Sat, Jun 23, 2007

: Flags of Our Fathers

Extremely well-done tale about the raising of the American flag at the battle of Iwo Jima and the politics and manipulations surrounding the event, but despite all the technical excellence, this came across flat for me. I wasn’t too interested in the story to begin with and it didn’t succeed in engaging me and lost me toward the end. There’s nothing wrong with it — the topic just didn’t appeal to me and there wasn’t a lot going on. From a historical perspective I’m sure it’s fascinating, but if you’re not a history or WWII buff, you’ll find it dry.

Topic: [/movie]

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: Evan Almighty

I loved Bruce Almighty and was really curious how they’d duplicate that in a sequel. They did a surprisingly good job: while this feels overblown (it depends way too much on mediocre special effects), too much humor comes from silly slapstick stuff like a dog biting Evan in the crotch, and the plot’s so thin it’s obvious from a mile away (new congressman Evan’s told by God to build an Ark during a drought and endures mockery of the public), it isn’t unpleasant and there are moments of genuine heart and profundity. Not much, granted, as the film takes everything with the lightness of cotton candy (which tends to degrade religion and God), but there were two key moments I really liked. One, when God talks to Evan’s troubled wife and tells her “When someone prays for patience does God just give them patience or provide an opportunity for them to be patient?” The other was when a fully converted Evan is confronted by a reporter asking him why God chose him and he pauses for just a fraction and then says, “God chose each of us.” Very cool. Overall, I liked this a lot. It’s harmless fun. Sure, it’s silly, and there are too many groanable Bible puns, but Morgan Freeman as God is great and Steve Carell fills in pretty well for Jim Carey. I have no idea where the rumored $200 million budget went: the special effects are horribly amateurish. The ark itself looks find, but the scenes it floating in the flood look the digital equivilent of filming models in a bathtub. Somebody deserves a refund. (The poor effects were worse than Poseidon, which is saying a lot.) Critics aren’t being kind to the film but I think it’s harmless and has some good moments. It’s certainly nothing that will work you brain, but there are much worse ways to spend 90 minutes.

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: Voyagers II

Author: Ben Bova

I liked this much better than the first book. In that one not much happened, but this one takes place 18 years later when the human astronaut hero of the first book is awakened from being frozen. He wakes to find a new world enhanced by the alien technology discovered in the first book and also learns that he’s got an alien presence in his mind. This presence guides him and reveals new abilities that make him superhuman. He uses these abilities to put an end to war and death, which sickens him (and the alien inside him). He eventually tracks down the real leader and cause of all the trouble and confronts him in the climax. Very cool story, with some interesting observations on human behavior, politics, and society. Recommended.

Topic: [/book]

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