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Sunday, November 30, 2003

Ahoy, snobfans! You may have noticed that I, Mil Peliculas, have not posted many reviews lately. Truth is, I've seen plenty of films, but haven't bothered to sit down to write any thoughtful comments about them. Let me do a wrap-up of my viewings of late...

Master and Commander - damn good, will be surprised if it's not nominated for Best Picture. Looney Tunes Movie - sucked, but didn't suck quite as much as I thought it would, that said, I'd stay away if I were you. Love Actually - fantastic, all the jokes seem to work in this one, ensemble cast works marvelously. Elf - momentarily sweet, mostly a waste of time, extremely okay. Matrix Revolutions - not bad, makes me wonder why they bothered making the second one though, still full of good ideas but awful dialog and no character moments to speak of, one of the major characters has a poignant death scene that is laughably bad.

Looking forward to Last Samurai and of course, the reason to live through the next month: Return of the King. Mil out.

Thursday, November 20, 2003


Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Written by Guillermo Arriaga
Running Time 125 Minutes
Rated R
Review by Mil Peliculas

Alejandro Inarritu is fast becoming the king of non-linear car accident movies. I don't mean that as a jab. Innaritu's new film, 21 Grams is sort of an English-speaking companion piece for his previous film Amores Perros, which was made in Mexico a few years back. Both films feature car accidents at the vortex of their volatile and complex stories.

21 Grams features Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro and Naomi Watts, and a great supporting cast, all giving it their best shot and hitting the mark. I don't want to reveal too much because part of the fun of watching this quite dismal film is piecing it together as you go. Told in a jarring, non linear fashion, more so than the usual non-linear meandering tapestries woven by your average art film, this one is quite in your face--gritty, bleak and grainy. Often cutting from one storyline to the other on the same character. One minute the guy's having a quiet smoke in the bathroom, the next minute his bloody body is being cradled by someone we know he hasn't even met yet. Yet it's not hard to follow. You know you're in good hands, and things will fall together in the end.

If you liked Amores Perros, you are in for a treat. As I said, the two have their similarities, but I think 21 Grams manages to make a bit more sense and does a better job at keeping it all reined in. So what's with the title? No, it is not a drug movie, although drugs do come into play. The 21 grams refers to a bizarre little tidbit of information spoken by Penn's character. Apparently when we die we all lose the exact same amount of weight: 21 grams. I have not researched this, but it's an interesting notion. Lets go with it for a second. 21 grams...that's basically what separates the living from the dead. How do we divide up that 21 grams? How much is pleasure, how much is pain? How much is happiness, or heartache? How much is revenge...guilt...and it's all gone at the moment of our death--the weight of a humming bird. I think the film tries to explore how we as humans divide up that little "carry-on bag" some might call the "soul." In the eyes of the writer and director, it seems that humans pack way too much of the bad stuff and not enough of the good. Certainly it's easy to focus on the bad things, especially when horrible things happen to us, and it's hard not to get swallowed by that "beast," as so many people do. This story is about those who get swallowed by the beast--hell, not just swallowed, they get torn to pieces.

I'm sure it was a real hoot to be on the set of this one. Nary a laugh to be heard the whole two hours. But hey, if I want to laugh, I'll bust out my DVD of Raising Arizona. When you sit down for this one, it's time to get serious. Trust me, if you have a thirst for a good, dark drama, this one is a big gulp.

Saturday, November 01, 2003


Directed by David Zucker
Written by Craig Mazin and Pat Proft
Based on characters stolen from other movies by Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Buddy Johnson, Phil Beauman, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer
Review by Mil Peliculas

This last credit amazed me. These guys have good agents. Based on characters created by these guys (I added the stolen part). But it's true. How can you invent a character that is the same character as the creepy girl from The Ring for instance? It's the same friggin' girl, just doing wacky stuff. WHATEVER.

Let's talk about Scary Movie 3. Actually, not a lot to talk about. It's the Airplane!, Naked Gun, Top Secret guys taking a whack at the horror spoof genre this time, and they pull it off as good or better than the Wayans boys and whoever the other guys are. It's a pretty clever mixture of the latest horror hits, and an occasional hearken back to some older ones too.

Charlie Sheen plays the Mel Gibson character from Signs , dealing with an alien invasion that's connected to the mysterious videotape going around. The one that people watch and then get killed one week later.

What can you really say about this type of movie. If the jokes are funny, then it works. For my taste, there were too many slow spots, but there are enough laughs for me to recommend it.