Mar 10, 2005

Lost in Translation, The Wicker Man, and Stargate

This week's Netflix:

Lost in Translation stars Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansen. This film was released in 2003 and got rave reviews. I agree with most of them, but I found that is was a little slow in the beginning and almost lost my interest. The humor is subtle making it smart funny, not guffaw funny. I am a Bill Murray fan from his SNL days through Caddy Shack, Meatballs, and Stripes. This film is not like anything I have seen him in before. Sophia Coppola did a really good job in her directing debut.

The British sitcom, Coupling, inspired our Netflix choice of The Wicker Man . I heard about it while watching the British sitcom, Coupling, and thought it would be some melodramatic or angsty teen film from their description. My curiosity got the best of me, so I added it to the Netflix list. The Wicker Man turned out to be one of the weirdest films I have ever seen. Filmed in 1973, it stars Edward Woodward as a mainland police officer who has come to a small Scottish island to investigate the reported disappearance of a girl. Christopher Lee plays the island laird, Lord Summersisle, and Britt Eckland plays the island strumpet. The inhabitants of this odd isle are all pagans and they have very open sexuality and observe some very stange rituals. The film is Felini-esque and sinister, and has a surprise ending. The best thing about the film is Christopher Lee dancing in a macabre drag outfit as he leads the pagan procession (although I'm sure that men will be more impressed with Britt Eckland's naked pagan dance. The worst thing about the film is the music, which is a kind of '70's Celtic tripe. The scenery is beautiful and the story is fascinating, if not believable.

Stargate is the predecessor to the Sci-fi Channel's T.V. show, Stargate: S.G. 1. I saw this one when it first came out and it was nice to see it again 10 years later. Stargate stars Kurt Russell and James Spader. The supporting cast includes French Stewart, playing a fairly butch soldier, instead of an alien and Jaye Davidson, playing a gender-bending alien, instead of a transsexual. In the film, the military and scientists work together to discover the secrets of an a giant ring (stargate) found in an archeological dig in Egypt in the 1920's. I still think the storyline is unique and interesting and the special effects still hold up a decade after it was released. If you like sci-fi, then you should enjoy Stargate.

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