Friday, September 23, 2005

Do The Cultural Squrm

Judith, the proprieter of Kesher Talk, where I co-blog, has already suggested she might not patronize any more of Viggo Mortenson's productions based on his pro-Galloway attendance at the recent Galloway/Hitchens debate in NYC. But judging from this review of Viggo's new movie, A History of Violence, I may well go.

[Squirm] I really love Viggo's, erm, work; though not his politics. And he's a good enough actor so that he manages to inhabit the role he is supposed to be playing, with restraint, leaving himself behind. That's why he was so good at Aragon. [/Squirm]

Where I draw my line is Mel Gibson; and Spielberg, as well, if his new movie turns out to be the historical, political and moral fiasco many are projecting it will be.

Well, Woody Allen, too, after he broke up Mia Farrow's family and began sleeping with his ex-girlfriend's daughter. I haven't gone to any of his movie' since then. On the other hand, that dovetailed with his increasingly irrelevant filmmaking. Don't know what I would have done if he had produced a masterpiece at that point.

And speaking of movie reviews and reviewers, ever since Janet Maslin left the Times, several years back, I've found it hard to find one whose work I agree with. Not that I always agreed with Maslin. Far from it. But I learned to decode her work, and figure out, most of the time, when my sensibility was in sync with hers and when not. There were times it overlapped and times it didn't. And I just had to read between the lines or judge by the subject of the review to figure out where I was likely to stand.

These days, the Times reviewers all seem to be as much political hacks as movie reviewers. What with their egregious Bush bashing in movie reviews -- comments that often enough have nothing to do with the subject matter under discussion, except that it allows them expression for their ongoing political angst and ire. And their aesthetic sensibility doesn't overlap with mine either.

Which, I guess, is my round about way of saying that I have no clue yet as to whether or not I will agree with Nathan Lee, the NYSun's reviewer, if I do see the movie. My attendance record at the movies has been much spottier than it used to be. So I don't know if I generally agree with him or not.

Though I will be seeing Serenity, due out next week. I'm a *huge* Joss Whedon fan - he's the writer and director of the film. Though, there too, I'm *NOT* a fan of his politics. He once referred to Bush as a piece of asswipe - for a piece published in a British entertainment magazine. I think I saw a scan of the article, which was not, as far as I know online, so I don't have a handy URL to back me up in this case.

Still, as far as I know, his politics are nowhere near as extreme as Viggo's.

And to his credit, Joss, or someone on his production staff, is at least savvy enough - or enough of a capitalist - to be offering private viewings of Serenity to bloggers on both side of the red/blue divide.

- Plus, he wants to make Serenity into a trilogy, not just a one-off show. And you need huge buzz followed by huge box office for that.


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