Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Moving Pictures: I hate it when I'm suckered by hype. I rented Minority Report because the DVD cover said "Reminds us of why we go to the movies. A masterpiece! - Ebert & Roeper at the Movies". It was nothing of the sort. Oh, it was a solid thriller. The production was impeccable, as one would expect from Spielberg/Dreamworks. Tom Cruise was not entirely offensive. Some of the rest of the cast acted quite well. The effects were pretty cool. To me, it was just another in a long line of well crafted and mildly entertaining action-thriller-dramas that seem to come up a bit short in the inspiration department. A cut above Schwartzenegger, but not even close to a masterpiece.

Anyway, to my way of thinking, the last action flick that had any creative merit was The Matrix, so I find I am susceptible to the hype surrounding the upcoming sequels.

I don't think it qualifies as an action film or a thriller, but if you are looking for a truly entertaining movie, check out Ocean's Eleven, which is currently in rotation HBO. The plot is entirely implausible (but no more so than Minority Report), it is essentially free of any deep philosophical issues (in contrast to Minority Report, a cautionary tale), it has a sense of humor, especially about itself (unlike the grim, solemn tone of Minority Report), and frankly it's just a whole lot of fun. The acting is uniformly delightful, with Andy Garcia as the standout in the role of the bad guy casino boss. It's hard to imagine anyone not smiling through this from start to finish. Plus, it's set in Vegas with many scenes in the Bellagio itself; what could be cooler? (Did you know they're filming a sequel?)

Here's a prediction: In thirty years we will think of Minority Report the way we think of now think of Logan's Run, and we will think of Ocean's Eleven the way we now think of The Sting. The Sting is still a good movie, entertaining and worth watching. Logan's Run on the other hand...do you even remember Logan's Run?

Oh, and one more thing. A commercial just came on TV for the movie Chicago, based on the Broadway musical I saw with HRH Miss Anna and Miss Kate. The voice over said, "Nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Picture! Opens Friday in select theatres!" It's not even released and it's up for a Best Movie award. Huh? Is anything so blatantly Hollywood? All you've got to do is release it in select theatres by the end of the year and you get your shot at a Golden Globe. I suppose it's not so bad, I'm sure the folks who vote have seen it in preview, or at least had the opportunity to. Why does it bother me to hear that? I'm not sure - hype is a fact of life, and you can ignore it if it bothers you. But it just seems like a dirty backroom deal somehow. I have no doubt I'm in the minority, but if anything that will make me predisposed to be cynical about the film.

Good Lord, am I cranky lately.

The musical on Broadway was pretty good, by the way.