Monthly Archives: March 2007

Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

Ridley Scott must have seen Pearl Harbor and said, “That’s what I want to do!”  And William Monahan, who had split a jumbo carton of Raisinets with Scott, said, “I’ll get you a script by Monday.”  What other explanation is there?  Since Pearl Harbor, no one can claim ignorance of the historical epic’s cinematic follies; Scott & Co. must have meant to employ them.  Judged by those standards, Kingdom of Heaven acquits itself admirably.  It nails the trifecta of overblown-period-piece suck.

  1. Writing.  William Monahan won an Oscar for writing the departed.  He sure . . .

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Waking Up to This

Sunday at almost exactly 2 a.m., I was in the middle of a particularly bad dream when the phone rang. Everyone hates phone calls in the middle of the night, and ever since I moved to the States, I’ve been convinced that if the phone rings late at night, it can only mean that my parents are calling to let me know my grandmother has died. (She’s fine, in case you’re wondering where this is going.)

I stayed under the covers and waited to hear the answering machine pick up. I don’t know if it was the relative quiet in . . .

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War games

Map segmentMy latest craze is Conquer Club, an online turns-based game improving on the Risk board game. I understand all the theoretical problems with taking a subject like war and trivializing it with game play. But to me, with all the various boards in this new game that aren’t even map based (the chinese checkers board, the crossword board, the university campus), the game takes on more a game of strategy like Chess or Backgammon and less a trivialization of war.

And how can something this fun (and free) be intellectually dishonest to play? Not to mention the sideline banter: . . .

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Mrs. Harris (2005)

I guess at this point I have to start justifying my Netflix queue, so here goes. I liked Ben Kingsley in Dave and thought he was impressive in Sexy Beast (although I couldn’t get through the movie as a whole), plus HBO Films has a reputation for quality. That’s how I came to see Mrs. Harris. Based on a true story, it stars Annette Bening as the title character, a headmistress who attaches herself to Kingsley’s self-professed “country doctor” Herman Tarnower. Tarnower is less rural sawbones and more egocentric, womanizing publicity hound, and Harris soon finds herself taking a backseat . . .

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Taboo + (grammar – skull-numbing boredom) = One Fine Game

I’ve been hearing for a while that the latest in party-game crazes is Apples to Apples, and I’m happy to report that after a single night’s shennanigans, I can declare myself a big fan.

See, my two favorite games so far have been Taboo and Drinking Jenga and Apples to Apples provides a combination of both those games. (I feel legally obligated to tell you that drinking apparently isn’t really a requirement– but, like I’ve been telling my writing students for years, there are just some things you shouldn’t try without being drunk.)

apples-to-apples.jpg. . .

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