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Month: July 2004

Leaving on a jet plane

Most of the movies which claim to be based on true stories aren’t. Odd, that the one recent work of fiction that really is rooted in fact doesn’t mention the true story at all. And now, over on IMDB, the commenters mock The Terminal for an implausible premise. Funny old world.

Anyhow: The Terminal is a really tasty eclair. It’s not deep but it’s awfully yummy and you can’t beat chocolate. It’s a very human movie, with a fine degree of attention towards choices and the difficulty of making them. At the heart, it’s about people caring about each other and it manages this without being schmaltzy. I smiled a lot, and I laughed a couple of times.

Tom Hanks pulled off a character with a heavy accent without ever seeming goofy, which is more than I expected, so I suppose now I have to admit he’s a good actor. Catherine Zeta-Jones was beautiful but — as usual — refrained from actually portraying a convincing connection to anyone else on screen.

If the pacing hadn’t collapsed at the end I’d give it four stars.


I’m not so sure about this new Democrat talking point.

“The Republican National Convention is going to feature at least three guys who aren’t exactly in lock-step with the Bushies. John McCain, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Rudolph Giuliani are all set to get a prime time speaking slot. That’s John McCain who opposed Bush’s tax cut and has been critical on the administration’s disastrous record in Iraq, and the pro-choice Arnold and Rudy.”

You know, if I were a Republican campaign operative, I’d look confused and say “What, you have something against being inclusive? These guys disagree with Bush on some issues, true — but they’ve found common ground and they believe that despite their differences Bush is the better choice.”

Again, not really

Once again, it turns out that newly discovered WMD aren’t actually WMD after all. However, Poland and the US agree that the chaos in Iraq has resulted in a great opportunity for Al Qaeda to get access to previously unavailable Iraqi scientists with WMD know-how.

Well, OK, they don’t put it precisely like that.

Sixteen rocket warheads found last week in south-central Iraq by Polish troops did not contain deadly chemicals, a coalition spokesman said yesterday, but U.S. and Polish officials agreed that insurgents loyal to former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and foreign terrorist fighters are trying to buy such old weapons or purchase the services of Iraqi scientists who know how to make them.

Still — Hussein, a very bad man who mistreated his country but who had not used WMD in almost a decade and who might not have had any significant stocks of WMD at all, vs. Osama Bin Laden, also a very bad man who would almost certainly use WMD the moment he got his hands on them. Hm.

If Bush had said “this war is going to make our lives more dangerous, but it’s a good thing to take out Saddam,” OK. Alas, that’s not what he said. He said we were going to be safer. I don’t think that turned out to be true.

Weekend getaway

Of course, if I went to Fantasia for a weekend — say, July 30th through August 1st — I could still catch about a dozen movies and have a great time. Say…

Hillside Strangler for weird American avant garde serial killer cinema (or Heaven’s Seven for the Thai take on Vietnam, it’s a hard choice).
One Missed Call cause who doesn’t love Takashi Miike? This looks like his take on Ringu.
Deadly Outlaw Rekka. Two hours of Miike is good; four hours is superb! Um.
Porco Rosso, Miyazaki, yes.
Harry Knuckles and the Pearl Necklace, for cheap laughs.
Executioners From Shaolin, the classic Shaw Brothers movie.
Enter… Zombie King!, cause masked wrestlers and zombies can’t be skipped.
Toolbox Murders, because it’s the only thing in that time slot and I like to hurt myself.
Malice@Doll (or maybe Freak Out) — ooo, wacky CGI anime!
Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles, classic machinima, and I would love to see this on the big screen.
Robot Stories makes a nice contrast to the machinima.
Into the Mirror — Korean horror is not always good but so far in my experience it’s been interesting.
The Bodyguard, cause I want to see more Thai martial arts action.

It would make me sad to miss 8th Diagram Pole Fighter and Ju-on and Battlefield Baseball and The Card Player and I could keep going. But some is better than none. The only problem is going to be finding a flight out of Montreal at 10 PM Sunday.

Anyone want to meet me up there?

The silver screen and screen

Turns out that I’m not, in fact, going to be able to develop a time machine and go back in time and clear off enough of my schedule to make it possible to go to Fantasia Festival 2004. Which is a damned shame. The only silver lining is that I won’t have to make any choices about which movie to see, this way.

Pale lining indeed. Well, maybe next year I can arrange to take a month off.

He's that guy

The saga of the anonymous CIA author continues. According to the Boston Phoenix, Michael Scheuer is compelled to publish anonymously because of CIA restrictions. He’d rather let his name out, but can’t.

This means I was more or less wrong in my fevered speculations a couple of weeks ago. He’s pissed off, but he’s not a kamikaze. Although I suppose if he gets fired in the next couple of months, there’s something to be said for the notion that he’s too angry to care about his career.