Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Ketchup on That Celluloid --

Much to say, too little time!

* Children of Men: In short, brilliant direction and dead-on character focus transforms this contemporary revamp of what was once fodder for '70s off-mainstream (MGM's barely-released Z.P.G.) and TV movies into a vivid, deeply felt dystopian gem. Clive Owen delivers a perfectly realized performance as Theo Faron, a haunted man treading water in London of 2027, which isn't far from the tyrannical future postulated by Moore & Lloyd in V for Vendetta, sans the enigmatic masked vigilantism.

Here, the timely chords of terrorism (the film opens with a coffee-shop bombing which Theo barely skirts) and rampant xenophobia (immigration woes escalated to martial law on the streets and country compounds brimming with illegal detainees, fleeing their respective countries's catastrophes) are plucked in the context of a future sans procreation: mankind has ceased to reproduce, and the malady has precipitated global disaster on multiple levels. Given the extensive story giveaways of the previews, I'm not tipping any alarms by saying Theo is dragged by his ex (Julianne Moore) into an underground railroad seeking to spirit a pregnant lass (Claire-Hope Ashitey) to safety with an offshore group that may or may not exist -- on this ragged hook, director and co-scriptor Alfonso Cuarón (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Y tu mamá también, the 1998 adaptation of Great Expectations, A Little Princess, etc.) constructs a potent cautionary science fiction parable of surprising power and grace.

The stellar cast is key -- including Michael Caine as the most sympathetic cartoonist in cinema history, a George Metzger-like 'back to the land' old hippy living self-sufficiently with his catatonic wife in a backwoods retreat (and a loooooooong way from Caine's misanthropic cartoonist antihero of Oliver Stone's The Hand)-- but it's Cuarón's exquisite orchestration of all elements and Emmanuel Lubezki's furtive, crisp cinematography that keeps the pulse quietly racing. P.D. James's novel was in the sober mode of UK apocalypse novels like The Day of the Triffids, No Blade of Grass, etc., and movies like The Day The Earth Caught Fire, though a more upscale literary incarnation in the eyes of most critics; Cuarón has honored the source novel and its precursors, forging a masterful meditation on hope, despair and reluctant activism in the face of death. Don't miss!

[More tomorrow -- off to CCS --]

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5 Comments:

Blogger Mike Dobbs said...

Steve, Steve, Steve...here your audience has been hankering for the review on Pan and you give them a review on another movie.

Now I know your deeply preverse nature rebels against the status quo and therefore it compelled you not to follow my advice of giviing the people what they want.

In fact you refrained from comment on my advice and my new nickname for you ( written with love). I am crushed.

You're right, of course, about what is happening nationally. The key here is reforming Congress. To sustain any long-term momentum, people have to question just what their senators and representatives have done during their term in office and target those you have been doing the usual.

It's not about ideologies anymore. It's about the decisions the people with economic power have made and the impact of those decisions. This is a populist struggle not a Dem versus Rep fight.

Now what about Pan, Doublestuff?!

1/31/2007  
Blogger Marky Mark said...

He's just not posting ON PURPOSE now. Just showing his tail.

As for all this politics - it's kinda like child predators. You think "My God, there are so many, is this even POSSIBLE, how can even a few people be so sick, much less PRISONS FULL?"

Same thing with our leaders. You think there MUST BE somebody out there who is not a stinky weasel, who is qualified and willing to run for office, and there MUST BE enough people who are not brain-dead to vote for that person.

But you can't even get the first half of the equation, much less the second.

I blame rap music and reality TV.

1/31/2007  
Blogger HemlockMan said...

Democracy is overrated.

1/31/2007  
Blogger Marky Mark said...

REVIEW PAN'S LABYRINTH!!!!!!!
I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE I TELL YA!!!!!
REVIEW PAN'S LABYRINTH!!!!!!!
REVIEW PAN'S LABYRINTH!!!!!!!
REVIEW PAN'S LABYRINTH!!!!!!!
REVIEW PAN'S LABYRINTH!!!!!!!
REVIEW PAN'S LABYRINTH!!!!!!!
REVIEW PAN'S LABYRINTH!!!!!!!

2/02/2007  
Blogger SRBissette said...

Jesus H. Christ, what a whiner. You didn't find me whining about how goddamned long it took for your long-promised Yeah Butt to become a reality! I thought about waiting until the next issue of Runaway Comics was out, but that wouldn't be fair, would it?

FYI, the rest of you, this morning's review would have been up sooner this AM, but Mark diverted me with the need to vote against Rush's nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize.

2/02/2007  

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