Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
A remarkable tale of immigrant success, wrapped around a crime story.
Q. I'd like your readers to know that most if not all reasonable American Jews have no problem whatsoever with "Munich." In fact, quite the opposite is true. Last night, I went with my father, an immigrant from Israel, to see the film. We both loved every minute of it and thought it portrayed Israeli/Palestinian relations in a positive and pretty realistic light.
Q. If this was such a great year for movies, why are box-office receipts so far down from last year, even though admission prices are at an all-time high? Do you feel that there is such a growing disconnect between Hollywood and America that Hollywood had better wake up or face serious consequences? Cal Ford, Corsicana, Texas
Q. I have read more than one review mentioning Tim Blake Nelson's "brilliant" speech about corruption in "Syriana." The speech has been compared to Michael Douglas' speech in "Wall Street" (1987) that defends greed. I haven't seen the movie yet but I'd love to just be able to read the speech.
Q. Not wishing to appear a sexist pig, I hesitate to approach this subject. However, in your review of "Chicken Little," you keep referring to the protagonist as "he." In my opinion, Chicken Little was a "she." A male chicken is usually referred to as a rooster.
Q. I just saw "The Dying Gaul" and really liked it. I am a Buddhist, as is Robert, the character played by Peter Sarsgaard. Robert believes he may have encountered his dead lover in a chat room. You mentioned that you had two big problems with the film: "(1) There is no reason to believe Robert particularly believes in the supernatural, and (2) Would it not occur to Robert that he had, after all, told Elaine about his favorite chat room?"
Q. If "Doom" were just another action thriller, then I would have to say you were too generous by giving it one star. The movie frankly deserves zero stars. But is not just a movie. "Doom" was to games what "Rashomon" was to movies. It invented a way of showing something that had never been done before -- what you call the "point-of-view shot looking forward over the barrel of a large weapon."
Q. The documentary "Touch the Sound," which is about a deaf musician named Evelyn Glennie, will not be released theatrically with subtitles. Think about this for a second. While many people might want to see this film, I would guess that the movie will be of particular interest to the hearing-impaired. They would require subtitles to appreciate the content in any meaningful way beyond visual imagery and perhaps lip-reading.
Q. Have they started serving alcohol at press screenings in your neck of the woods? I ask because I'm a reviewer in Canada, and perhaps we could ask for the same courtesy here; it would help with movies like "Flightplan." This is one of the most ridiculous movies I've seen this year. It doesn't even make sense before the drop into Steven Seagal territory in the last act. No one has seen the daughter, or anyone leading her away? As "Mad TV's" Marvin Tikvah would say: Come on! More importantly, how could anyone be sure she would be on that plane at that time? Nicolas Lacroix, Quebec City
Q. In your review of "The Exorcism of Emily Rose," you wrote,"You didn't ask, but in my opinion, she had psychotic epileptic disorder, but it could have been successfully treated by the psychosomatic effect of exorcism if those drugs hadn't blocked the process."
Q. Rob Schneider is one of the biggest actors in what I call the Stupid Movie Genre, and I never pay money to see these films in the theater or to rent them. These films do cater to the lowest of our culture. But what Tom McCullough from Indianapolis wrote in the last Answer Man column that really cheesed me off: "I live in Indianapolis, and I know there's a bunch of 'Deuce Bigalow' fans in this town. They're beer-guzzlin', dope-smokin', truck-drivin', pit-bull-ownin', head-shavin', ball-cap-wearin', crime-commitin' jack-ass psychopaths."