Saturday, November 12, 2005

Movie Review: The Battle of Algiers

Last week, in an ironically topical twist, I happened to watch The Battle of Algiers, Gillo Pontecorvo's masterpiece set amidst the late-'50s Algerian struggle for freedom. Shot on location in Algiers and so starkly realistic, especially in the crowd scenes, that one might mistake it for a documentary, The Battle of Algiers views the struggle dispassionately, calmly capturing moments of terror unleashed by both sides while simultaneously painting an intensely human portrait of the perpetrators. Rumor has it that the movie has become a training video for government agencies thanks to its thorough explanation of urban warfare and cellular terrorist organization.

Two thumbs way up!

In other news, I have also been watching a couple of David Cronenberg films, Spider (2002) and Videodrome (1983). The former is well-done but too grim and depressing for my taste while the latter is a decently entertaining off-beat horror movie about television and mind-control. Also worth watching:

Flirting With Disaster (1996) is yet another deliciously offbeat film by David O. Russell -- think Three Kings crossed with I Heart Huckabees.

Killing Zoe (1994) is an ultra-violent heist movie set in Paris that makes up for its lack of substance with style and snatches of interesting dialogue. If you see shades of Tarantino, it is not a surprise since the movie was made by Roger Avary, one-time Tarantino collaborator and co-writer of Pulp Fiction.

A Quiet Morning Drive on the Streets of Paris

(Via Crooked Timber) This is the most spectacular video I have seen in a long time. French filmmaker Claude Lelouch films a car (Ferrari?) hurtling through the streets of Paris at nearly 140MPH, cross-traffic, red lights, pedestrians and all.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Intelligent Design in Kansas

The Kansas Board of Education has now decided to learn from the Dover School Board -- which decided to include Intelligent Design in the school curriculum only for the culprits involved to be promptly voted out of office -- and mandate the teaching of intelligent design, while also deciding to redefine Science along the way in a little footnote!

I see only one logical methodology for putting the debate to rest. Split off Kansas into a country of its own and let it evolve! And while we are at it, perhaps we should create a separate nation for the 50% of America that believes in a literal interpretation of the Bible as well.