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PCR # 248  (Vol. 5, No. 52)  This edition is for the week of December 20--26, 2004.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"The Aviator"

Movie review by:
Drew Reiber
Three and a half stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

Will and Karen's Cabbage Key and Key West Kraziness, Part One
 by William Moriaty
"The Phantom of the Opera"
 by Mike Smith
"The Aviator"  by Drew Reiber
Life After The Fall...."Love Shack" Burns....Holidays Under Attack...."Mandatory Guidelines" for the Week
 by Andy Lalino
The Couch Potato, 2004 Year-End Issue
 by Vinnie Blesi
Concert Review: GUIDED BY VOICES
 by Terence Nuzum
'Tis The Season
 by Matt Drinnenberg
Uma - Ulla....Rock and Roll Notes....Number One - 8 Months Early....Holiday Thoughts....Meet The Beatles, Part 48
 by Mike Smith
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Warner Bros     
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale, John C. Reilly, Alec Baldwin, Alan Alda, Ian Holm, Gwen Stefani, Brent Spiner, Jude Law
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Written by: John Logan
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 2 hours 49 minutes

I'm really not that much of a Scorsese fan and I really enjoyed The Aviator. I've always thought he was one of the stronger mainstream American filmmakers, but I usually don't care for his more popular features as I don't relate to his characters or their environments very easily. Overall, I think Taxi Driver, The Last Temptation of Christ and Raging Bull were the only ones that stood out to me personally. This latest feature does tread some familiar ground for Scorsese, but for the most part it's all essential to the path of the story.

Aside from some autodrive performances (John C. Reilly, Alec Baldwin, Kate Beckinsale), there were some seriously Oscar-nomination worthy ones (Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett). Scorsese's subtlety and atmosphere as director made John Logan's screenplay really soar, when on it's own it would have been alright. The score was pretty bland, but the inclusion of period music was very well placed. Robert Richardson was fantastic, as usual, but very restrained and balanced from what we've come to known him for in recent features.

I can't predict what this film will do in box office, but it did feel like the Titanic for men. As a male fantasy it's probably the ultimate historical escapism. The idea of this self-made millionaire who makes feature films his own way, moonlights with the Hollywood starlets and builds and rides the fastest and largest planes in the world... all the while answering to no one. It is also so rich in historical context, from the bright lights of pre-war Hollywood to the silver age of aviation, the kinds of interest this film may drum up in both DVD and book purchasing will be fascinating to see.

Again, it wasn't perfect. The film drags a bit in places, leaving a feeling that it's a bit rough around in the edges in the third act... but I would definitely give it a hard 3 1/2 stars out of 4. I think this could be the most accessible Scorsese feature in years and EXACTLY the kind of movie that the Academy and critics have been waiting to praise after such great disappointments like Stone's Alexander. I would not be at all suprised to see this film get Best Picture and Best Director, as Scorsese will probably he heralded as some kind of hero by year's end in that he "saved the year" or some such nonsense. Personally, I don't really care about the awards or whatever, I just want to see this film again to see how it holds up on second viewing.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give The Aviator  Three and a half stars

This week's movie review of "The Aviator" is ©2004 by Drew Reiber.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2004, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.