Sunday, March 08, 2009

Way Past Their Shelf Life: Obsolete Reviews

I've mostly been hunkering down in the house the last week or two, so I have no reports of awesome things we saw or did. But I have these notes on things we Netflixed or read:

T.C. Boyle's The Tortilla Curtain. I know - I'm right on top of the NYT Bestseller's List - of 1995. But it's hard to keep up, and I got a used hard cover version at Powell's for $9.95. The Tortilla Curtain is Crash without all the 5th grade "don't miss the fact that I am a bigot in this scene" expositional dialogue. If everybody read The Tortilla Curtain, we would still be arguing about illegal immigration, but with a little more thought and less hate. However, my 1995 copy came with an author's photo on the dust jacket that nearly drowned out the story inside.

T. Coraghessan Boyle in 1995

What doesn't that picture say about the author? I heard him discuss his latest book lately, and whatever it is you thought that picture said, you are right. Except maybe his sexual orientation. It was 1995, after all.

Pineapple Express. This movie is exactly what you think it is: a stoner movie, but with some notable exceptions: they made a point of keeping the story moving and adding some action movie elements, such as chase scenes and bad guys.

Atonement. Better than expected, based on its Oscar worthiness last year (which usually is a movie screener tool for me - if it won an Oscar, I can skip it). Yes, there's a way-too-skinny Keira Knightly, mooning around in period costume. But there's also some kick-ass WWII scenes, and serious wrong-doing that you would seriously appreciate seeing some atonement for. Go ahead and Netflix it.

The Good Shepherd. We watched the whole (long) thing, but it was a bit of a slog. And Matt Damon played his CIA operative character with such a stone face that I wondered if he was playing him post-dental-surgery.

Son of Rambow. Once upon a time in Eng-a-land, a very sheltered kid and his friend, a kid left to run wild, decide to do their own remake of Rambo. Don't be fooled by its Rambo-like name. It's a lot of fun, and it's Stallone free.

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