The Postman (1997)

1997-the-postman-poster1Starring Kevin Costner, Will Patton, Larenz Tate, Olivia Williams, James Russo, Daniel von Bargen, Tom Petty, Scott Bairstow, Giovanni Ribisi, Roberta Maxwell, Joe Santos, Ron McLarty, Peggy Lipton

Directed by Kevin Costner

Expectations: Low, but as a fan of Dances with Wolves I’m hopeful.

twohalfstar


2013
The Great Salt Flats of Utah

The last of the great cities died when my father was a child, victims of yet another war. He told of the plagues that followed and how the living hid themselves, scattered in tiny hamlets in hopes of surviving whatever new madness conspired to rob them of the little that remained. In those days, he walked alone, a solitary witness to the chaos that reigned. The earth itself had fallen victim to the insanity. He told stories of the three-year winter and how the dirty snow never stopped falling. He saw the ocean, barren, poisoned, near death. And how they watched the sky for 16 long years, praying for the great lungs to start working again. He said it was as if the ocean had breathed a great sigh of relief.

The Postman tells the story of a lone drifter, walking through the desert with only a few supplies and a burro to keep him company. He dreams of watching Monday Night Football and admires the sunset from the roof of an old Unocal 76 station. The post-apocalyptic setting is complete, but unfortunately star/director Kevin Costner decides to leave all of this iconic imagery quickly behind as he tells us a tale of a western, Civil War-inspired version of the future. I don’t imagine that if the world ended I’d move into the nearest ghost town, but that seems to be exactly what the survivors of the plagues and the wars did in their world.

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The Rum Diary (2011)

Starring Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Rispoli, Amber Heard, Richard Jenkins, Giovanni Ribisi, Amaury Nolasco, Marshall Bell, Bill Smitrovich, Julian Holloway, Karen Austin

Directed by Bruce Robinson

Expectations: Low. Heard bad things, but my love for Hunter S. Thompson is enough to get me to watch this.


I can now fully understand the negative backlash to The Rum Diary. When it released into theaters I decided against heading out to see it, despite a high interest. I did that because I’ve read Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary, and I enjoyed it, but when I finally saw the trailer for this adaptation it looked as if they had taken the rather different source material and gave it a heavy dose of Fear and Loathing’s manic energy. I called bullshit and said I’d catch it on DVD. Well here I am a few months later, DVD in hand, and damn if the movie isn’t pretty close to the book. What we have here is a case of poor marketing. The film was marketed as a non-stop rush of waggling devil tongues and slurred words, so obviously people who bought into that in the trailer were disappointed when they saw the subtly chaotic piece on the discovery of a journalist’s craft. And conversely, I am pleasantly surprised by the shift in tone and focus from the marketing. So in effect the marketing is specifically targeting non-fans by drawing them in with empty promises, but turning off fans who know the book in the same stroke. The film is quite reverent of Thompson and his ideals, so I can only imagine the shitstorm that went down between the marketing department and the filmmakers. Or perhaps I’d just like to imagine something similar to the events of The Rum Diary surrounding the production of The Rum Diary.

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Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Starring Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Jeremy Davies, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi, Matt Damon, Ted Danson, Dennis Farina, Paul Giamatti, Harve Presnell

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Expectations: High. I remember loving this. It’s been a few years.


Here’s another History class review.

Saving Private Ryan opens and closes on the same image of a faded American flag. The only sound is the quiet rippling it makes as it moves with the wind. In honor of the soldiers that have fallen and everything that has been sacrificed for the lives of their countrymen, the flag waves steadily and means much more that the simple colored fibers it is constructed of. Like the flag, the film is a commentary on the value of life and what one man is worth. Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan is the top of the game in terms of World War II films and with good reason. It is an absolute triumph on nearly every level.

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