Sunday, September 05, 2004

The Return of MovieDog
August was a month of Blockbuster separating me from my hard-earned cash. I did watch a few speeches from the Republican Party Party in New York but with all the reruns prior to the start of the new season it was a good time to watch movies.

First, Kill Bill Vol. 2: I promised myself that I wouldn't give Tarantino another dollar after renting the execrable Vol. 1 and I failed in that promise. But it's a small regret as Vol. 2 is actually a movie, not an mass spasm of pure style. There is much to dislike as in any QT movie. Uma Thurman for example. She did a good job with the fighting but why she is considered such a knockout beauty is beyond me. The scene of Michael Madsens' character Budd in the strip club where he works as a bouncer is just a waste of time. Though it was interesting to see that the club boss is played by Joey Bishop's son. I'll leave it at that. More dissection would put me in the company of The Filthy Critic and he is the Pai Mei (it's in the flick) to my Beatrix Kiddo (ditto) in that regard. Bottom line - if you watched Vol. 1, you actually must rent Vol. 2 in order to see the movie that you were cheated out of in the first installment.

Next, Open Range: Kevin Costner just can't stay away from Westerns. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. Westerns have a great advantage over many other types of movies in that they are made for the big screen. "Give me land, lots of land under starry skies above/Don't fence me in!" (I'll stop singing now.) This flick is beautiful. It is worth seeing just for the landscapes. It doesn't hurt that it features a talented cast as well. Costner, for all his faults, could play this role in his sleep. He and Robert Duvall are perfectly paired. Both men have played these roles before (Duvall in "Lonesome Dove" and a much younger Costner in "Silverado"). They don't act. They inhabit these roles. I don't want to neglect Annette Bening. In an earlier post I disparaged Sharon Stone for not having aged well. Now I have to say that Annette is the polar opposite in that regard. She is aging not merely well but beautifully. The laugh lines at the sides her mouth and the delicate crow's feet (strange adjective to use there but look at her dagnabbit!) could be the instruction manual for the graceful aging of beautiful women. There is a good bit of violence in "Open Range" but it is integral to the story. Don't feel obliged to see this one but if you're in the mood for a Western, you could do a lot worse.

Other movies that MovieDog will sniff the butts of in the near future are "Timeline," "The Last Samurai" and "Lost in Translation." More to come.

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