Thursday, May 31, 2012


Peter O'Toole is one of those actors who seems invincible to the many obstacles of time and Hollywood. Health problems, many starring roles in film, his antics off the could wear a person out easily. Not O'Toole though.

O'Toole holds the record for most Oscar nominations and no wins. His most recent nomination was for his work in Roger Michell's Venus. His character of Maurice Russell is as carefree as T.E. Lawrence and Alan Swann but he isn't as lively as them simply because age has slowed him down. However, he won't let age stop him.

What makes O'Toole's performance so great is that in a way, he is perhaps playing himself. Maurice is an actor in his twilight years, just like O'Toole. Though O'Toole has a controlled elegance of sorts shown in Maurice as seen in a lovely little silent exchange between him and Vanessa Redgrave.

The film itself is very well done. None of the characters feel out of place. The only complaint I have is that in some scenes, the pacing is different to that of other scenes. Sometimes it's too fast, sometimes it's too slow. But that's something that could easily be overlooked.

All in all, I really liked Venus. It contains one of O'Toole's best performances of his career. You have to admire someone who still has faith in an aging name of Hollywood's Golden Age, even if it's the same person who directed Notting Hill.

My Rating: ****1/2

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Voices from Heaven

Aren't there always those actors that just have that extra something that make them more memorable? Of course I'm referring to their voices. What else would I be talking about? (You people are sick.) Taking a page out of Ruth's book, I examine a few of my personal favorites.

Richard Burton
I have a weakness for actors who have elegant voices and play not-so-elegant roles. Mr. Burton is one such actor. He had a self-loathing tone in his voice, which add a certain air to his performances. Oh, if there were more actors like him today.

Benedict Cumberbatch
When I first saw him, I didn't think much of him. You can imagine my surprise when I saw him act and, most importantly, heard him speak in Sherlock (which is pretty much the best show on the air right now). Now he's an actor I'm keeping a close eye on. (Oh, and his reading of "Ode to a Nightingale" is to die for.)

Colin Firth
I couldn't help but notice the slight irony of casting Firth in the title role in The King's Speech. I mean, here's an actor who has a wonderful voice, and he can't bring himself to speak. I can't be the only one who saw that.

Henry Fonda
His voice possessed an assertive tone that always made him the voice of reason. (12 Angry Men and The Ox-Bow Incident are prime examples.) It just worked.

Burt Lancaster
Mr. Lancaster has, without a doubt, the smoothest vocals I ever heard. Personally I'm not too surprised that most of the films I saw him in had his character delivering a speech or a monologue of some sort. What can I say? Hollywood liked the way he spoke.

Jude Law
He's a smooth talker, no doubt about that. Several of his roles emphasize that trait. Personally I like how he can be charming and a bastard in the same movie.

James Mason
Like Mr. Burton, Mr. Mason had an elegant Welsh accent yet he played parts that were anything but elegant (ie, Bigger Than Life, Lolita). Like I said, it's a weakness of mine.

Robert Mitchum
If there was one person who could personify the "I don't give a fuck" attitude, that person was Robert Mitchum. His drawl, as well as his mannerisms, best embodied this behavior, and is best seen in the many noirs he was in.

Laurence Olivier
Not gonna lie, this man made Shakespeare interesting to me. And that's saying a lot. Oh, and he's also a marvelous actor.

Peter O'Toole
Many of his roles had him as aloof and indifferent to the society he was a part of. Yet his voice suggests otherwise. Oh, contradictions, how I love thee.


Humphrey Bogart
Robert Downey, Jr.
Ralph Fiennes
Cary Grant
Tom Hiddleston
William Holden
Jack Lemmon
Paul Newman
Gregory Peck
Sidney Poitier
Who are some actors you like with splendid voices?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Back in the 1940s, the essential comedy directors of the era included Howard Hawks, Billy Wilder and Preston Sturges. Anyone else who tried to top them failed in doing so.

1941 saw the releases of Sturges' The Lady Eve and Sullivan's Travels, and Hawks' Ball of Fire (written by Wilder). It also saw the release of an unusual entry to comedy film called Mr. and Mrs. Smith. What's so odd about a film about a quarreling couple? Simple: it's directed by Alfred Hitchcock, the Master of Suspense himself.

Don't get me wrong. Hitchcock could get a lot of funny lines in his films like North by Northwest and Rear Window. It's just any film of his is better with a nice murder or a little bloodshed. (Well, technically there's a little blood spilled, but it's only from a nosebleed.) Hitchcock wasn't kidding about this little musing: "I am a typed director. If I made Cinderella, the audience would immediately be looking for a body in the coach."

I did like the performances from Robert Montgomery and Carole Lombard, both I was familiar with beforehand but more so with the latter. Both were very good at comedy, no denying that. This film is proof. Each exchange between them just radiates with their skill of comedic timing.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith is amusing, though it's hard to shake the fact that Hitchcock directed it. I mean, I like Hitchcock, but this seems more like a film suited for Hawks. Just saying.

My Rating: ****

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Ten Best Actresses of All Time Relay Race

Well, another meme has rolled by. Nostra is back with a female twist on the actors relay race. (My post on that one is here.) This time around, Ruth from FlixChatter tagged me. In Nostra's words:
I’ve created a list of what I think are the best actresses of all time. At the end of the post I, just like in a real relay race, hand over the baton to another blogger who will write his own post. This blogger will have to remove one actress (that is an obligation) and add his/her own choice and describe why he/she did this. At the end the blogger chooses another blogger to do the same. The idea is to make this a long race, so that enough bloggers get a chance to remove and add an actress. We will end up with a list (not ranked in order) which represents a common agreement of the best actresses. It will also mean that those who follow this relay race will get to know new blogs as well!
The previous entries:

And finally, the actresses:

Ingrid Bergman

Juliette Binoche

Cate Blanchett

Judi Dench

Katharine Hepburn

Julianne Moore

Barbara Stanwyck

Meryl Streep

Kate Winslet

Man, the elimination process is a little harder on this list than the actors relay. Let's see...Bergman, Blanchett, Hepburn, Moore, Stanwyck, Streep and Winslet are among my favorites, so I can't get rid of them. Binoche I really liked in Code Unknown, and Dench blew me away in Notes on a Scandal. The remaining name on this list is Viola Davis, who shall be removed simply because I haven't seen any of her work.

Now who shall replace Davis? I was thinking of putting another Davis in her place (Bette), but I opted not to. Instead, I went a name more people recognize more for her features rather than her skills as an actress. That's right, my entry is Audrey Hepburn.

Before you start arguing, I have my reasons for choosing her. Yes, she is a very stunning woman and remained so as she got older. But not many people seem to appreciate her acting ability. She performs in a way so subtle, it's almost impossible to see that she's acting. She makes her insanely charming and glamorous characters in films like Roman Holiday, Breakfast at Tiffany's and Sabrina more human than anyone else possibly would have done. Though if you want to see her at her best, check out The Nun's Story and Wait Until Dark. (You'll be thanking me later.)

Whom to pass the baton onto? I'm curious as to whom Alex of And So It Begins... will choose. Should be fun.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dinner at Eight

Nowadays a star-studded cast is all too common for any film. Back in the early years of Hollywood however, it was a little unusual. Having more than two or three recognizable stars in one film back then was a bold move considering the egos of some of those stars.

In 1933, George Cukor made Dinner at Eight. The stars include Marie Dressler, John Barrymore, Jean Harlow, Wallace Beery, Lionel Barrymore and Billie Burke. (Take note that the three male stars mentioned were also in Grand Hotel the previous year.) They were some of the biggest stars back then, so this was a treat for moviegoers back then.

I love all of the actors, especially Burke trying not to burst as everything goes wrong, and Harlow and Beery swapping snappy remarks. But I must highlight John Barrymore's performance. In the matter of a few scenes, he goes from a confidant actor to a man clinging to the tattered shreds of his career. The haunting aspect is how much of the role mirrored Barrymore's own career both present and inevitable future.

As well as the acting, the dialogue is just to die for. Each line is just very witty, especially the ones coming out of Dressler's mouth. But after seeing films like The Women and The Philadelphia Story, what else can you expect from a Cukor film than a witty script, and light and enjoyable roles for great actors?

Saying Dinner at Eight is one of Cukor's best is a bit of an understatement. Okay, it's not the best but it's still great. A nice blend of comedy and drama is something everyone needs, and here it is in film form.

My Rating: *****

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Three Comrades

In the opening moments of Frank Borzage's Three Comrades, soldiers Erich Lohkamp (Robert Taylor), Otto Koster (Franchot Tone) and Gottfried Lenz (Robert Young) celebrate the end of the war over drinks and musings. They wonder what their futures hold for them, hoping that their fates have a shining light rather than a fading one.

A few years pass. The war is still felt in the three men, but they go on with their lives. Enter Patricia Hollmann (Magaret Sullavan), a society girl. Erich takes a shine to her and after some time, they get married. But their happy union is a doomed one.

The film is based on a novel by Erich Maria Remarque (apparently the same one that provided loose basis for The Deer Hunter as well) and its script was co-written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. For some reason, the script completely ditched the political message of the novel and focused more on the love story. Maybe MGM just wanted a nice romance film.

In a similar vein to the word "Mafia" in The Godfather thirty-four years later, the word "Nazi" or the country where the film is set (Germany) is never uttered at any point in Three Comrades. This was released only a year before Germany invaded Poland, but maybe MGM did this to ensure they weren't sympathizers of Germany. Who knows?

That doesn't make Three Comrades a bad film. Not in the least bit. The actors, Taylor and Sullavan especially, are very good. And I now desire to see more of Borzage's work.

My Rating: ****1/2

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Royal Tenenbaums

Admit it. You're part of an eccentric family. (I know I am.) It's always great fodder for literature and Hollywood.

Hey, Wes Anderson definitely thought so when he made The Royal Tenenbaums back in 2001. It's practically a story J.D. Salinger never wrote. (I read The Catcher in the Rye. I know what his writing style was like.)

I've seen all of Anderson's work sans Moonrise Kingdom, and I can safely say that Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Royal Tenenbaums stand out from the rest solely because the eccentric nature of both films is very much accepted. Fantastic Mr. Fox because it's an animated film, The Royal Tenenbaums because the eccentric behavior is evenly distributed among all of the characters, not just one or two of them.

Speaking of the characters, there's a motley crew of a cast. Of the names, there is Gene Hackman, Luke Wilson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, Anjelica Huston, Danny Glover, Owen Wilson and Bill Murray. I absolutely love Murray's dry commentary, but this show belongs to Hackman. (My favorite scene of his is the montage of his day out with his grandsons.) I now understand why so many people were offended at the lack of an Oscar nomination for him.

In short, I loved The Royal Tenenbaums. It just flows so well. Every actor plays their role excellently, Hackman especially. Definitely one of the best films of the last decade.

My Rating: *****

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Notes on a Scandal

Early on in Richard Eyre's Notes on a Scandal, Barbara Covett (a wonderfully vicious Judi Dench) voices the antics happening in her life as she writes them in her diary. She speaks with a malicious tone yet she's a very vulnerable woman.

Enter Sheba Hart (a gripping Cate Blanchett), a new teacher at the school Barbara works at. Married to an older man and carrying an affair with a student, she seems unfulfilled with with how her life is going. Barbara is captivated by her, more so by that whirlwind personal life Sheba leads.

Both women are completely different from the other. Barbara is reserved and very much in control of her life. Sheba is full of life and finds her life unpredictable at times. This is something that Dench and Blanchett do wonderfully.

It's not just Dench and Blanchett's performances that make Notes on a Scandal what it is. There's also Chris Menges' stunning cinematography and Philip Glass' haunting score. When the actors and the technical aspects of a film blend effortlessly, that's the sign of a good film.

Indeed Notes on a Scandal is a very good film, but its pace is a trifle too fast. Dench and Blanchett deliver essentially the performances of their careers. Films with plots this juicy are always worth a look.

My Rating: ****1/2

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


There are a number of films about film production, a number of them based on real life productions. The ones based on real productions are usually about the very significant that Hollywood churned out, ranging from cult to controversial to classic.

In 1971, Melvin Van Peebles released Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, perhaps the most famous blaxploitation film ever made. (Well, along with Shaft.) Thirty-two years later, Melvin's son Mario made Baadasssss!, chronicling the production of the film from sketching out the idea to the troubled filming to the insane aftermath.

Van Peebles doesn't shy from his father's flaws, which includes Melvin (Mario Van Peebles) directing a 13-year-old Mario (Khleo Thomas) in a sex scene. Among Melvin's behavior, there's arguing with his crew and studio executives, struggling with money problems, and trying to break new ground with his filmmaking while at the same time trying not to get arrested.

Though Van Peebles shows a vulnerable side in his father. Melvin tries hard to be a good father and fails in doing so. (That sex scene featuring a young Mario pretty much sealed the deal.) The look of dejection on Melvin's face when he thinks his film is a failure upon its premiere shows just what Van Peebles wanted to depict: a man overwhelmed by the ways of his society.

Baadasssss! is one of the few films about a real life film production that just radiates. Van Peebles also captures the whole ambiance of 1970s counterculture, the very thing that fueled the most influential film era in history.

My Rating: ****1.2

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bottle Rocket

At some point in the last decade or so, Wes Anderson was dubbed the next Martin Scorsese. But this wasn't a musing by a critic, oh no. It was said by Scorsese himself.

Anderson's debut Bottle Rocket shows the very style that would make him recognizable among his peers. Yeah, that particular style isn't favored by many, but I personally like it. (Hey, quirky is good at times.)

Like several of Anderson's later films, Bottle Rocket has brothers Owen and Luke Wilson among its cast. It's always the cast that is key for a Wes Anderson film. (Hey, the man restarted Bill Murray's career.) Anyway, in regards to the cast of Bottle Rocket, my favorite performance was from James Caan, who basically played an older Sonny Corleone. (You know, if he actually survived.)

I like Anderson's way of filming though it gets a tad too zany at some points. Sure, it's entertaining but he gets a little too crazy at times. (This is why I prefer Fantastic Mr. Fox more because the rules of normal life don't apply to animation.)

Still, I really liked Bottle Rocket. It's pretty much what Reservoir Dogs would be if it amped up the comedy (and wasn't so violent and sweary). Those that like Anderson will be in for a treat.

My Rating: ****1/2

Monday, May 21, 2012

Diary of a Country Priest

Judging by what I had seen in Pickpocket and what I had read about him, Robert Bresson definitely wanted to differ himself from his contemporaries. He rarely used professional actors. Many of his titles lack the emotional connection many other films of the era clearly possessed. And yet, he's dubbed an essential director.

His film Diary of a Country Priest contained the very trademarks that immortalized Bresson, as well as the profound theme of religion. (Bresson was a deeply devoted Catholic.) The blending of these themes provide an interesting tale.

This is of the first films that focused on conflict in religion, and one wonders if many later films of the same subject had Diary of a Country Priest as a primary influence. Bresson makes it clear that the protagonist (we never find out his name) struggles to break free from his spiritual alienation, and as far from the dramatics as possible.

Though I couldn't help but notice the dryness of some of the film. It starts off strong, but then slips into slow territory. Fortunately, it doesn't last for very long. I have a feeling that it will be less noticeable on a re-watch.

Diary of a Country Priest is very good, though I didn't love it as much as Pickpocket. The way it flows captures the Bresson mood, which is also evident in the films that he influenced. Still, I might like more upon a re-watch.

My Rating: ****1/2

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Rocco and His Brothers

A brief early moment in Luchino Visconti's Rocco and His Brothers shows four of the five Parondi brothers gazing at the storefronts of Milan as they pass by in a trolley. They're dazzled by what they see but as time wears on, the bedazzlement fades away like the flame of a match.

Throughout their years in Milan, the brothers, mainly Rocco (Alain Delon) and Simone (Renato Salvatori), become deeply disillusioned by the lives they lead. They seek for meaning and find nothing. The brotherly become frayed (never severed though) and eventually they become violent.

A sport three of the brothers partake is boxing. In early Hollywood films, boxing was treated as an allegory for a character's battle with their conscience. It's fitting since the three brothers take up the sport when their personal lives take a downturn. It's sort of Visconti's homage to Hollywood's Golden Age.

In a similar vein to The Bicycle Thief, Rocco and His Brothers is an Italian neorealism film. The difference between the two films is that Rocco and His Brothers is a trifle more optimistic than The Bicycle Thief. Sure, the film shows some of the characters' plights, but what Visconti shows isn't as emotionally powerful as what De Sica showed. (A lot more risque in some scenes though.)

Rocco and His Brothers, though not as great as some of Visconti's other work, definitely gets its point across. Personally, Visconti was at his best when he made lavish epics like Senso and The Leopard, though he was also good when he toned down the extravagance. Shows the man had range.

My Rating: ****1/2

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Roger Dodger

One can only imagine what goes on in the mind of Roger Swanson (Campbell Scott), the title character of Dylan Kidd's Roger Dodger. He speaks with an air of grandiose, but the words he utters sound more like they're from the mouth of an immature teenager rather than a man in his forties. Essentially smarm incarnate.

There's no denying that Roger is a chauvinistic bastard. He views women as objects, and is constantly thinking of new ways to charm them. The women he talks up clearly see right through him, but he doesn't care. (When asked how often a woman goes home with him, Roger hesitantly replies, "Every night." Response: "Bullshit.")

Enter Nick (a pre-everything Jesse Eisenberg), Roger's nephew. Nick has something Roger clearly doesn't have: a conscience. Roger of course overlooks that and tries to teach Nick the tricks of the trade, but Nick has no real desire to learn them. Like that's going to stop Roger.

In the wrong hands, the film could have fallen apart after the opening scene. Instead, Kidd ensures that every scene works, and they do. He also makes sure that every line has the effect that's desired, and they do. You gotta love a script that has bite.

Roger Dodger is vastly underrated, and it really shouldn't be. All of the actors play their parts very well, especially Scott (who delivers each line with comedic snarl) and Eisenberg (who displays a neurotic vulnerability). Though in all honesty, if I encountered someone like Roger and he talked to me the way he does, he'd get a drink in his face.

My Rating: ****1/2

Friday, May 18, 2012


Everything has two sides. What may look trusting is actually harmful. Good is actually evil. In short, looks can be deceiving.

This definitely is the case with the titular town of Lars von Trier's Dogville. Narrated with dry irony by John Hurt, the film is von Trier's perspective on capitalism. And it's not a pretty portrait.

The cast is practically one for the ages. Of the names in Dogville, the more prolific ones include Nicole Kidman, Paul Bettany, Lauren Bacall, Patricia Clarkson, Stellan Skarsgard, Chloe Sevigny, Philip Baker Hall, Ben Gazzara and James Caan. Each actor plays their part extremely well, but the best comes from Kidman and Bettany, the only selfless people in the town of Dogville.

Tom (Bettany) is the only person in town who welcomes Grace (Kidman) with open arms. The other residents reluctantly accept her when she starts helping with menial chores, though their treatment towards Grace could be compared to that of a slave. The chores become more demanding and eventually take a sexual nature. What will happen next?

I was aware that von Trier's reputation of making controversial films tended to leave a lasting impact on those that dared to watch them. Hard to watch in some scenes, yes, but Dogville isn't as risky as I thought it would be. The way the film is set up is very clever and unique. Oh, and I just love the many expressions playing across Kidman's face in the final moments.

My Rating: *****

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Virgin Spring

I'm not much on religion or thoughts of morals. And yet with certain films, my mind tends to rush to those very topics. I'm not sure why that is.

I felt this way as I watched Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring. Is murder justifiable for the right reasons? Can He forgive someone for deeds they have done? Bergman asks such question and more.

Some might know this more as the film that was a key influence for Wes Craven's The Last House on the Left. (Those people, in my opinion, are ignorant.) Those that prefer to acknowledge the film as an individual achievement have gone down the better route.

Along with Bergman's direction, it's the notable details that make The Virgin Spring what it is. Of them, the most crucial ones are Max von Sydow's spellbinding performance and Sven Nykvist's haunting cinematography. Both capture the dark mood of the film, and the running theme of right and wrong.

What Bergman captures in The Virgin Spring is the questioning of morals, what drives someone to do something. A number of later films have done the same task on a more melodramatic level. Only Bergman could do this on an honest note. And this is with many of his films, not just The Virgin Spring.

My Rating: *****

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Many of the directors I deeply admire are from the United States, Canada and/or the United Kingdom. There are a handful of other directors from various parts of the world that predominantly made films in the English language. Only a small number of those directors made films in the language of their country.

A director I've recently taken a shine to is Wong Kar-wai. I was very much impressed by In the Mood for Love and Chungking Express, mainly for how Wong underplayed feelings of romance and passion. If only more directors were like him.

I checked out 2046, which is more or less a sequel to In the Mood for Love. Picking up where the last film left off, the film shows the interactions between Chow (Tony Leung, who is slowly becoming a favorite foreign actor) and the women staying at his hotel. The encounters garner both emotional and physical intimacy.

Chow isn't as quiet and reserved as he was in In the Mood for Love, but he's just as lonely. The many sexual encounters he has throughout the film are mainly as a means of acceptance rather than desire. Though he does develop feelings for one woman, he decides to remain silent on those matters, reasons only known to him.

Though not as poetically flowing as In the Mood for Love, 2046 has its own charm. I will say the score by Shigeru Umebayashi is perhaps the most gorgeous score I ever heard. All in all, a very well done follow-up.

My Rating: *****

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


In the opening moments of Rudolph Mate's D.O.A., a man walks into a police station and announces he wants to report a murder. When asked who was the victim, his response stuns the officers: "I was."

The man is Frank Bigelow (Edmond O'Brien). Away from business for a week, he hopes to get his mind off his troubles. But someone slipped poison into his drink, and it's up to him and him alone to find out who did such a thing.

The question remains: why would anyone do this to an innocent man? Does Frank have a few skeletons in the closet? It seems likely judging by how some people look at him. But these secrets I shall keep hidden for the sake of surprise.

As well as O'Brien's performance, the film also relies on Dimitri Tiomkin's score and Ernest Laszlo's cinematography, two crucial elements in any noir. They are crux for building suspense and capturing mood. Hey, I've seen enough noirs to know that's true.

It's a bit confusing if you don't pay attention but still a very well done film. It's not as great as the other noirs of its era, but it's as clever as them. Worth a look.

My Rating: ****

Monday, May 14, 2012

Chungking Express

Don't you love it when you watch that one film responsible for getting an actor or a director recognized by the masses? It's such a wonderful feeling.

Wong Kar-wai's Chungking Express is one such example. Focusing on the lovelorn and the lovesick, the film captures life in a bustling city.

Chungking Express is reminiscent of Woody Allen's Manhattan. Both films focus strictly on certain individuals in a large city, all only faintly connected. The sole connection between the main characters of both films in something simple: love.

Another connection between Chungking Express and Manhattan is the cinematography. It shows the cities as characters in themselves. Manhattan shows New York City in a seductive black and white setting; Chungking Express is shot in color to show the vivid shades of Hong Kong.

Much how I very much enjoyed In the Mood for Love, Chungking Express knows how to underplay the love between the characters. (Wong is a master at that from what I've seen so far.) Also, I just love films where the city is a character as well.

My Rating: *****

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Servant

Early in Joseph Losey's The Servant, there's a shot of Hugo Barrett (Dirk Bogarde) sitting alone. The smoke of his cigarette floating before him, there's a slight look of deviousness in his eyes. One wonders what's running through that mind of his.

His employer Tony (James Fox) is very much the opposite of Barrett. Brash, lazy and arrogant, he makes it clear that he is in charge of the household. He is a bit manipulative, but that doesn't mean he can't be manipulated.

Halfway through the film, something happens. The roles of master and servant get blurred. Who's in charge and who's getting ordered? It becomes hard to tell.

As well as the work from Bogarde and Fox, the cinematography by Douglas Slocombe is a sight to be seen. From the deep focus interior shots to the exterior shots of British life, Slocombe captures both a beauty and an ugliness of society. He also captures the mood of a scene as shown marvelously in the final scene.

I still stand by the fact that his best work is in Victim, but Bogarde's work in The Servant is just as great. Fox is also great, displaying a very layered performance. Losey depicts a society where class status doesn't matter; having no scruples does.

My Rating: *****

Saturday, May 12, 2012

In the Loop

Usually when people go to the movies, they do so to escape their troubles and their everyday lives. Though I think Mad summed it up nicely in a comment on another blog: "...going to the movies isn't always about escaping our own lives but giving it perspective."

I suppose what Mad said could be applied to politics and the media. A film that focuses on these topics is Armando Iannucci's In the Loop. Having studied the effects of mass media several times in the past few years, I know what's depicted in the film is fairly accurate.

Of course I'm not well versed when it comes to politics, but In the Loop provides a sort of commentary to those unfamiliar with their own government. (Sure helped me a bit.) Believe me, it could be subtitled "Politics for Dummies".

Oh, and that script is to die for. It has bite in every line, something that if you know me enough I just adore. Think of it as a political satire by Quentin Tarantino minus the violence (and plus the British).

In the Loop is one of the most clever films of the last decade. Can you honestly go wrong with a script like that? In a word, no.

My Rating: ****1/2