Specials: Rosenbaum on "Three Burials." Walter on "Crash." And the sequel we’ve all been waiting for.

Monday specials:


“A QUIRKY COWBOY MASTERPIECE”
Jonathan Rosenbaum raves about Tommy Lee Jones’ directorial debut: The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.

There are elements in The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada that I tend to distrust when they crop up in other movies. There’s the theme of redemption, which can all too easily lead to a Hollywood cop-out, even (or maybe especially) when it’s tied to some notion of religious transcendence. There’s the taken-for-granted dysfunctional social context, and there’s the visceral macho unpleasantness, which feels dishonest in movies such as Henri-Georges Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear (1953) and Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch (1969) and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974). I have to admit I still like those three films a lot, and I suspect that what I appreciate most in this movie is the nuance Jones gives these and other shopworn notions.

CRUSHING CRASH
Adam Walter finally caught Crash. He was not impressed.

Contrived, self-conscious, obvious, repetitive, manipulative, heavy-handed, pretentious–apparently these are not qualities the major film awards organizations overlook today.

The story is shockingly manipulative and treats delicate social issues with all the subtlety of sledgehammer blows.

My 2 cents: this is a bad knock off of John Sayles. You’ll do much better treating yourself to a very fine film like the criminally-neglected City of Hope (1991) or, more recent, Sunshine State (2002).

FORGET THIS YEAR’S OSCARS. NEXT YEAR’S CHAMPION IS ON THE WAY…
from Cinematical:

Dr. Dolittle 3, the Eddie Murphy-free, ripoff sequel that was once destined for a straight-to-DVD release, is apparently just so mind-blowingly awesome that the people at 20th Century Fox have decided to give it a theatrical release after all.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” called Through a Screen Darkly, and a four-volume series of fantasy novels called The Auralia Thread, which includes Auralia’s Colors, Cyndere’s Midnight, Raven’s Ladder, and The Ale Boy’s Feast. Jeffrey is a contributing editor for Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine, and he writes about art, faith, and culture for Image, Filmwell, and his own website, LookingCloser.org. His work has also appeared in Paste, Relevant, Books and Culture, and Christianity Today (where he was a film columnist and critic for almost a decade). He lives in Shoreline, Washington. Visit him on Facebook at facebook.com/jeffreyoverstreethq.


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