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Bill Moore

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  1. Well, I had time to burn last weekend, and so grabbed a bowl of over-priced Ben&Jerry's (is there any other kind?) from the concession stand, picked up my 3D glasses, and headed in to see this movie. I went in unspoiled, and not really caring if I liked it or not. I grinned like a happy school boy through the whole thing. Yes, it's not literature, and it's not high art. It's clumsy in places, and no one will be fun-quoting the dialog at parties anytime soon, (a-la-Princess Bride). But it was deliciously, ebulliently, over-the-top. I'll see it again. I vaguely remember the Lester version, and as much as I thought I wanted to like Michael York back in those days, I don't remember his Musketeers too well, or too fondly. Perhaps I need to give them another try. This was like an update of the Disney brat-pack version, but with more non-name-brand actors and more fun. I know this new one was a thud at the box office, and with discerning viewers. But you can't make me not like it.
  2. Or just the opposite. Judging from the adult laughter in the theater, I suspect more than one adult found the skewering of Tangled's "maternal vampire" satisfyingly cathartic. I suspect it would depend on how far along in the "dealing with" process they are.
  3. Evan and Beth - I did indeed have thoughts about the villainy of "Mother" in the movie. This is not Cruella, a madcap clown of a villain. This is a selfishly manipulative woman who uses "love" and passive-aggressive guilt to keep Rapunzel in bondage. It is a level of inter-personal evil that goes beyond most of the other Disney villains I can think of. For most children, I suspect there will not be a problem. The "Mother" is clearly the "Bad Guy" and so she gets what she deserves and all is well. Happy endings all round. One concern, as I pondered the movie, was for those adults in the audience who had grown up with this kind of woman as "Mother", and were perhaps now dealing with it in their adulthood. I can't imagine that their experience at the movies that day was an especially pleasant one. My other concern, though, had to do with our particular parenthood situation. My wife and I sat there in the theater with our little 7-year-old adopted daughter. We are aware that sometimes, for some adopted children, there is a time when they fantasize about what life would have been like if they had stayed with their original family. If there is stress in the adoptive home, or conflict, or grief about what was lost, and what might have been, these fantasies can be very powerful and obsessive. So here was a movie that, for some girls, be interpreted as validation for their fantasies about their "real" home, their "real" parents. Things in their adoptive family might be messy and unpleasant for whatever real-life reasons, and here was a movie that could reinforce their (perhaps unconscious) belief that they were "stolen away" and that if they could have just stayed where they were born, things would be so much better. They know, just know, they are really a princess that was taken. And this movie has the potential, for those specific children, of feeding their dreams. Our little girl was very quiet and thoughtful on the way home, and I wonder what her little mind was processing.
  4. The whole was not greater than the sum of its parts, but some of the parts were delightful. The movie worked when it recaptured images from the book - the cheesburger shower, the pancake on the school roof, the ice cream. Or, when it extrapolated from them and went bigger - the spaghetti tornado was exactly what one would look like. Several good character moments, especially with Sam... and even Steve. Others felt forced (including the heavy-handed Mr. T and son emphasis. Like, I get it. They have a great relationship, and, like, Flint and his Dad don't. Wow. Ironic contrast... who would have seen that coming?) Missteps - and by that, I mean story developments that took me out of the fantasy, and caused eye-rolling and sighing: Favorite parts: * The jello palace * Dad and the computer
  5. Bill Moore


    That's a good essay, N.K.
  6. Bill Moore


    I'm also glad I missed out on all the behind-the-scenes kerfuffle over this movie (both pro- and con-). My wife and I watched it for the first time last night, and were deeply moved. It was one of those rare shared experiences for us, where we find ourselves thinking about it through the night, and talking about it the next day. It makes me wonder what to think about film criticism in general. A critic says Bella was "plodding" and had "story flaws." I don't know what to do with that. In our experience the story moved along at a good pace for the subject matter. Does everything have to be jump cuts and frenetic camera work? Was it "predictable"? I don't know... there were some things I saw coming, but others that I did not. More importantly, I felt drawn into these character's lives, without a name-brand celeb around to pull me out of the moment. For me the ending was near-perfect. Yes, I want to know where Nina was for five years. I want to know what Jose's family thought about his decision. I want to know how he worked out living arrangements. What happened to the little girl's mother? Did she ever find peace? I could go on and on, but my point is that in an age where many many movies end with "everyone learns a lesson" and all the loose ends are tied up in a bow, I thought this ending was a refreshing change. This movie was a pro-choice, pro-abortion, pro-life, pro-adoption battleground? Dang, and here I was thinking it was a drama about broken people finding a way through friendship, love, and self-sacrifice to some measure of healing. In more clumsy hands, this story would have been told with eros being the source of healing. The climactic scene would have been one of "lovemaking" on the beach, in the light if their lanterns, as Jose and Nina found solace in sexual union. Instead, while eros may indeed be present at some level between them, they appear to understand that something more important is going on. OK... so it didn't "work" for some people. "Different strokes..." and all that, I guess. But I sure don't know what to do with it. How can someone not recognize goodness when they see it? (And here I don't mean technical goodness - I'm not knowledgeable enough about the craft to spot flaws in camera work, acting, color direction, plot construction, or beard glue. I suppose Bella was rife with that sort of problem...)
  7. Stumbled across the DVD to this over the weekend, and stayed up well into the wee hours watching the whole thing in one sitting. It's presented in a 2-disk "collectors edition" with parts 1 and 2 on the first disk, part 3 and bonuses on the second. Anyone else see it? Comments? "Tin Man" retells the story of Baum's "The Wizard of Oz" in a semi-modern, sci-fi setting. It does not try to be a straight adaptation, but rather a translation - taking a familar story and setting in different visual and narrative language. So, for example, "Scarecrow" is not actually a scarecrow, but a man who had part of his brain removed (magically/alchemically). The Tinman is not a man made of tin, but rather a man who's heart has been broken and hardened by tragedy. And so on. There are multitudes of references and homages to the original story (and to the great Oz musical film that everyone knows). But the story told is a different one, and as things progress the parallels to the original get fewer. The presentation is also darker and more twisted - similar to the Disney film "Return to Oz", and perhaps even more "adult" in some places. Part 1 completely drew me in. I was captivated with the twist on the story itself, waiting for each new character to appear, and to see how the familiar story would be made new. The overlay of memory and dream with D.G.'s quest for answers (and home) was well executed, with plenty of creepy foreboding. Part 1 ended with a huge cliffhanger, and I had to immediately go into the next episode. Part 2 and 3 blend together in my mind. As the story went on, it got a little more predictable, a little less surprising in it's translation of the Oz story. It also seemed to get a little more caught up in the "travel to this place next for your next clue" kind of plotting. Not that it was not interesting. The reveal of what actually happened to D.G.'s sister, for example, was frightening and heartbreaking, even though I saw it coming a mile away. Acting was fine for a TV production. Sometimes Zooey seemed a little too accepting of all the weirdness, and her predicament. (Oh, and don't watch the interview with her, if you treasure a fantasy of her as a well-spoken intellectual...). Production values were good - the only CG animation that stood out to me as awful were the orchard creature/hunters. Something I would watch again, I think, with my older kids. I just wish the film makers had been able to maintain the creative re-invention of Part 1 throughout the remainder.
  8. I stopped reading this thread several pages ago, in preparation for seeing the movie this past weekend. (Wanted to stop spoiling myself... ). Getting back into the conversation, and catching up as best I can, I admit that I'm disheartened by some of the criticism I read here. Not that the points are invalid as such... just that somehow it saps some of the joy and elation I experienced as part of my viewing of Wall-E. The whole thing - story, art, design, satire - worked for me. I was not put off by the "swipes" at our human foibles, or the apparent "hypocrisy" of a multi-national corp lecturing us on over-consumption. I, and our family (ages 4 through 17), found it to be fun, funny, sad, thoughtful, romantic, redemptive. We talked about it the whole way home. We did not experience it as cynical or foreboding, but cautionary and hopeful. Certainly people's tastes differ, and I know that I don't have the expertise in film or storytelling as the some of the rest of you. I'm sure I missing the fine points of criticism, perhaps content to slurp a sweet concoction without regard to content. And so my opinion is worth exactly what you paid for it... B PS -> If I must get a sermon with my animation, I'd far rather see Wall-E again than sit through another showing of The Lorax or (shudder) Happy Feet.
  9. Bill Moore

    The Incredible Hulk

    I suppose it's a reboot in the sense that it has a totally new slate of actors. But I agree that - at least based on the trailer - it really doesn't look like a new start. Well, Hulk is significantly uglier. Does that count? I liked aspects of the earlier version, in spite of all its problems. But this one is just unappealing to me. Edward Norton does not look like the right actor for the part, for one thing.
  10. Speaking of Mr. Fraser - I see he's in Journey to the Center of the Earth this summer too. So that makes two wild adventures for him in one season. Come to think of it, Jet Li is doubling up as well, with the already forgotten Forgotten Kingdom. The first Mummy was a fun ride, and I return to it now and then. (I recall the extra features on the DVD were well done too - better than most). The second was a mess, I recall, and I didn't see it more than once. Some of the individual scenes were cool, but the overall story... ugh. As for the sort-of sequel, Scorpion King - didn't see it. No Brenden Fraser = not a real Mummy movie... B
  11. Bill Moore


    Ha. Good point. Though, I just saw the latest trailer again on television last night, and it's clear they are marketing this as the more-or-less family-friendly Will Smith ala Independence Day and Men in Black.
  12. Anything more on this one? We had the trailer for it before Prince Caspian and I must admit I was impressed. The story may well be a disaster (as was the second Mummy) but the concept of the clay army of Xian come to life excites me. Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh, dragons, Great Wall, Xian army... all the ingredients are there. But something tells me the cake didn't bake...
  13. Bill Moore


    I was looking forward to this one too... the trailer made it look like a hoot. Bummer. Sounds like they really did not know what to do with this one, during production. Look, if you are going to make a gross-out comedy/actioner (ala Scary Movie or Hot Fuzz) then go for the hard R rating and be done with it. Have all the ejaculation humor and decapitation gore you want. Advertise as such. There's a market for it. But if you advertise your movie as a fun superhero comedy featuring the lovable Mr. Smith, then be sure to deliver that product. Ah well... on to other things....
  14. scene magnificent? Yes... I was wondering how that would play out, and I thought it really brought to the forefront the temptation to use "unrighteous" powers for "righteous" gain (if I may inject some religious talk here). It would have perhaps been more satisfying a scene to somehow I also wondered if that scene, or a follow-up to it, would have been a good place to resolve the Peter-Caspian conflict, which I felt was not settled very well. Overall though, CrimsonLine, I'm with you on my enjoyment of this adaptation. Took my 14-year-old and 17-year-old to it last night - both big fans. We've read the books together, and listened to the radio drama adaptations (both the BBC and Focus on the Family). I hear and appreciate the various criticisms of the movie - especially of the continue de-deification of Aslan. But for a big-money 'hollywood' adaptation, they did a better job of it than I had feared. The settings were beautiful, the battle scenes thrilling without being gruesome. The story had an overcast of sadness and longing - of the ancient days gone, old friends long dead, of leaving Narnia, of missing Aslan, of Caspian torn between his people and what he knows is right. Pretty serious, for a "summer popcorn flick." B
  15. Bill Moore

    The Incredible Hulk

    The trailer is ... ok. I don't see anything here though that improves on the story - or execution - of Ang Lee's attempt. Plus, doesn't the overall story seem too similar to Iron Man? Summary: "hero has to avoid US military and take on larger version of himself in climactic battle." I know that's skimming the surface of both stories too much to be really fair, but that what I thought of when I watched this trailer. With Iron Man, Hancock, Indy and Batman all headed to the theaters this summer, I don't see how this re-do can be a hit - or even that attractive. B
  16. Yep, that's the one. Not a classic, I believe, so the names had slipped my memory...
  17. I would actually be more encouraged to see The Dark Knight if Joker were less of the story. We've seen the Batman vs. Joker story already, and some of the scenes in this trailer remind me of Burton's version (the showdown in the street, for instance). I'm sure Nolan's take on it will be different, but I was hoping they would hold off on Joker's appearance for another film - maybe just hinting at it, like they did in Batman Begins. One of the (many) things I liked about Begins was how different characters were used - Scarecrow, etc. - so it was not just a repeat of the Burton/Schumacher series. (As a comparison, Superman has had to face down Lex Luther - or a Luther wanna-be - in every movie so far. Give the rich bald guy a rest, would ya?) So, perhaps a story focus on Two-face will be better for the series - and a better story overall. Though again, that's a repeat character from the earlier series, so time will tell. (I'm hoping the take on Two-face this time is better - the earlier attempt felt like Tommy Lee Jones was trying to out-crazy Nicholson's Joker. I've never had the impression that Two-face is a cackler...)
  18. I had only just heard about Imaginarium and was hoping that it could be a tighter, cleaner, more enjoyable fantasy from Gilliam & Co. (as compared to The Brothers Grimm). Instead they appear to have canceled the project. Apart from Ledger's tragic death, what a blow to Gilliam! Are all his productions plagued? Is it usual practice to cancel a production when one of the principles dies? They finished The Crow, I know, and there was some vampire movie in recent years that released even after the principle actress died. (I think I'm remembering that correctly, though I can't think of the movie, or the actress.) Of course, with Gilliam's bad-luck track record, the company may just be hedging bets and taking their losses now...
  19. Bill Moore

    The Brothers Grimm

    Finally got around to seeing this (and I'm struck at the coincidence of seeing my first Heath Ledger movie just a couple days before his untimely death). I'll agree with the criticisms that the film seems unfinished, or suffers from a confused sense of what kind of film it wants to be. Several of the deleted scenes on the DVD would have helped to flesh out the story a little, but overall it is a mess. But a mess with some wonderful bits in it. SOME SPOILERS AHEAD - I'm not tagging it, since I don't know for sure what counts as spoiler, and the movie has been out on DVD for a long time now anyway. Things that worked (for me): - the cursed horse - spooky, creepy, scary, dreadful - the cursed well (and "gingerbread man") - the establishing scenes of the red cloaked girl, and "Hans & Gretal" in the forest - the set design of the village - the tower, the mirror, the queen - design, story, Monica, temptation, sacrifice - I bought into it all. Things that didn't work for me: - Lena's character - "more grim than the Grimms" I think one review had it. Unsympathetic, and hard to relate to. Never warmed to her as a character. - The torturer character - what movie did he sneak in from? Annoying, over-the-top, scene chewing. Lose him from this film and you lose nothing. Ugh. Keep Pryce as the "villain", fine, but just use nameless henchmen for the story duties required by the torturer, and cut out all the melodramatics. His turn of character at the end was unbelievable and in no way redeemed him from his earlier evil. Ugh. - CG of the wolf. I liked the concept of who he was, and his place in the story. The effects were bad though, and I wonder if they could have achieved the same story/character without CG, using costuming and practical effects. Older werewolf movies managed to do so. I kept thinking that if they (Gilliam?) had just dialed back on the gruesomeness a little, this could have been a great Halloween "scary movie" for families to watch. As it is, I was surprised that it squeaked through with just a PG-13. (More "ratings creep" perhaps?) Things that could have been dropped to this end? - the aforementioned torturer, and everything related to him (Want to keep some of the torture scenes to ratchet up the danger? Fine - the snail-box head-boxes were icky without being utterly horrible.) - the chopped kitten and tasty treat scene - the introduction of Lena's tracker character - was there a point to her skinning and gutting the rabbit on screen? - the decapitations of the Grimms' helpers Oh well. Add this to the shelf next to Van Helsing in the "Wonderful Concept, Poor Execution" category. B
  20. Yes, sad news... though not entirely unexpected, because of his earlier reported health problems. I've been an avid Pratchett reader for 20 years, and this announcement packs an emotional punch for me. I know he's generally categorized in the "light fiction" section, but several of his Discworld stories are anything but "light". In terms of shaping my faith and worldview, Pratchett is in company with Frederick Buechner and C.S. Lewis. As an an atheist and secular humanist, he is a severe critic and satirist of the worst of religion - and the worst of humanity. Yet some of his characters are people of faith who demonstrate goodness and compassion - and in these he gently shows what godliness can look like. So, I pray for him - whether he wants me to or not - and all the more as I see the day approaching.
  21. Bill Moore


    Ah, yes, the Fisherman's Wife. That could explain it. Hmm... wonder if that picture was on the walls in the one scene where Paprika jumped into the painting.
  22. Bill Moore


    We appreciated Millennium Actress but I think I enjoyed Paprika more. (My wife did not watch P with me, since she is sensitive to scenes of graphic violence or sexual violence, and P was an unknown in that regard.) I'm not sure MA grabbed me as much (as a story). But it was still top notch - and did not have the (potentially offensive) scenes to complicate it. Regarding some of the themes and story of Paprika here are a couple questions for any of you who saw it, spoiler-tagged for your protection: (1) I liked the police detective subplot - though as opus mentioned it was perhaps not as tightly woven into the story as it could have been. But did anyone else think the mystery of his past was going a different place? (2) What the heck is it with Japanese artists and (3) In the final confrontation, Paprika says something about Is there another interpretation of that event that I'm not seeing? (4) Just a comment - I appreciated how the romantic tension was resolved in an unexpected way, B
  23. Bill Moore


    Rented it, with a little bit of fear and trepidation seeing the "R" rating for violence and sex. While I am admittedly under-experienced (and glad of it) of the nastier side of Japanese movie making, I'm aware of enough that I was dreading what might develop as visual or thematic plot points. Thankfully the artists chose not to go down that road as far as they could have, and so the R-rated scenes did not feel gratuitous or pornographic. Still, there were certainly some disturbing scenes and imagery, making the movie not a cartoon for kids. And if you are someone who is creeped-out by dolls heads and such, well, this is NOT the movie for you! That said, I was entranced by this movie. Beautiful artwork, dreams (and nightmares) come to life, a musical score that exhilarates and unsettles - sometimes in the same scene. Some of the CG work was delicate and lovely, like in the clouds of butterflies, or in the tassels on the hanging lanterns, for instance. I got lost a couple times during the dialog, knowing who was referring to whom. The characters are visually distinct, and easy to keep straight. But they seemed to have multiple names and nicknames, or something, and I didn't always know who they were talking about. (I watched with the English dub because I didn't want to be distracted from the visuals by having to read subtitles.) Don't know what more to talk about here without putting spoiler tags everywhere. A thought-provoking, unsettling - but also uplifting - film. Thanks to everyone here in this thread for the recommendation. B
  24. Good stuff in your interview with Pullman, Peter. He has a book coming that will deal with Jesus! Can't imagine there would be any controversy there, though... Just an aside: Imagine what fun we could have if someone decided to film Peirs Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series? The last entry, especially, would really get the buzz going, I suspect...
  25. Here is a comment from Father Stephen Freeman on this, that expresses some of what I was trying to say earlier:
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