November 7, 2007

November 7, 2007

Preview Review- Lions for Lambs
How psyched was I for a movie starring Robert Redford, Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep? Tom Cruise and I go way back to the early 80s where he spent some time on my bedroom wall during high school when he was breaking through in Risky Business and the under appreciated All the Right Moves. Meryl is good in everything she does (I can't think of a single movie where she was bad); and Robert Redford is well, Robert Redford - savior of independent cinema.

I would love to tell you that Lions for Lambs is the important war movie this fall, but I can't. It's not even the second or third important war movie this fall. It's a preachy, boring polemic that is an utter disappointment on all levels.

The story is told from three different perspectives. The first is Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep. Cruise plays a Republican Senator hell bent on creating a new war strategy because we need to win this "so-called" war on terror. Streep plays a seasoned journalist called in to interview the Senator as the offensive is launched in order to report the facts on this brilliant new war strategy for Afghanistan. Much as I loved Tom Cruise when I was a teen, I think that he is virtually unwatchable nowadays. I had a really hard time separating his screen role from his off-screen role. I think that some of it was due to the fact that I kept thinking this smarmy Senator was going to jump on his office coach to try to convince the reporter that this new war strategy was the right thing to do.

The second story is about the soldiers (Michael Pena and Derek Luke) carrying out the Senator's offensive in Afghanistan with devastating results, and the third story is about a professor (Redford) trying to inspire a gifted student to give a shit about something more than getting drunk and getting laid.

Redford doesn't believe this is a war drama, he feels it's a human drama " which dares to ask the audience to question, wonder, and feel--and urges them to participate more fully in their own fates, as well as that of the country." Written by Matthew Michael Carnahan who also wrote this fall's The Kingdom this movie just makes me again realize how stupid and male focused war is, and how our world needs to figure out better ways to solve problems.

If you are looking for a film that asks provocative questions about war and what happens when soldiers come home see In the Valley of Elah. It's bleak and much stronger than Lion's for Lambs. (Opens Friday, November 9)

Glamour magazine gave out its annual women of the year awards this week. The awards went to Jennifer Garner, Shonda Rhimes, Elizabeth Edwards and Toni Morrison.
Glamour Women of the Year Like a Little Risky Business

Eleanor Ringel comments on the Alliance of Women Film Journalists site about the paucity of choices for women actresses. If these are the roles available for the A list, what's it like for everyone else?
2007 Roles for A List Actresses

New Line is banking on the girl driven franchise starting with the Golden Compass to take up the mantle of Lord of the Rings.
New Line Banking on Compass (Variety)

Interesting piece from The Guardian:

Director Josie Rourke has started off her new role as artistic director of London's Bush Theatre with some positive discrimination. When she arrived at the Bush in April, Rourke inherited four new plays, all written by men - David Watson's Flightpath, How to Curse by Ian McHugh, The Dysfunckshonalz by Mike Packer and Helter Skelter/Land of the Dead by Neil LaBute. Now, to balance things out, Rourke has appointed four female directors for them: Naomi Jones, Tamara Harvey, Patricia Benecke and Rourke herself. "It is essential to get the dynamic between male and female voices right," says Rourke. "It's a rare thing in this male-dominated world of theatre." (The Guardian)
Tube Tonight
Season Finale of the Sarah Silverman Show (10:30pm, Comedy Central)
Biography of Janis Joplin (11pm, Bio)
Joplin documentary recalls star's over-the-top lifestyle