Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Couple of Movies

I took some time off yesterday and we watched a couple of movies on DVD, one fairly recent and one a little older. These were the first movies we'd seen in a while.

The more recent one was KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, the big historical epic about the Crusades, starring Orlando Bloom. I keep watching big historical epics because I like the genre, but most of the ones I've seen lately have been disappointing. TROY and ALEXANDER come to mind. KINGDOM OF HEAVEN has problems but is something of an improvement over those two. Much of the movie is slow and hard to follow, and it's plagued by alternating overly loud battle scenes and conversations in which the actors whisper and mumble so much that the dialogue is incomprehensible, at least to my aging ears. But the last hour or so of the movie, during which Bloom and his fellow Crusaders defend Jerusalem from Saladin's army, is pretty good, with one excellent scene and some decent action that's not marred too much by the choppy editing so beloved by modern filmmakers.

The older movie we watched was MURDER BY NUMBERS, with Sandra Bullock as a homicide detective on the trail of a couple of thrill-killing high school students. That's not a spoiler, by the way. The audience is in on what's going on from the first. I tend to like Sandra Bullock in almost anything, but she's not given much to work with here. The driven cop who's an emotional wreck is such a cliche that it's hard to overcome without some really good writing, and that's not much in evidence in this movie. But the ending is fairly suspenseful and not bad. And as I may have mentioned, it has Sandra Bullock in it.

Today was spent running lots of errands, including a stop by Half Price Books, where I picked up a couple of CDs that might make good background music for working. One is the complete score from the movie RED RIVER, composed by the great Dimitri Tiomkin and performed by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra. The other is a compilation called DRIVE TIME: ROUTE 66, which starts with the theme from THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN and ends with HAPPY TRAILS by Roy and Dale. In between is a lot of music by Aaron Copland, Ennio Morricone, and again, Dimitri Tiomkin. It's playing as I write this and is pretty good.

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