Sunday, March 04, 2007

Movies Seen

A Thief Of Time
Based on a novel by Tony Hillerman. Two different cases thread together in this made for TV Joe Leaphorn mystery. A segment of Native Americans don't like Tony H for capitalizing on them and their culture. I will say once I discovered novels by Native Americans, Hillerman's books just weren't as appealing to me. Still, when I went looking, albeit not very deeply, I found positive reviews in Native American newspapers. Hillerman is good for light entertainment, mystery with hints of supernatural. Native American novels and movies capture the complexity of Native American intersections with the white world in a much better way, I think.

Minority Report
It's a Tom Cruise vehicle, so not bad, but not brilliant. Good entertainment. Since I prefer Sci Fi, I'll take this over the Mission Impossible series. I'd seen so many bits and pieces since this came out, the movie already seemed rather familiar. It's based on a short story by Philip K. Dick. I haven't read any of his stuff.

The Guru
A South Asian dance instructor comes to New York hoping to make it big. He can't even get in a porno movie, but is mistaken for a guru (dancing guru that teaches about sex) and finds a small bit of fame. Some Bollywood-style song and dance numbers, fun, not too much. Marisa Tomei is cute as a poor little rich girl.

Bride and Prejudice
Another Bollywood fusion movie, I really liked how well the Pride and Prejudice story was followed. From the director of Bend it LIke Beckham (also very worth seeing, teen girl soccer coming of age movie), the Elizabeth Bennet character is a feisty Indian girl who must wait for her sisters to get married, and the Mr. Darcy character is a rich American. Also has some Bollywood song-and-dance numbers, again just the right amount. The dvd also has some fun footage of the crew goofing around along with the director, doing the same dance numbers. Special appearance by Ashanti. I learned from the DVD that Bollywood movies usually have such special numbers, a single big production featuring a star that doesn't quite fit with the rest of the movie's flow.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Robert Downey Jr plays a thief that gets caught, his partner in crime gets shot, and while trying to get away he stumbles upon an audition for a character, and reads for the scene where the character is interrogated and told he's responsible for his partner's death. He gets sent to LA, and caught up in murder intrigue. Much violence of course, I didn't watch too closely.

Yo Soy Boricua: pa'que tu lo sepas!
I found this on the Independent Film Channel. Produced and starring Rosie Perez, it's a documentary on Puerto Ricans. I learned some of my favorite actors as far as looks go, Puerto Rican. mmm hmm. (Raoul Julia, Jimmy Smits, Benicio del Torro, even as a child...Freddie Prinze) I learned the Young Lords in New York staged dramatic and effective civil disobedience to get get real garbage service, and to draw attention to the need for child care for poor mothers. I learned Rosie herself was arrested in a protest of US Navy bomb tests on the island of Vieques off the coast of Puerto Rico. Fiesty folks, Puerto Ricans.

Ghosts of Abu Ghraib
The abuses at Abu Ghraib were not the random acts of a few renegade poorly equipped prison guards. I knew that, you knew that, but that is what the official investigations would have us believe. They may have done wrong, but some of those few men and women have made some of it right by interviewing in this HBO documentary. The whistle blower, the one who turned in the photos, assured of anonymity, was outed on international television by Donald Rumsfeld. Oops? The man luckily was with friends in the mess hall, he was flown out of there back to the US. The culture there was, and is, one of approval of torture. The documentary began with footage from the Milgram experiment. I found myself wondering, how can we have this knowledge, and the knowledge of the Stanford Prison Experiment, and have this still happen? Why aren't precautions taken to prevent abuses? The answer immediately arose, because in the bureaucratic military machine, they wanted it to happen. Plausible deniability. Approve a little torture, and deny complicity and ubiquitous atrocities. It's showing on HBO for a while yet, hard to watch, but something all Americans should see. Find a way to see it.

Heroes (TV)
People born with genetic anomalies that give them supernormal powers are finding each other. Some are good and trying to save the world, and some are bad, really really bad. Of course a mysterious agency (government?) keeps them under wraps. I missed some episodes but think I managed to fill in the gaps. There's no real star, there's so many characters that have intriguing powers and tasks, hard to say which is my favorite. Maybe the Japanese guy, Hiro, who found a comic book of the future, and he's making sure he fulfills the story to save the world. Hiro can stop and move through time. The artist of the comic books can depict the future in his paintings. Peter's afraid he's going to destroy the world in a nuclear explosion...he takes on the superhero ability of any one of them he gets near, similar to the evil one, Siler, who kills the others to take their abilities. I love this show. Sadly, I have to wait in real-tv-season time for the next episode.

Medium (TV)
For some reason I thought this was discontinued, there was such a long time between seasons, so I missed some episodes. Now I'm back to watching Patricia Arquette, as Allison Dubois, solve mysteries with her dreams. This show is just one of my guilty pleasures. I'm not buying the 'based on real life stories' part though.

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