May 30, 2005

Stinkin' out the joint - The Life of Emile Zola

I've been worried lately that I've been sounding like a shill for movies because I've come across so many that I've liked. And I've been posting about them. And, the truth is, I would rather talk about movies I like than movies I don't like.

So, as I suggest, it worries me that I may come across sometimes as the happy marketing guy who says everything is wonderful.

In other words, I've been looking for a turkey so I could provide some balance. I think I may have found it.

It's The Life of Emile Zola(1936) starring Paul Muni. Despite the DVD packaging, it's not a "powerful film," unless you measure the power of tedium.

The problems with the film are several. For one, it's too anachronistic - meaning, it's too much of a period piece in terms of when it was made (not when it is set) and this means it tries too hard to make it manipulatively moving. It also plays way, way, WAY too fast and loose with the facts (it's supposed to be a biopic), although they do acknowledge this in the opening titles.

Bottom line: it's tedious, it's manipulative in a bad way, and it's just too cornball. This is, at best, a middling B picture. Worth a rental if you're really bored and have no life.

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