Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Charm is Gone

Michael Rennie's Man from Space was charming.

In Robert Wise's 1951 classic sci-fi flick, Rennie as Klaatu smiled and laughed and treated all earthlings with the same kindly patience that he showed Billy Gray, the young boy who leads him to the Einstein-like Sam Jaffe character.

Now, in a huge blow-up version soon to be released, the huge movie star, who absolutely cannot act, Keanu Reeves, stares glumly at everyone and everything while stuff explodes indiscriminately.

Why not remake "An American in Paris" with Jay Leno or "Lawrence of Arabia" with Greg Kinnear?

"Quantum of Solace," the new Bond movie is the last of that Franchise that I will see.

The problem isn't so much the glum, downright miserable charmless take we get from Daniel Craig (who is in fact a helluva good actor), but the whole fiery wreck.

I have no idea what happened in this movie. The photography was spectacular, the sound was overwhelming, the fights and car crashes were in your face, but...what happened? Who was who?

And where was Sean Connery's charm?

The best fight scene in all the Bond movies came in "Fromm Russia With Love," when Connery and Robert Shaw batted each other around a train compartment. The whole affair seemed plausibly terrifying and each punch and choke hold was visceral.

A two and a half hour movie without a single joke or smile is not watchable.

By the Numbers

ITEM: Chrysler Canada is threatening to take their car plant and bolt to the US. Give us $1.6 Billion in taxpayers bounty or we will leave 8,000 Canadians out of work. Nice.

ITEM: Condo construction accounts for 60% of all new housing starts in Vancouver and those starts are down 29% over last month. Of course, it's Christmas.

ITEM: Tribune Co., which owns the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Cubs baseball team, among other gems, has filed for bankruptcy. And you thought you had problems.

ITEM: Air Canada is bleeding from its many noses as usual and its CFO said, "Later."

ITEM: Anheuser-Busch, brewers of Bud, is cutting 1,400 jobs to save $1.5 Billion.

All the news out of Ottawa is about the seat jockeying bull.

Nothing yet about the economic guillotine hanging over Canadian heads.

Fiddling while Rome burns? Is that a good enough metaphor?

Piddling and putzing while profits are punished?

Head in the sand? Head deep up your own....?

I have friends deeply divided on the Harper-Coalition noise.

This is easy for me. I am not torn at all.

I think they are all disgusting. Harper and the Liberal/NDP/Bloc have equally spit in the face of democracy.

Tell me, show me how one side or the other is blameless.

Show me a statement from either camp in the last 14 days that displays an iota of concern for Canadian citizens.

And the media is so caught up in the cults of personality that it has lost any small focus that it might have had.