In this week’s “For Your Renting Pleasure” I went with one film that follows those that uphold the law with End of Watch, and one film about those who break it with Hit & Run. Criminals were right, they have more fun. [Read more...]
The last time I saw a film about bank robbing was when The Town was in theaters, and I don’t know about you but my self-emanating laugh track was not in danger of being worn out that day. 30 Minutes or Less goes for the apposing drama mask for its take on the heist film genre, creating a decent comedy structured around a simple and ridiculous premise. [Read more...]
When a book is adapted into a film usually it means that there is at least some promise to what is being presented, but let’s face it, as soon as you heard this title you wrote it off like I did. I mean, who wants to see some movie about a lawyer to a president ages ago? Well turns out this one has nothing to do with good ol’ Honest Abe. Better yet, it’s actually really good.
Four score and seven years ago… No just kidding. The Lincoln Lawyer tells the story of a smooth talking, charming manipulator who makes a living putting these skills to work in the legal system. As a lawyer he defends petty criminals, from those busted with drugs to those found hooking on the street corners. Being great at what he does, when an opportunity comes knocking that can move him up to the big leagues he jumps at the opportunity to defend a wealthy client who may just know how to play the system as much as his lawyer. [Read more...]
With the impending doom of 2012 just around the corner every movie about an apocalypse is probably going to resonate a little more with me than it should. Don’t give me that look; I’m a slightly paranoid pessimist with an active imagination and an inability to resist watching movies involving such destruction… And though it doesn’t bring anything new story wise, Battle: Los Angeles does do enough to make it worth seeing among the countless other titles.
Though alien invasions are hardly anything new, Battle: LA decides to scale down an overwhelming, globe-spanning alien attack by sticking the camera within the action encountered by a small band of marines. Post the introductory bits to familiarize the viewer with the men they will be following, the film has no reason to cut between different groups once the chaos begins. There are no cuts to the president’s devastated face as he learns the news, no secret underground facilities ready to reveal the studies they have been conducting on these aliens for years, etc. [Read more...]
Jody Hill’s second feature is an odd, bizarre, yet often hilarious picture that is definitely not for everyone but will definitely win over some of us with dark, dark senses of humor.
Ronnie is head of mall security at Forest Ridge Mall and he is called into action when a flasher begins exposing himself to women in the parking lot of the mall. He takes his efforts to another level when the flasher strikes his crush in the cosmetics department Brandi; who is emotionally but not physically harmed by the incident. Ronnie assembles his team of security which includes Dennis a lisp talking curly haired Mexican, John and Matt a pair of squat Asian decent twins, and fresh recruit Charles who is helping out from his normal job at one of the shops in the store. Ronnie sees himself as a crack detective who is going to break the case and when the real cops, led by Detective Harrison, come into try and crack the flasher case, the two leaders begin to butt heads rather quickly. Added to this mess, an untimely robbery brings the cops into the mall even more, much to Ronnie’s chagrin, which cause Ronnie to begin his pursuit of becoming a real life cop and to prove all of the cops that he isn’t worth a damn wrong. Ronnie also looks to pursue the girl of his eye, Brandi, even though a man of his looks and personality probably doesn’t stand much of a chance. [Read more...]
Paul Haggis’ new film is a crime procedural with an anti-war message laced through out and while it is very effective emotionally at times there is not real mystery to the proceedings and the movie doesn’t excel above being just good.
Based on a true story, Tommy Lee Jones stars in this now Oscar nominated performance (though he is far better in No Country) as Hank Deerfield an ex-military man on the search for his son who recently went AWOL after his return from Iraq. He enlists the help of a local police detective Emily Sanders (Charlize Theron) to help with the missing persons search and even though she shouldn’t help, as its military police’s jurisdiction, she is more than willing to get off the bottom of the barrel cases she gets because she is the only woman detective on staff.
Deerfield’s wife Joan is played spectacularly well by Susan Sarandon and they communicate through phone over the course of Hank’s investigation and seem to be dealing with some problems of their own.
The film is a mixture of so many things going on it really doesn’t let the viewer settle on what it wants to be. There is the police investigation, there is a harassment angle with Theron at the police station, there is the military cover up, the Deerfield troubles, and then the whole what is this war doing to us angle. Though, even though it’s all over the place, all of these stories are able to co-exist and work together, it’s just hard to find a firm direction sometimes.
The movie isn’t as sneaky as it thinks it is either with things playing out about as expected as the viewer will predict, but the movie tries to act like things are a lot bigger reveal and surprise then they really are and I think if they played things a bit more straight it would have worked better.
The cast all around is very good though, with Josh Brolin doing good work again this year as the police Chief over Theron’s character. Jason Patric is also good as a military lieutenant in the film and Susan Sarandon delivers one of the toughest scenes to watch in a film this year; in a good way.
Tommy Lee Jones is also solid as always, one upping with his own investigation and really showing the cops and military up on a number of occasions.
Theron is very good as well and makes you wish she could have a great performance or role in something more mainstream and less depressing so she could be a bigger star.
Speaking of depressing, the movie is very heavy with very little humor. It would have helped the film to have a bit more lightness to the proceedings, but again the mood and message is what really hurts this film. It is trying so hard to make a statement about things and trying to be some reflection on the state of the U.S. and it just doesn’t really work. The coda at the end of the film as well as so ridiculous and over the top, it can’t be taken seriously, and really puts a damper on a fairly good film other wise.
The movie is good though, it’s engaging and really gets you to care, and if you are at all interested I recommend it; even with all my nitpicking. Take away the grim seriousness and political message of this film and it might have worked a lot better, but as it stands, it feels like a good movie that unfortunately is constrained by the intentions or mark that Haggis was trying to make with his film.