Sunday, May 02, 2004

Movie: Hollywood Homicide (2003)

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I like this movie. A lot. And I have said it before; here I am making a case for it in Slate’s Movie Club. Scroll down. Way down.

Movie: Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003)

Fourteen minutes. That’s all I could stand.

Video: The Statement (2003)

Another muddled thriller than squanders a great premise. Michael Caine plays an aging Nazi sympathizer on the run from the authorities and a mysterious group of Jewish commandos. He’s aided by officials from the Catholic Church and the French government. There’s precious little suspense, but what surprises is that the movie can’t work up a decent froth of righteous anger. A disappointment, considering its pedigree (based on a novel by the great Brian Moore and adapted by Oscar-winner Ronald Harwood). Caine’s performance almost salvages the movie. The man has no vanity; there's not even a token effort to make his character likeable. Too bad the script doesn't give him material to run with. Only a scene with his estranged wife (Charlotte Rampling) has any real juice.

TV: Dinner for Five

This week’s guests are all actors with serious Chicago time on their résumés, like Jeff Garlin and Joe Mantegna. Host Jon Favreau is savvy about the balance at the table, often including older actors who not only have stories to tell but know how to tell them (like Burt Reynolds or James Caan in previous shows).

It’s funny how every week Favreau begins a sentence with “Back when we were making SWINGERS ...” as if the movie were some kind of indie-film touchstone. Sadly, I think it might be. Sadder still is how profane many of his guests are. That Gina Gershon has some mouth on her. In every sense of the phrase.

Music: The Best of Bond ... James Bond

A collection of music from 007 movies that omits the best such song since Shirley Bassey’s heyday: “Surrender,” from the end credits of TOMORROW NEVER DIES. It’s sung by k.d. lang, who was born to do Bond music. And if bombast can be said to be sly, that’s what this arrangement is. On the plus side, the album came out too early to have Madonna’s ‘Die Another Day’ on it.