Saturday, June 03, 2006

Two fantastic films

I just got back from film group, where I saw two fantastic, but utterly different, movies.

First up was Good Night, and Good Luck, which I've been desperate to see for a long time, and not only because it's got George Clooney in it. Last year I wrote a research essay on British radio during WWII, and part of it was on Edward R. Murrow, who is the subject of Good Night, and Good Luck. For want of a better phrase, I've had a bit of a 'history crush' on Ed Murrow since then, simply because the radio broadcasts he did from London during the Blitz were so incredible. This film was a wonderful tribute to the man, as well as all those who worked with him. To use a rather horrible cliche, it's rather quiet and understated, but I think it works because of it. All the performances are amazing, although David Strathairn as Ed Murrow, and Robert Downey Jr. as Joe Wershba were stand-outs.

(As a quick aside: can I just say how much Robert Downey Jr. rocks my world? I saw Kiss Kiss Bang Bang a few weeks ago, and was impressed all over again by what he can do. Towards the end of Ally McBeal, when it all got too hideous and painfully bad, he was the only thing worth turning that show on for.)

Anyway, the soundtrack was also fantastic, and the cinematography was beautiful. It did take me a while to get used to the constant presence of cigarettes (!), but apart from that I loved every minute of it. This quote in particular was pretty resonant:
We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men - not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.
So, go watch it now, if you haven't seen it. Follow it up with V For Vendetta, and you'll immediately feel like you can change the world.

The second movie was completely and utterly different: The Aristocrats. The basic idea of this documentary was to get as many comedians as possible to tell this one joke, which apparently is like a codeword in the comedy world. The start and the punchline (usually) remain the same, but each comedian improvises the middle, with the aim being to produce the most disgusting, horrific, offensive joke possible. I can pretty safely say that this was the most appalling, atrocious, and degenerate movie I have ever seen... and possibly one of the funniest. If you are at all easily offended, do not go and see this movie. If, however, you enjoy seeing comedians making absolute fools of themselves and laughing their heads off, you will love this documentary. The film-makers got an incredible line-up of comedians to participate - Paul Reiser, Jon Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, Chris Rock, Eric Idle, just to name a few - and all the footage is put together in a hilarious way. Go, watch! Immediately!

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