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Recount (2008)

DVD Shelf

Here are some of the DVDs that have been spinning recently in the Edelglass abode:

Recount — This HBO film chronicles the tumultuous 36 days that followed the contested 2000 Presidential election.  The cast is stupendous across the board:  Kevin Spacey plays Ron Klain, Bob Balaban is Ben Ginsberg, Ed Begley Jr. is David Boies, Laura Dern is Katherine Harris, John Hurt is Warren Christopher, Dennis Leary is Michael Whouley, Tom Wilkinson is James Baker, and Mitch Pileggi (A.D. Skinner!!) is Bill Daley.  For those of you out there who followed every minute of this political morass, most of those names are probably very familiar to you.  I’ll also add that Derek Cecil (Push, Nevada) plays Democratic lawyer and my former camp counselor, Jeremy Bash.  Although the film is at times heartbreaking to watch for a Democrat like myself, it is a terrifically well-told tale.  There’s a lot of very detailed information covered in its under two hour run-time, but the film never becomes a boring talking-heads history class.  Its dramatic and extraordinarily well-paced, bouncing back and forth between the Democratic and Republican camps trying to bring home the election for their candidate.

The Band’s Visit — An Egyptian band (the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra) arrives in Israel to play at a cultural event, but find themselves stranded in the tiny Israeli town of Petach Tikvah.  Stuck there for the night, the film follows the different members of the band as they interact (or don’t interact) with the local Jews, and vice versa.  This is a quiet film.  There is no great action — nor is there loud conflict or histrionics.  Instead, its a small, personal story about a group of Egyptians and a group of Israelis, each with their own problems and demons, and their efforts to find common ground for one lonely night.  Nobody LEARNS A BIG LESSON or FALLS MADLY IN LOVE and I respect the film for that.  This is a movie about ordinary people leading ordinary lives.  Occasionally it might be a little TOO slow for some tastes, but its worth a viewing.

The Good German — My wife Steph recently read the book (by Joseph Kanon), so we decided to check out the film.  I’d wanted to see the movie when it came out in 2007, but never got to it, so I was excited to give it a try.  Unfortunately, it was a disappointment.  The film boasts a top-notch cast that includes George Clooney, Tobey Maguire, and Cate Blanchett, but I never engaged with the story being told.  Part of the reason for that may be that the film has been molded to the style of a 1940’s film like … [continued]