Monday, January 8, 2007

Episode 5

Children Of Men - The year is 2027. It's been eighteen years since all women on Earth suddenly and mysteriously became infertile. Eighteen years since a child has been born. That means that the youngest person on Earth is eighteen years old. The world is going down the shitter. Riots, poverty, and starvation run rampant in the shadow of the realization that mankind may be a hop, skip, and a jump from extinction. The only place on the planet that holds at least a semblance of control over it's population is Britain. Just when it seems that all hope is lost, a small group of people discover a girl who is eight months pregnant. Knowing that she isn't safe in, the group entrusts her life to Theodore Faron, asking that he escort her safely to another group of people who call themselves The Human Project. What ensues is the most gripping, emotional, and fantastic movie of 2006. I have two words for Children Of Men. An enthusiastic "Holy shit!" Every single thing about this movie is great. The story is great. The acting is great. The directing is great. Every single thing about this movie is great. As I've already given you the story, now I'll cover the actors. Julianne Moore, Clive Owen, and Michael Caine all do spectacular jobs in tis movie. I don't know how else to say it. Clive Owen is especially wonderful as the man who has perhaps the fate of humanity thrust onto his shoulders. He takes everything in stride and is always completely believable, and never over-emotional. I believed he was Theodore Faron for every single second he was onscreen. Even more incredible than the acting, though, was the directing. Quite simply, I've never before seen directing like that which was in this movie. Alfonso Cuarón kept my eyes open for the entire two hours over which Children Of Men took place. The things that stand out the most about the direction of this movie are the very long takes which are used very often. Sometimes the camera doesn't cut for minutes at a time while incredibly intricate scenes play out. If you've ever played a first person shooter video game before, you will most likely get a familiar feeling from some parts of Children Of Men. Following characters and events around, often low to the ground, weaving between objects, the camera makes you feel like a character in the movie. The use of this technique is really shown off in the climax of the film during a chase/war scene with multiple explosions and lots of gunfire which spans a demolished street and the inside of a run down apartment building. I'm not sure of the exact length of the scene, but the camera follows the main character of the movie through at least seven minutes of unbelievable events without cutting a single time. It is perhaps the most incredible feat I've ever seen performed in a movie...ever. Children Of Men is a must see, and I for one cannot wait to purchase the DVD when it comes out to see what sort of special features there are involving the filming of the movie.

The Inside Man - It's a Clive Owen double feature today, apparently. The Inside Man is about an incredibly intricate bank robbery performed by a group of criminals led by Clive Owen. Attempting to keep the situation under control is the NYPD's detective Frazier as played by Denzel Washington. It quickly becomes apparent, though, that this isn't just any bank robbery. The involvement of bank manager Christopher Plummer and his fast talking hired lackey Jodie Foster ups the ante, as does the very intricate and original means by which the criminals handle the situation. Lets see...what else... Well, as we all know from watching movies about police officers, the main cop has to be on thin ice with the precinct in some way, which Denzel certainly is as he's under investigation for some kind of crime involving his girlfriend's brother. Also in the cliché pile is the fact that Denzel is planning to propose to said girlfriend very soon. Lets all hope he doesn't die. I'm not saying that that does or doesn't happen, but that's certainly what director Spike Lee wants you to be thinking about the whole time. I enjoyed The Inside Man as a bank robbery movie. The other aspects of it really didn't do much for me. In fact, some of them annoyed me a bit. For example, the over-emphasis of Lee's feelings on racial discrimination and inner-city living felt much more out of place here than I'm sure they did in He Got Game, Malcolm X, or Mo' Better Blues (the other three movies he teamed up with Denzel for). I could have really done without the blunt moments of heartfelt racial politics when what I was really watching the movie for was to see if and how Clive Owen was going to rob the bank, and who exactly the title's deftly named "inside man" was going to turn out to be. The way it all goes down is pretty darn cool, though, as well as original, as I stated before. The specifics of what they steal, and especially what Plummer's character is so worried about were less rewarding as I basically guessed what his deal was right from the get go. That's probably just me, though. Overall, a decent movie. As a footnote (since he was one in the film) Willem Dafoe's in there as well.

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