CategoryFilm and TV

Reviews and comments on movies & television

Jeremy Renner on Film: The Just Plain Bad

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S.W.A.T. 2003. Rated PG-13. Director: Clark Johnson. Renner plays Brian Gamble, the former partner of Colin Farrell’s character A motley crew of Los Angeles police officers have to make their way through a gauntlet of mercenaries while transporting a dangerous criminal to prison. You can guess what sort of movie this will be from the following facts: their leader is played by Samuel L...

Jeremy Renner on Film: The Not So Good

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North Country 2005. Rated R. Director: Niki Caro. Renner plays Bobby Sharp, supervisor of “the powder room” at the iron mine. A dramatization of the first class action lawsuit filed against a company for sexual discrimination in the workplace (Jenson vs. Eveleth Mines). Renner’s character is introduced twenty minutes in, and his first line is, “So Harlan, which one of...

Jeremy Renner on Film: The Flawed But Worth Watching

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Neo Ned 2005. Not Rated. Director: Van Fischer. Renner plays Ned, a neo-Nazi criminal who has been committed to a mental institution The concept is eyebrow-raising: a white supremacist falls in love with a black woman who claims she’s the reincarnation of Adolph Hitler. How can they pull this off without offending the majority of the audience and/or trivializing the subject matter? The...

Jeremy Renner on Film: The B List

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12 and Holding 2005. Rated R. Director: Michael Cuesta. Renner plays Gus Maitland, a construction worker who is seeing a therapist. Dealing as it does with the aftermath of a child’s tragic death, this could easily have been a depressing film. Instead, it takes an eccentric and sometimes humorous approach in its portrayal of the ensuing months in the lives of the dead child’s twin...

Jeremy Renner on Film: The A List

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Dahmer 2002. Rated R. Director: David Jacobson. Renner plays Jeffrey Dahmer, notorious rapist, serial killer, and cannibal. I admit I was reluctant to watch this movie. I have no particular interest in serial killers and do not enjoy the suspense of waiting for horrible things to happen. It was a relief to discover that, rather than being a gorefest, Dahmer is more of an arty psychological film...

2011 in the arts: a retrospective

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Over a year since my last blog post – yikes! As a sort of catch-up, it seems appropriate to look back on what captured my attention in 2011. Looming like Mount Fuji over all other entertainments this past year was the HBO-produced TV show Game of Thrones and the book series that inspired it, George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire”. I had not read the books prior to watching the show, so I...

Thoughts on Inception

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I originally saw Inception in theaters and was impressed by its intricate and imaginative visual look and layers of narrative. Leonardo DiCaprio was kind of stiff and boring, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy made up for him. The dreams were more like virtual reality constructs than what actually goes on in people’s minds while they sleep, but they were still involving, so I was fine with it...

Further thoughts on Avatar

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I saw Avatar a second time and was struck by two thematic elements that come up repeatedly in the film. First, the theme of waking vs. dreaming. The very first lines of the script are Jake relating in voiceover how, while he was in the VA hospital, he had a dream that he was flying and was free, only to wake up and face the harsh reality of his paralysis. The mechanics of sleeping and waking are...

Thoughts on James Cameron’s Avatar

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I saw Avatar in 3-D on New Year’s Eve. My expectations were very low as I walked into the theater. Pre-release interviews and pieces like this one by Annalee Newitz gave me the impression that the movie was a science fictional version of Dances with Wolves, a futuristic tale of noble savages and the white man who “goes native” to save them because they can’t save themselves. Grr. I’m also a CGI...

Reasons to be cheerful

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I just watched the first episode of Joss Whedon’s web musical, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. It is hilarious, in the vein of silly superhero creations like The Tick and Mystery Men, but with Sondheim-esque compositions! It stars Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day, and Nathan Fillion! It was independently produced by Joss and his relations! It is the future of entertainment financing...

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