- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Cyborg cinema

“Conspiracy theorists may have a point when they claim that ‘Terminator 3’ … was designed to make the invasion of Iraq seem, on a dollar-per-minute basis, like pretty good value. Terminator groupies, on the other hand, will want to establish the exact ratio of buck to bang, in which case I should gently draw their attentions to the opening and closing sequences, both of which feature pretty, almost floral displays of nuclear detonation. …

“T-X … [is] a blond, female cyborg so metallically single-minded, and so impervious to blandishment and punishment alike, that, from where I was sitting, she looked to be our best hope of getting a woman into the Oval Office. If you gene-spliced Hillary Clinton into Inspector Gadget, this would be the result. …

“[Arnold Schwarzenegger] still enunciates like a man who bought a ‘Teach Yourself English’ kit for home use and then lost half the tapes, yet that shortcoming allows him to find slivers of pathos in his deadpan calm.”

Anthony Lane, writing on “Metal Guru,” in the July 14 issue of the New Yorker

No fairy tales

“Once upon a time in America, we were interested in political marriages because we turned them into fairy tales, even when they most decidedly weren’t. Franklin and Eleanor. Jack and Jackie. Dwight and Mamie (less fraught, admittedly, but not exactly the Cleavers, either).

“But that was a time, as conservatives like to remind us, when people respected decorum and knew shame. …

“[T]he Andrew Cuomo-Kerry Kennedy split [was] made even more dramatic in its way by Andrew’s decision to go negative on his wife as if she were a political opponent. … Kerry broke the terms of their agreement, which is what led Andrew to mention his ‘betrayal.’ … If he’d just kept his mouth shut and let the world learn about her alleged dalliance from another source, everyone would have felt sorry for him. …

“But the Cuomo-Kennedy story isn’t over yet. It’s almost enough to make Bill and Hillary look like — well, Franklin and Eleanor.”

Michael Tomasky, writing on “Digging the Dirt,” in the July 14 issue of New York

Real reels

“A documentary about a Long Island family embroiled in a pedophilia scandal isn’t most people’s idea of fun summer moviegoing. But thanks to the kind of stellar reviews that big-studio blockbusters can’t match, ‘Capturing the Friedmans’ has managed to find a mainstream audience. Ditto two other [documentaries], ‘Winged Migration’ and ‘Spellbound.’ In recent weeks, all three have busted out of urban art houses to play in rural theaters and suburban multiplexes, and all three held their own over the July 4 weekend — with Sony Pictures Classics’ avian crowd-pleaser ‘Winged Migration’ soaring 26 percent to a 12-week total of $4.7 million.

“Perhaps verite pics can thank reality TV for making audiences more comfortable with unscripted, star-free stories, but they owe a greater debt to Michael Moore. The director’s Oscar-winning ‘Bowling for Columbine’ took in a record-setting $21 million-plus. …

“‘The top summer movies are more mindless than ever,’ says SPC co-president Tom Bernard. ‘It’s pretty much explosions and cartoons. There hasn’t been a “Forrest Gump.”’ Plus, ‘Migration’ and spelling-bee drama ‘Spellbound’ (both 2002 Oscar nominees) have the family-friendly G rating. Says Bernard, ‘We’re getting parents [who would] like something educational for the children and entertaining to them.’”

Missy Schwartz, writing on “Doc It to Me,” in the July 18 issue of Entertainment Weekly

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