Hornswaggler | The culture, the humor, a bit of the sports, not so much the politics, and the workplace distraction

Hornswaggle is an alternate spelling of hornswoggle, an archaic word that means to bamboozle or hoodwink. I take my pronunciation from the late Harvey Korman in "Blazing Saddles" --

"I want rustlers, cutthroats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, conmen, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswagglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass kickers, shit kickers and Methodists!"

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lane on Abrams

Anthony Lane takes it to J.J. Abrams in his review of "Star Trek":

(Abrams) is less of a creator than a re-creator, toiling to reboot old myths and tropes that feel overloaded or fried. He is the perfect purveyor of fictions to a generation so easily and instinctively jaded that what it craves, above all, is a storyteller who -- with or without artistic personality, and regardless of any urge to provoke our thoughts or trouble our easy dreams -- will never jade.

Does Abrams lack a vision as a director? Is he just a repackager of familiar ideas? I suppose those are good questions. I do think, based on "Mission: Impossible III" and "Lost" pilot, that he has a Spielbergian knack for action-movie pacing and humor.

One thing that bothers me about Abrams is that the creator of "Felicity" is seemingly incapable of making a film that does not include any chick-flick elements, for lack of a better term.

In "Mission: Impossible," Tom Cruise and Ving Rhames find time to talk about personal relationships while tunneling through the Vatican on an impossibly complex and difficult mission to abduct the villain played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Reviews of "Cloverfield," which Abrams produced, indicated that the doomed young protagonists engaged in hipster-ironic romantic conversations on the way to their deaths.

And "Star Trek" was plagued by something similarly annoying during an early battle scene, according to Lane:

In the midst of this, the doting parents find time, over the airwaves, to have one of those “No, darling, what would you like to call the baby?” conversations that bring so much joy to interstellar couples everywhere.

Abrams has a way with dialogue, generally, but sometimes it's too cute by half. Regardless, he's a talented guy. I think it's too early at this point to write him off as a derivative pop confectioner.

.: posted by hornswaggler 8:40 AM

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