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May 13, 2008 | Comments ()


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Youth Without Mad Money

This Week's DVD Releases / The Pajiba Staff

DVD Releases | May 13, 2008 | Comments ()


The Great Debaters: For inexplicable reasons, Dustin took the review opportunity to go after Oprah Winfrey, who produced Debaters, writing: “The only person I can hate in this equation is myself for allowing Oprah and her subliminal mind-control to win me over with a feel good story when all I want to do is feel miserable. Solipsistic bitch. I loathe you for your ability to attach great dramatic talent to a stirring, though formulaic, film about subjugated African-Americans in the Jim Crow South overcoming insurmountable social and political obstacles to become the first-black debate team to take on the reigning debate champions, Harvard, and actually defeat them. Oh, sure: It’s movie we’ve seen scores of times now — Glory Road and Remember the Titans to name just two, but you knew that white and black folks alike fall for that David and Goliath underdog bullshit every time, didn’t you? Yeah, you did: That’s why you exploited us, isn’t it Oprah? This isn’t about making a film with a talented ensemble of actors, an inspirational storyline, and a positive social message, is it? It’s about abusing us — taking our money in exchange for a moderately entertaining two hours and leaving us verklempt and slightly uplifted, isn’t it? You harlot. You business-savvy, wench. I hate you and everything you stand for — well, except for racial equality and all that philanthropy, but you know what I mean. Don’t you? Take your feel-good, bullshit movie and shove it up your ass, lady — I mean, after I’ve already seen it and derived all the pleasure I’m going to get out of it.

Mad Money: After mourning the passing of Joey Potter, Dustin writes simply that Money was a tepid film, at best: “After a week on the talk-show circuit, and seeing the dichotomy between the characters in the movie, the old Katie Holmes, and the preprogrammed, soft-spoken animatronic slenderbot that’s been haunting me on the small screen all week, it’s hard for me to argue that the woman can’t act. She deserves an Oscar for at least one of those roles; I just don’t know which one. Anyway, Mad Money is designed, at least, to be a (light, so very light) female-empowerment flick about three women who throw caution to the wind and decide to rob the federal reserve, but what it really is is a 100-minute time suck that lightens your wallet and leaves you lethargic.”

Untraceable: Of this Diane Lane flick, Agent Bedhead writes, “Director Gregory Hoblit (Fracture, Primal Fear) weaves a sordid and highly derivative tale that, presumably, shall awaken us to the true horror of our voyeuristic tendencies. Apparently, the collective “we” no longer can separate the concepts of right and wrong, and thus, we are in need of this sort of film as a jolt to our hidden humanity. The problem is that, to make its point, Untraceable preys upon every cliché of the seldom celebrated torture-porn subgenre.” Bedhead then concludes, ultimately, that “While it’s quite easy to dismiss Untraceable for its double-talking jive, the harder truth is that this just isn’t a very good film.”

Youth Without Youth: Daniel focuses his review of Youth on its past-his-prime director, Francis Ford Coppola: “It’s been a cinematically fallow decade for Coppola since his last film, The Rainmaker, and his latest, Youth Without Youth, is clearly meant to remind us all that Coppola was once a formidable storytelling talent. And indeed, there are fragments of the film that work well, and serve as a realization that once, a long time ago, Coppola had a voice and a vision and the sheer bravado to carry it all off. But if he was once Col. Kurtz, forever mumbling and sweaty in the jungle while the world changed around him, he’s since become Martin Sheen’s Capt. Willard, journeying upstream into the mouth of madness for no other reason than that of blind ambition and boredom. There are ideas and pieces of Youth Without Youth that feel like something absolutely brand new, as if Coppola finally made it to the new world he’d been charting in his mind the whole time, but most of the film is willfully impregnable, clunkily told, and stubbornly ambiguous.



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