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Destination Planet Negro (2013)
Best race comedy since Blazing Saddles
DPN is a well directed and acted allegory of Marcus Garvey's Back to Africa movement. Filmed in color over black & white, it is full of fantastic culture shifts and pay-back allusions, Planet Negro is a very inspired and well thought out contribution to the genre. I took a star off for some slight continuity problems.
Very deep look into the new Leviathan in Russia
The absolute truth, reality, is frozen still and solid at the end of the movie, while the church holds the truth rhetorically on its tongue, yet only tentatively in its long line of black cars.
Truly a Leviathan... and yet we imagine that the movie is about ordinary criminals!
The Invaders (1995)
Great UFO flick (not many of those)
I sincerely miss movies like this. There are a few lame sequences like the car in the warehouse, but the premise of this movie is very appropriate to today, and the cast and crew pull off a very exciting action movie. I found the movie very rewarding, and worth the extra length needed to tell the whole story. Yes there is methane in LA, which is why the rail was cancelled. The ecology tie-in is spot-on. Ecology-friendly politicians are opportunists and a lot of politicians and eco-propagandists run around with chickens with their heads cut off, but this movie makes it quite clear that individuals under pressure will always make the right choices.
Cigarette smoking is another important theme, since smoking was about to become virtually illegal in California, and it is what the Aliens needed to simulate their home environment.
The Watermelon Patch (1905)
How race was interpreted by one artist in 1905
This is a small chapter in the long push-pull of America's racial history and how it has been observed by artists. Several positive points should be noted, and not just the negative plot which stereotypes blacks as agricultural thieves, and the use of watermelons as a racist meme.
After stealing watermelon, black gentlemen outsmart the two "skeletons" and return home with the loot. Good effort in showing off cakewalk from the black company. After the dancing ends, the black troupe simply occupies a large amount of time eating watermelon, with an especially good duet scene of two gentlemen communing while eating, since this is really what watermelon is good for. Finally, a larger white posse shows up with their dogs and smokes out the community of unaware stolen watermelon lovers by plugging their chimney, which could either be seen as funny or tragic.
The filmmaker attempts to endear us to the cultural life among the southern negroes of his time, while at the same time stereotyping both the white and the black race.
I was directed to the movie by theatlantic.com which is a long discussion of the entire culture of watermelon stereotyping. The author concludes that while, "there is nothing inherently racist about watermelons..., the stereotype has a life of its own."
I think both the film and the magazine article can be viewed best as historical artifacts, at least I hope so.
Merchants of Doubt (2014)
An above average political thought piece, and better than expected
The infamous book by Oreskes and Conway is put to the test here to see if it can become a reasonable theater experience. "Reasonable", is probably the best word for it. We see video evidence of the amazing claims in their book, it seems watered down, as a matter of fact, they have to take pains to balance screen impressions of true believers with skeptics, which is always a difficulty but it is made important by their very thesis, that the skeptics substitute their unqualified personalities for their lack of science. They try to prove this by presenting several segments with Professor Fred Singer, presenting him as a rocket scientist, implying indirectly that he should be a dunce at climate, perhaps. The only other person in the theater besides my group, said that the film was a sad experience, but that she was going to show it to her university students nevertheless "to teach them the truth". Dr. James Hansen, the original speaker-before-congress of Warming is shown commenting on his four arrests, which he admits was a sorry substitute for "banging on the president's desk". Perhaps President Obama saw this film, and got the message.
There is an interview with Marc Morano which uses contrived editing to make it appear that emails with death threats received by scientists were sent by him. This is probably the lowest point of the movie. On the positive side, there is some notion of how large the energy business is, how many people depend on it, and how 'experimental' and far away the alternatives really are.
There are two other characters that seem to be only in there to forward the author's point of view, one is a card mechanist/magician who gives the moral point of view of Oreskes, that his own intentions are "honorable", but that those "deceptions" which are not admitted are not. Another is Michael Schirmer, the administrator of the American Skeptics Society, someone who has always given me the creeps, since he doesn't come across as a real scientist, which he again does in this movie, with his pat anecdote about how he had to switch sides in order to agree with Global Warming, and also his shouting match with a doubter in his audience. The other is Bill Nye, who is an actor, but whom the narration represents as a typical scientist being talked over by the "paid professionals" of the skeptical side.
You may wonder why I've given the movie less than 5 stars if I said it was above average. Well, that fact that I don't necessarily agree with most of the points or points of view that I heard is the reason, not to mention the major thesis, which is that "consensus" means that anyone who disagrees should be denied a seat at the table. If such a dogma is meant to pass as a kind of, "Communism", then it indeed passes the test.
Comédie de l'innocence (2000)
Confusing but apt psychological thriller
This is extraordinary. It's an easy movie to either like or dislike, because after watching it once, you might realize, or not realize that from almost the first scene, as the characters fade back and forth from real to incredible, you and one of the characters are being fooled into believing that something is real that doesn't actually exist.
The two 'mothers' are one-of-a-kind beauties, and the child, Camille is played by a fabulous once-in-a-decade child actor. If you pay attention to the closeup of the painting at the end, you will become fully aware how our cine-reality has been compromised during the time we were watching.
I was moved to order the book, now a set retitled, "Separations: Two Novels of Mothers and Children".
Computer Chess (2013)
A clever comedy in the style of a reality show from the 70's
In this mock-documentary, the computer nerds meet the chess nerds (spoiler: They're about the same thing) in a black and white, cheesy hotel setting during the 70's. In the background, a purposeful primal therapy group works its spells and enchantments. One of the computer chess entrants is a sociopath that looks and speaks oddly like Chevy Chase, giving this movie unexpected authenticity. Another, the father of a chess buff, is one of those guys from the time that loved being the loudest guy in the room and loved asking the smartest persons in the room questions he couldn't answer. Along with these there is the 'Cal Tech team' and the 'MIT team' and a wicked science fiction plot that seems to be fizzling towards the end, just as the nascent sex life of one of the team members does also. Enjoy!
Movie 43 (2013)
An humor analogy of the control others have over our lives
In domains like security, medicine, media, work and politics, others are constantly in control of what we accept and find acceptable. Our boss, in some ways is actually holding a gun to our head and saying, "You really like this place and your co-workers, don't you?"
The premise for this movie is that one who has absolute control can control everything, including our tastes. The überplot with Dennis Wade explains how this could be possible. This theme of domination and control (the un-funny part) runs through many of the skits presented, though not all of them.
If you believe strongly in moral taboos, you might be offended by parts of this movie.
Aviva Ahuvati (2006)
Difficult take on a female artist's struggle
I found this movie attractive, funny in parts, yet difficult to grasp. I certainly felt the disappointment in the husband's and sister's struggle for employment. Everyone in the movie was equally struggling for identity and the artist/mother, Aviva, at the center of it, was holding it all together.
At the beginning of the story, Aviva is asked by her dentist to undress to forgive a large dental bill. She refuses, but she does hear some encouragement to do a bit of prostitution from the other women in her life. Later she agrees to become a ghostwriter for her writing professor who's talent has dried up, by allowing him publish revised versions of her stories.
I suppose the movie makes clear the extent to which we attempt to subvert own greatest possibilities of success by making it subordinate to our internalizing the cares of those other individuals we identify most closely with.
After accepting the initial deposit for her stories to be re-marketed by her professor, Aviva soon shuts down all of her normal relations with her family, imperfect as they are, since she believes she no longer merits their esteem. The catharsis begins late in the movie, when Aviva's mother leaves Aviva's father. Aviva herself gradually realizes that she must stop selling herself piecemeal, acknowledges the powerful woman she is, and allows herself with the encouragement of her family to return to becoming a professional writer.
Stronger characters than some of its predecessors
I thought that this movie answered a lot of the questions posed by Alien 3. It also has one of the nicest sequel setups I've ever seen. There are a few unexplainable scenes such as why the giant is being attacked at the escape pod at the end of the movie by the octopus-like creature (Why not have him attacked on his own ship?) The main theme, how the creatures that made us were destroyed by their own biological weapons of mass destruction is very clever, and puts a nice period on the Alien series. It was a nice touch having the main character motivated by her, "legacy", Christian religion to finally find out why our creators wanted to destroy us. I can only imagine that the, "dirty little secret", is that the universe is really only large enough for one species of infinite potential. I'll pay to see the sequel though, so I can know for sure.
The Great Gatsby (2013)
The movie brings out the book's one great insight
I saw The Great Gatsby on the weekend, and I'm quite excited about it. I was glad to hear the director say that living to repeat the past is quite impossible, but I have to admit that Fitzgerald's suggestion is quite fascinating, even if it seems wrong-headed. Since time points forward for us except when indexing thoughts and media, we never look into the past, even relativity doesn't permit that in any direct sense. The past is read-only. Our minds can survey the times that already happened, and we commonly assume that it is unhealthy to dwell in the past excessively.
That's what the novel is about, at least. It is a fascinating attempt by a character to live out his own religion not so much in a quest for spirituality, but in a quest for something he feels a need for in his life. Since life is very much about needs, this opens the question of in what contexts it becomes important or relevant to recreate the past.
One recreates the past whenever one tries to preserve love. Love only happens in an instant, and the spectacle of couples trying to preserve their custom of alliance with each other is clearly one in which reproduction of the past plays a big part. That is "Great" Gatsby's great insight: That the moment of memorializing love, in essence attempting to make it eternal, is the reproduction of, and return to the past through repetition.
The Tree of Life (2011)
One person's view of life
This is a pretentious attempt to portray human childhood, seen in the context of cosmological history, as a metaphor for life. The hope is that the audience will take the humanity of the subject as the theme of 'grace', while seeing that grace of humanity inside the larger context of an uncaring, yet miraculous and marvelous, 'nature'.
The initial biblical quotation from Job is meant as a statement that God should not care very much for the bad attitudes so often seen among humans, since he already has done his part in providing an ample environment. Another interesting philosophical point is that there are two kinds of humans, those that are natural and those that are graceful, and that these two kinds represent the yin and yang that make up human families and society.
I say this is pretentious because while parts of it at least make up a good trip to the planetarium, other parts are just a mixture of good and bad acting, during which you have to ask yourself over and over if it really was worth watching the whole thing.
Black Swan (2010)
You have to suspend belief too many times.
This Polanskyesque horror movie appeals to some as a perfect mixture of genres, constantly resorting to ambiguity in order to extend the attention of the audience to its hero, Nina (Natilie Portman). This actually weakens the film's connection to its target, which is a ballet production, however, which seems a waste, although eventually it becomes clear that all of the other characters must gradually become mere cogs in the grinding wheel of Nina's egoism.
In the end we are left with only one character, the hero, and her death, as the perfect consequence; and as death sublimates the existence of all, not just its victim, the movie neatly resolves all of its many conflicts.
It is as if Aronofsky, the creator of The Wrestler, is bragging to us, "See how easy it is to end a movie with death! You can dissolve every conflict at once, no matter how poorly constructed it was, and the audience will never realize how it happened in their grieving!" To his credit, he has taken care to reconcile the other characters with Nina before or at her death, yet the I find the notion that the snuff ending has become the new panacea of film making repulsive.
Good actors with a great story in search of a script
Gwyneth Paltrow was great, Anthony Hopkins in this supporting role was almost perfect, although he looked too old for the part (63 years), and this may be Jake Gyllenhaal's best movie. The product is ruined through being over-dominated by flashbacks, and by rushing the relationship between the two main characters.
The story is designed to put you into the position of the boyfriend, Hal: You are supposed to believe as he does, that the professor, being an icon, towered over the current generation, and would always do so. This in order to set you up in believing that the boyfriend would be pushed into asserting at the crucial plot moment that the breakthrough paper Catherine (Paltrow) gave him to read was probably the work of her father, the Professor and not hers, and that her claiming it, was stealing it.
This is the setup for a number of memorable scenes of hysteria for Gwenneth Paltrow. It's true that after starting her graduate work, she sacrificed years of her life to take care of her debilitated father.
If taken out of the context of the sister Claire's sudden takeover of her life, the plot would all make sense, but because her design is to remove Catherine from Chicago to New York, in a "soft" wicked witch act, Gwynneth decides to play sick in order to play along and avoid the shame of having hooked up with someone that could disabuse you of your best work the morning after.
This is where the weakest moment of the film comes. The characters are all weakened at this point of the plot, and they can never recover. It is now Paltrow's job to look as weak and abused as possible for the rest of the film, barring a couple of seconds in the flashbacks. The dominating obsessive sister from New York must have one more scene, to finally overcome Paltrow's last attempt at personal integrity.
Finally the audience is invited, through flashbacks, to sympathize with the dying, demented professor, as he attempts to convince his daughter that he is getting his intellectual mojo back again.
All of this is syrup, until we arrive at the moment of truth, when Catherine must literally run from the airport, desperately attempting to find Gyllenhaal on campus, since she is now alone, with no other friends, locked out of her former house by her sister, who has already completed checking her off of her "todo" list. Simply setting up this moment with a stronger relationship to Harold would have sufficed to save the movie. Instead we get one flashback with Hopkins as a teaser after another, many with duplicated footage.
What really makes me angry, is thinking that it could be possible that the footage that might make this film hold together could have been shot, but was eliminated in order to get more minutes of Anthony Hopkins onto the screen.
Surf Nazis Must Die (1987)
A moving remix of Rocky Horror and A Clockwork Orange
If you like your movies with twang, this is one for you. This is a very carefully made film for the budget and doesn't disappoint.
Surf Nazis are traditionally folks that hog the waves and are willing to fight you if you don't like that. This film takes that paradigm back in time to the real Nazi's, who, now that the big earthquake has finally hit and put the police out of control, has ushered in a beach world ruled by Surf Nazi's led by Adolf himself!
The director spends lots of time developing and getting you attached to the Surf Nazi characters, and the dominating mother of the youngest "Nazi", Smeg, as played by Bobby Bresee, is the icing on the cake. The Eleanor Washington role, Excellently played by Gail Neely, was a moving though humorous tribute of anyone harmed by brutality being willing to fight back. In all it was a very well thought out statement.
Universal Remote (2007)
Finally an Anti-PC movie!
If you understand the silliness in political correctness, thus are a hip person, this is not a bad movie from that perspective. It's nice to see Robert Hayes in his role of a slightly perverted Ob/Gyn (slightly, is that even possible?) Then there's D.C. Douglas as the slightly-straight narrator.
If you're even a little bit anti-PC, there's a chance that you might understand this movie. It has gay bits, negro bits, lots of white, etc. I mean where are you going to see all this in only one movie?
My favorite scene is the quiz show, when the object of answering the question is not to get bitch-slapped. The questions all require a fair knowledge of racial stereotyping to be answered correctly, so the white liberal contestant only takes a couple of rounds to understand what part of her mind she has to reference to get the correct answers and thus beat her, at first, more street-smart opponent - hilarious!
There are drawbacks, like the limited acting of Charles Q. Murphy, nevertheless this pastiche from the hand of the director of Deliver Us from Eva, is a must-see for the PC-challenged.
Left Behind (2000)
One Athiest Liked this Movie
I can't believe it. I was riveted by this movie. Maybe I liked it so much because I avoided watching it for nine years. But from the time I saw the planes flying over the northern border at Israel, I felt like had seen this all somewhere before. Maybe I'm one of those few atheist ex-catholics that took my bible reading way too seriously. Maybe its because I'm doing a presentation for my Spanish Conversation group on the UN this week (Naciones Unidos).
I remember when I saw Rosemary's Baby, I felt the same way. I was a lot younger and still only a few years away from still being religious. I loved the Polanski movie and moved into the main characters body, just like I did in this movie. When I got home, I couldn't sleep because I was literally checking under the bed to see if the devil was there (Catholics really believe in the devil.) I doubt if I'll lose any sleep in the same way tonight, but this movie was in the top group of science fiction movies in my opinion, because it allowed me to buy in or "suspend disbelief" so easily.
Why should I call this a science fiction movie when many don't see it that way? Because the scientist character, Rosenzweig actually invents a new style of farming. That should be science enough for anybody. This is a note of realism in that which helps the most skeptical realist to suspend disbelief.
I notice that there are a lot of believers that don't like this movie. Is it possible that the director has done what is necessary to suspend disbelief for the skeptic, but not among the converted? Perhaps, but I feel sorry for anyone who needs a story to match their religious beliefs perfectly, and who can't just relax and enjoy a work of art for what it is. I have to wonder if any of these Christians like Disney movies, like Hercules. Why should every theological fantasy have to match what exactly what one knows about theology? While the pilot character (the whole family?) was a little weak, the other actors in the play were all strong. As I recalled the evil nature of "the one that precedes the antichrist" I was struck how this fellow was simply portrayed as an elitist capitalist was not overacted or over the top. How can so many people have missed this? I can tell you why, because they didn't study the book of Revelations in the Bible, but heard their Revelations second hand, through church sermons about "rapture". Nevertheless, despite the fact that the movie is often accurate in portraying the events and characters in Revelations, the back story that supports the movie plot is really quite strong. For example, who is the GNN reporter character in the bible? It is the writer/narrator of Revelations (considered by scholars to be John).
Some skeptics hate this movie because they say it contains the germs of the carping one hears about the "one world government" described in the Bible. However, to me there is something realistic and admirable about this idea, whether you feel comfortable with it or not. In a world which is always at war, one has to agree that a panacea can be a lot more attractive, at least subconsciously. When you see the council mollified and hypnotized at the end, you have to wonder if the GNN reporter, who now finds himself in the position of counter-spy will ever try to resist what already been accomplished. In actuality we never see him pray, only shake hands with the "lately saved".
Well, I've ranted long enough. I think someday someone will dust this movie off and realize it is not just a bad movie about a bad book about a biblical fantasy, but actually a good movie, perhaps the best of its genre. At least, that's the way I viewed it.
Kinky Boots (2005)
Disappoint your family
This movie takes place primarily in two sets, a drag night club and a shoe factory. The problem is, neither of these places is a very universally exciting place to be. I you absolutely loved your last visit to a drag night club, and Victor-Victoria is on your top movies of all time list, by all means this film is a must-see, especially for the fine work of Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays "Lola". The theme that appears repeatedly is lovely too, acceptance. Nevertheless, I have to say that the movie plods along sadly between the characters and unattractive sets, and never really catches fire, despite the drag dance numbers. The other main character Charlie, is played just a bit too drab and dumb for me, maybe its the non-britness of me, or the aussieness of the actor - I don't know. It's obvious that the movie needed a strong counter-character to Lola ("the best of both sexes"), and didn't get it in Joel Edgerton. I want to improve my rating, but the boring aspect of this movie pandering to our best instincts prevents me from doing so, and the movie really bombed with my family, not just with me.
Another reviewer mentioned a connection with "The Full Monty" - if you liked that film, there is a relationship there, but in The Full Monty, the characters are actually trying to put an enterprise together, while the characters in this show are spending too much time working at cross-purposes and going in different directions. Perhaps that is meant to be symbolic of what the conflict between transvestites vs. non-transvestites is. In the end, it is only acceptance that allows the two sides to come together.
The Strangers (2008)
One of the worst movies I've seen, The Strangers is home invasion story with zombie overtones about a women who is having a difficult time with her fiancé, who is apparently bisexual and doesn't want to commit. The bad time prior to the house invasion includes a spoiled proposal, in which she gets the ring, even though he is apparently having second thoughts, and needs to leave temporarily to clean something up with his boyfriend. Later, about half-way through the movie, the couple are hiding in the closet (what a symbol) and the guy shoots his friend in the head, thinking he is one of the zombies. Then the invaders come, and they are apparently appear to be there just to annoy, embarrass, or humiliate her. In the end she doesn't get killed, but two guys are killed, including her fiancé.
The 2 stars are for the good sound, camera, music, and effects. Everything else is really regretable. This is just another good example of how filmmakers nowadays feel entitled to make bad movies, provided they spend enough money doing so.
Ju Dou (1990)
Overrated historical study of traditional Chinese society
I am a lover of history, and historical films, too, but Ju Dou has a lot of faults. Most of all this movie fails in story telling, by using weak characters and weak plot development. The only areas in which this film deserves the 10, given by many reviewers, in in cinematography, setting, and costume. One reviewer compared this movie to a Greek tragedy, but I don't know of any Greek tragedies that have endings as bad as this one. The only characters that seem to develop in a normal way are the uncle, Jin-shan, and his wife, Jo Dou. The attention that was paid to this awful relationship overshadowed the lack of detail paid to the characters in the rest of the movie.
Jo Dou is the only character with a healthy motivation, and her fall is the "T" in the tragedy here. "Uncle" is only motivated by his drive to have an heir. His ancestor-worship calls attention to this, and thus the movie can be taken as religious criticism.
Nephew Tian-qing's character was extremely weak, and only flourished in a single act of challenging his uncle. This, coupled with his physical unattractiveness caused the move to be difficult to watch, in spite of the color themes. I don't really understand much about Chinese color symbology, but this is a plus. In one scene, a customer comes to order cloth, 15 yellow (tradition) and 3 red (luck, fire, and energy). There is a lot more yellow than red. This is the main point I think the director is trying to make.
Tian-qing's weak character is probably the main thing that made this move hard for me to watch. Second to that is the treatment of the autistic son, Tian-bai. One gets the idea from watching this that in society, and Chinese society especially, some people feel that their children are dropped from trees, and that the only way a child can develop a personality is from encountering other children and playing with them. "Uncle" finally gets a retrieve, when he develops a notion of parenting. This calls attention, perhaps, to the "dirty little secret" not being confronted in our society about autism - that it really has a lot to do with neglecting children. The details of Tian-bai's upbringing that lead to his murderous behavior are almost entirely eliminated from the story.
At this point the movie goes upside down, the Uncle's develops moral superiority as well as ownership of the child, and for Tian-qing and Ju Dou, everything is downhill from there. I might revise my opinion of this if there was a list of "top-ten downer movies of all time".
Before Sunset (2004)
About the Gap Between Commitment and Fullfillment
The resolution of this movie is simply about the fact that feelings may trump commitment. Now that that's over, I can go on to say why I think this move is such a bad movie.
This movie has a theme, but that's all it has. The acting is atrocious. Ethan Hawke isn't capable, and because this movie is meant to be an improvisational tour de force, his character's lines are constantly jarring our belief. His lines and delivery throughout cause us to doubt that he is really a writer (even though we see him signing books), that he is really a parent, even that he is really a married man. I guess if you buy the bit about his being a writer, you'll buy the family stuff. The scene at the end with Julie Delpy mimics the deceased bebop singer/pianist referred to only as "she", is psychologically the coup de gras, since so much of the movie before seemed so disingenuous. Finally nothing is said for the "feelings" he has for his son, "I don't want to ever be without him for even a minute!", nor what it is he is unable to give his wife that she "needs".
Besides the theme, which is a good one, the only other mixed feeling I have is about Julie Delpy who turns in a reasonable performance, and some of the photography.
Bad genius, bad country, or bad government?
I'm deeply sorry I had to betray my prejudices in my summary. I loved this movie, both because it helped me understand 20th century American History better, but also because it is the video memoir of one of the men who best characterized American military thinking at mid century. I summarize the movie this way because it should leave you with many questions.
We were all very excited about John F. Kennedy back when the Vietnam war was still only a civil war, and not yet a war of America against the communist bloc. JFK was widely respected, both for the agility of his mind, and his ability to take advice from others, even those he was confronting as enemies. Unfortunately, as we all know, the JFK presidency ended suddenly and prematurely, and the Vietnam War was escalated by a very different type of man, Lyndon Baines Johnson. This is the story about the man who ran the war for him. It is not a story about the war, it is a story about the man, and because the man is a philosopher, in a way it is a story about all men. McNamara makes it very clear that he is not an elitist. The film depicts him as a person trying to do his job as he saw it, as efficiently and carefully as he could, and like many of us, a person who was sometimes afraid to admit mistakes.
I hope you enjoy this film as much as I did.
One of the best Sandra Bullock films
I don't understand the hassle some people have about this film. It starts out a little slowly, granted, however overall the pacing is very good, as it develops tension throughout. The characters are very nice and Greek, part of a Greek Tragedy, that is. The father is a tragic king, larger than life. The mother is an imperfect hero. The children are clearly "princesses". Why most people don't get it is beyond me.
The flaws are obvious. The character doesn't seem to put any 2 + 2 together until about half way through the movie. At the end, both characters are oblivious of their fates. Nevertheless, the logic of fate controlling the actions of the characters, despite the premonitions is highly compelling if you have an open mind.
Finally, another important movie
Paul Haggis is a gifted writer. You can read his biography here http://imdb.com/name/nm0353673/bio. I heard this was an inspired movie and it has won 26 awards in total. None of this prepared me for the hard-edged reality this movie dishes up. It has some of the same feel as Memento, but this movie has more of a Hollywood look, and less of the quirkiness of Memento. I apologize for giving it a 10 rating despite the fact that it has production flaws. It's just that there isn't anything better out there, and at least one film deserves to get a 10. Haggis has proved that he can direct a great film on a budget, and should be getting even more financial support for his projects in the future.
The film is an ensemble piece that argues that, in a world with Political Correctness, no one is really safe. In LA is where it all happens, about every 5 to 10 years or so, it even snows, at least somewhere, in LA. This film is about what happens one evening when it snows, and during the 24 hours leading up to it. Four of the main characters are members of the LAPD, two others are the District Attourney and his wife. After this is a film maker and his wife, an Iranian shopkeeper and his daughter, a Mexican-American man and his daughter, and two street hoodlums. The script and camera make plenty of use of parallelism and foreshadowing. For the most part the story pivots and weaves amongst these 14 characters, allowing our minds to make whatever connections we find most suitable. We may side for or against any of the characters at any one time, but if we do, it is merely a temporary illusion that has allowed us to do that, an illusion as apparitional as race itself.
The Crash, which occurs, is merely a metaphor for the life-changing event which will occur in the life of most of the main characters. A transformation, in each case, that was "meant" to happen.
In the end, almost all of the survivors have undergone a transformation, and not merely a "spiritual" transformation. The transformation is usually that their life has changed and they will never be the same person again that they were before the "Crash". One of the deeper interpretations of this movie may be that we should perhaps be someone other than who we are, but we have not yet realized the reality that exists within us because we have ignored or suppressed it day after day in our quest for a peaceful, secure lifestyle.
You can place this movie next to Fargo and Casablanca in your collection, and be assured, it will not wear out its welcome.
See the Snow!
This is my absolute favorite movie of all times. It's the kind of film you can see over and over. It's the kind of film that can make you cry in unexpected places, like at the end, around the 3rd or 4th time you've seen it. Part of the greatness of this story is that it grows out of the location and characters where the authors grew up, around Fargo, South Dakota. The characters are another important part, because not only are they interesting people, but they represent a cross-section of common attitudes about justice. Jerry sees justice in terms of financial and personal advantages. Gaear understands justice as always doing what is necessary to survive, given his criminal life style. Carl defines justice as being in the right (probably like most of us). Finally, justice to Marge means no harm done so that tomorrow will be better.
The snow is a metaphor for purity or perfection, against which backdrop, the conflicts of the world must take place.