Lee Harris at TCS Daily makes the case: Today, no self-respecting conservative wants to be thought stupid, not even by the lunatics on the far left. Yet there are far worse things than looking stupid to others—and one of them is being conned by those who are far cleverer than we are....
After the litany of awkward antiwar polemics foisted on filmgoers in the fall (In the Valley of Elah, The Kingdom, Rendition, Lions for Lambs, Redacted), it seemed fair to ask what it would take for Hollywood to make a good movie about war and politics. The answer provided by writer Aaron Sorkin and director Mike Nichols is simplicity itself: Leave out most of the war and all the politics. Charlie Wilson’s War won’t have any effect on the course of world affairs--and it’s sensible enough to recognize this.
Here’s my advice: Before you see Juno--and you really, really should see Juno--forget everything you’ve heard or read about Diablo Cody. (If you don’t think you’ve heard or read anything, feel free to skip to the next paragraph.) It’s possible to have any of several reactions to the suddenly famous stripper-turned- blogger-turned-Golden-Globe-nominated-screenwriter--admiration, annoyance, envy--but it’s difficult not to have some reaction.
Atonement opens in 1935, at a stately manor in the English countryside. (Have I just explained in a dozen words why it will be nominated for Best Picture? Perhaps I have.) A thirteen-year-old girl is finishing a play on her typewriter, the typebars banging a martial beat on the white paper. The rat-a-tat-tatting continues, integrating itself into the soundtrack, even as she gets up with her completed draft and marches away.
"The Lord of the Rings is fundamentally an infantile work," Philip Pullman famously told The New Yorker back in 2005, drawing an unflattering comparison to his own epic fantasy trilogy, His Dark Materials. "Tolkien is not interested in the way grown-up, adult human beings interact with each other. He's interested in maps and plans and languages and codes." It is a cutting assessment, but one that may be dulled by the release of The Golden Compass, the first film based on Pullman’s trilogy.
Daniel Larison takes one look at Mike Huckabee's inane new foreign policy metaphor-- During the Cold War, you were a hawk or a dove, but this new world requires us to be a phoenix, to rise from the ashes of the twin towers with a whole new game plan for this very different enemy.
Where does Guy Ritchie end and Madonna begin? It’s a question posed, and perhaps answered, by Ritchie’s film Revolver, one of the most ill-conceived cinematic experiments in recent memory. The movie, which has finally arrived in the U.S. two years after flopping in Great Britain, is an unlikely hybrid of Ritchie’s trademarked cockney gangsterism (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; Snatch) and his wife’s Kabbalah Centre psychobabble, and it is a child only a parent could love.
“I’m going to ask you a question,” a bald assassin (Timothy Olyphant) tells the Interpol agent (Dougray Scott) he’s holding at gunpoint early in Hitman. “How you answer it will determine how this night ends.” The question is about when one is justified in taking the life of another, and though the movie ultimately offers an answer (roughly, “who knows?”), it doesn’t spend a great deal of time meditating on the subject.
Hollywood serves up something to be thankful for this holiday week with Enchanted, Disney’s endearing story of a cartoon princess thrust into modern-day, live-action New York City. The movie opens with a spot-on sendup of an animated fairy tale--these are, after all, the people who invented the template--in which Giselle (Amy Adams), a comely redhead who lives with her animal friends in the kingdom of Andalasia, pines for the day her prince will come.
Toward the end of Brian De Palma’s Redacted, a pierced and tattooed antiwar protester hisses into the camera, “You don’t see the My Lai massacre in the movies because the truths of that fascist orgy are just too hellish for even liberal Hollywood to cop to.” This is the director’s backhanded way of complimenting himself.