Movie Diary 11/16/2009

Red Cliff (John Woo, 2008). Big-scale spectacle and pretty good use of Woo’s talents. Military strategy always sounds like an unexciting subject for a film, but when it’s coherent, well…. (full review 11/25)

Planet 51 (Jorge Blanco, 2009). Spanish animated offering with Shrek-ian 1950s green people wondering why a stray American astronaut has invaded their world. Cartoon characters don’t wear pants. (full review 11/20)

Singles (Cameron Crowe, 1992). Is it possible this movie’s main problem is that almost all the main roles are cast with the wrong people? Except Matt Dillon’s soul-patched rocker, of course. Which reminds me, I enjoyed sitting next to Dillon in the press box at a Neil Young concert when the Singles people were in Seattle filming; he kept turning to me with his cigar that refused to stay lit, saying, “It won’t draw, it won’t draw.”

House of Games (David Mamet, 1987). I watch this movie every ten years or so when I have to write something about it. It never really soars, but it never disappoints, either.

Oh My God (Peter Rodger, 2009). Aussie documentarian, surveying metaphysical thinkers such as Hugh Jackman on whether somebody’s idea of god exists or not. (full review 11/27)

William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe (Emily and Sarah Kunstler, 2009). Less-than-full portrait of the controversial attorney, probably shy of grit because his daughters made the film; still, some key pieces of social history go ticking by. (full review 11/20)