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Succotash my Balzac, dipshiitake.

I do reviews now?

I'm not a big fan of reviewing things. Spouting unsupported opinions in conversations at the bar - yes. Writing something down with actual description and analysis for God, the internet and everyone to see - not as much.

That said, my wife and I watched The Manchurian Candidate last night. This is not a movie that I wanted to see when it was in the theaters. Why? Because I'm cynical. I think Denzel Washington is probably a nice guy who can make a Yankees hat look almost decent, but who plays pretty much the same kind of character in every movie. That's not bad - a good racket if you can get it - but I'm not a fan. Also, I dislike remakes.

But that's the beauty of renting from Blockbuster or Netflix, right? You may watch as many movies as your little eyeballs can handle for the same price every month. Plus, no one can really see what you're picking out to rent. So, you get bored at work and you start wandering around through the new releases and some that are old but you've never seen before and all of the sudden you've got 300 titles in your queue, and a copy of The Manchurian Candidate shows up at your door.

(warning: spoilers ahead. But you don't care)

So, we watched. I have to say that Denzel totally fulfilled my expectations of him, but at least I can't say I was let down by it. It actually turned out to be a decent bit of storytelling. Except for three things. 1) It has that dude from Quantum Leap in it. He's just a bit character, but every time he was on the screen, I was like, "Hey, it's that dude from Quantum Leap." 2) They couldn't leave well enough alone and merely let me wonder if I was way creepy because I suspected some serious Oedipal shit between Liev Schrieber and Meryl Streep. No. They had to show it. It really wasn't essential to the story (though that is some SERIOUS character revelation), and it was totally gross. 2) They leave so much stuff unresolved. Like, where is the state-the-art desert island lab now? Was it ever real? Which versions of the dreams were accurate. Were all the deaths of the soldiers murders, or did they all go crazy and kill themselves? Aren't there any more of these sleeper agents? I can handle unresolved plotlines and open endings. Unless the whole point of your story is to unravel the mystery. Questions at the end of Lost In Translation and Garden State - sounds fine. But this is like Scooby and the gang almost figuring out that it's old Mr. Tanner in a bed sheet, and then deciding to chunk it all and go get burgers instead.

I've got The Door In The Floor lined up for tonight. I've watched the first five minutes and I'm already conflicted. It already encompasses the entire spectrum of devices that can completely engross me or utterly repulse me in a film: full nudity (good) and Jeff Bridges playing raquetball in a toga (bad). I'll let you know how it goes.

On a totally unrelated note, Pedro The Lion has a new demo available as an mp3 at PureVolume. It's acoustic and a little rough, but it's nice to hear an actual guitar track with Dave Bazan's voice as he's been on the whole Headphones kick lately. There's a bunch of other PTL stuff to listen to there as well, if you need an introduction. Bazan is amazing. I love the music and the poetry. He always sounds like he is half muttering, half roaring out of a hangover. Except that where you have a hangover from some Jagerbombs or some such foolishness, Bazan has one from being on a fucking vision quest. The dude is good. Raw and good.
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