Friday, January 26, 2007

Why We Fight Borat!

I took a break from the marathons of The West Wing that has plagued my weekends to watch a couple of movies that have released in the last year. I am still working on seeing something in the theater. This is an odd combination, I agree, but these are the two that I have selected for recent review. Borat and Why We Fight.

The first one that I saw was Eugene Jarecki’s documentary Why We Fight. It is an alternate look at the reasons for war, and more importantly the warning of the importance of the military industrial complex. It seems that if you look at the recent events in the Middle East, the country is highly displeased with the actions of George W. Bush. It starts with warnings from former General/President Eisenhower of the implications of the overuse of power and the military industrial complex. Then flash-forwards to the mess that we are in with the current administration.

With the uses of interviews of several ex-military personel, some higher-ups in the military, and one touching interview with a kid that joined the military after his mother’s death Jarecki constructs the statement of disapproval of the Bush administration. Our world has grown-up and evolved, while the United States has gradually gotten weaker and weaker since the end of the cold war. Jarecki tells us through his interviews that through wars we get stronger and grow economically.

I believe that there are two great interviews, among a slue of good interviews. One being the kid that is entering the military after the death of his mother. It is an interview that you start to yell at the screen, he lives alone, has only a few friends, and feels the financial burden of the world. All this adds up to the one conclusion he has in his mind: military. Constructed much like a good drama, he journey goes down the road that is filled with numerous pitfalls that could be avoided. The other interview, Wilton Sekzer, that really stands out is the Vietnam Vet who lost two sons in the falling of the Twin Towers. Sekzer is brutally honest, telling his story without any fear of consequences. It is almost if he goes through the whole gambit of emotions, he is first shocked, then angered, then patriotic, then after getting over his emotions he starts to investigate and find out the not whole noble intent of the military.

There are glimpses of smart bombs, military stock footage, press conferences with the President, gun shows, and adding up to a documentary that was a good glimpse into the obvious liberal view of the war. This documentary is not really for all people, but it is one that I enjoyed. Although it is highly biased, it works for what it is trying to achieve.

The next movie on the block was the boldly funny Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Although I was hesitant to see this at first, I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome of this film. There were times in this film when I was on the verge of tears, other times I was on the verge of throwing up. The thing that I was most impressed with was the guts that comic Sasha Baron Cohen. He swallowed his pride and truly gave this role all of his energy. I think anyone who can go up to the average American citizen and be in his Borat character without laughing at the outrageous dialogue and situation.

As far as the rest of the aspects of the film, they are shot documentary, shaky-cam style which wasn’t to the level of The Bourne Supremacy. By the way, that movie will forever be the barometer for excessive shaky-cam. Back to Borat, I love the broken English that is perfectly mispronounced and sentence misconstruction that made me laugh continually through the movie. Even the excessively long title makes me still chuckle today. I usually can’t say that much about a comedy without ruining a joke or two. They really aren’t inferior films or movies, they are just hard to talk about. This will make you laugh, but also you will be offended.

Okay, this whole movie is about laughing at all of the people that he has managed to offend. Because believe it or not, everyone who was on camera volunteered to be on camera in one way, shape or form. Not to go too deep on this, but I think that is the underlining brilliance of the movie. It cut to the bone the sick American dream that we as a people in this nation have. If there is a camera, we are obliged to perform in front of it. It is our duty as an American. We all want our 15 minutes of fame, no matter who you are. That is all for now… more soon, very soon!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

An Emo Rises Out of the Ashes

It has been a while since I have written on my blog. I admit that this has detracted from my avid readers, no matter how few they are, but the year is young and it is full of possibilities. I am fairly certain, now that I am going to move into a duplex with someone that I worked on a reality tv show on. One thing that I have noticed is when you are living in someone else’s place there is the a looming cloud of restriction. You want to make sure that you stay away from what there routine is, trying not to piss them off or disturb their happy bubble. I am fairly certain that I am on the verge of doing just that, if not crossing over the line.

On a lighter note, I haven’t been watching movies like I did in college, but wish to start that trend up again. So hopefully after the move I will return to that and offer reviews of all of the movies that I see in the theaters. Here is a small offering for the film Children of Men. This is one of the best films that I have seen all year next to The Departed and Little Miss Sunshine. It is a dystopic film that is in the ranks of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece A Clockwork Orange, but this takes the opposite approach to the ending giving us a surprisingly optimistic view into the horizon. Alfonso Cuaron deftly maneuvers through the not-so distant future of London, which is one of the only cities that maintains society as we know it now. If you haven’t heard anything about the plot of the film, men have become infertile for reasons unknown. The world is in massive unrest, outbreaks of rebellions. The closest that I can compare it to is the war-driven streets of Iraq, but imagine that the rest of the world is afflicted with the rebellions. This film deals with the issues of immigration, infertility, and the lose of hope in a bleak situation.

On top of the already layered and deep film, there is the added visuals that are darkly beautiful, like I have already stated, almost stolen from a Kubrick film. You could go to this film just to see the technical wizardry. With two shots lasting up to 8 minutes without a noticeable cut in the motion, Cuaron shows of his ability to construct fluid and dramatic camera movement without having it be distracting.

Clive Owen, Michael Caine, and Julianne Moore lead this glimpse into the future. Caine plays Owen’s aged hippie friend that alleviates and occasionally brightens Owen’s haunted hero. I will stand by my statement that Children of Men is a hauting view of the Iraq, infertility, and immigration control. It is worthy of even a single view if not multiple. Until next time in place.