Noy Thrupkaew

Noy Thrupkaew is a Prospect senior correspondent.

Recent Articles

Blood Brothers:

A warning to readers: This review reveals much of the plot of the film Windtalkers, which opens this weekend. W orld War II movies have become Hollywood's warhorses -- big, hulking moneymakers that run roughshod over emotions. John Woo's Windtalkers is no exception. Larded with war-movie clichés, tubs of gore and body parts, and multiple, unabashed grabs for the heartstrings, Windtalkers is a familiar, if harrowing, viewing experience. Underlying the bloody schlock, however, is a countercurrent that charges many Woo movies: an ultimately moving story about the hard, gritty love between men who have put each other through hell, and saved each other from it. The movie draws on an intriguing part of U.S. history: During World War II, some 400 Navajo were recruited to transmit messages through a code based on their language, which Japanese forces never succeeded in breaking. The use of the Navajo code and the role of the codetalkers was declassified in the 1960s; in 1992, the government...

Really Real:

T he uber-rich and the wanna-bes from last week's reality TV series The Hamptons ought to be ashamed. Ashamed, I say, because as they were buying heirloom tomatoes, trying to jostle their way into photos with Candace Bushnell, or going to "big hoochie-mama parties" (as one revolted viewer described the show to me), the men and women of Boston 24-7 were working. And they weren't doing nice work, either. They were queasily examining bloody trial evidence, putting out fires, and inspecting dead bodies. The denizens of ABC's new reality-news series, which started on Tuesday and concludes on June 12, are a noble, passionate, workaholic lot -- and they've already done a great deal to redeem the much-maligned realm of reality TV. The Hamptons , gorgeously lit money porn masquerading as a four-hour "reality miniseries," nearly had me throwing in the towel on the reality genre. Much of this stuff is horrible but addictive: the rubbernecking thrill of Jerry Springer and his ilk, the evil games...

Doesn't Add Up:

T he Sum of All Fears is a strange movie -- a curious combination of timeliness and irrelevance. Much has been made of Sum author and executive producer Tom Clancy's prescience in foreshadowing terrorist attacks on America: His 1994 book The Debt of Honor featured an enraged pilot crashing a plane into the Capitol. As a result, even CIA Director R. James Woolsey has been calling Clancy Miss Cleo in the wake of 9-11. But if Clancy is so all-seeing, then why do I feel like this movie is old news? Part of it is the casting of the bad guys , it seems. For our villains, we have the all-purpose, universally hated neo-Nazis, the kind of guys who like to flap around to Italian opera. (Note to all movie score folks: Italian opera is not a good fit for these particular baddies. Go with Richard Wagner, or, even better, Richard Strauss.) Another problem is timing. Conceived, cast, and shot before 9-11, the movie producers had no idea that their adaptation of Clancy's 1991 book would undergo such...

All Things Celebrity:

T here it was, like a burp that resurrects the memory of a junk-food binge: Celebrity Boxing 2 . And this after Fox put out a week of miserable series finales only roaches and rats could survive: the undead horror that was The X-Files got a stake put through its heart, and Ally McBeal was finally kicked out on her neurotic no-ass. It was nearly too much to handle, but those of us who watch Fox -- the roaches and rats of the TV world -- are still standing. Despite losing much of its negligible charm from the first go-round , Celebrity Boxing still managed to be somewhat entertaining. Celebrity bride Darva Conger pummeled former Olympian Olga Korbut. Ron Palillo, of Welcome Back, Kotter fame, appeared in the form of a fey woodland sprite, bleached pixie cut and all, and received a horrible beating at the hands of Dustin "Screech" Diamond from Saved by the Bell . Manute Bol, a 7-foot-7-inch former NBA player from Sudan, swatted at former NFL celebrity William "The Refrigerator" Perry in...

The Real Menace:

So: I was glumly kicking around outside the theater, feeling a queasy combination of dread and excitement at seeing the latest installment in the Star Wars legacy, Attack of the Clones . Dread because reviewers -- from The New York Times to Salon to The Washington Post -- had nearly run out of adjectives in describing the movie's crappiness. Excitement because, well, it's Star Wars . Many other fans shared my ambivalence. We had fond memories of the Star Wars movies of our childhood -- a rich stew of heavy-breathing myth, pseudo-Zen leanings, goofy charm, and romance. But 1999's The Phantom Menace , with its hodgepodge of soulless special effects, had nearly supplanted those feelings. Even worse, though, was the creeping sense that Menace was juvenile, filled with annoying comedic characters and madcap hijinks instead of real human interest. Leaving the theater three years ago, I felt old. S o why were jaded fans back? "It's like a soap opera," said 32-year-old Louis Meyer. "If you...

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