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Snow, Lotsa Snow

I've been seeing a lot of movies lately with snow in them. When I say snow, I mean that white stuff that falls from the sky in winter and not a narcotic also capable of falling from the sky.

I finally sat myself down to watch a DVD of March of the Penguins. I didn't much enjoy the Penguins or how the narration attempted to humanize them so we the audience might empathize with their habits. They're not humans anyway. They're penguins! That's the whole point of the movie.

The penguins walk a lot in March of the Penguins. They go from the sea to the mating grounds seventy miles away (yes, that's seventy miles, don't forget, it's seventy miles) then back to the sea then back to the mating ground then back to the sea. I suppose there's not much to do in Antarctica.

Still, I admire the filmmakers for getting out there and shooting in negative eighty degree temperatures and little sun. I suppose the Penguins may have looked up from their huddle and wondered who those strange creatures were. Or maybe the penguins didn't wonder at all.

Now, I move from Antarctica to Albuquerque to talk about First Snow, an Indie Thriller starring Guy Pearce as a flooring salesman who is told he will die when the first snow comes.

Maybe the filmmakers were trying to make something like classical tragedy mixed with Hitchcock, but the script is so sophomoric that one could hear the screenwriting teacher ask, so how does he know the oracle is true? what does he do next? how do you raise the stakes?' I was surprised by this because the screenwriters had collaborated on a very good script for Children of Men (after I watched that movie, I was so moved that I had to drink).

Still, Guy Pearce and a really great company of actors do their best. I like Guy Pearce. He looks different in everything he does. In this, he has greasy long hair and cheap suits, but really, does one care what happens to a swarmy flooring salesman from Albuquerque? I was relieved rather than frightened when the snow finally started to fall. I knew the movie would soon be over.

Moving onto Kansas which also gets a lot of snow, I was surprised by how much I liked The Lookout. This is the one about a young guy who just before high school graduation rammed into an unmovable piece of farm equipment. As a result, he suffers serious head injuries and loses his short term memory and ability to do things chronologically. In his early twenties when the film starts, he lives a life of routines with his blind roommate while working as a night janitor in a bank.

Then, one day, he falls in with some guys who seem really nice but want to rob the bank he cleans. At this point, one part of me can hear the music go, Dah, Dah, Dah, Dahhhh! However, another part of me wonders how it all will play out. Will he help them? Will he stop them? Will he even remember what the heck is happening? This is a film that starts quiet and ends with a bang---unlike First Snow which is loud through out. I think The Lookout will also translate well to DVD---something for a hot summer day.

I did actually see a film without snow recently. Ken Loach's The Wind That Shakes The Barley is set in Ireland in 1920 and has no snow. I like Loach's work a lot. He is a master of imperfection which gives his films humanity that is usually glossed over. His characters sometimes say the wrong word then the right one but his meaning is clear----even though people might be imperfect, they should never be enslaved by tyranny.

I read a lot of reviews in order to try to sort my thoughts about The Wind That Shakes The Barley, but all the reviews were different and showed a range from kneeling before a masterpiece to wondering if the subject matter (Irish History) makes one hesitant to criticize the film's shortcomings. As a result, I decided to work from my gut. To me, the film looks arrogant imperialists straight in the eye and says I see you, have you no shame.'

MC Rove has no shame. He dances likes a buffoon and moves with no sense of rhythm. He takes the music of poor people to make a self-congratulatory skit which reminds this Liberal Elitist of minstrel shows.

And I hate talking about politics. I'd rather talk about art, cinema, things which are positive, stuff which builds a civilization. We're not penguins after all.

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