February 23rd, 2007

Wile E. Coyote

"Fear lent him wings, as the saying goes."

Major John Smith
Lieutenant, in the next 15 minutes we have to create enough confusion to get out of here alive.
Lt. Morris Schaffer
Major, right now you got me about as confused as I ever hope to be.
You know, people say that Where Eagles Dare is unrealistic. That's nonsense. Most of those arguments are pretty easily dismissed. For example, people mention that Clint Eastwood and Ingrid Pitt kill too many Nazis to be believable, and that that it's silly that the Nazis can't shoot straight... but if you think about it, not only is the aim of many of them compromised by the surprising-in-context sight of Pitt's cleavage, but many of the Nazis are probably dying from exposure to Eastwood's Brock Sampson³ testosterone pheromones even before the bullets reach them. People say that the good guys escape unscathed, but there is the scene in which Richard Burton pricks his finger, after all. As for the argument that Pitt and Eastwood never run out of bullets, that's silly; neither do the Germans.

Yoinked from hadara is Collapse )
Gordon (Batman Begins)

This is kind of neat...

In an oddly progressive move for the company, they have created a Microsoft Excel document that you can use to create timesheets with. I can then e-mail the document as an attachment to my manager. It's rather easy to do, and seriously cuts down on the amount of times I have to show up at the office.

Billy Ray's Shattered Glass was a movie that managed to be both an exposé and a meditation on the nature of journalistic integrity. He attempts a similar feat with Breach, and while the results are interesting, they are also much more uneven. In the end, while I respected what he was doing with the film, it wound up feeling like less than the sum of its parts.

The most important part of the film is, of course, Chris Cooper as the contradiction-filled Robert Hanssen. The scenes with him are so good that it is all the more disappointing that the film falls apart when he isn't on the screen. And while the general arc that his and Ryan Phillippe's characters follow is somewhat familiar, it is given an extra spin by Cooper's multilayered performance. Ultimately, the film boils down to a portrayal of who Hanssen was, and somehow Cooper manages to make him a brusque, racist, creepy, angry and sexist right winger... and yet he still manages to evoke some empathy.

Laura Linney also appears as the agent who brings Phillippe into the operation. The portrayal of her character is another of the film's missteps; her relationship to Phillippe is way too personable, but she never manages to balance out the effect of Cooper's presence. Similarly, the scenes with Caroline Dhavernas as his wife and Bruce Davison as his father are unremarkable retreads of material that has been done better before elsewhere.

This is not to say that the film is bad. It isn't. It just never quite gets into the right groove for itself and it leads to a very anti-climactic finale. The movie emphasizes the relationship between Cooper and Phillippe, which means that it doesn't really delve much into why Hanssen did what he did, despite a throwaway scene towards the end of the film with Dennis Haysbert. The film is worth seeing for Cooper's work alone, however, but the rest of the movie never quite reaches its promise.

I did enjoy Mychael Danna's score, which was also integrated very well into the film.