Thursday, January 12, 2006

It's a warm and fuzzy year in film


Originally uploaded by mitchcrumrine.

Until I attended a screening of Brokeback Mountain, Good Night and Good Luck was without compare, my pick for the best film of the year, as it is a very important film that every “American” should watch. In that review, I mentioned that I could not declare “Luck” the most important film yet [imo] as I was waiting for Munich and Syriana. And so, Wednesday night, I came one step closer as I ventured to Munich.

Munich 5/10

Put aside the profound depressive state Brokeback Mountain emotionally spiraled me into about six weeks ago, and let’s deal with a feeling that brings out the warm and fuzzies in us all, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Okay, please tell you me didn’t think I was serious. I’m going to talk about Munich in a way most don’t attempt to, by separating the film from the topic of the film. I in no way wish to touch on the Israeli Palestinian conflict. How can I do that? By talking about filmmaking. Also, while I’ve shared it before I’ll share it again. My family is composed of Jews, Arabs, Asians, Latin Americans, and tons of PA Dutch (Deutch) folk. We also picked up a Catholic somewhere along the way. Personally, I have very strong feelings on the entire debachal and on going atrocities of the Middle East. I am very one-sided and anyone who has ever brought up the topic with me knows how fiercely angry and passionate I get. So without inflaming and violating the sanctity of the blog, I choose to keep my “pro” feelings to myself.

The Film…

Spielberg and Kazminski’s latest collaboration perfected fluid camera work, a subtle a trademark of the two. Through cranes and dollies the camera’s motion created an antithetical complement to the comments of uncomfortable stillness. The chemistry and physics applied to the light itself is absolutely brilliant. While it’s been sadly five years since my hands touched any raw film stock, I’m posing a guess that the negative skipped the bleaching process. The white light of the film was so fiery hot that it made that iconic scene in Out of Sight seem tame. Although Munich benefits from awe-inspiring photography, the visuals were crafted with such finesse that there was never a stylistic distraction from the narrative.

The wonderful ensemble cast was fantastic including the new (and improved?) James Bond, Daniel Craig. Eric Bana once again brings to life an honorable, yet tragically flawed hero, similar to those in The Hulk and Troy. Bana is so masterful with this type of character, that his repeat performance doesn’t lose anything or belittle the film.

Unfortunately, that’s all Munich has going for it. First, I have a problem with the title as it would have been better off to retain, Vengence, the title of the book it was based upon. The film deals very little with the incident at Munich and uses it only as a precipitating incident. The screenplay suffered from a horrible structure and becomes a dragging jumble of ideologies, plots, and conspiracies. Many scenes seemed to have not purpose other than to manipulate emotions that by this point of the film have already shut down. After the first 45 minutes, dialogue floats away and the film becomes mundane and confusing, no to mention impossible to cohesively resolve towards the end. All of this is quite shocking seeing that the literary genius Tony Kushner (Angels in America playwright) and Forrest Gump and Insider scribe, Eli Roth, were behind the screenplay.

Munich is the not film it could have been nor is it the film it should have been. If it weren’t so blasé it would be insulting.

Sidenote: I was unable to see Syriana during the couple weeks it was available here. I have The Constant Gardener at home and Narnia and Geisha in the works. Capote isn’t available until March on DVD, but Pride and Prejudice and The Squid and the Whale are available next month. So, The Brain Drain Popcorn Honors will be announced on Wednesday, March 1st.

7 Comments:

At 12:12 PM, Blogger Darren said...

I'm not reviewing it but I'd give it a 7/10. I'm actually glad you didn't like it that much as while the film touches greatness for a substantial amount of time, it's about 20 minutes too long. The reason I asked you about cinematography is because I didn't think the work here is that great but I guess I was wrong? I thought the editing was fantastic. I don't really know much about Israeli-Palestinian conflicts as that would shatter my world of Kidman-Zellweger conflicts. But I didn't walk away feeling anything regarding that matter other than that Eric Bana is #1) VERY HOT #2) Really miscast here and that Daniel Craig's outfits were tight enough to keep me interested for the film's running time. God, Bond so needs some tight outfits. Yum Yum, gimme some. I do agree the majority of problems lie in the screenplay, which seems to be very repetitive in the "hey, let's kill this person" then "this person" and so on. The movie didn't feel like it was building to anything. It could have ended any time and I would have been like "hmph." However, the best aspects of it are in the way it utilizes the mechanics of a standard thriller. Good in parts, but no great sum. Like so many of today's movies. And I will blame every problem with the film on Universal's insistance to get this film out so fast. They should have held it off a year which would have given them better time to create a film. Some people consider this Spielberg's best work but there are lots of Spielberg fanboys in the world. I'd say its on par with Amistad.

Spoken like a true Darren.

 
At 12:14 PM, Blogger Darren said...

And OMG that sex scene was so bad. After such great, disturbing sex in Brokeback and History of Violence, to shame!

 
At 2:23 PM, Blogger Mitchell - Crumrine said...

I was going to comment about the hotness of the wardrobe but I figured it was vastly inappropriate, but since you opened that door. Never has a 70's set film featured such hot wardrobing. Certainly not Josh Hartnett... The music was weird because I really don't think a southern soul singer can unite jewish assassin's and the PLO. Maybe I just complicate things. Bana was his hottest ever in this film.

 
At 2:26 PM, Blogger Mitchell - Crumrine said...

Oh and the sex scene I found incredibly offensive and not in the way that it makes a "statement." He was getting off while fantasizing about Munich yet was tender when he'd kill people? Bad move. Oh and the bomb guy, totally hot. Daniel Craig doesn't do it for me at all. He's so Aryan looking it was bizarre casting.

 
At 2:28 PM, Blogger Darren said...

The bomb guy was in Amelie - much MUCH hotter there. He also directed Gothika. Craig didn't do anything for me in Layer Cake, but he was hot in this.

 
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