Tuesday, June 28, 2005

"War of the Worlds" - saw a screening last night

This is one freaky movie, full of thrills and fantastic visual effects. It's much more episodic than Spielberg's usual stuff, but that's the nature of the story he's telling - the story of Cruise trying to get his kids to safety from the alien invasion. Also, don't expect Cruise to do any typical action-heroic stuff. He's much more concerned with keeping his family safe than saving the world. But it's pretty loyal to H.G. Wells' book, including the opening and ending narration (I won't tell you who does that, but it's pretty cool.) And there are allusions to 9/11 all over the place here, something that Spielberg has readily admitted. Some have complained that after about 90 minutes of nonstop thrills, the film bogs down when the clan runs into Tim Robbins, still in partial "Mystic River" mode as a creepy survivor determined to launch a "surprise attack" against the marauding tripods. But that sequence has its merits as well.

The most astounding thing about "War of the Worlds" is the speed at which this ambitious above-average film was made. Remember that this was pretty much a gap-filller of a project for both Cruise and Spielberg, who had respective jobs that were postponed prior to singing on to this. If nothing else, this movie is a testament to landing on one's feet and making maximum effort to spend one's time efficiently.

3 1/2 stars

Monday, June 20, 2005

Tom Cruise squirted in face in London

There's a joke in here somewhere, but I'm not touching it with a ten-inch, er, ten-foot pole. But seriously, folks, can be blame Tom for getting pissed off over this incident? What if it had been human blood or acid or anthrax? I was just amazed as Tom kept smiling even as his rage was obviously building. Maybe this Scientotology mind trick has some benefits after all.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Perp walk, animal style

The perp walk is now part of the popular culture, thanks to the likes of CNN and "Entertainment Tonight." Witnessing the journey of the newly accused as they face the cameras for the first time as arrestees has been as common a sight on the tube as the toothy anchors or the sensational promos for the nightly news. Thank the likes of O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson, Timothy McVeigh and, most recently, Russell Crowe for that. All of this is perhaps a lengthy intro for my topic of the day. Because I've noticed that the commercials that advertise miracle methods for removing pet stains and odors (one such product has the deliciously audacious name "Urine Gone) always feature doggies and kitties looking tremendously, tremendously guilty at their "offenses."

I don't mean to compare a cocker spaniel to Russell Crowe, though the jury is still out about which beast of burden is smarter. But I'm asking, is it necessary to make our furry friends out as archcriminals just because they may lack a bit of bladder control? As the poet says, when you've got to go, you've got to go. Instead of shaming these critters, why not celebrate the fact that Science, after putting a man on the moon and perfecting the art of organ transplantation, has turned its gaze upon more pressing matters such as removing dog pee from the carpet?

Really, there ought to be a law.