Ever feel really glad you don't live in America? I do, daily, but never more so than when leaving the theatre after watching a Michael Moore documentary. With 2002's Bowling For Columbine , Moore attacked the National Rifle Association and accused the American government of promoting a campaign of fear and consumption. Now, with Fahrenheit 9/11 , he's aimed his sights specifically at George W. Bush, claiming he stole the presidency, and highlighting the dubious business relations of the Bush family with the Bin Ladens as well as purporting that the invasion of Iraq is about nothing more than money and oil.
Moore presents valid arguments, albeit a bit mix/mashedly, but he doesn't jump too deeply into conspiracy theories. Mostly he spends a lot of the film taking shots at Bush and, through editing, making him look like a total idiot (admittedly not hard to do.) The inertly likeable and unassuming Moore throws a few cheap shots too when mentioning Bushs old failed military physical examination Moore inserts the very recognizable guitar riff from Eric Clapton's hit Cocaine.
Fahrenheit 9/11 is not a masterfully crafted film. It's a bit herky-jerky, mixing tons of archival footage amongst new shots, and jumping from point to point a bit. Nor does it really delve deeply enough into many of the issues it raises. But you'd need at least an eight-hour movie to cover all the problems down there.
What Moore does do, what he's always done, is put an emotional, understandable spin on the issues. There's dead Iraqi baby footage, American soldiers blowing up, tearful mothers (American and Iraqi), and hundreds of American coffins coming home. He talks to soldiers who don't want to be in Iraq and resent the fact that they're basically guarding construction contractors who make 10 times the salary they do.
People will criticize this film as being jaded and non-objective but guess what, every documentary is like that. Objective filmmaking doesn't exist, and Michael Moore would never claim to be objective. He's pissed off, and passionately so. Michael Moore deeply loves America and the people who live there. That's why he feels he has to do this movie.
Love him or hate him, Moore's flick will get people talking, which is the point of any political film. As well, Disney's decision to prevent Miramax, its subsidiary, from distributing Fahrenheit 9/11 and the Motion Picture Association of America's ridiculous "R" rating of the film do little more than prove Moore's point about corporate powers being in bed with the current U.S. administration. Go watch this film, and be thankful we live up here, and you don't have to die for a bunch of rich assholes looking to make another zillion dollars. At least not yet.
On the much lighter and happier side of things, Spider-Man 2 opened last Wednesday and it rules. The whole crew are back, Tobey Maguire as Spidey, Kirsten Dunst as Mary-Jane, and awesome director Sam Raimi ( Spidey 1, Evil Dead.) There's high hopes for this film after the first one grossed over $820 million but fear not! Spidey delivers.
Picking up a few years after the original movie ended Peter Parker finds himself stuck in a rut of frustrated love and identity crisis. He still loves Mary-Jane but is afraid to confess it because his enemies will use her to get to him and he'd hate to put his loved ones in danger. (Feeling a bit of guilt about old Uncle Ben aren't ya Spidey?) This is ridiculous, of course, because MJ is always in danger anyhow, in both movies, so they may as well just get it on.
Peter's complex emotions begin to get the best of him, his grades slip at college, his spider powers falter a bit, he even loses his job delivering pizzas. Peter Parker decides to quit the superhero game and go after the girl (I know, Superman did the same thing in Superman 2.) Too late though, Mary-Jane, now a model/actress and hotter than ever, is engaged to an astronaut, the son of newspaper editor and Spidey-hater J. Jonah Jameson. To top it all off the maniacal Dr. Octopus is running amuck, harnessing fusion energy and itching to kill our hero. Doc Oc was always one of Spidey's best villains and he doesn't let you down here.
Spider-Man 2 is funny, emotionally realistic and action riddled. Peter Parker/Spider-Man is the perfect insecure, tormented hero. This movie is rare, not only as an awesome comic book movie, but as a sequel that's better than its predecessor. Woo-hoo, Spidey rules! And after he's done with Doc Octopus, maybe he'll go get Bush.
At Village 8 July 2-8: Fahrenheit 9/11, Spiderman 2, Notebook, Terminal, Shrek 2, Harry Potter, White Chicks, Two Brothers, Dodgeball. Super-size Me ends Tuesday, July 6. King Arthur starts Wednesday, July 7.
At Rainbow Theatre July 2-8: Troy.