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A Good Year: **
I was with some friends in DC last week at the AAR conference (I’ll blog later on the conference) and in our spare time we wanted to see the grand opening of Casino Royal, the new James Bond film. Unfortunately, it was sold out. So we decided to see A Good Year, starring Russell Crow. The movie is about a rich jerk (Crow) that inherits a winery in France. He goes back to sell it and is transformed in the process.

This movie had the potential to be a cool story of redemption. -A kind of “scrooge -wakes –up-to –life-and-love” deal. Unfortunately, it had some significant problems that made it a mediocre film at best.

It wasn’t clear on what kind of movie this was suppose to be. At times it felt like a quirky humorous piece – almost slapstick. At other times it seemed to be a serious drama, even a romance. The movie does have some funny parts and a decent human drama element, but it never pulls together. The plot was remarkably uneven. A few possible story lines are introduced and then oddly dropped. The main love affair doesn’t really get going until relatively late in the film, so it doesn’t have time to draw you in. In fact, in typically ludicrous Hollywood fashion, the whole thing comes down to a single one-night stand. We’re supposed to care about this relationship on that basis! It didn’t work – at all.

Too bad. Crow was good in this film. The movie definitely had plot potential. But the faults make this movie a renter – but only on a night where you’re really bored and there’s not much else to watch.

Déjà vu: **
Denzel Washington in a time travel movie. Hmmmm. Denzel Washington is one of my favorite actors, but I absolutely loathe time travel movies. They invariably involve obvious intelligence-insulting contradictions (Minority Report being the one exception – because it ended with an open future explanation to its time travel). Incidentally, the contradictions embedded in all time travel movies are proofs that time-travel is not just empirically impossible, but logically impossible. Making something that happened (viz. the past) un-happen is a logical contradiction – like asserting “A and not A” or “married bachelor.”

Anyway, about the film: the contradictions in this time-travel plot were even more blatant than I feared. Parts of it were truly ridiculous. On the other hand, I found the acting and action to be good enough to allow me to pretend not to notice the contradictions – well, at least for the most part.

So, I encourage you to rent the film and try not to think. But if you can’t help yourself, consider this movie to be yet one more proof that time moves unilaterally and irreversibly in one direction.


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