Posts Tagged movie review

Cars 2 Isn’t a Lemon. Its a Saab.

I haven’t seen Cars 2 (and probably won’t; Cars didn’t grab me), but I enjoyed this contrarian review of Cars 2 and other Pixar movies.

Wall-E is about a robot that is programmed to pile up trash and search for any signs of a plant. Plants are seen as socially redemptive. This is the theme of organicism vs. mechanism — a 200-year-old theme in Western civilization. Liberals cheer for plants. Libertarians cheer for machines. Conservatives can’t make up their minds.Fundamentalists are unaware of the debate.

Every time the Pixar writers let their liberalism creep into their plot lines, they weaken the appeal of their films. When they keep their liberalism to themselves, they get Toy Story. Why? Because Toy Story is about doing good, not do-goodism.

The strength of their films is their commitment to the theme of doing good. The bane of their films is their commitment to do-goodism. Do-goodism is corporate. Doing good is personal. Do-goodism leads to self-satisfaction — the same moral weakness that undermined the old Lightning McQueen. Doing good produces inner change.

Do-goodism fights The Uncaring System. There was no Uncaring System in Finding Nemo. There was no Uncaring System in Toy Story and Toy Story 2. There was in Toy Story 3: the bad section of the day care. But it was the extension of one toy’s paranoia, not because of the day care as a system. Liberals believe in day care. When Pixar ignores Uncaring Systems, the company makes more money.

via Cars 2 Isnt a Lemon. Its a Saab..

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Review of The Atlas Shrugged Film | The Libertarian Alliance: BLOG

Another excellent review of the movie of Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged”. If only the movie lived up to the quality of these reviews. It looks like the people who made it were not equal to the task. It sounds like a movie version of Howard Roark’s Cortland Housing Project.

Still, the movie distorts, and really destroys, the motivation behind Rearden and Dagny’s affair. If Rand’s novel has one fundamental idea, it is that the moral choices of a person’s private life and public life lead to the same kinds of consequences. This is the real internal conflict within Hank Rearden and Dagny Taggart, who are actually the true enemies of John Galt throughout most of the book. Their lack of understanding and their willingness to live and produce for the “looters” needlessly prolongs the suffering of the world. Crucially, Rand also believed there was a connection between private behavior (especially sex) and one’s deepest held values, which is why her ideal man could never fall for a chorus girl, but only a heroine. The movie ignores this completely and manages to strip away the emotional complexity of characters in an Ayn Rand novel—which is no mean feat.

The problem is that the real world policy prescriptions of those promoting the movie don’t fit with Rand’s vision. The kinds of places that could develop the motor that draws its energy from the atmosphere no longer exist, as Bell Labs and other private research laboratories have fallen from glory and institutions like DARPA don’t exactly fit with the Galt’s Gulch mentality. Insofar as the American economy has a future, it seems to be based on manipulation of debt by the elite, litigation by the middle class, and selling ringtones among the lower class, with the occasional brilliant entrepreneur starting a website so we can more easily discuss Rihanna.

Ooohhh! Kerr-POW!

 The moral code of the corporate elite of this country and the capitalist pinups Rand’s fanboys want us to fight for are promoting the exact kinds of altruism and victim worship that Rand despised. If the kinds of “producers” identified here went “John Galt,” the only things that would change would be the decline in Democratic donations.

Kerrrrr-POWWWW!! A devastating comment on our times.

via Review of The Atlas Shrugged Film | The Libertarian Alliance: BLOG.

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Now THIS is the trailer for the movie it could have been (although my dream  line-up is a young, Al Pacino look-alike for Francisco d’Anconia, and maybe Laura Linney as Dagny Taggart):

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The “John Galt” theme sounds like something for “The Waltons”. Would this be something Richard Halley would have written?

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A White Nationalist Review of “Atlas Shrugged, Part I” | The Libertarian Alliance: BLOG

Let’s change the subject from “nuclear crisis”, “Fukushima” and “tsunami disaster” for a second.

Ever since I heard that (finally) a movie had been made of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”, I’ve been dreading having to make up my mind whether I will go and see it or not. After reading this excellent review, however, I’ve been spared the agony: I don’t think I’ll bother (tho I might relent and watch it on DVD). It would have to be a remarkable movie to be worth seeing, frankly. Unfortunately, and sadly, predictably, it is not a remarkable movie, perhaps underscoring Rand’s belief that society has been on a downhill track since the end of the 19th century: we just ain’t man enough to realize our true potential. Or as Elrond put it, “Men ever fail of their promise.”

This is a first-rate review. The author really knows his Rand, his history, and his movies. And, he can write (“During the first run of the John Galt line, Dagny Taggart and Hank Readen’s achievements are dwarfed by the beauty of the landscape. The focus should have been on the train, the rails, the rising throb of the engines, the telephone poles rushing by faster and faster, as a vast streamlined art deco engine shot like a bullet toward the gossamer arc of the great bridge of Rearden metal. The spectacular Rocky Mountain landscape and sky should have been hidden by a drop cloth of clouds, fog, and rain.”)

I don’t share the author’s racial-collectivist philosophy, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading his review of this movie.

Why was Atlas Shrugged made on the cheap? Apparently the producers could not come up with a script or a concept good enough to raise the money and attract the talent to do a first rate movie, and since their option was expiring, they decided to do a second rate movie instead and managed to pull off a fourth rate one. This level of cynicism is frankly breath-taking. One has to ask: Is this how Howard Roark would have made a movie?

via A White Nationalist Review of “Atlas Shrugged, Part I” | The Libertarian Alliance: BLOG.

tamara de lempicka autoportrait

tamara de lempicka autoportrait

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Interesting director’s comments on DVD

The Pursuit of Happyness
Image via Wikipedia

Do you like to listen to the commentary on a DVD? I used to always check this out, but I stopped after listening to one too many inane and completely uninteresting comments by a director who assumed viewers would be thrilled to get a blow-by-blow account of how every shot was taken. The only comment I found interesting in this movie, for instance, was the fact that one of the scenes was shot using the lead actress’s stand-in. I suppose it’s inevitable for directors to be watching and commenting on a movie from their point of view, but would it really be so hard to see your own movie from a first-time viewer’s point of view?

So I was not hopeful when I clicked on the “director’s commentary” for Will Smith’s The Pursuit of Happyness. I was pleasantly surprised. Perhaps it’s because director Gabriele Muccino is not an American. Perhaps it’s his natural vivacity. I don’t know, but I was fascinated to listen to his commentary. My only gripe was that there was absolutely no information about what I thought was one of the most interesting points in the movie: the scene where Will Smith runs into the street and is knocked down by a car. Although it has to be a double, the editing is so slick that it really looks like Smith himself rolls over the bonnet and onto the road. C’mon, tell us about it! It’s the only stunt in the movie! He sort of makes up for it by explaining something that I wanted to know: in the scene where Chris (Will Smith)’s wife brings their son back then tells him she’s leaving him and going to New York, she walks down the stairs while the camera stays on Chris at the top. On the wall to his right is some kind of lever. What the heck is it?!?? Muccino explains: it’s a lever that opens the front door to the apartment, without the need to go down the stairs. The scene in the movie is actually shot on a set, but they replicated the actual apartments in San Francisco, down to this detail. Full marks, and bonus points to the director for pointing out this tidbit of trivia.

If you check out this movie, be sure to watch the section on Muccino’s take on the American Dream. I don’t understand why it is inevitable that a foreigner can understand and portray the American Dream better than any American (and I don’t think that statement is true, anyway; and Muccino does not strike me as the kind of guy who needs that kind of flattery).

Will Smith’s character is based on a real person – Chris Gardner, and there’s an entire, highly satisfying section on this background on the DVD. I rank Will Smith’s performance in this movie as top-notch, almost on a par with Jim Carrey‘s portrayal of Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon.

The movie for me expresses some key concepts of the American Dream, with the focus being on Chris’ growing understanding of the meaning and importance of the words in the Constitution. None of my English majors students knew of the wording in the American Constitution, so hey! They could learn something from watching this movie. In the “real Chris Gardner” bonus material on the DVD, Chris Gardner says people see this story as one of rags to riches, but he doesn’t think so: he sees it as a story of a father and a son. I disagree. Perhaps that’s how Gardner sees it because that’s how he experienced that period of his life: his dedication to his son was obviously a prime motivator, but I disagree that that comes across as the key theme of the movie.

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