by Mike Bavli

Campus Times Staff

Clearly, some movies are more memorable than others. Consequently, we as an audience are sometimes treated to extended periods during which the ?Gods of Hollywood? smile upon us and indulge us with films that we will remember for a longer time than it takes to walk back to the car.

The summer of 2001 does not qualify as such a time by even the thinnest margin of the most loosely applied standard. We were subjected to an impressively hyped and thoroughly un-intelligent ?blockbusters? with an admirable regularity.

Unremarkable movies succeeded each other at the top of the box office chart almost every Monday, only to leave the faintest of impressions in our minds as the summer went by.

Does anyone really remember ?Pearl Harbor,? aside from its historical inaccuracies and dim, illogical plot? How about ?Rush Hour 2? or ?Jurassic Park III?? Even Tim Burton managed to disappoint with a too safely played take on ?Planet of the Apes.?

Yet there were some bright spots. These included ?Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,? ?American Pie 2,? ?Princess and the Warrior? and last but not least, ?Apocalypse Now/Redux.?

?Jay and Silent Bob? is Kevin Smith?s last film in his series. Although it is not the best one, it is a terrific reward for fans of Smith?s other movies. Although this film is entertaining on its own, many of its jokes require some prior knowledge of situations and characters from the earlier work.

Unlike Smith?s ?Chasing Amy? or ?Dogma,? the plot of ?Jay and Silent Bob? is rather formulaic and generally less significant to the experience.

Jason Mewes? Jay and Kevin Smith?s Silent Bob can be very entertaining even while merely selling weed outside a convenience store. It is not surprising that the same can be said of the duo when they go on a croi?-country journey of self-discovery to stop the movie about their comic book alter-egos, Bluntman and Chronic, from getting made.

This film is worth watching for the cameos alone. There are appearances by Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, George Carlin, Shannon Doherty, Wes Craven, Jason Biggs, James Van Der Beek and a money-counting Gus Van Sant.

As common movie knowledge dictates, sequels are generally weaker films than the originals. Apparently, the rule does not apply when the original movie relied heavily on scenes where teenagers have sex with apple pies and seduce, without too much effort, the mothers of their friends. Either the makers of ?American Pie 2? were able to overcome a decades-long industry trend, or crass teenage comedy is simply not that demanding a genre.

In any case, the sequel to the 1999 gross-out is a funny film. It benefited in a considerable way from the return of the entire cast of the first film, including some more obscure characters, such as the Sherminator and the guys who screamed ?MILF!? Once again, the best lines are written for Steve Stifler, played by Seann William Scott.

Tom Tykwer is a German director who first received stateside recognition after the immense critical and cult success of his 1999 film, ?Run Lola Run.? Although his new film ?Princess and the Warrior? enjoyed only limited theatrical release, I am hoping that it will too find its audience.

Tykwer used largely the same cast for his earlier film, including Franka Potente who played the title role of ?Run Lola Run.? Again, Tykwer is not shy about using coincidence and heavy, unsubtle, yet effective symbolism to clarify his point. An example of the latter is to count how many times Sissi (Potente) gets knocked down during the film.

Stylistically, the difference between this film and ?Lola? is drastic. The earlier film became famous for being dynamically fast and ?post-human,? as UR alumnus Janet Maslin said. ?Princess and the Warrior? is much more deliberate and slower in establishing and resolving the desperation of its characters.

Color is still important in this film, but is used more often to include characters in their world, not isolate them from it, as was the case with ?Run Lola Run.? If you like Tykwer?s films, also check out ?Winter Sleepers,? which was his breakout success in Germany, but was never released in US theaters.

To quote Roger Ebert, ?To watch ?Apocalypse Now? is to feel the heights where cinema can take you but so rarely does.?

?Redux? is not merely a re-release of a classic. The film was entirely re-edited by director Francis Ford Coppola and original editor Walter Munch. Also, the film?s color was restored by transferring dye directly onto the prints, a techinique resulting in a look that is much more lush than most restored classics.

The story is about an army officer named Captain Willard, played by Martin Sheen, who is ordered to assassinate a decorated war hero named Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando) who has reportedly gone insane. The 49 minutes of new footage include a visit by Willard to a surviving French plantation, a meeting with USO-sponsored Playboy Playmates and added Willard and Kurtz dialogue.

Although we had to search through countless, brainless fodder to find movies that didn?t insult our intelligence ? or made us despondently protest having paid nine bucks ? the past few months did offer a few glimpses of what movies are capable of, even if that meant one had to look abroad, twenty years back or to characters whose chief preoccupations admittedly consist of smoking pot and ?dick and fart jokes.?

Mike Bavli can be reached at mbavli@campustimes.org.



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