Thursday, September 04, 2008

babylon AD

Vin's "Children of Men" earned a 4 on the "Tomatometer". Partly because it was "Children of Men", partly because it was Vin, and most assuredly for the editing of the fight scenes. That being said "4" is harsh and wrong and a collection of straight world reviews. PS: not all science fiction has to transcend the genre.
This is genre, it is chock full of cool things, it has the Belle Parkour Team doing the stunts -- and if you don't know who those guys are you haven't been paying attention. Did I mention Michelle Yeoh as a co-star? No? A 4 -- shame on your tomatometer. Check out the interactive folding map in the trunk and then you give it a four.

Red Belt

Next time you catch a rerun of Married With Children -- and I don't care if it is for the sharp writing, Christina Applegate or Peg's Leopard top -- try to get your head around "Al" being a Black Belt. We already know from the "Spanish Prisoner" that he and Mamet work together..but to this Kansas transplant they seem an unlikely pair. Apparently Ed O'Neill (Al) has some martial arts in him, and got Mamet involved.
"Redbelt" is the first child of this pairing on that subject, and man is it good.
Like all Mamet it is important to have the guests seated and focused and well-lubricated prior to pressing play(you assume correctly Grasshopper, this did not make the 50 mile travel for a movie radius). "Redbelt" opens hard and fast and keeps moving. The moments of stillness that come in the film are oasii of reflection and conjecture as the none riveted parts of the mind fill in the backstories, the time and the place of this wonderful tale.
Top notch writing a given -- this is Mamet -- and the actors are up to the task. Camera is good, if not excellent, as is the soundtrack. The story may strain plausibility -- but look at the VP on the Republican side -- truth can be stranger than fiction.
This is highly recommended on several fronts, not the least of which is my love of action films -- which this qualifies as easily, though is not confined by the label, and as another feather in the cap of Mr Mamet.

Mad Men

I will start off by mentioning my bias: I am an ex-salesman. "Glengarry Glen Ross" is not a sad movie about desperate men for me but a tour de force by Mamet that captures the biz on key, perfectly. Additional bias includes watching the series on Blue-Ray with a beautiful woman that loves the show. No, she does not call me "Don Draper" at inappropriate times...
All that being said, here is a quick synopsis, and a couple o' comments. "Mad Men" are a self-promoting group of Madison Avenue advertising guys in the late 50's - early 60's. The 1st Season introduces the team, and their office -- and the politics of the office and the times.
This is done with a hyper saturated palette and sense of irony. The viewers already know the results of their campaigns (or at least we should -- I work in an office that thinks Pinochet is a wood puppet) but the entertainment is in the details. Like the Glengarry Glen Ross crew these guys are charismatic, focused, and completely wrong on so many levels.
The show is nuanced enough to keep you watching, and caring, for these b-(ad) men and the women that love them. As a period piece it may be way over the top. As a costume drama it is nearly as interesting as "Rome" -- yes, the costumes are at that level -- and the colors of Rayon and Polyester pop amidst the clatter of manual typewriters and glass doored office spaces.

I am so looking forward to Season 2!