29 November 2007

Links of the Week

Before getting to the links, a quickie movie review:

Caught "No Country for Old Men" over the holiday weekend. Wow, now that's a movie! Move over Ratatouille, we have a new best-of-2007 here at OTW. I haven't read the book and I'm not sure I want to now. I'm a firm believer in Roger Ebert's movie dictum "It's not what the movie's about, it's how it's about what it's about" or something to that effect and the Coen Brothers (w/ a capital B) effort may be the best illustration of that. There were several shots early in the film while I was still getting my footing with the story that just blew me away. One was taken from an almost armadillo-eyed view of asphalt twisting through the vast, barely-touched West Texas terrain -- you can practically feel the hot, rough texture of the road surface through the screen. Later, our "hero" comes upon a dead man propped up against a tree and as the camera pans it catches this fellow's cowboy boots and how their soles are so worn that there are holes through which you can see the wilderness in hyperfocus right through them. It's a small detail, but the kind of thing that brilliantly tells so much more than 3 pages of expository dialog. Finally, early in the film, someone is killed by strangulation and struggles for a realistically long time on the floor, his boots thrashing wildly. After the deed we see the pattern left on the floor by his scuff marks, a history of the struggle, the footprint of a murder. These add up along the way, and I shudder to think of my second, third and 10th viewing... what else did I miss? The resulting movie isn't just a sum of these scenes, but rather something heavier -- multiplication or more, the story is told through the genius visuals, the fully-developed characters which surprise us in their realism and of course plenty of Coen humor, blood, guts, a satchel full of drug money. I've loved almost every Coen Brother movie since my family went to see Raising Arizona and I fell in love. This is their best movie.

I won't spoil any of the fun or the utterly satisfyingly unsatisfying denoument of the chase, but I will say this: The theater was packed -- we sat in the 3rd or 4th room, the closest I've been to the screen since going to see the 2nd Lethal Weapon movie. When the screen went to black at the end there was a gasp of disapproval the likes of which I've never heard at the theater before. The near-hissing actually made me laugh a little bit. Not that I blame them, just too bad they didn't get as much enjoyment out of it as I did. Anyway, I was chatting about this as we made our way out of the theater and the (40-something) lady in front of me stopped when we reached the theater exit and came to me like we were buddies and said "That movie sucked" with such hilariously lathered spite that I almost lost it right then and there. People are funny.

On to the links:

Dat's all I got...

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