Battlestar Galactica: The Oath

How’s that for a change of pace? While “Sometimes a Great Notion” and “A Disquiet Follows My Soul” were full of character revelations and quiet moments, “The Oath” is all action, all the time.

Standard warning: If you haven’t seen the show, or the most recent episode, and you care about that sort of thing, don’t click to the next page. There be spoilers, and lots of them; you’ve been warned.

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Battlestar Galactica: A Disquiet Follows My Soul

It’s official, “Battlestar Galactica” is my cocaine; it makes me happy and energized and completely OK with the world around me. We could all use more of that feeling, and hey, this method’s totally legal.

Standard warning: If you haven’t seen the show, or the most recent episode, and you care about that sort of thing, don’t click to the next page. There be spoilers, and lots of them; you’ve been warned.

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The Believer

Henry Bean’s “The Believer” (2001) left me at a loss for words. The film is a bit of a mystery and not the good kind.

Ryan Gosling stars as Danny Balint, a modern day Nazi who enjoys beating up Jews, Blacks, whatever Ethnic group member he happens to come across. While he enjoys that hobby, he gets bored fighting alone, so he joins up with a group of Fascists and successfully talks them into preaching his message of hate and genocide.

But Danny is more than he seems; he is Jewish, and not just by heritage. He knows the language, the practices, the traditions, everything. He passes that off as ‘know-your-enemy’ thinking to his buddies, but he still follows the rules when in the presence of religious artifacts.

And that’s where I run into the conundrum; Danny is filled with hate for ‘his’ people, but he also ardently believes in their traditions and being a good Jew in line with those traditions. I’m guessing that the writer, Bean again, was trying to show that racism can be complex, but to me, Danny just doesn’t come across as a real person.

A Jewish Nazi is an intriguing premise, and Gosling gives everything he has to the performance (make no mistake, it’s an award-worthy one), but other than an extreme contrarian streak in Danny, there doesn’t seem to be any foundation for his wishes of genocide. At one point in the film, he preaches that “we” hate the Jews simply because we hate them, and while the speech makes the point, that isn’t enough justification for the hatred in Danny.

I don’t buy it, and therefore I can’t get behind the movie. Maybe you’ll have better luck.

“The Believer” (2001)

Written and directed by Henry Bean

Starring: Ryan Gosling (Danny Balint)

Battlestar Galactica: Sometimes a Great Notion

Yes, I know that my blog is supposed to be about movies; but a blog is really what you make it, and with the return of “Battlestar Galactica” to the airwaves, I’m expanding my parameters.

And really, since I’m going to be thinking about this show nonstop anyway, might as well write about it too. Hope you don’t mind. And I’ll keep the movie reviews coming too.

If you haven’t seen the show, or the most recent episode, and you care about that sort of thing, don’t click to the next page. There be spoilers, and lots of them; you’ve been warned.

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Memorable Moments in 2008

This isn’t going to be a typical end of the year list, mainly because I’m not a typical critic. I saw five movies in the theater (as opposed to 119 total…I counted) this year, and a few that came out this year that I rented, but for the most part, I was skipping around in time and watching movies from all over the spectrum (like normal).

And in that spirit, I’m not necessarily picking the movies I thought were “the best.” Here are the films that, in one way or another, stuck with me after watching them. Bad and good is a bit easy to determine, especially in the cold light of January, but it’s a bit harder to pin down why a film haunts you, which I will attempt to do now.

So here’s my list, in alphabetical order. Happy reading.

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Frost/Nixon

“Frost/Nixon” began life as a powerful, thought-provoking play about a historic battle of wills between a lightweight journalist and disgraced former president. Fortunately, it’s also a pretty good movie.

Most of the film is setup, which irks a little, but context matters, so the first 45 minutes or so is spent on setting up the scene. David Frost (Michael Sheen) is a journalist struggling for credibility and comes up with the idea of a series of interviews with Pres. Richard Nixon (Frank Langella), who left the office of the president after the Watergate scandal.
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“Bedknobs and Broomsticks” revisited

I looooove this movie; I have loved it ever since I first saw it (I don’t remember that, but I was probably about 4 or so). It’s been about six years since I last watched it, but it’s one of those childhood treasures I want to keep in my heart forever.

So, when my mom got me the DVD for Christmas, I decided it was time to look at film with a critical eye and give the DVD another chance.

A brief plot summary: Angela Lansbury stars as Miss Price, an eccentric woman living by herself in a little village in the English seaside in 1940. She reluctantly takes in three Cockney orphans (Charlie, Carrie and Paul) from London; they were shipped out to the country to keep them safe during the Blitz. The kids, however, plan to run back to London, but instead see her going for a midnight ride on a broomstick (right before she crashes).

 

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