Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Mona Lisa Smile, X-Men and The Big Empty

"Mona Lisa Smile" is another successful film for Julia Roberts, and the performances of the women who are the Wellesley "girls" gives the film the support the story line needed. You almost believe the 1990s cultural template being laid over the 1950s storyline. All in all worth watching.

"X-Men" and "X2(X-Men United)" are both excellent. In a genre I hardly ever even pickup, much less rent, these were a happy surprise. There was something Harry Potterish about the whole thing as well. I guess that was the theme of saving children who are different. You just expected the word "muggles" to surface. MUCH better than the usual action-adventure. Maybe the comic book medium can influence Hollywood for the better, and with "Spiderman" and "X-Men", comics sure have a running start. I also had a very "Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay" feeling while watching "X-Men."

On the downside is "The Big Empty" which really was. Starting out there was a storyline, and it seemed to be going somewhere, but, much like my impression of "K-PAX", there was a dichotomy here. Was it science fiction or was the guy having hallucinations. Where the people in Baker, California aliens or were they not. Are we to assume the folks in the blue suits (and what the heck did the blue suits mean) were picked up by a space ship? And why was the neighbor killed? Why do we care? In the end, we really don't. An excellent performance by John Favreau saved watching this from being a huge waste of time. John is always good. Catch his short bit in "Something's Gotta Give".

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