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Old 11-16-2006, 12:41 AM   #1781
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BABEL - VERY underrated, but I'm somewhat biased. I love movies about a bunch of different characters that somehow have a connection to one another. Movies like Nashville, Short Cuts, Magnolia, etc. I really enjoyed this.
How does it compare to previous Iñárritu's films - and what did you think of them, for that matter? I almost loved Amores Perros, but then almost hated 21 Grams, so I'm a bit reluctant to see Babel, with the mixed reviews it's getting.
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Old 11-16-2006, 01:17 AM   #1782
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The nearby indie theatre's been showing some stuff that's caught my eye. I got around to seeing The Science of Sleep, which I rather liked, and a rather risqué RomCom called Sleeping Dogs Lie, which actually made me laugh out loud in parts.

Yeah, I'm not much of a movie critic. Movies, to me, tend to be either good, amusingly bad, or boring. That's about it.
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Old 11-16-2006, 10:17 AM   #1783
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How does it compare to previous Iñárritu's films - and what did you think of them, for that matter? I almost loved Amores Perros, but then almost hated 21 Grams, so I'm a bit reluctant to see Babel, with the mixed reviews it's getting.
The thing is...many of those less praiseful reviews of Babel see it as a film about race relations and say that it's more forced than something like Crash. That couldn't be further from the truth, in my opinion. Babel was, for me, a glimpse into the lives of interesting characters and cultures, all sharing the same world. It wasn't so much about conflict between races, in fact I never got that feeling.

There is a scene I appreciated though where American tourists are made fun of a bit. After they've stopped in a certain village they fear they will be shot and killed by terrorists, but it's just villagers walking around that mean them no harm. Iñárritu does a wonderful job illustrating this paranoia, and of showing how naive Americans can be outside of their own comfort zone (in other words, outside of North American borders). Many Americans believe that anywhere outside the U.S. is a third world country, and that's just silly.

Unfortunately, this message was lost on some of the less intelligent humans in attendance. As I was leaving the theater, my girlfriend stopped in the ladies room and I was stuck outside with a woman waiting for her husband. She immediately turned to me and said, "Was there some WEIRD shit in that movie or what?" I kinda shrugged and said, "I actually liked it a lot, but I suppose it wasn't mainstream. Besides, I'm probably biased about the Tokyo sequences. I love Japanese stuff."

Then the woman goes on a tirade about Tokyo. Telling me how she and her husband hated it. She actually said, "We did all of the tourist stuff too, we saw all the sights." I replied, "Tourist stuff? So you didn't really wander off the beaten path and see the real Japan?" I think she took offense, but I didn't care. Then the truth started to really come out. She goes, "And the FOOD there! It's so bizarre! Do you like their kind of food?" I said, "Actually yes. I love it." She goes, "But some of it is MOVING three minutes before you eat it! I can't take that! That's just WEIRD." Just as I was about to say that to the Japanese our massive portions and slabs of dead cow might seem odd, her husband emerged from the restroom.

He proceeded to shake his head when his wife mentioned Tokyo, and appeared to be in shock when I told him that I loved the history of Japan, particularly the military history. And this man didn't even know me, but when he was leaving he said, "If you go anytime soon, don't bother sending me a postcard! And DON'T drink the water over there!"

I was furious the entire drive home. It's people exactly like that who make the people of other countries hate Americans. Bad water in Japan? Are they kidding?! Japan isn't some impoverished, third world shithole... Ugh.

So anyway, sorry I went off on a tangent, but I actually think the overall message of this movie is a good one. And I suppose the message is just that many different cultures need to coexist in this world. The film isn't about conflict between the cultures or races, not in my eyes, but it does tell stories that bring them all together in a sense.

As for your original question, it really depends. I haven't hated any of Iñárritu's films. I've actually enjoyed them. However, I would say that Babel, stylistic as it is, is actually more about substance than style, overall. I liked it. Go ahead and see it and make up your own mind.
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Old 11-16-2006, 01:04 PM   #1784
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Thanks. I am sure I'll see Babel eventually, but Science of Sleep, Z odzysku (aka "Retrieval", Polish contender for the foreign language Oscar nom) and even the new Bond, all three of which open here this weekend, interest me more at the moment.

Anybody seen Casino Royale, while we are at it? I was never an avid fan of 007 (some episodes were good fun, but I found all the Moores and last two Brosnans rather abysmal), and I don't really get the point of "rebooting" the series which never had serious continuity anyway, but it's getting surprisingly warm reception. Plus the villain is Mads Mikkelsen, who rocks.
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Old 11-16-2006, 02:04 PM   #1785
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I don't really get the point of "rebooting" the series.
Well, from what I understand, there's never been a "real" version of the book adapted for the movies. The one that came out previously in theatres was a satire, and the only other version I know of was a television version, done as an episode of some anthology series. I think it's just a happy coincidence that "Casino Royale" happens to be the first book published in the Bond series, so I guess it made sense to the producers to present it as a prequel, rather than as another ambiguous-in-the-timeline sequel.
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Old 11-17-2006, 12:06 AM   #1786
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Slither was a lot of fun.
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Old 11-17-2006, 12:03 PM   #1787
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Old 11-17-2006, 02:40 PM   #1788
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Analyze this
This is a movie to which I do laugh out loud on several occasions. Both Robert de Niro and Billy Crystal are great.
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Old 11-17-2006, 09:14 PM   #1789
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Blazing Saddles - well made, but it didn't really make me laugh like other Mel Brooks movies make me laugh.
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Old 11-17-2006, 10:08 PM   #1790
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Old 11-18-2006, 12:11 AM   #1791
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Saw Casino Royale. VERY surprised. Stunned really. I never thought Daniel Craig would be as good as he is. He IS Bond. The best Bond since Connery? No. Perhaps the best Bond ever. The movie has a long running time, but I was never bored. For the first time in my life, I'm EXCITED for the next Bond movie. I thought they had gone stale forever, but now the franchise has new life. I hope Craig continues to play Bond for years to come.
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Old 11-18-2006, 02:45 AM   #1792
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Saw Casino Royale. VERY surprised. Stunned really. I never thought Daniel Craig would be as good as he is. He IS Bond. The best Bond since Connery? No. Perhaps the best Bond ever. The movie has a long running time, but I was never bored. For the first time in my life, I'm EXCITED for the next Bond movie. I thought they had gone stale forever, but now the franchise has new life. I hope Craig continues to play Bond for years to come.
Seeing these words of yours, oh great cineaste, will definitely make me go see Casino Royale.
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Old 11-18-2006, 03:43 AM   #1793
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Seeing these words of yours, oh great cineaste, will definitely make me go see Casino Royale.
I´m also looking forward yo see Bond now! When is it going to be released in sweden/finland?
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Old 11-18-2006, 03:54 AM   #1794
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Casino Royale is certainly a good movie, but I'm not sure it is a Bond movie. No Q, no corny jokes...

But the building site chase, airport chase and sudden swerve to avoid someone in the road are excellent action scenes...
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Old 11-18-2006, 08:35 AM   #1795
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Well, crap... I guess I just did exactly what a person isn't supposed to do, and that's getting others excited about a movie so they risk being let down. I will say this... The story is still very Bond-like (meaning there's not a whole lot of plot), but the characters make the movie. Bond is just more interesting this time around, and the Eva Green character is one of the best "Bond girls" ever precisely because she's not like all the other Bond girls; a trait this new Bond sees in her as well.

This Bond still has a way with the ladies, likes nice clothes, nice cars, etc. But he's more dangerous than any previous Bond. When he explodes it's like some demon has been unleashed. There are very clearly two sides to his character. He can give and accept love, but he can also pretend that side doesn't exist and deal out immense amounts of punishment. This Bond is just more complex.

The movie is to the Bond series what Batman Begins was to the Batman series. Don't expect a perfect movie by any means. But do expect a nearly perfect BOND movie. At least, in my opinion.
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Old 11-18-2006, 10:57 AM   #1796
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Casino Royale

I was skeptical about Danial Craig when I first heard about his appointment.

But No more. His name is Bond James Bond. He pulls it off with style.

Grittier, harder and certainly more dangerous. M calls him a blunt instrument and that is what he is.

The Free Running section, the airport and that Aston DBS (:drool) were superb.

It sagged slightly in the middle and could possible do with some trimming, but by far the best bond movie in recent times.

Pierce who I say.

(I did miss the gadgets and Q though)
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Old 11-18-2006, 12:29 PM   #1797
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Stranger than Fiction, my brief informal review:

What a peculiar movie. It seems stuck on that duplicitous fine line that separates comedy and drama (or shall I say, tragedy), and, more poignantly, the line between reality and fiction. Thankfully, the film flaunts these virtues, integrating them into a story that was made for that effect. What we have in this movie is a cast full of seeming charicatures: Harold Crick the lonely man who counts brush strokes (36 times verticaly, and 36 times horizontally, on each tooth) and has an exact schedule worked out to exact numbers; Karen Eiffel the quivering writer struggling with writer's block and who could snap at any moment; Penny Escher the bureaucratic and drilling writer-motivator who never misses a deadline; Prof. Jules Hilbert the literary scholar who dresses casually because he is a literary scholar and who is always surrounded by an organized stack of papers and books; and Ana Pascal the tattooed liberal that doesn't pay her taxes out of a symbolic political gesture whom you do not want to anger. I deliberately described these characters as they're first given to us, which doesn't amount to much more than stock characters. But by the end of the movie they all seem much more alive than they do upon first impressions, thanks in part to the merits of the screenplay but probably mostly due to the rather incredible cast, none of whom fail to create human beings that we care about but more importantly that we think could exist.

This is important for the movie, considering it is precisely about the dichotomy between reality and fiction. Harold Crick is a character, and appropriately charicaturish when we think he is merely a character, but he is also a person and is thus made to be much more human (for instance, he has friends, he's actually pretty funny but perhaps just doesn't have enough oppurtunities to show it; when he's happy we too feel happy and when he cries we empathize. One of the questions Forster asks us to consider is when fiction becomes reality. If Harold Crick is a character and a person then by turns wouldn't everyone around him also be real and unreal, including Karen Eiffel? Is the movie we're seeing also real? How much of Crick's characterization in the movie is independent of Eiffel's narration, and how much of it occurs because of said narration?

[SPOILERS] The other major theme, less subtle than the first, in this movie is the moral responsibilty of art. What is more important, the temporary life of a man or the everlasting masterpiece that could have been Karen Eiffel's book had she killed him. The approach to the question is novel (pun intended), but the question itself does carry some weight, hearing myths of workers dying during difficult movie productions and to an arguably lesser extent animals. Thankfully the filmmakers did not bow out of the question, perhaps by creating a twist that involved all of it being imagined or something to that effect. No, I liked that Harold Crick and Karen Eiffel were real people to the end, not slaves to their archetypal obligations. [END SPOILERS]

One thing I can say about Marc Forster is that he's inconsistent. Finding Neverland was pretty good, but I didn't like Monster's Ball that much, and I never saw the almost-universally panned Stay. Stranger than Fiction should prove a landmark in his directorial career, even though he hasn't received much billing or attention at all for it. Hopefully the movie will prove a contender in this year's Academy Awards in regards especially to the incredible cast and the imaginative screenplay and the competent direction. It's almost a certainty that it will appear in my list of the top ten for the year.
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Old 11-18-2006, 08:12 PM   #1798
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Old 11-18-2006, 09:53 PM   #1799
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Casino Royale I'd concur and say this is possibly the awesomest Bond movie ever.
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Old 11-18-2006, 09:56 PM   #1800
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The Apartment - my love for Billy Wilder continues to grow...
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