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January 20th, 2008

Enchanted

What an awesome amazing movie!

It's supercalafredulisticexpialidocious!

It's been a long time since I saw a movie that made me laugh so hard and smile so much.

I love, love, love that she keeps her magical powers when she gets to New York. I love it even more that when she calls the woodland creatures in New York it's rats, cockroaches and pigeons who show up to help her.

And... the chipmunk!!! OMG!!!!!!!!

Also I love that they turn the entire Disney cannon on it's ear and have the Princess save the Prince (what's the masculine form of "damsel in distress?")

Enchanted is a total win.

24/Prison Break Combo

In 24 hours this man will be leaving this prison, dead or alive.

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Tom Ripley

Last night Rome Girl and I watched Ripley Under Ground an independent movie that was shot three years ago but has yet to find an American distributer (though there is some talk about it being shopped at Sundance this year.)

We grabbed it on Mininova because we are both huge fans of the Tom Ripley character in Patrica Highsmith's books.

Ripley's influence is far and wide - he's the basis for both Patrick Bateman in American Psycho and Dexter is the Dexter books among any number of other psychopaths.

Most people, if they know Ripley at all, only know him from the Matt Damon movie that came out about a decade ago - which does a fine job, but is far from a 100 percent Ripley experience. That movie was based on the first book - and Ripley isn't quite good at being Ripley yet. He's yet to grow up into the full on psychopath he'll become.

What makes Ripley interesting in all of the books is that he's not only an anti-hero, he's a non hero. He's not a crazy axe wielding freak who likes to kill, nor is he Dexter who always tries to do the right thing by killing.

Overall he's a likable guy. The kind of dude you'd meet at a dinner party, have a few words with and then mostly forget about him.

And that's how he likes it. All he wants is a fairly comfortable life of leisure. Nothing more and nothing less. To get that life he sometimes has to kill and often has to commit fraud, but he does so incidentally.

In fact, whenever Rome Girl finishes reading a Ripley book she usually gives me a pointed glance and comments that Ripley and his wife live exactly the type of life she wants to have. So far, I've yet to find anyone to profitably kill.

Ripley takes no joy in the killing or the fraud, nor does he feel any guilt. He describes killing a man in the same way that I'd describe cleaning the toilet - a sort of gross chore that has to be done once in a while.

Which is what makes Ripley fascinating - because he has a complete absence of feeling at all.

It makes anything possible in a Ripley book and everything sort of inevitable. In a way you know he'll always win, because like Keyser Soze, he's willing to do what other people won't - normal human feelings don't allow him to hesitate.

The movie we saw last night pretty much gets the character right - although it does sex him up a bit (in the books Ripley is either very closeted gay or asexual, Rome Girl and I can't agree on which.)

Barry Pepper plays Ripley in this version and William Dafoe does a nice job as the American who almost catches him (nothing in the world could be more dangerous than almost catching Tom Ripley.)

I don't want to give away any more than that - but if it pops up in your local video store or if you find it on Mininova it's worth downloading.

Saw IV

I thought I might be disappointed with Saw IV.

I was wrong.

With Saw IV the guys get the series back on track. The problem with Saw III was that although I loved the design of the traps, because Amanda was setting them they were not fair.

The traps are much more interesting when set up by Jigsaw - because there is much more dramatic tension when people have a legitimate chance of getting out of them.

Jigsaw is crazy. But he never lies, he never cheats and he he always gives you a fair chance. All you have to do is listen.

Hence why Saw IV is as good as the first two Saw films and better than Saw III.

Initially I went into watching Saw IV tonight excited to see it, but assuming that it would be somewhat of a letdown. Because almost any move with "IV" in the title ends up sucking.

Though, now that I think about it - why should they all suck?

At some level movies like this are essentially television series. And each movie runs about as long as two episodes of a TV show. And we don't expect television shows to suck by the eighth episode, right?

Which isn't to say that we'll love every single episode. Which is why I don't mind that Saw III was just good - as long as Saw I, II and IV are excellent - which they are.

The thing is that these films are often looked at as horror movies or torture porn - which they are not. To me they seem like really good episodes of CSI or Law & Order. The only difference being that the actors can curse up a blue streak.

Once again I was surprised by the ending. Once again they came up with new and interesting traps. And Tobin Bell is simply getting better and better as Jigsaw.

Is he the only character ever in movies of this genre never to have killed a single person?

That said, while I like the Saw movies, if you don't like crime dramas or are easily grossed out you are not going to like them. If you are looking for academy award winning indie films you are not going to like them.

But, if you are in the mood for really well done B movie crime and violence flicks, the Saw movies more than get the job done - and unlike say "Halloween IV" or "Friday The 13th IV" they don't descend into self parody.

But then again, when it comes to renting one of these films you have to, as Jigsaw would say, "Make your choice."

Four stars.


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