Nine Lives

Want to see some stellar, no-holding-back acting?

Check out Rodrigo Garcia’s “Nine Lives,” (2005) a series of loosely connected vignettes about nine women living in Los Angeles.

The entire cast (way too many to list here) give outstanding performances (especially Robin Wright Penn in the second segment), and the movie is effecting as far as it goes. The gimmick (10-12 minutes spent in each life) works, but I kept wanting more.

Like real life, there are plenty of mysteries here that aren’t ever cleared up, which can be taken as a Cinma-vrit experiment or a cheat, depending on your perspective. Each of the characters could (probably) sustain their own movie, but after seeing all of their stories and how they connected, I felt empty, like I’d been subjected to an experiment that didn’t work.

In individual pieces, “Nine Lives” is a film not to be missed; as a whole, it falters. Still, the performances make it worth the trip.

“Nine Lives” (2005)

Written and directed by Rodrigo Garcia

Ginger Snaps

As my last entry pointed out, summertime is the one time of year that I’m willing to silence my inner critic and just accept movies, good or bad, on their own terms and be extraordinarily forgiving of their faults. Emphasis on the word extraordinarily.

Into to this frame of mind comes “Ginger Snaps,” a typical low-grade horror flick with a few inspired moments.

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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

A while back I went with a friend to see the latest, and hopefully last, installment of the Indiana Jones films, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”

All in all, it was not a bad experience. The film is nothing special mind you, but on its own terms, and in relation to the other films in the series, it’s not the worst one of the set (“Temple of Doom”), nor is it the best (“Last Crusade”).

But, to me, the most surprising thing about the entire movie is that there is so little to say about the thing; I enjoyed it, laughed a bit here and there (from both the script and my snarky comments), and I didn’t feel that my friend had wasted his gift certificate on our tickets.

The other shocker about the film is how reviews just don’t make sense in relation to it; the people who are going to see it don’t need a review to convince them, just as people who don’t want to see it won’t be persuaded by a glowing review from anyone, from a friend to (insert any prestigious critic’s name here).

So in short, three cheers for a higher class of brainless summer blockbusters; we need them now more than ever.

And may “Indiana” and Spielberg stop while they’re ahead; we might not be so forgiving next time.

Mysterious Skin

I’ll admit it readers, lately I’ve been neglecting my blog, mainly because, thanks to my co-worker Jim, I’ve become a “Lost” fan, and have spent the last month or so watching ever episode I could (and also because of some blog problems).

But, now the “Lost” weekends and the fourth season are complete, and I’m ready to get back to the movies.

This week’s offering is Gregg Araki’s “Mysterious Skin.”

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