Cinema Mishmash

A personal and random look at movies, past and present

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Entries from November 2006

Casino Royale

November 19th, 2006 · No Comments

Long before I took a “serious” interest in cinema, I was a serious James Bond fan. Or at least as serious as any 8-year-old can be with a pulpy detective franchise. That was my age upon the release of Moonraker (1979), a film which capitalized on the Star Wars buzz created two years prior and [...]

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Tags: Action/Adventure · Crime/Noir · Romance

Æon Flux

November 19th, 2006 · No Comments

One way to get in touch with your inner film lover is to determine what kind of genre apologist you are. For instance, I have a high tolerance for flawed science fiction movies. Wooden acting, cheesy dialogue, bad costumes, outlandish set design. I am willing to overlook most of these things if the film is [...]

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Tags: Action/Adventure · Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Fever Pitch

November 19th, 2006 · No Comments

Full disclosure from the start: I don’t care much for the Farrelly brothers. Yes, There’s Something About Mary was funny. And while low humor may deserve a place among the cinematic traditions, I find I can make it through this rough road called life without the likes of Dumb & Dumber or Me, Myself & [...]

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Tags: Comedy · Popcorn · Romance

Borat

November 12th, 2006 · No Comments

So, as it turns out, Little Miss Sunshine is not this year’s Sideways. (Meaning: the darling of the film press. See previous post.) That honor goes to Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Now on its second weekend and breaking all sorts of box office records (it opened at [...]

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Tags: Comedy

Little Miss Sunshine

November 12th, 2006 · No Comments

It took me a while to go see Little Miss Sunshine, in part because I feared that it may prove to be this year’s Sideways: a solidly good film that somehow sets off a combustion reaction of overenthusiastic critical praise resulting in the film being mildly, if not considerably, overrated. However, the need to pick [...]

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Tags: Comedy · Ensemble

The Singing Detective

November 12th, 2006 · No Comments

Before seeing the 2003 adaptation of The Singing Detective at the Chicago International Film Festival a couple years back, I was not familiar with the original BBC TV mini-series. The reason for the film’s lukewarm reception was exactly why I found it compelling: the story and structure of the film were unabashedly camp and irreverent. [...]

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Tags: Comedy · Crime/Noir · Drama · Musical

The White Countess

November 12th, 2006 · No Comments

Having just discussed Asylum, we might as well dispose of another, well, disposable film with a worthy performance by Natasha Richardson. The White Countess is, sadly, the last film produced by Ismail Merchant, who died in May 2005, and the last of the formidable (if not formulaic) Merchant Ivory collaborative team. Throughout the collaboration, James [...]

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Tags: Drama · Romance · War

Asylum

November 12th, 2006 · No Comments

At best, 2005’s Asylum is an indictment of the mental health system (Did we need another one?) and contains a solid performance by Natasha Richardson as the wife of an ambitious psychiatrist whose own chemical imbalances lead to a steamy romance with a sociopathic patient. Which can happen, of course, in this period of English [...]

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Tags: Drama · Romance

Babel

November 11th, 2006 · No Comments

Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Amores perros (2000) is one a handful of films that changed the way I looked at cinema and fueled my desire to explore the wider world of cinematic art. Landmark Theaters’ slogan, “The language of cinema is universal,” while risking cliché, continues to be a revelation because of filmmakers like Iñárritu. Ironically, [...]

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Tags: Director · Drama · Ensemble · Foreign Language

Friends With Money

November 6th, 2006 · No Comments

Writer/director Nicole Holofcener’s work is a tough sell for me, because I associate her point of view with that of her apparent muse, Catherine Keener, who so fully excels at playing irredeemably bitter, sarcastic, angry women that I assume (probably wrongly) she is actually not a nice person. The same goes for Holofcener: I think [...]

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Tags: Drama · Ensemble · Romance

Nacho Libre

November 5th, 2006 · No Comments

Jared Hess created something of a phenomenon with his directorial debut, Napoleon Dynamite. Although I can’t say I was among those Napoleonites who found the film to be a comic revelation worthy of incessant quoting, I found the film’s quirky, irreverent humor to be refreshingly good fun. Sadly, Nacho Libre, proves Hess to be no [...]

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Tags: Comedy · Popcorn

The Taste of Others

November 5th, 2006 · No Comments

I suspect that the ensemble multi-episodic intersecting character drama is one of the most daunting structures for any director to tackle. When successful, however, few other cinematic forms are as powerful and rewarding. For her 2000 directorial debut, actress and writer Agnès Jaoui shows herself to be up to the challenge with The Taste of [...]

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Tags: Comedy · Drama · Ensemble · Foreign Language · Romance