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Written by Rob Schultz (human).

1,195: No Country for Old Men

When I lived in Cleveland all the time, I saw a movie every Monday, whether there was something I wanted to see or not, because a ticket and a popcorn together were $5. Now I'm a little more choosey. However, thanks to the AMC theaters' "do whatever the hell you want" attitude toward patrons (re: no restrictions on outside food or beverages, no ushers entering the theaters themselves just about ever, and about a 50% chance of having someone available to tear your ticket) I can make one trip and check out a fair share of the current lineup.

First today, American Gangster. All in all a pretty typical rags to riches to prison uniform kind of story. Similar to Blood Diamond in that if not for the big stars making it, it might not be out of place on your Showtime channels or your direct-to-dvd racks. But it was preceded by a crazy music video, as part of the AMC 'first look' (similar to 'the 20' in other regions). Remember 3 Doors Down? The band that sang about Kryptonite? No, not Spin Doctors, the other one? Their song Citizen Soldier has been co-opted into a ridiculous National Guard advertisement, which shows National Guard troops fighting the Lobsterbacks, landing on D-Day, and feeling bad about bombing iraqis. It's peppered with slogans like 'I fired the shot that started a nation,' with utter disregard for the 'shot heard round the world' being fired by a British soldier, or the non-existance of the National Guard in colonial times. To be fair, one unit of the National Guard was on the ground on D-Day, so it wasn't TOTAL nonsense, but that was probably an accident.

Next up, Beowulf, in 3-D! I like hopping into 3D movies, since I have glasses saved up from...Meet the Robinsons, perhaps? Absolutely to the credit of this movie, the 3D effect worked great. Almost nothing else about the movie was very good though. A bit at the end was a fun videogame-style action thing, but it's mostly a lot of photorealistic hair pasted on cardboard cutouts of cartoon characters timed to some very silly dialogue. This version chooses to interpret the original poem about as accurately as my attempt to explain away MacBeth's 'dagger towards my hand' speech as sarcastic excuse-making. I like Neil Gaiman's work in writing just fine, but translation to other media doesn't seem to go so well. I wonder what specifically gets lost along the way. I also wonder if the 3D release differs slightly from the regular release, what with all the stuff flying at the camera all the time.

Last screening today was No Country for Old Men, which, all in all, was great. I was definitely worried at the start that we opened in media res, which is not the case, and there were some choices later on as well that I thought were fantastic. This movie accomplishes the sort of thing National Treasure -should- have, in terms of a satisfying 'adventure game' vibe, and that's not even the major force at work. This is also the first Coen bros. movie that I can attest to enjoying. All of the movies today seemed to have a lot of people walking out of them (one father clearly didn't realise he was taking his pack of younglings to see naked lady parts in 3D), but my favorite audience member was in this crowd.

As the credits began, a guy in front of me says "whoa, what the fuck was that all about? I can't wait to check IMDB to see what this was supposed to be about." His girlfriend (presumably) starts to tell him what she thought was going on, and immediately gets cut off. "No, just shut up, you don't know what you're talking about. I'd rather just read it from IMDB," he says.

On second thought, my favorite audience member might be the guy who actually wore a sombrero through all of Beowulf.