without a definite route

film flam: flags of our fathers, hollywoodland, click, jesus camp

on February 12, 2007

my new goal is to post my mini film review thingies on mondays. just a little structure…  

flags of our fathers – i really wanted to like this movie, but it was a little too disjointed for me. too awkward structurally. it uses a complicated framing mechanism to tell the story (a son interviewing men who knew his dad in the war) with several layers of voice-over that, honestly, confused me more than anything else. i didn’t know who was talking or why they were being interviewed. is the son a writer?  i blame executive producer stephen spielberg’s influence on clint eastwood. spielberg always has to add his dang present day bookends because he doesn’t trust his audience to “get it.” sorry, i can go off on that tangent for days. i think, maybe, that flags of our fathers is trying to do too much. i liked the different film stock and colors for the battle scenes and the scenes at home. that’s a trend i’ve been seeing a lot of. they used a similar method to differentiate between the two worlds in hollywoodland. eastwood is a masterful director and there were many small beautiful moments, but they just didn’t fit together well. perhaps the men would have been better honored if the film was two separate movies? speaking of companion movies, i am really excited to see letters from iwo jima.

hollywoodland – is there anything lovelier in this world than adrian brody’s hair? sigh. i just can’t figure this movie out. the production design was excellent and the performances were right on…ben affleck, diane lane, bob hoskins, adrian brody. it, also, seemed to be trying too hard. after it was over, josh said, “um…what was the theme?” that’s not a good sign if you have to ask that at all, let alone while the credits are still rolling. it’s not an oscar movie, by the by, but i had a snow day and got some movies at the video store. it was an interesting film to watch after so recently seeing the black dahlia. i love how the two films had both similarities and differences with the film noir/1950’s hollywood(land) era.

click – actually, up there with adrian brody’s hair is the loveliness of kate beckinsale. man, i have such a crush on her. even in dreck like this. she’s so pretty and shiny. anyhoo…there were some moments in this movie that i didn’t hate. in fact, i cried near the end at a sad part. i was successfully manipulated. score one for the frat boys. the rest of the moments? meh. i can’t say it any better than scott weinberg on efilmcritic.com: “shoots for capraesque, but settles happily for crapesque.” henry winkler and julie kavner (the voice of marge simpson!) were delightful as adam sandler’s parents. i’d watch a movie about them in a second.

jesus camp – “whenever i see someone who isn’t christian, i can tell that there’s something not right about them. i can tell that they are sick and it makes my soul feel icky.” says 10-year old levi of the buzz cut and 12′ rat tail. that’s how this movie made my soul and every other part of my body feel. very very icky. it’s a well made documentary that maintains an unobtrusive and unbiased distance allowing the subjects, who are mostly young children, to tell their own story. and what a disturbing story it is. i think it boils down to something about american christians keeping up with the terrorists (i’m sorry, our muslim enemies). after seeing these young kids in spiritual ecstasy, i won’t be shocked to hear about the first american suicide bombers. it also shows quite powerfully how freakin’ polarized our country is. pretty much firmed my resolve to raise emmit as a heathen.


3 responses to “film flam: flags of our fathers, hollywoodland, click, jesus camp

  1. lolly says:

    Doug cannot wait to see Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima. He read Fathers and wants to read Iwo Jima. He said that the book can really help you follow what’s going on. The author, James Bradley, is the son of John Bradley, one of the six flag raisers at Iwo Jima. The book is written in a narrative fashion about the author’s dad. He researched all the flag raisers to tell all of their stories (Doug is dictating while I’m typing). Is it really sad though? Like Saving Private Ryan sad? I just don’t do well with movies like that. It’s like the car accident you can’t stop watching. I am a definite movie wimp.

    Saw clips from the documentary on Good Morning America. Really don’t want to see it. It always amazes me how people can twist God’s words into something self serving. Those poor kids. I love my kids. I am raising them in the Christian faith with love and compassion and forgiveness and manners and boundaries. I didn’t see the whole documentary, but what I saw, I never want my children to see. They should change the name of the camp. I think it’s an insult to associate Christ’s name with it. But, that’s just my opinion:)

  2. lmb says:

    I think perhaps the scariest thing for me about Jesus Camp was the complexity of religion’s impact on these kids’ lives. It just wasn’t as simple as being able to say that it’s good or bad. All of the kids featured in the movie were intelligent, well-behaved, articulate, and well-mannered. (You could argue that that was in spite of, not because of, their religion, but I certainly felt that their upbringing had a lot to do with it.) And yet those intelligent, articulate kids are being indoctrinated into something that is so twisted, so terrifyingly wrong on every level. It definitely drove home a point about good and evil, and how you, me, even our “Muslim enemies” can be both.

  3. ramblinjaq says:

    oh, okay…that makes more sense now. i knew it was his son, but i didn’t know why he was interviewing the older guys. listen to me complain when a director spells stuff out too much and then whine about being confused when they don’t give enough info. i sure am demanding. give my big thanks to doug for ‘splaining that. it is sad. no way around that, but because i was confused by the narrative structure and also because it goes back and forth between battle scenes and homefront scenes, it didn’t make me cry. and let us all remember that i cried at the end of click. so…i don’t know what that says about me or the movie.

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