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‘Summer Palace’ (2006)

I was disappointed with Summer Palace .

That’s not to say that there aren’t impressive things going on in it — it just seems that my expectations became distorted after what seemed to me an elaborate and meticulous emphasis on direction and production design to refer to European nouvelle vague films that goes entirely nowhere.

In the disk’s promotional blurb, the film is described as a first-hand account of Tianamen Square in Beijung, c. 1989. [Read more →]

‘Iron Man’ (2008)

Was this worth my $10?

While most superhero origin stories are simple – the protagonist has a life, something happens to change that life, and the protagonist dedicates the remainder of his or her life to a new cause as a result – they don’t have to be simplistic. The best origin stories grapple with the complexities of both the human condition and with our often conflicting motivations. Unfortunately, despite all the high-gloss special effects, ‘Iron Man’ fails to embrace those subtleties and instead looks at the world from that either/or perspective that has been so popular in America in the last decade. [Read more →]

“Gossip Girl” (2007)

Anyone watching Gossip Girl ?

Sure, the demographic of the show seems entirely teenaged, classist and synthetic but this show has become a guilty pleasure of sorts.

My thing about the show is that it’s this uncanny mash-up, patched together from disparate precedents — specifically,  Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel franchises and the Cruel Intentions movie franchise of the ’90′s, both of which Sarah Michelle Gellar circulated, just as did her foes. Eliza Dushku (Faith in BtVS , Echo in Dollhouse ) made various appearances as the central blonde’s raven-haired antagonist, while Gellar was a brunette in Intentions , playing opposite the always-already blonde Reese Whitherspoon. [Read more →]