Quick Takes – 09.19.10

The past two weeks I have been swamped with work and events occurring in my personal life that I have had barely any time for movies. In the past two weeks I’ve only seen two films outside of the movies I screened at the cinema or films that will be getting full-length reviews eventually. However, I can’t complain too much because the films I saw this week were quite a treat.

The Big Lebowski (1998)

Grade: A | 4th Viewing

I usually attempt to at least feign eloquence in my reviews, but the only appropriate words I can come up with to describe the Coen brothers’ ultimate cult comedy is “fucking awesome.” There aren’t too many films that can give me such instant joy not only with its overt humor, but its subtlety as well. I also love its similarity and ironic homage to many of the greatest film noirs. Instead of going into further detail I am just going to post my favorite quotes from the movie:

”Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.”

“That rug really tied the room together.”

JESUS: “You ready to be fucked, man? I see you rolled your way into the semis. Dios mio, man. Liam and me, we’re gonna fuck you up.”
THE DUDE: “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

The Ghost Writer (2010)

Grade: B+ | 1st Viewing

The Ghost Writer was a more shallow exercise than some of Polanski’s previous thrillers, but it is quite entertaining nonetheless. Ewan McGregor is excellent in the tightly paced movie that features some fantastic dialogue and eternally keeps the viewer guessing. With political thrillers of this sort I’ve always found that the actual “secret” is less important than the fact that a secret exists. The stakes are raised by the fact that people will kill to protect the secret, which increases the level of suspense and makes for an excellent film.

What struck me the most about the film was not only that it mirrored Polanski’s own life (with the Prime Minister not being able to leave the country), but it also seems to be intentionally anti-American. Many films criticize American government policies without criminalizing the people as a whole, but I felt that The Ghost Writer was highly critical of Americans and any Europeans who would support them. Not only is the film’s main theme about how the support of American policies is criminal, but by casting a British man as the hero there is no redemption of any sort for the United States. I’m not saying this is detracts from the film at all, but it’s something that is hard not to notice.

[Images: OutNow]

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