25 January 2006

Nowhere Man

Alexander Hemon’s Nowhere Man is beautifully written, but ultimately rather cryptic. The end of the book left me perplexed.

Yet it was an enjoyable, involving, and worthwhile read. With great images. I think I’ll remember the phrase “jury of pigeons” my whole life.

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02 January 2006


This is Traffic about the oil business, but with more storylines. Watching this movie, you have to concentrate very hard. You definitely don’t want to get up and go to the bathroom. In two hours and three minutes, director/writer Stephen Gaghan includes oil company machinations overseas, Islamic fundamentalism, terrorism, US interference with foreign governments on behalf of oil companies, the collaboration of supposed watchdogs in all this skullduggery, and the clear message that this is not capitalism. (As when an Arab character notes that awarding a contract to a Chinese firm (the highest bidder) got him labeled “terrorist.”)

I’ve seen this called a cynical film. I suspect it’s simply accurate. But while Syriana leaves you pessimistic and even scared in terms of our energy and world security future, you also feel gratified that such a movie could be made and shown here.

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King Kong

Given the raves for this movie, our expectations were probably a little high, so maybe our disappointment was inevitable. It’s decent, but nothing very remarkable, except the 30s period New York stuff—that was fabulous. The long middle section features special effects magic of the Spielberg variety. Once the crew lands on Skull Island, where Kong is found, they’re besieged by one improbable monster after another.

Cast was all fine; maybe at bottom I just don’t like monster stuff.

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