Monday, September 13, 2004

I saw seven movies yesterday...

Which is why I haven't had enough time to post reviews and stuff. When not waiting in line or having a quick bite to eat, there've been lots of movies:

Innocence (2004/I)
Written and Directed
by Mamoru Oshii

The first "Ghost in the Shell" had a message. Machines are people too. There should be equal rights for software. It had a highly inflated reputation, so of course there would be a sequel, but TEN years? I guess they had to take that long to find a decent story. Unfortunately, they didn’t.

Okay. It’s 2039. A multinational corporation has been giving out robotic sex doll prototypes to select major clients, but the things seem to have thought they were being raped as they promptly murdered their owners and self destructed, leaving the cryptic message "help me."

Section 9 Department Chief Aramaki (voice of Tamio Ôki) brings in two of his top "men" to investigate: Bateau (voice ofAkio Ôtsuka), the dog-loving cyborg from the previous film is called in to investigate, and is given a mostly human partner named Togusa (voice of Kôichi Yamadera). They go off, talk philosophy, interview a few people and shoot up some gangsters for little or no reason. Then they go to a mysterious island where they know the mysterious Mr. Kim (voice of Naoto Takenaka) is hiding out.

What happens next is both boring and tedious. The ending doesn’t make too much sense and we don’t really know if it was worth the effort to sit through the thing. It certainly wasn’t worth the effort to pay the money to get in [and I got in for free].


Written, ,Directed and
Produced by Terry George

In 1994, upwards of 800 thousand people were murdered in a period of six weeks because of their ethnicity. The world watched but didn’t try to stop it. The reason was that the UN isn’t empowered to interfere in the internal affairs of any country except that of Israel, which it doesn’t either, but likes to try to because it’s a way to get away with being hypocritical, but that’s another story. In the 1994 genocide, there were heroes as well as villains, and this is the tale of the former, and how he saved thousands.

Paul (Don Cheadle) and Tatiana Rusesabagina(Sophie Okonedo) are an upper middle class couple living in Kigali, the capitol of Rwanda. He works at a luxury hotel, and lives a pretty good life for anywhere in the World. The problem is that he’s a Hutu and she’s a Tutsi, and that’s sort of like a German and a Jew living together in 1934 Berlin.

Paul knows about the ethnic problems of his country. There’d been a genocidal attack on the Tutsis in neighboring Burundi a few years before, and the Rwandan version of the Nazis, the Interhamwe had been threatening to rampage for quite a while. The murder of the President begins a series of events that starts when Paul arrives home and finds the entire neighborhood quivering in his den. By bribing Interhamwe officers to save not only his family, but his neighbors as well. He begs, borrows and steals to save the innocent on the way to his place of business, which soon becomes a place of refuge.

The second in command of the UN Peacekeepers (Nick Nolte) is of no help and is sick about it. Some brave journalists, notably the one played by Joaquin Phoenix, try to get the story out, but soon the various armies of the west arrive and much to the disgust of the viewer only pick up the whites and take them home. Paul is left to lead the staff and "guests" in their fight to keep the insanity that killed nearly a million people with machetes and pistols in six weeks outside the gates.

It’s much like an African "Shindler’s List" and is just as uplifting. This is, as far as we know, the first major cinematic take on the subject and the fact that it has everything a good Hollywood movie should have should serve as a reminder of man’s inhumanity to man. It’s one of the best movies of the year. See it.

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