Saturday, August 21, 2004

Movies With Gray Matter Do Matter..

Big thumbs up to Manchurian Candidate, which I saw with my Mom in the East Village last night. Tightly directed, brilliantly acted, and as current as an Orange Alert, it's a riveting, intelligent political suspense movie, which is harder to find these days than a parking space for a stretch limo on Park Avenue. I like the 1962 original, too, in a retro, cult-film sort of way. I first saw it during its 1986 theatrical re-release, but I hadn't slept in days, wild boy that I was then, and was fading in and out, and years later I rented it.

The current version has a much more brilliant cast - Meryl Streep in the Angela Lansbury role and Denzel Washington upgrading Frank Sinatra's performance - as well as the quirky genius of director Jonathan Demme, who brought us "Something Wild", "Silence Of The Lambs" and "Stop Making Sense." Like the original, which made villains both communists and McCarthyists, this version attacks no single target - indeed the bad guys are in the opposition as well as the government - but creates a scary and paranoid landscape of power-hungry and profit-thirsty politicans and businessmen that cross party lines and national borders. See it!

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