Tag Archives: Film

Don’t Call It A Comeback

Speaking of long-awaited comebacks, Mickey Rourke’s latest effort sounds pretty great.*

*Sin City sucks too much to be considered a legitimate return to form.

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In Memoriam

After reading Alex Massie’s excellent piece on Remembrance Day and the Great War, I clicked over to the Confabulum and found Joe Carter’s entry on Marine hand-to-hand combat training. The articles provide an interesting contrast between two cultural approaches to military service. I’d also venture that this difference can be traced back to the European experience during the Great War, but that’s neither here nor there.

On a related note, here are my three favorite movies on World War I:

  1. “J’accuse” – Incredibly moving French silent cinema, originally released in 1919 (and no, it’s not about the Dreyfus Affair). The haunting “March of the Dead” sequence at the end of the movie actually features French veterans back from the war.
  2. “Paths of Glory” – Kirk Douglas’s best movie (sorry, Spartacus fans). Ranks up there with Kubrick’s best work, as well.
  3. “The African Queen” – Bogart and Hepburn together on screen. ‘Nuff said.

Happy Veterans Day.

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Will Smith as Will Smith

Ta-Nehisi Coates:

I see a lot of that in Will, when I watch him acting. Dig his style in Hancock or I Robot. Whatever you think of those movies, you can see hip-hop oozing out of dude’s pores. I make no brief for black exceptionalism here–this is how identity works. But I think one of the things that’s so cool about this generation–the Andre 3000s, the Jay-Z’s, the Colson Whitehead, the Junot Diazes–is how we claim our heritage but not to the exclusion of the rest of the world.

I like Will Smith, and I can appreciate Coates’ larger point about black identity in popular culture. That said, the on-screen persona he’s describing varies little from role to role.  In some contexts – “Independence Day,” for example  – it’s fine to have a brash young black guy as the leading man, but in other roles,  it’s just boring. Will Smith as Will Smith by some other name isn’t as fun as it used to be, which is a shame, because underneath it all the guy is a genuinely decent actor (the underrated “Ali” or his recent turn in “I Am Legend” come to mind).

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On Kevin Smith Movies

I enjoyed Peter Suderman’s review of his latest Apatow-infused effort. But I can’t enjoy Kevin Smith. A friend’s comment ruined it for me a few years back: “When you’re listening to Kevin Smith’s dialog, think of a fat guy hunched over a keyboard, desperately trying to think of some clever bit of wordplay. He just tries way too hard.”

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Aaron Sorkin’s Wet Dream

Seriously, compare and contrast:

A) Michael Douglas, “The American President”:

B) Barack Obama (via Edge of the American West – watch to the 1:30 mark):

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