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Showing posts from June, 2007

Oh, anticipation

Arguably the happiest words I've read in years:The French have a word to describe "Ratatouille," the tale of a provincial rat named Remy who becomes a great Parisian chef. The word is "génial." Not genial as in cheerful, though Pixar's latest animated feature is certainly that, but génial with an accent, as in brilliant, or inspired. The characters are irresistible -- why would anyone want to resist a hero who so gallantly transcends his rattiness? -- the animation is astonishing and the film, a fantasy version of a foodie rhapsody, sustains a level of joyous invention that hasn't been seen in family entertainment since "The Incredibles."If, after I see the film, I feel the same way then Brad Bird will be enshrined as an animation and film god. (Actually, he already was. Both The Iron Giant and The Incredibles are just that good.)

Coming soon: I Am Legend

This looks neat.Apparently based on the book by Richard Matheson, it ends up looking like a version that starred Charlton Heston, namely The Omega Man. We shouldn't forget, however, that there's an even older version titled The Last Man on Earth, starring Vincent Price in the lead.If the trailer is accurate, the premise of I Am Legend follows that of The Omega Man and The Last Man on Earth. Namely, a plague gets lose. A good chunk of humanity is annihilated, while most of the rest...mutate. Standard zombie movie stuff, really, except that in Matheson's book -- and pretty much in the previous two movie versions -- things are more complicated. In both the book and the Vincent Price film, survivors mutate into vampires; Charlton Heston didn't face vampires so much as albino religious fanatics who can't tolerate daylight.What makes all interesting to me, however, is Matheson's underlying question: If everyone has mutated, isn't the lone "normal" man t…

Film: Nancy Drew

I was going to write a review, but then I read this one, with this summary:Nancy Drew is wholesome, entertaining, imperfect fun. It’s also the first time since 300 I didn’t check my watch. I don’t oppose female empowerment films. I think women should be empowered. But while a film like Gracie beats you over the head with the lazy liberal ideal of feminism (Men. Are. Bad.), Nancy Drew presents a smart, strong, sweet, polite, likable character whose radical individuality is found in her unwillingness to conform to the radicals. Nancy Drew is a nice young lady. And in today’s world isn’t that really the new counter-culture?...and I agree with that 100%, so why re-invent the wheel? I saw this with my 21+ year old daughter and we both enjoyed it, despite all the flaws that Dirty Harry accurately lists.Needless to say, I'm amazed how much I liked it.

We'll always have Paris...unfortunately

As a society, we coddle drunk drivers. We tolerate them like no other class of criminal. We forgive them their trespasses, regardless of how often and blatantly they trespass, and we only appear to become incensed when they kill someone. When that happens, we reduce their offense to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, which in California carries a maximum sentence of one year in the county jail. They might do a month, maybe. It's as though we collectively say, "There but for the grace of God go I..." Your average drunk driver -- someone just caught driving drunk, with no one hurt, no one killed -- gets a much lighter, albeit expensive, sentence. Paris Hilton was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). She pled no contest, was convicted, and received the standard sentence that included probation and a suspended driver's license; pointedly, no jail time. She then behaved like most convicted drunk drivers: She went for a drive on her suspended driver's licen…

Dear Linda Chavez

Source: Fear and Loathing::By Linda Chavez:What is said today of the Mexicans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans and others was once said of Germans, Swedes, the Irish, Italians, Poles, Jews and others. The only difference is that in the past, the xenophobes could speak freely, unconstrained by a veneer of political correctness. Today, they speak more cautiously, so they talk about the rule of law, national security, amnesty, whatever else they think might make their arguments less racially charged. Where once the xenophobes could advocate forced sterilization and eugenics coupled with virtually shutting off legal immigration from "undesirable" countries, now they must be content with building walls, putting troops on the border, rounding up illegal aliens on the job and deporting them, passing local ordinances to signal their distaste for immigrants' multi-family living arrangements, and doing whatever else they can to drive these people back where they cam…