Hero

Not Recommended. Tarantino is not to be trusted. This movie is boring. I walked out after the first third of the movie because it had no soul. Okay, I understand that these movies are the Chinese version of superheros. But I guess I just don’t like Eastern superheros because they think that emotionless expression is somehow “deep”, when all it really is is dramatically uninteresting. Human beings are emotional beings, so universal emotional suppression in all characters is simply boring drama. Yeah, yeah, my western prejudice. And in this case, my western prejudice is simply superior for dramatic story. And if you doubt that, just look at the worldwide gross of OUR superhero movies as opposed to these Eastern superhero movies, and well, your doubt will dissolve. Also, a movie that is a string of long 5 minute fight scenes, one after another, just doesn’t make good story. Sure, the choreography and cinematography is cool, but choreography and cinematography IS NOT STORY, they are enhancement to story. Without story, they become boring shallow style without substance. And that’s what Hero is: style without substance.

The Station Agent

Highly recommend. Written and directed by Thomas McCarthy. This is a little gem of a film. Almost purely character-driven. It’s the story of a dwarf [yes, the main character is actually a dwarf] who inherits an old train depot station from a dead friend and goes to live there. It’s out in the middle of nowheresville, that is, Newfoundland New Jersey. While there, he meets an Italian coffee truck vendor and an absent-minded female artist. The acting is superb by everyone, especially the dwarf. What a wonderful change of pace from the typical movie that uses only “beautiful people” to star. Of course, it’s not that the dwarf is ugly, but just that he is not a model for Calvin Klein underwear. He is a human being just like Tom Cruise, and this movie proves that it is interesting absorbing characters that help make a story intriguing to the viewer, not star power. Anyway, the dwarf character is moody and withdrawn, with lots of scenes of minimalist dialogue and long lazy shots (in the good sense). This reminded me of the beautiful Tender Mercies, which also gave us such small town angst with simplicity. The theme of this movie deals with friendship, alienation and rejection. The funniest scene had me laughing my head off. As the dwarf character walks home down a road, the kooky artist just happens to be driving by and loses control of the vehicle because she drops her cell phone. She almost hits the guy, and apologizes. There is chemistry here, but it is suppressed. The very next time she meets him, it is in the exact same situation as he is walking home, only, this time, she spills her coffee at that very moment, and he sees the car weaving again as it comes toward him. You can almost see the connection in his brain as he sees the car come towards him again. I couldn’t stop laughing and thinking about it. I must confess that I loved it even though there is not really much of a story. This is unusual for me. I get bored when there is no story. But the characters were so compelling.