Stories for August 26, 2007
But Kernan, who lives in the shadow of his now deceased but still famous sports announcer dad, is cruising on autopilot and has been unable to find a voice that his editors think sings. Then he meets a homeless man who calls himself Champ (Samuel L. Jackson). The man claims to have been boxing champion Bob Satterfield. Kernan can't believe his good fortune. Everyone thinks Satterfield is dead but here he is and if Kernan can play his cards right, there's a cover-making story to be mined. But what happens after this chance encounter tests Kernan in ways that he could have never anticipated, and raises questions about about journalistic ethics and responsibility, as well as about the relationships of fathers and sons.
As a longtime action junkie myself, I can attest to the fact that we're a forgiving lot. Give us action that really sings on the screen and we'll even forgive a lame plot and wooden performances. Just make our jaws drop in amazement at the on-screen action--or even at one action set piece--and we'll be lining up for seconds and buying the DVDs. That's why a standard Asian actioner is generally leaps and bounds above even a decent American action film--because Asian directors know how to make action films for action fans. People like John Woo and Jackie Chan understand that action films are essentially like musicals, only the choreographed numbers involve violence instead of song and dance. They also understand that when you're shooting an action scene, you need to let it play out with a good amount of wide shots and as little editing as possible. The action or kinetic energy should come primarily from the performers not from the film editor. Overcutting in an action film is usually a sign that the action is badly done or that the director doesn't have confidence that the action can carry the scene.
Delpy plays Marion, a French photographer with vision problems. In a whirlwind open, Marion narrates her life to us, complete with a rapid slide show of images chronicling the most recent events with her boyfriend of two years Jack (Adam Goldberg). Then she lays out her itinerary, which includes two days in Paris. She has dreams in her head about what two days with her boyfriend in the most romantic of cities might be like but reality is about to hand her a few surprises. Almost immediately, everything seems to go wrong from a local strike tying up the streets of Paris to ex-boyfriends resurfacing all over town to stir the worst kind of jealousy in Jack. Along the way, Marion contemplates what being in a relationship is all about and why we end up picking the people we do to fall in love with.