DVDs for 06/15/10 – The Book of Eli, Mystery Train and Divided Heaven

I found The Book of Eli (Warner) more interesting than the conceptual mix of post-apocalyptic spaghetti western atmosphere (lone stranger, corrupt town, searing sun and desert of ash) and spiritual odyssey by a kick-ass pilgrim might suggest, and suggest why in my MSN review here. Denzel Washington is well cast as the soft-spoken traveler on a mission, a survivalist samurai who never provokes and never backs down and if Gary Oldman overacts the role of the despot with a dream (note that he’s reading a Mussolini biography in his introduction), he at least tries to inject a little color into the palette. But I appreciate the acknowledgment that power is not merely control of water and trading protection for obedience. In a culture where books are just as scarce as a resource as food (for reasons ultimately spelled out in the dialogue; desperation and despair creates the ideal situation for hysteria and extremism), knowledge really is power. See the MSN review for notes on the supplements.

The Book of Eli: The future looks very, very bleak

I review the other substantial marquee release this week, Youth in Revolt (Sony), on MSN here, and I reviewed the “Interview with a Doomsday Prognosticator” documentary Collapse (MPI) for The Stranger back in 2009, with notes on the DVD supplements on MSN here.

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Collapse – reviewed at The Stranger

I review Chris Smith’s documentary/interview platform Collapse, with Michael Ruppert explaining why we’re screwed.

Ruppert is the whole show in Collapse, which features the chain-smoking dissident delivering his assessment in blunt, easy-to-grasp terms: We’re heading for a collapse. Economies are failing around the globe, the arable soil is being drained of nutrients that are being replaced with petroleum-based fertilizers, the human population has exploded to numbers that the planet can’t sustain.

It’s a dire prediction out of some sort of science-fiction apocalypse, and the temptation is to label it crackpot paranoia and fringe conspiracy theory (as many of his critics have). But Ruppert is well-informed, articulate, and backed by a pretty good track record of equally ignored predictions, if he does say so himself. We have to take him at his word there—Smith is no Errol Morris.

Read the entire review here.