movie – Inside Man

I’d heard mixed reviews but was still intrigued enough to watch it. After all: Denzel, Jodi, DeFoe. How bad could it be?

I have a soft spot for Spike Lee movies. If they aren’t too preachy (this isn’t) they are excellent. The one I reflect on most is another Denzel Washington / Spike Lee Joint called Bamboozled (New Line Platinum Series)

Inside Man (Widescreen Edition) is engaging, in fact. A nice twist on the standard heist movie.

Inside Man (Widescreen Edition)

author – Michael Crichton

Just finished Congo, Crichton’s 1980 book exploring themes of communication with great apes and the possibility that man and chimpanzee had inter-bred at some point in the distant past.

What I like about Crichton is that his books are accessible by a 10-year-old yet are based on serious scientific research. He is a medical doctor by training.

Of course he has had fantastic success translating his work to film and TV. I never realized until recently that Crichton wrote and directed one of my formative early films Westworld

I liked Crichton even better after I read his autobiographical book Travels:

Travels

In some ways Crichton’s heir is Canadian author Robert J. Sawyer

Actually, (after I had written the statement above) I got the chance to ask Robert if he was influenced by Crichton and he said he had not read him since age 12. Though both have a scientific background, Crichton is “anti-Science” — in his books the scientific breakthrough always goes wrong. The dinosaurs run amok.

movies online – and so it begins

The “legal” download movie wars, I mean.

CrunchGear – Amazon’s Unbox Movie Download Service Launched

Amazon has launched a movie download page called Unbox.com with TV episode downloads for about $1.99 and movies for about $15. …

Each “purchase” gives you a DVD-quality video file and a Windows Media file for portable devices. It is currently Windows-only and movie rentals, which are cheaper, expire after 30 days.

Amazon surprised the pundits by being the first big player out of the gate. Reviews have been very negative.

I expect Apple’s about-to-be-announced service will be far better. Apple will be the market leader, as usual.

book – The Tailor of Panama

Normally I love John le Carré novels and have read most of his books.

This one had great potential.

I could not finish it. The dialogue, full of complex British slang, was too much work.

Le Carré is perhaps the most popular writer producing “literature” today. But in the case of Panama — I think I’ll prefer the movie.

The Tailor of Panama

movie – Hotel Rwanda

I finally saw the acclaimed film Hotel Rwanda.

Though painful, I recommend it, especially if you do not know the story.

This is the Hollywood treatment of the Rwandan Genocide where over 800,000 were killed — many hacked to death with $.10 machetes — during a period of 100 days from April 6th through mid-July 1994.

The man in charge of peace-keeping at the time, Canadian Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire was hand-cuffed by the United Nations. The few UN troops on hand were ordered to stand by without intervening.

President Clinton later described US inaction as “the biggest regret of my administration.”

This was only 12-years-ago.

It’s unbelievable.

Rent the movie.

Hotel Rwanda