Orthogonal Thought | Random musings from the creator of Cooking For Engineers and Lead Architect of Fanpop





Movies This Week (5/25)

Posted 25 May, 2007 at 4:47pm by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Movies)

This week I watched Shrek the Third (2/5), Lucky Numbers (1.5/5), Mad City (4/5), and Network (4/5). Here are my impressions…

Shrek the Third (Theater) - This third installment of the Shrek series of movies was something of a disappointment to me. It was funny, but mostly with quick one liners and a rehashing of old jokes and themes. The movie felt uninspired and lacked the cleverness that the first two had. (2/5)

Lucky Numbers (DVD) - This movie, starring John Travolta and Lisa Kudrow, is a bit silly in premise - a weatherman and a lottery ball hostess (the woman who plucks the lottery balls out of the machine each week) plot to rig the state lottery and pocket the money - except it doesn't quite work out that way. The writing and acting is pretty poor in this fairly ridiculous film. (1.5/5)

Mad City (DVD) - I was a bit surprised to receive another movie starring John Travolta. In this one, he plays a just fired museum security guard who comes to talk to the curator of the museum who can't be bothered to listen to his case. He pulls a gun to get her to listen and accidentally shoots his friend, the other security guard, beginning a hostage situation and stand off that is manipulated into national news by a reporter (Dustin Hoffman) and the media. The acting is superb and the plot sucks you in as you get to know the characters (some likable and some unlikable) and wonder how the situation will resolve. Highly recommended. (4/5)

Network (DVD) - Made in 1975, Network is an unbelievable account of the downward spiral of a television network anchor named Howard Beale (played by Peter Finch) that has a breakdown on air and causes an increase in ratings. The network execs choose to keep Beale on air playing up his craziness to build up ratings. As ratings begin to slide, the situation escalates and more crazy ideas are pitched (including a reality television show following felons as they commit crimes on video) while Beale slides deeper into craziness. When ratings finally slip, the network contemplates terminating Beale (fatally). Although the plot is still just as unbelievable, it's clear that, in 1975, the filmmakers could already see what was going to happen to the news media and network programming in the future (and took it to the extreme). The acting is good and the dialogue is extremely well written in this film. Recommended. (4/5)

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