Home > Uncategorized > 6/3/08: Obama Wins; Netflix Reviews: Sunshine, Into the Wild, Rambo, and More

6/3/08: Obama Wins; Netflix Reviews: Sunshine, Into the Wild, Rambo, and More


As has been reported everywhere, projections are that a combination of a win in South Dakota and Superdelegate pledges today have placed Obama past the threshold of 2,118 delegates needed for the Democratic nomination.

So now the talk turns of the running mate.

I’d be shocked if Obama’s camp gave the VP nod to Hillary. I’ve talked to several people today who want to see it. However, I feel that even if the tables were turned and it was Hillary locking up the nomination, putting both on the same ticket would be a bad idea. Both campaigns allowed the nomination process to be so polarizing among Dems that any ticket involving both Obama and Clinton would seem to all the world as a shallow facade at best. They can both be as complimentary and respectful as they want to be at this point in the game, but moderate Dems and independents are going to perceive any alliance – and subsequently both candidates – as insincere.

Ideally I’d want Bill Richardson to get the VP nod, although ideally I also wanted him to have a fighting chance at the nomination itself. C’est la vie.

All ratings on a five-star system

At times the film seems half “2001: A Space Odyssey” and half “Event Horizon”; however at no point does it feel like a re-tread. It manages to maintain its own identity while still paying homage to all the films that came before it, which is a tricky balancing act. And as silly as the premise seems – a team of astronauts goes on a mission to revive a dying Sun by delivering a payload the size of the moon to re-ignite it – there’s enough attention to the more scientific elements to make it as plausible and believable as it is extraordinary. Highest possible recommendation.
Rating: ****

Sean Penn made a fine film, though I don’t think it’s nearly as good as a lot of other people insist it is. Equally annoying is the deification of protagonist Chris McCandless by various folks, including at times Penn. While Penn does end up portraying this as a cautionary tale and sheds light on the folly of McCandless’s line of reasoning for his actions, there are storyline elements inserted into the script involving McCandless’s family that attempt to provide justification for his state of mind. In reality, the moments of physical violence are said to be exaggerated if not completely fabricated for storyline purposes. Even if they did sign off on those elements of the story, I couldn’t help but feel a little uncomfortable knowing that – and it’s not as if there’s a disclaimer before or after the film that makes note of it. As a result, we’re going to continue to see folks praising McCandless – a foolish individual whose own stupidity and arrogance was the cause of his demise – and mimicking some of his more annoying traits and decisions. I also found it amusing that throughout the entire film they have McCandless quoting various authors instead of formulating more of his own philosophy, then only coming to the realization he’d made a mistake when he actually reads one of the books he quoted in full and with the proper context. Hilarious (for all the wrong reasons).
Rating: ***

I loved pretty much everything about this film, to the scenery and cinematography to the cast involved to the non-redemption of a character introduced towards the end. However, as much as I loved this movie, I have to provide the disclaimer that I’m an undying and foolish mark for pretty much anything and everything Wes Anderson does. His style is very quirky and isn’t accessible to everyone, but man, does it ever click with me every time out.
Rating: ****

The draw of this film is the animation style, which is CGI motion-capture laid out entirely in black and white with no shades of grey. However, it gets old quick, and at no point did I find it beautiful or fascinating. It’s not art, it’s gimmickry. Adding to the tedium of watching what appears to be an hour and thirty minutes of cut scenes for a video game is the story, which has been done to death so many times it’s not just tired, it’s exhausted. The voiceover work is just fine, but it can’t insert interest into yet another cliche plot about an evil corporation in the future not being what it presents itself as, nor does it do anything to alleviate the absolutely terrible pacing. Avoid this like the plague, though you might love this film if you’re one of those people that’s easily impressed.
Rating: **

What’s not to love about this movie? Well, unless you deplore violence in film, that is. The action and gore are so over-the-top that you can’t take it seriously, and those of us with darker humor will find ourselves falling out of our couches at the more absurd plot elements and methods of combat employed. But what makes this film more enjoyable is the fact that it isn’t so much the next installment of the franchise after Rambo III as it is a sequel to “First Blood,” which people seem to forget given the atrocious next two installments was actually quite a good film in and of itself. In “Rambo” we see a return of the man who, while accepting who he is and what comes naturally to him, absolutely hates himself for it. Every time the action dies down and there’s even a brief moment to reflect – particularly at the end of the film – Stallone’s angst over what he’s done doesn’t allow anything to be justified even if other characters concede that what he does is ultimately for a greater good. That being said, once the film’s over we’re not really given consolation that it was worth all the bloodshed. But that’s just me waxing poetic. As much as I think it deals with a highly questionable protagonist every bit as well as it’s addressed in the Showtime series “Dexter”, the selling point of the movie is still the mindless action sequences and the body parts flying everywhere.
Rating: ****

MARGOT AT THE WEDDING: From director Noah Baumbach, who also directed “The Squid and the Whale” (which happens to be one of my favorite movies released in the past five years).
CONTROL: Biopic of Ian Curtis, the lead singer of The Joy Division who took his own life at 23.
BLACK SNAKE MOAN: Samuel L. Jackson. Christina Ricci. Chains. There isn’t anything about this film I don’t have a fucking undying love for already. Well, except the chains part.
IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH: Tommy Lee Jones investigates his son’s disappearance after returning from Iraq.
MICHAEL CLAYTON: The film with George Clooney that nobody will shut the fuck up about. It better be worth all the hot air wasted building this up.

More later….

  1. June 4, 2008 at 5:18 am

    Why is no one talking about Colin Powell? I think Bill Richardson is VERY possible, as is John Edwards – but why isn’t Colin Powell’s name even being tossed out there? For Obama or McCain?

    I think it’d be a fucking scream to see McCain choose Condi Rice as a running mate and then watch West Virginia secede from the union.

    • June 4, 2008 at 5:48 am

      “We’ll have a WHAT in the WHERE?!” *secession* Indeed, that’d be awesome.

      I HOPE Richardson’s possible, I just haven’t seen his name pop up in talks of consideration.

      I suspect Powell wants no part of anything anymore after his run in the Bush Administration.

      • June 4, 2008 at 2:00 pm

        I’ve seen Bill Richardson’s name come up in the media, but nowhere from the Obama campaign. If Hilary has any sense at all…if Hilary has anyone working for her who has any sense at all…

        …I’m sorry, I just heard that big pharm is creating a drug to make your eyelashes longer, thicker and darker. There are people out there being born with harlequin ichthyosis…oh and CANCER AND AIDS and they’ve made an eylash drug.

        Ok, Hilary. Assuming someone in her campaign has some sense, and assuming someone can feed Bill enough burgers to shut him the fuck up for a few weeks, she’ll make a classy exit at the DNC and Obama will appoint her to some sort of Healthcare post, and then she’ll write a book and then she’ll aggressively pursue the supreme court the next time a seat becomes available a la Earl Warren. That’s a distinguished political career, don’t you think?

  2. June 4, 2008 at 5:19 am

    also, you have reviewed way too many things on Netflix. I have no fucking hope of catching up. But I did add ‘Margot’ to the list.

  3. June 4, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Sunshine: were you not let down by the shaky-cam monster movie it turned into in the end? I was. Up to that point, I loved it, and then it just seemed like a different, not nearly as good, movie at that point.

    • June 4, 2008 at 2:51 pm

      I was a little, but I was surprised that I wasn’t as bothered by it as I thought I’d be. I think part of it was that I was expecting it to get to that point from the beginning when they established the disappearance of the previous crew. If anything, I was relieved that they didn’t turn it into an extraterrestrial threat of some sort.

    • June 4, 2008 at 2:54 pm

      BTW – I actually dug the mindset and religious fanaticism of that “monster” they revealed towards the end. There’s actually an extended scene that wasn’t included in the cut that had a conversation at the climax between him and the protagonist which I think might’ve helped alleviate some of the problems with what the film turned into. But, again, I didn’t mind it as much.

  4. June 5, 2008 at 5:35 am

    Michael Clayton wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t the phenom that No Country was for me. On the other hand, I think the Darjeeling Limited might be my favorite comedy. Ever.

    I’m all for Billy Rich as Veep. But then I was on the Irrelevancy 08 tour with him and Dodd as his VP. So there you go. Edwards would be great… but I’d rather see Obama give him an actual job, not be Vice President.

    I know we should talk about Powell, but right now for either party he is a liabability. He was dupped, by his own admission, by the Bush Administration and secured some international support – Poland? – for the invasion of Iraq. Do we really want a politican that nieve in office?

    Condi as Vp… I’m interested. I want to know more. Like why any woman would be a republican.

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