December 27, 2005

Munich Mastermind Slams Spielberg

After a futile attempt at trying to be nice to terrorists so they won't hate Israel anymore, director Steven Spielberg's self-proclaimed "prayer for peace" film, "Munich", is being castigated by the man who was responsible for the murder of the Israeli athletes in Munich during the 1972 Olympic Games.

Mohammed Daoud planned the Munich attack on behalf of PLO splinter group Black September, but did not take part and does not feature in the film.

He voiced outrage at not being consulted for the thriller and accused Spielberg of pandering to the Jewish state.

"If he really wanted to make it a prayer for peace he should have listened to both sides of the story and reflected reality, rather than serving the Zionist side alone," Daoud told Reuters by telephone from the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Daoud said he had not seen the film, which will only reach most screens outside the United States next month.

Trying to establish a moral equivalence between the Palestinian terrorists and the Mossad agents who saw to it that those terrorists couldn't kill any more Israelis, Spielberg made the film as a "can't we all just get along" gesture to the Palestinians hoping it would help smooth over their hurt feelings.

Whether or not it sinks in, he's finding our how useless a gesture it is.

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December 19, 2005

Hollywood: Still Not "Getting It"

Tammy Bruce has an excellent post about the recent Golden Globe Nominations for Best Picture of 2005, titled "And Hollywood Wonders Why They're Failing".

I'll admit it. I always used to love going to the movies. But nowadays, considering all the hassles I have to deal with by going out to a multiplex - the parking, the lines, the tiny theaters, the obnoxious patrons, the commercials, etc. - if I'm going to see a movie it has to be something I really want to see. Throw in the continually dwindling number of opportunities that I have to actually go to the movies, being a father of three young kids (who I will not bring to a movie that isn't appropriate for them just because I can't get babysitting), and there is very little margin for error. That is to say, I can't afford to take a chance on a film unless I'm convinced in advance that it will be something I'll enjoy.

I think a lot of people over 30 have similiar constraints even if they don't have kids. They're just plain busy. So why does Hollywood continue to heavily promote films about subjects most moviegoers could care less about or that have no appeal to them? And why are they handing out awards to movies that don't find an audience beyond a bunch of elitist critcs? There really is a kind of cultural myopia in the motion picture industry - an attitude that turns up their noses at their customers and says "fine, if the unwashed masses don't appreciate our art then we can at least pat ourselves on the back and say how much we like it".

As Tammy Bruce observes:

Not only will we not go see films which insult us, we refuse to support an existential worldview. We happen to think life does matter, that decency is a good thing, and that people are inherently good, not bad. We also have stopped believing the lie that Americans are bad people. We looked away for 4 decades as that lie was spread, but that time is over.

So you can take your gay sheepherder, noble communist supporting reporters, big-business is evil, Americans are hopelessly and inherently corrupt and violent and unfaithful movies and go to Cannes where at least the Parisian set will love you. But that won't exactly pay the bills, will it?

It used to be whichever movie won the top awards guaranteed boffo box office. Not any longer. The Golden Globe (the 'foreign' press contingent) and the Oscar people are going to find that their nights of orgiastic self-congratulation won't get them much, if anything, any more.

Movies should be something you escape to, not from.

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December 15, 2005

I Saw "King Kong"!

Here's my review:

king kong review.jpg

In a word - "spectacular". Peter Jackson makes movies with the wonder and imagination of a child. And this film has got everything in it. You'll laugh out loud, you'll cry like a baby and your heart will race. Let me start off about the length, just over three hours. If you're one of those people who has an attention span of a five year old, you're gonna bitch about it. We don't get to the gorilla until almost half-way through. But the time Jackson spends leading up to this part is rich with character development, gorgeous scenery (which you easily forget is almost all computer-generated) and plot development.

If you can allow yourself to get immersed in the film, you'll enjoy every minute of it. Unfortunately for me I had some idiot woman and her young daughter sitting behind me gabbing away as if they were sitting in their own living room. It kept breaking my concentration and pissing me off. I think one of the downsides to home entertainment systems is that there is a whole generation of kids who experience so much of their movie viewing in the home setting that they don't learn that you're supposed to shut your pie-hole when you actually go to a theater full of people. Not to mention the fact that most parents exercise zero judgement with their kids and take them to movies that are totally inapropriate. I often wonder what the hell some of these people are thinking, and then it dawns on me - they DON'T.

The bottom line is that this is one of those rare situations where seeing the movie is worth putting up with all the crap - the overpriced tickets and food, the crowds, the lines, the endless commentary from people sitting near you. It really is. Now I'm faced with a dilemma. My nine year old really wants to see it, but I'm not sure if that's the best idea. There are some pretty scary moments here.

Now if your kid has seen the "Jurassic Park" movies, there aren't any scenes with dinosaurs that are worse than anything they've already seen. Really the two most intense scenes involve the savages on Skull Island and a part where the rescue party is attacked by huge creepy-crawlies. The islanders are the stuff of nightmares, and could induce some in a child that is prone to them. The giant insect scene is pretty gross. If your kid hates bugs, forget it. They'll be traumatized. There are even some giant leech/slug-like things that literally devour the head and extremities of one of the characters while he struggles to escape. Again, this is the kind of gross stuff that Jackson loves to put on screen but it's probably one of the reasons that the movie earned a PG-13.

But beyond the scary parts, if you have a child that gets upset when they see a small dead animal you also have a problem. The emotion that Kong conveys, especially towards the end of the movie is powerful. His nonverbal interactions with Naomi Watts - in the NY scenes in particular - really make the audience connect to him. In the final scene atop the Empire State Building, I saw grown men with their eyes welling up. A particulary sensitive child might become just as upset as if he or she lost someone close to them. So it really depends on the kid - their maturity, what they've been exposed to thus far and how well they are able to put in perspective that it's all just make-believe.

As for me, I'm leaning toward taking him but I think it would be a good idea to prepare him in advance for things he might want to hide his eyes from. We'll see.

Anyway, "King Kong" definitely lives up to the hype. I give it an enthusiastic thumbs-up!

Posted by: Gary at 06:30 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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