Drool on the Frog

Friday, February 23, 2007

Books Instead of Movies

Forgive me readers. It's been three weeks since my last movie review.

There are two reasons why I haven't posted a movie review in a couple of weeks.

ONE, I haven't seen any good movies. As you can see by the sidebar, Children of Men was the last decent film I saw.

The French Connection really holds up well after 36 years and, according to many critics and myself, has one of the best car chase scenes ever made.

Click reminds me too much of the never-ending AI. It also proves that either Adam Sandler can't act (which I don't thnk is entirely true) or that he is going to have to work harder at finding a dramatic face we haven't previously seen and been expected to laugh at.

The second Pirates of the Caribbean barely holds up to the lowly standards of a sequal. Depp even appears to know how ridiculous his character is and appears to be mocking himself doing Captain Jack Sparrow - completely unlikable this time around.

TWO, I'm in my reading stage. I go through this a couple of times a year when I read voracisouly and see almost no movies. I am in one of those phases and I don't know when it might end. Movies aren't a particular draw for me right now. Even though I don't enjoy it as much, I will probably need to write book reviews for a few weeks to keep from losing you entirely.

The impetous for this was the postings on two writers' blog.

Sandra Glahn queried her readers to find out how many of the NYT top 100 they had read. I'm not overly concerned that I read books the NYT considers great but it did remind me of a couple out there I'm curious about:
  • The De Vinci Code (Dan Brown)- read
  • A Million Little Pieces (James Frey)- read
  • Freakonomics (Levitt & Dubner)- to read
  • The World is Flat (Thomas Friedman)- to read
  • The Devil Wears Prada (Weisberger)- read
  • Cell (Stephen King)- read
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Rawling)- read
  • In Cold Blood (Capote)- to read
  • Blue Like Jazz (Donald Miller)- to read
  • The Devil in the White City (Erik Larson)- read
Then Bruce Bethke gave some recommendations for Christmas giving.
  • Redwall (Brian Jacques)- read
  • Eaters of the Dead (Crichton)- read
Others on the stack:
I'll get some reviews up for some of these in the upcoming posts.


Friday, February 02, 2007

Willa's Flic Pic: Children of Men * * *

Children of Men
Children of Men

Alfonso Cuarón, 2006
Drama, Sci-Fi

TV Reporter: The world was stunned today by the death of Diego Ricardo, the youngest person on the planet, the youngest person on earth was 18 years, 4 months, 20 days, 16 hours, and 8 minutes old.

I attempted to write a description of this film a number of times and my last version has been lost entirely. I'll save time and simply give you IMDB's brief description:

Set in 2027, when no child has been born for 18 years and science is at loss to explain the reason, African and East European societies collapse and their dwindling populations migrate to England and other wealthy nations. In a climate of nationalistic violence, a London peace activist turned bureaucrat Theo Faron, joins forces with his revolutionary ex-wife Julian in order to save mankind by protecting a woman who has mysteriously became pregnant.

I think the main challenge in making this film was to communicate what a world would feel like once it was completely without children. Avoiding overly complicated sub-plots, it describes how a nation, various factions and individual citizens live with and react to this ever-pressing knowledge. I think Children of Men does a fantastic job with this challenge portraying a hopeless, violent and desperate world.

Through color and texture they depict a dirty, unkempt society. There are no real attempts to put up a pretense of joy or happiness with uses of yellow or orange or purple. And the grit and mud and blood are all over you all the time. Given this, it is a beautifully made film the way it intricately paints this inconceivable and pervasive mood of despair.

The film is shot mostly in a documentary style with rustic credits and handheld sequences where blood and dirt actually splatter the lens. All of this pulls the audience in more not just as an observer but also as a participant.

This is not a feel good film but it doesn't leave you depressed. More thankful. It makes you look at life and appreciate what we take for granted everyday – parents and siblings and children. And a future.