Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)**
I am a fan of the series but have never read any of the books. I did enjoy the film once Alan Rickman shows up which is late in the picture unfortunately. The the film takes off and eventually reaches a satisfying and emotional conclusion. I like the English-ness of the films, the art direction, the CGI which is always top-notch, and the fine cast of supporting actors. Newcomer Evanna Lynch makes a mesmerizing debut. I thought the direction was a bit heavy-handed. Granted, this might have been the least cinematic of the books, but just pumping up the volume of the music doesn't make things exciting just annoying.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Suzanne Vega - Beauty & Crime (2007)****
A multi-layered collection of songs that never fail to entertain and enlighten. Might be her most consistent album ever. Adventurous yet true to herself, fine melodies, well-crafted production.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sick and Twisted
In a New Yorker commentary lauding Michael Moore's "Sicko" because it successfully keeps the issues of healthcare in the public mind, Atul Gawande states:

"The cheapest proposals [for universal single-payer coverage] circulating would still require more than a hundred billion dollars a year in public funds—around a thousand dollars per American household. Taxing millionaires or cutting 'waste, fraud, and abuse' won’t pay for that."

No, but for $84/month I would be very happy to pay for that coverage instead of the $850/month I currently pay for Blue Cross with a $1,500 deductible per person. Yes, ANY health plan will cost money. But you can't just say that without also stating the enormous savings that will result. The simplest and best approach is to simply extend Medicare coverage to all citizens. Let's do that first, give some REAL competition to the private insurance industry for once, and then start to tinker with it. This will work. It will have its difficulties at first. But it will be cheaper than the Iraq War that's for damn sure and we somehow find a way to pay for that.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Transformers (2007)**
A CGI achievement in film so it gets the 2 stars. Might have been a better movie movie if about an hour had been trimmed starting with the horrific war/military angle. That aspect just didn't seem right in the middle of one of the worst military disasters in our nation's history. Shia LeBeouf does a fine job and Megan Fox looks very good.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Ratatouille (2007)***
I have to say I was disappointed with this picture. It is a superb example of craftsmanship, technological wizardry, art direction, set design, lighting and on and on. Everything is perfect except the script. Seriously flawed. Never soars to the heights of "The Incredibles" nor even "Cars". I think the problem is it never really trusts itself. There is NO WAY to manipulate a person by pulling his hair. It would have actually made more sense to have Linguini and only Linguini be able to understand Remy's speech. And the pre-climatic change of heart by Remy was totally unbelievable. I could not imagine his character EVER turning his back on the restaurant or Linguini. It made no sense within it's own context. After that everything was a series of soaring strings and clich├ęd plot turns. I don't know for sure, but I suspect this one had more of Brad Bird's stamp on it than "The Incredibles" where he was overruled several times on key plot points. This is closer to "Iron Giant", another wonder technically, yet a big disappointment story-wise. Again though, if you see it in a theatre, demand a digital projection. Absolutely beautiful.

A President Besieged and Isolated, Yet at Ease

"Still, that trip demonstrated that Bush cannot escape his burdens. King, the GOP congressman, introduced him backstage to a soldier injured in one eye. Bush teared up and asked the young man to take off his dark glasses so he could see the wound, King recalled. 'Human instinct is when someone has a serious injury to look the other way,' King said. 'He actually asked him to take them off. He actually touched the eye a little. It was almost as if he felt he had to confront it.'"

Is it just me or is this not one of the more perverted things this president has done? This is alongside his bald head fetish in creepiness. I think he actually thinks he has messianic powers, healing powers. And no, this article is not from The Onion, but the Washington Post! What an absolute idiot this man is.