underwater lairs, mad scientists, and Red Baron-style dogfights. Too exciting to resist, and the black and white format and streamlined sets make this one tasteful and elegant.
The Birdcage
$12.73 at Bn.com UPC:027616603395
My favorite movie of all time, bar none. A conservative senator and his wife are meeting the family of the boy their daughter is planning to marry. The problem? His parents are a gay couple who own a drag club. Hoping not to offend the strait-laced bluebloods (Dianne Weist and Gene Hackman), the gay couple comes up with a plan: masquerade as heterosexuals for just one night. Of course, it's one disaster after another as the gays (Robin Williams and the incomparable Nathan Lane) get deeper and deeper in trouble trying to hide something they never should have hidden to begin with. The moral: that we're all basically the same, no matter how glaring the differences may seem. A fast-paced 90 minutes that is sure to have you rolling in the aisles, especially at Lane's wacky, drag-queen antics.
$13.48 at Bn.com UPC:085392841127
Like most film versions of Greco-Roman classics, this one is sure to look corny and dated in time. Until then, there are amazing fight scenes for the boys, lots of shots of shirtless Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom for the ladies, and Homer's own fairly engaging story of Helen and the Fall of Troy as a backdrop. Considering how Hollywood usually hacks literature to bits, this one is surprisingly true to form and historically accurate. Fun and exciting, sad at times as all Greek tragedies are. It's a summer blockbuster combined with high theater and filled with good-looking nearly naked cast members. You won't need to see it a hundred times, but you're sure to enjoy it once.

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