Monday, August 14, 2006

Movies: August 7 - 13

Ani Difranco: Trust (2004): After my disappointment with Render, I am happy to write that Trust is simply a concert film. We have a good 90 minutes of Ani Difranco performing on stage in Washington D.C. in early 2004 and we get more of the concert experience of Ani. More importantly we get the music. This is good stuff.

The Island
(2005): There is the core of a really good, really fascinating movie here. Director Michael Bay just paints over much of that core. Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor) and Jordan Two Delta (Scarlet Johansson) are clones kept in a controlled environment with hints that they can win the "lottery" to go to "The Island". This is all a cover, of course, because the clones here are grown to be used as spare parts for the medical needs of the clients or "patrons". This itself is a pretty exciting science fiction idea to build a story around, and there is enough story here to keep my interest, but it becomes a lot of chase and action and not really getting to the heart of the clone/patron/ethics issue, though this is danced around and touched upon. It's not a bad movie, per se, but it's nothing special and not nearly as good as it could have been.

Magnum Force(1973): This second Dirty Harry movie is quite a bit different from the first film. Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) is brought back into Homicide because he has certain skills that would be of use in an investigation into a series of murders of criminals. The movie has Callahan working his investigation while having the police administration trying to tie his hands and not use the "Dirty Harry" methods that is at the core of Callahan the cop. We also see the murders of the criminals by someone posing as a traffic cop. Still a gritty movie, Magnum Force is another quality Eastwood flick and it holds up fairly well more than twenty years later. It is easy to see why the studio wanted to make more Dirty Harry movies. They are good movies and, of course, they made money.

Flightplan (2005): Jodie Foster and her daughter are flying home from Germany after the death of Foster's husband. When Foster wakes up mid flight she is unable to find her daughter. She tries to search the plane and is getting more and more frantic. This is a very large, double decker plane and Foster was one of the designers, so she knows there are plenty of places for a 6 year old to get lost. Nobody on the plane, however, remembers ever seeing her and there is no record of her daughter boarding the plane. Flightplan is a well crafted thriller of a parent's worst nightmare. There is a good deal of tension in this movie and Foster plays the frantic parent very well. The last third of the picture takes a different, perhaps more conventional turn, which may turn off some viewers and not bother others. Place me the category of the not bothered. This is a fairly good movie and worth a rental.

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