Spiderman 2 Spins an Engaging Web

entertainment, filmmaking No Comments »

We caught a late but packed showing of Spiderman 2 the othernite. Unlike other films we have seen this year (and I put Shrek 2 and Van Helsing at the top of that list), Spidy 2 was actually worth the $10 and 10 minutes of commercials we had to endure before the previews started. It definitely feels more like a Sam Rami film, with a number of signarture shots this time. Good performances all around with hats off to Alfred Molina, who plays Doc Oc.

poster1_hi.jpgAs usual the actions sequences were over the top and for the most part brilliantly executed. As of late I have grown numb to action sequenece (all things Lord of the Rings accepted of course), but this film delivers. It was actually nice to feel a little adrenaline pumping and some genuine excitement for a change.. somthing I thought “The Day After Tomorrow” and “Van Helsing” had all but drained from my veins.

It’s not all marigolds however. There were far to many speeches about honor and love and sacrifice. WAY TO MANY. And like the first film, the special effects vary wildly in quality. Doc Oc’s extra arms are amazing while Spidy still looks like Playdo… and did you catch those helicopters at the end? Ouch. I also had trouble with how Spidy stopped the train… too much like Superman. Spidy is all about agility, speed, intelligence, and those web spinning wrists… not about brute strength. And the explanation for the existence of Doc Ocs fabulous tentacles? Tenuous at best.

But then I am gently reminded that it is a comic book afterall. So I shrug my shoulders and enjoy the ride.

The View From Inside My Fish Bowl Part Deux

entertainment, filmmaking, politics No Comments »

I would like to clarify my position stated at the close of my previous post. A close friend and cohort whom I greatly admire and respect seems to draw the following conclusion from my diatribe:  I believe we deserve what happened to us on 9/11. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Evalulated on a purely personal and individual level, such acts are never deserved or justified. But on a global scale, viewing the preponderous of evidence over the centuries, how does man’s greater wisdom allow him to slaughter millions of Russians, Jews and Chinese, and not suffer the consequences of those attrocities? Can a species sustain itself longterm it it seems perpetually hell bent on killing off significant parts of its population, or denying basic human rights and needs to the rest? Is some form of Darwinism at play here? Is part of deserving what we get understanding and willingly accepting the consequenes of our actions?

The character Ripley from the Aliens series once said, "You don’t see them f*cking themselves over for a god damned percentage."  The most inhuman of all creatures, are humans.

The View from Inside My Fish Bowl

filmmaking, politics 1 Comment »
I apologize for being away for so long; much has happened, some interesting and some not. I’m still working, which is a good thing, but the daily grind of it is like gnawing on an old dusty bone, more chalky than meaty. But it keeps me honest and at least it affords pursuits closer to my heart. To that end (self-serving and gratuitous plug follows), we have a short suspense film in preproduction and a number of other shorts in the pipeline. While it’s unlikely you’ll see them in a cineplex near you, I’ll be certain to share them with you none-the-less.

poster1_full.jpgWell now I’ll get to the meat of this post, and it is by no means chalky. Hopefully I can string together enough “interesting word musements” to keep you in your seat for at least a little while.

I saw Fahrenheit 9/11 tonight. Yes, that’s what I said. I saw Fahrenheit 9/11 and lined Michael Moore’s pockets like everyone else, but hey, I also lined Mel Gibson’s for Passion of the Christ so I guess I’m a sucker for controversy. I think Michael Moore has made a provocative, skillfully edited and personal film. I feel it is almost more personal than political, as its deftness, sadness and wit is permeated by his distrust of the government, and in particular President George W. Bush. Many question the patriotism of Michael Moore’s views. I do not. Nor do I question the patriotism of people like him who protest the war, as they disparage the act itself, not the warriors who fight them. It is also painfully clear that Michael Moore hopes to sway the election back to the left. Perhaps he will be successful. Perhaps he is only preaching to the faithful and his efforts will have little impact on the outcome. Perhaps he is providing additional ammunition to those seeking to lay claim the most powerful seat in the world. And those who would assume that power, are they any better? More on that later.

The film covers a lot of known ground, from the Patriot Act to the personal tragedy of losing a loved one in the field of battle. It is all sad, funny and moving at the same time. Moore never lingers too long on one topic, perhaps for fear of a thread unraveling, and the film is frequently punctuated by Bush blunders and Bushisms. Each passage or vignette attempts to add weight to the argument that the reasoning for going into Iraq was unjust, and was used as a vehicle to implement many long-standing wants and needs of the Right Wing.

I tried very hard to view these subjective vignettes critically without the context to make them whole. In some cases I was successful. I know Michael Moore is adept at feeding his audience a line of bull disguised as an exquisite spread of caviar. But on more than one occasion I was not so successful as I failed to imagine what plausible context would make a particular fact or incident seem harmless. In the end I come away with some of the following personal “truths” that hardened beneath the weight of his film.

  • Bush seems both physically and mentally on vacation much of the time.
  • Only after the failure to find weapons of mass destruction did the rhetoric change from “killing the evil-doers” to “liberating the Iraqi people”.
  • If the “liberation of Iraq” was just, shouldn’t Iran, North Korea, China, Saudi Arabia and countless others be next, for their wanton disregard for human rights and overall general evilness? Treating them with anything less is pure hypocrisy.
  • As a followup to the previous item, we would never ever ever ever bite the hand that feeds us, I mean, take action against Saudi Arabia.
  • While not the fault of Bush, it is a sad and dark truth that it is frequently the poor and indigent who are thrust by circumstance into a life of military service to sacrifice themselves for our liberty. Wouldn’t the reinstitution of the draft at least level that playing field?
  • These are the first of many that clearly come to mind.

Despite my obvious dislike for Bush, I look at John Kerry on the other side and can do nothing but throw my hands in the air. He’s a blank. He’s a waffler. He has failed to define himself, where Bush at least is a known quantity. So I briefly wonder if plotting a new course and new presidency could actually be worse? Perhaps that “stay the course” might be the smart thing to do considering the mess we are in? It’s a tough being a Democrat during these times, and often want to disavow both parties, as over time they seem to be more and more the same, and not in a good way. What is one to do short of relocating your citizenship to New Zealand? And don’t say voting. Please… are you kidding? 2000 anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

In closing allow me to be a little provocative in my own way. It is generally accepted that the Middle East’s view of the West is not a favorable one. What we view as liberation the people of Iraq view as an occupation. An occupation by infidels. Our very presence, and our history in the region, particularly with Israel, foments their anger and hatred of us.

I feel it can be argued, and with some success, that we, as well as the rest of the world, are in part responsible for maintaining and in some cases creating, an environment in the Middle East and other parts of the world that allows “terror” to flourish. Despite a cloak of friendship and good will, our motivations are often based on profit. No cloak is ever thick enough, made transparent by history to those at home and abroad. It is sad that survival is almost supplanted by greed as a basic human need.

As time creeps slowly along it seems we have learned nothing. While still relatively short-lived as a species we have found more ways to kill ourselves then any other animal a thousand times over. It is true that the view inside my fish bowl is small and murky from overfeeding, but it is the only view I have. Every day I witness how we mistreat one another. I see the young who will inherit and a small part of me hopes I do not live long enough to fall under the care. I am also wary of bringing up a child in such a world, where they are cajoled and undisciplined, and creativity and original thinking is discouraged via education and medication. I also wonder about a society that celebrates with interest marriages of convenience, money and lack of sobriety, over marriages based on enduring love simply because it is between two men, or two women. But I digress; that’s for an entirely different post.

In the end I wonder if were going to get exactly what’s supposed to be coming to us, and is that something we arguably deserve. This wonderful blue orb floating in space has had many tenants. Many have come before us, and many long after we have gone. It will soon be the time to reap the seeds we have sewn, and either continue paying the mortgage, or foreclose.

That is all, and I apologize for any spelling or grammatical mistakes you may have encountered.