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June   3

Flick Tonight?

Cinema Layer Cake does sound yummy, but of the flicks playing this weekend, race right over to see to Crash. This stunning must-see drama revolves around the strangely intertwined events of seemingly unrelated people over a 36 hour time period. The cause-and-effect theme is never lost along the way, and is always connected with racism and prejudice – the catalysts that spark the movie from one horrific event to another. The backdrop of LA and the LAPD is the perfect canvas for this race relations allegory. Small-screen 24 fans will appreciate the boxy, surgical editing and brilliant cinematography – as lean as the story itself, once again reminding us that this is merely a moral tale, not just fiction; a warning of what we all could stumble into at any time.

Crash is Paul Haggis’s stunning directorial debut. The acting is superb, and an excellent example of “ensemble” acting – no one shines above the others – makes us wonder if there’ll ever be an ensemble category at Oscar time. But it is lovely to see a rather uncongenial Sandra Bullock. For what to rent...

Baristaflix602_1 We’ve been Deep Throat obsessed (the R one, not the X) all week, but must admit, we’ve become a tad foggy on the details. Alan Pakula’s 1976 account of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward’s journalistic investigation of the White House cover-ups and Watergate scandal is a wonderful recap of actual events, and an excellent movie in its own right with a fresh-faced Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as the caped crusaders risking limb and life to get the goods. (By the way, we were at Camp Echo Lark when Nixon resigned; where were you?)

June 3, 2005 in Movie Mojo | Permalink


LOVED Crash and would go see it again...

I agree, it was nice to see Sandra Bullock play someone who definitely wouldn't win the Miss Congeniality award...

Posted by: butchcjg | Jun 3, 2005 5:12:56 PM

Irene, can you explain what you mean by "this is merely a moral tale, not just fiction"? It seems that "merely" should not be there.

Posted by: Chris | Jun 3, 2005 5:31:02 PM

I miss the Wellmont and its X rated movies.

Posted by: Mickey Mouse | Jun 3, 2005 5:33:48 PM

Forget "Layer Cake." It's awful, shallow, violent and worst of all, incomprehensible. I'm friendly with a film critic, who'd said he liked it in his web column, but after I saw it I emailed him with a few questions about the plot. Which he admitted he couldn't answer either. Not remotely. He called it "a bit murky at times." How about for almost its entire length?

I also saw "Crash" a few weeks back. Kind of well-meaning but wimpish liberalism, and utterly phony plot developments. One of those "we're-all-connected" kind of movies, which conveniently provided redemption for its worst character and tough luck for its seeming best. Speechy, too. For something a bit more interesting about racial politics, can I recommend, if it ever turns up again, "The Liberation of L.B. Jones?" This was, of all damn directors, William Wyler's last movie and it's a real surprise in its anger and sweaty eroticism. WIth an ending not easily to be believed. Or sat through. And it's especially poignant if one knows the story of what happened in the family life of the author of the original novel, Jesse Hill Ford (which, come to think of it, might make a neat column for Neil Baldwin some day). Truly tragic, and racially tinged, events.

Posted by: c | Jun 3, 2005 7:36:43 PM

Saw "Madagascar" tonight for the second time this week. Found new things to laugh at and more references to note. Two thumbs up!

Posted by: Jessica | Jun 3, 2005 10:23:18 PM

c is too critical of Crash. This movie is intelligent, thoughtful, and perfomed and directed wonderfully. (Although, I thought Sandra Bullock's acting was see-through.) I am now a huge Don Cheadle fan.
Furthermore, the movie gives us a chance to self-examine our own prejudices--we all need a reality check once in a while.
Go see this if Cinderella man is sold out.

Posted by: grme | Jun 4, 2005 9:36:36 AM

(I am now a huge Don Cheadle fan.)

Did not know he was in this movie- I will for sure see it now. If you like Cheadle, go see Hotel Rwanda. (Or I guess you will need to rent it as its not in theaters any longer...)

He is an amazing actor.

Posted by: Pam | Jun 4, 2005 10:11:38 AM

I agree with you, grme.
Some people will pick apart anything...but this movie is definitely a must-see!

I love Don Cheadle too...

Posted by: butchcjg | Jun 4, 2005 12:47:14 PM

I was 11 or 12 when Nixon resigned. Living in England, our family was on vacation in Copenhagen, Denmark when people came up to us and told us, "your president resigned". I'll never forget how embarrassed we felt.

Posted by: amy | Jun 4, 2005 12:51:00 PM

I was 13 when he resigned.

Coincidentally, I was in Europe as well, on the beach in Riomaggiore, Italy, and an English boy came up to me and told me excitedly "Nixon resigned!" (we Americans sure stick out like a sore thumb). I had taken to reading the international edition of Newsweek regularly at the time, so I can't say I was surprised. Embarrassed? No. A bit excited and a bit disappointed, and concerned that we had entered a new era of "gotcha" journalism and politics, from which we would not be able to extricate ourselves.

I was right, of course, but 30 years later, as both politics and journalism continue to sink ever lower, being right carries little satisfaction.

Posted by: Carl Bergmanson | Jun 4, 2005 4:55:18 PM

(By the way, we were at Camp Echo Lark when Nixon resigned; where were you?)

Teenager in Los Angeles ...

Dad & I were glued to the TV during the hearings. He absolutely despised Nixon, but was sad when the President resigned. It was not a good day for America.

Posted by: Pam | Jun 4, 2005 5:41:16 PM

In my heart, Nixon never resigned. (But he was forced out by assorted lying rats, pinkos, sanctimonious Democrats, etc.) And did you really think I could resist saying something like this? I'm just surprised I beat ROC to it.

Posted by: cathar | Jun 5, 2005 11:21:53 AM

(my heart, Nixon never resigned. (But he was forced out by assorted lying rats, pinkos, sanctimonious Democrats, etc.)

Ugh, a Nixon fan...yuck.

I will quote my Dad- as he used to say when people complained about Clinton's sexual shenanigans...

"Maybe if Nixon had screwed a mistress, he wouldn't have screwed the nation."

Posted by: Pam | Jun 5, 2005 2:32:34 PM

Ha, yeah, precious bodily fluids can back up and cloud the mind.

Posted by: Chris | Jun 5, 2005 2:42:32 PM

I knew some of the "usual suspects" would reply. Aren't we all getting a mite predictable here?

Posted by: cathar | Jun 5, 2005 2:51:09 PM

Join the club, bub.

Posted by: Chris | Jun 5, 2005 3:37:28 PM

I did use the collective "we" there, child.

Posted by: cathar | Jun 5, 2005 5:41:20 PM

I was a high school student in Caldwell, NJ.

Even though I'm a conservative, I hated Nixon. I thought he was one of the worst presidents we ever had, in my short lifetime anyway. I'll never forget his tired phrase, "Peace with Honor." WTF was that supposed to mean?

And then there was the whole Watergate fiasco. His whole administration was crooked from the inside out.

I did not agree with the reasoning behind the Vietnam Conflict (I refuse to call it a "war" because if it had been conducted like a real war, the U.S. could have fought like a real opponent).

The "quote/unquote" peace treaty that ended the Vietnam Conflict led to a Communist invasion of South Vietnam and the flight of hundreds of thousands of people. Some "peace with honor."

Posted by: Miss Martta | Jun 5, 2005 7:25:34 PM

Speaking as someone who was "over there," Miss Martta, one of the constant gripes of my fellow grunts was that nobody "over here" seemed to care about them. (My own constant gripe was that, despite the many peace rallies I'd attended in college, well, golly, those rat bastards in the NVA and VC kept shooting at me. What was that all about? Didn't they know I cared for them? Nah, turns out they didn't care back a rat's ass, brutal butchers and nun-rapers that they were.))

Where I was stationed for a while, there were a number of prominent religions (or sects) other than Buddhists much in evidence. One was the Cao Dai, another the Bao Dai, and one of them for some weird reason worshipped Victor Hugo as a "saint," although he'd never so much as set foot in Viet Nam. And of course there were Catholics, 35-40% of the population (especially in the ruling and military classes), people who had much to fear from a godless Communist dictatorship. When "peace with honor" was declared, I knew the bootheel (of the Communist jackboot) would come down hardest on all the above folks. I've never read a book on religious issues in Nam, but assure readers they loomed large if you were actually there, and if anyone knows of a book about "our" war specifically covering this area, please feel free to post here and tell me about it.

Posted by: cathar | Jun 5, 2005 11:28:06 PM

I was also at Camp Echo Lark when Nixon resigned. I remember they wheeled a television set into the mess hall, so we could all watch this historic event.

Who are you?

Posted by: David Yaffe | Jun 15, 2005 6:42:05 PM

i was also at camp echo lark i was only 8 i remember getting soda from the canteen and then watching it in the dining room

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