By Feet Banks
Well itÕs MotherÕs Day this weekend and the Hollywood studio execs donÕt really seem to give too much of a shit. There are no good Mom-friendly comedies coming out this weekend, nor are there any of those The Notebook -style sappy, elderly love stories. Instead, HollywoodÕs hitting us with an incestuous horror remake (R rated at least), a movie about religious war-mongering (quite timely actually), and yet another emotionally manipulative drama trying its hardest to slip some heavy, serious themes down momÕs throat.
So letÕs start with that one. Debut director Paul Haggis (named after that Scottish delicacy, sheepÕs stomach) delivers Crash , a racially tense movie full of contrived emotion and an ensemble cast of semi-known actors. Don Cheadle plays a black cop whoÕs tapping his partner, Jennifer Esposito. She hates Chinese people. Matt Dillon is another cop, a veteran whitey who harasses a black couple and fondles the woman during a routine search while his idealist partner, Ryan Phillipe, just isnÕt down with that. Brendan Fraser and his ÒlovelyÓ wife Sandra Bullock also star as two people whoÕve never made a decent movie between the two of them. Actually their expensive SUV gets janked by two black stereotypes, Ludacris and Larenz Tate, who by the way, both should be chastised for their part in convincing urbanite yuppies and trustfunders with small dicks that gas-guzzling, 4-wheel drive vehicles on city streets are ÒcoolÓ and Ògangsta.Ó Anyhow, are you still with me?, One of the carjackers happens to be the younger brother of the first cop, and on and on it goes. Basically, all the racial stereotypes are filled and every race hates each other. Happy MotherÕs Day.
While Crash does a nice job of exemplifying the tension and discrimination between a myriad of cultures as well as pointing out that much racism is due to anger or social conditioning (the lazy cousin of Ignorance) the film looks only at symptoms of the problem rather than solutions or causes. Add that the plot relies heavily on coincidences and the ensemble cast is so large we never really get into any of the characters to care about them. All you end up with is another movie trying to provoke emotion rather than reveal or comment on it.
Crash is an emotionally manipulative film in the same vein as Million Dollar Baby (which Haggis also wrote). Like that Oscar winner, Crash is watchable, but you get the feeling youÕre getting spoon fed something, and it ainÕt momÕs old mashed peaches and peas surprise.
Also opening Friday is House of Wax , another remake, this time of a 1953 horror film of the same name. ItÕs pretty standard re-make fare Ñ strong visuals, moderate acting, minimal thematic meaning and a couple of hot chicks running. This time the chicks are Elisa Cuthbert ( Girl Next Door, 24) and Paris Hilton (those crappy sex tapes). Cuthbert is great and does hometown Calgary proud. (As far as hot chicks go, Calgary is CanadaÕs LA. All the girls there have a certain ÒlookÓ and it works. I donÕt know why; maybe the Chinooks or something. but Calgary girls are hot.) Paris Hilton doesnÕt suck too much either, and you get to watch her die, which should please a lot of people.
Not quite as pleasing is the war-mongering Crusade movie Kingdom of Heaven starring Orlando Bloom. I hate to say it but these Gladiator -style epic battle movies are getting a bit old (like 2,000 years.) ItÕs become nothing more than seeing how many armoured-up extras you can get to run towards each other.
If you really must take your Mom to the movies this week, take her to the Rainbow Theatre to see Hitch. Moms love Will Smith and his boyish charm.
AT VILLAGE 8 May 6-12: House of Wax; Kingdom of Heaven; Crash; Sin City; XXX State of the Union; Sahara; Interpreter; HitchhikerÕs Guide to the Galaxy.
AT RAINBOW THEATRE May 6-12: Hitch.