Saturday, December 04, 2004

 

Other Movie Bits.

Non-essential remake alert: Assault on Precinct 13.

Now, really. Did we need a remake of the original John Carpenter classic?

I will give credit where credit is due: the trailer for the new version is cut well, and the remake has an impressive cast. We'll see, I guess.

---

After I got home tonight, on HBO I watched Shattered Glass, the 2003 movie about The New Republic reporter Stephen Glass. You may recall that Glass fabricated a number of TNR stories out of whole cloth, first under editor Michael Kelly, and then under Charles Lane.

I've wanted to catch it for a while now, but I never seemed to time it right. I can't speak to how accurate a movie it is, but it's a well-constructed film. Shattered Glass could have treated its subject matter of journalistic integrity with a holy-of-holies attitude, but the film chose to let events speak for itself.

The performances are good throughout, although Hank Azaria seems miscast as the late Mike Kelly. Azaria may have captured Kelly's verve, but he physically looks nothing like Kelly, ending any sense of disbelief.

Hayden Christensen mostly stands around and whines as Stephen Glass. I don't know if Glass was like that, but if he was, Christensen does a great job of standing around and whining. I don't know if anyone in the film wanted to make Glass seem sympathetic; because if they did, they failed. Glass comes off as a sniveling little shit.

The best thing about the movie is how painful it is to watch. Seeing Glass repeatedly lie to cover his previous lies, not to mention his desparate pleading for attention and recognition, really makes you uncomfortable. Watching Charles Lane (played well by Peter Sarsgaard) get suspicious of Glass, and eventually uncover his fraud, is enough to make one squirm. I appreciate any film that can evoke a strong feeling, either pleasant or painful, while watching it, so Shattered Glass did something right.

And, of course, the film is still terribly relevant today. The tale of upstart internet reporters taking down an arrogant mainstream media publication for fabricated stories sure feels like a timeless one, doesn't it?

Oh, and the movie has Chloe Sevigny in it, and I've seen her give a blowjob. I just like mentioning that, because it's true.

Comments:
Oddly enough... I was just watching a 'making of' for this film on Japanese satellite TV (the film will make it's cable debut this week on the network). It was interspersed with interview clips of Stephen Glass and "whiny sniveling little shit" is about as close to the mark as makes no odds.

Oversized glasses, nasally voice, pencil-neck geek 'tude that's just asking for someone to know the condescension out of his "pity me for my demons" stance. I think maybe the casting is on target.
 
From what I've seen of Stephen Glass in real life, I agree, I think Christensen captured him pretty well, at least up to a point.

The point being that tipover point where the film goes from "I can see someone doing that" to "I can't effin' believe someone who breathes the same air that I do could be that brazenly stupid."

Oh, and the movie reminded me why I think Christensen is a good actor almost totally miscast as Anakin Skywalker. And it pisses me off.
 
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