It's the end of the year and I don't have a lot of space here, so I'm going to give you a very brief synopsis of some of the newest movies to hit Moscow, then a few of my year-end awards based on my hi-tech rating system. First, Moscow's newest movies...
The Last Samurai
This new Tom Cruise epic is so appalling that I actually found it entertaining and nearly watched it until the end, it was that bad. Cruise has hit a new nadir in bad melodramatic tough-guy acting, reaching levels not seen since Charlton Heston in Soylent Green. Like Heston, Cruise even has a moment in The Last Samurai when, after the death of one of his friends, he screams, "Noooooooo!" I didn't know movies were allowed to do that anymore. But wait, there are other gems. Like when he turns angrily to his Jap captors and snarls, "What do you want from me?" Or when, in a contemplative mood on the boatride from America to Japan, he opines, in interior monologue, "I am beset by the ironies of my life." Later, he adds, "There is something spiritual about this place [ie, Japan]."
Three road accidents. Watching this gave me the same sick thrill as looking at corpses in a road accident or watching Dorozhny Patrul.
Looney Tunes: Back In Action
O Bugs Bunny, O Daffy Duck, we are not worthy of thy divine spittle. You are the elder gods of the eXile, and we, we are mere mortals serving thy celestial example. Which is why I apologize, O Bugs, O Daffy, for having even purchased a pirate copy of this latest bastardization of thy Greatness, this so-called "Looney Tunes" movie, this heresy, this sacrilege, this debasement of sacred writ by profanation. I call down an anathema upon the heresiarchs who disseminated this unholy chimera of classic Looney Tunes footage interlarded with the vile presences of such heathens as Jemma Elfman and Steve Martin, who should long ago have suffered auto-da-fe for his crimes. But to even criticize this abomination of thy likeness is a heresy itself. So I will keep my peace.
Three Inquisitions. The makers of this movie should burn in hell. Now.
Your child will love this cartoon movie, and that will call into question all of your previous feelings and high hopes for him/her/it. The only way to rectify this is to take your child to dinner at Ribny Bazaar after the show, force the child to choose one of the fresh fish on ice, watch the chef fry it up, and have him eat it. Only then will your desire to beat your child be assuaged. Finding Nemo's only saving graces are the Aussie sharks and the crabs that hang out by the ocean sewer pipes. Otherwise, it will take enormous effort to keep you from dropping your kid off at the nearest orphanage once the credits roll.
Two lactating breasts up. This movie will shut your child up for awhile.
And now for a very brief look back at the year in Moscow English-language cinema, 2003:
Best Stars 'n Stripes Film Of 2003: The greatest weapon in the War On Terror in 2003 wasn't the liberation of Iraq, the cooptation of Qaddafi or the capture of Khalid what's-his-fuck. No, if anything took the air out of Al Qaeda's drive to wage jihad, it was the worldwide release early this year of JACKASS. Your average 19-year-old angry raghead is sitting there preparing to die in a suicide bombing when suddenly he sees Jackass and thinks, "Why blow myself up when I can just go to Japan, gork some wasabi, puke it up, and get famous like Steve-O?" I'm serious, folks. Jackass may have staved off the jihadist horde for a good year or two. It shows how young Americans view the world: like our own goddamn playground. Such cheerful confidence is hard to resist. Thank Johnny Knoxville & Co. by purchasing this movie and bowing respectfully to its every prank. It may have already saved your life.