Monday, November 20, 2006

Stranger than Fiction and Babel

I saw both of these movies this weekend.

Stanger than Fiction was pretty good. It's a romantic comedy with an arty/edgy twist. Will Ferrell is funny as always, Maggie Gylenhaal is irresistible, and Dustin Hoffman is great. Hoffman seems to have found one role that carries over from film to film now. In this movie, as in Meet the Fockers and I Heart Huckabees, Hoffman plays an academic that is slightly bufoonish yet lovably sagacious.

Babel was excellent. It was a long, slow movie, short on plot and high on cultural criticism. Although Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, and a host of other actors give excellent performances, this movie is really all about the director, Alejandro González Iñárritu. By examining the lives of seemingly unrelated strangers in Morocco, Japan, and Mexico, Iñárritu provides intriguing commentary on such challenging themes as guns, drugs, fatherhood, and perception versus reality. Ultimately, it is a statement on the simultaneous variability and universality of human nature. If multiculturalism or global studies is your thing, then you should not miss this movie.


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