Movies Watched Over the Weekend

10 Mar 2008

You know that old saying, "When the wife's away, the husband shall watch action flicks"? Here's a rundown of my action-packed movie weekend. I'll keep these reviews exceedingly brief (my ratings are out of a possible 4 stars):


The Brave One . **
I had a revelation wile watching this mediocre film: It is possible that I could hook up with Jodie Foster someday -- even with her being a lesbian and all. All I would need to do is become a famous actor playing her love interest. (Improbable? Yes. Impossible? No. Not technically, anyway.) Even though I have somewhat of a soft spot for revenge movies, this was one of those films in which the foreshadowing is a little too over-the-top, rendering the payoff less effective than it could be. Was anyone at all surprised when the dog runs into a tunnel in Central Park, at night, and something bad happens? Was anyone surprised when, after so prominently smoking cigarettes in every scene, she kicks the habit later? There is a twist late in the film that is slightly redeeming (at least in my book). Without that, it would be a one-star flick.


The Kingdom . ***

Pretty good action movie. I kind of expected something more, though. Mainly, I had a problem with the casting. Aside from Chris Cooper, who seemed a decent fit, everyone else was painfully miscast. Contained a somewhat poignant, if slightly contrived, denouement. Aside from my casting criticism, I will admit a soft spot for the ultra-hot Jennifer Garner.


Michael Clayton . *** (but a strong ***)

Decent flick, but not as good as, say, Roger Ebert says it is. I generally like Ebert and usually respect his spot-on opinions. However, sometimes I think he's become too much of a celebrity himself and throws extra stars where they don't belong. He gave Clayton four stars, his highest assessment and recommendation. While I can easily suspend my disbelief enough (perhaps not even that much) to believe that a large chemical corporation would knowingly pollute the environment (and that a law firm would help them do it), I found it the subplots (Clayton's gambling problem and his run-in with shaky mobster/loanshark-types rather unremarkable and unbelievable -- especially considering the ridiculously low sum of money involved. Since when is $75k such a huge deal to an experienced lawyer?)


Shooter . **.5

You could do without renting this one because, basically, you've already seen it 500 times. Still, if you have nothing else to do but sit with the dog and watch the idiot box, it's not so bad. Of course he eludes an entire city's police force AND the FBI during an intense chase. Of course he single-handedly wipes out entire platoons of marines and other highly-trained military personnel. It's also kind of sad when the most enjoyable scene is also one of the more absurd (the one in which he and the FBI agent consult the oldtimer in Tennessee who's hilariously omniscient). The film did win the academy award for Best Lack of a Superfluous Sex Scene , though. The film co-stars Kate Mara, an auburn-haired beauty born, according to her IMDB page, on February 27, 1983. That makes her 25, which I believe I singled out at one point as the minimum age for my fantasy dating life. I wonder if she would imaginarily go out with me since she just wasn't that into Mark Walhberg?


Civic Duty . ***

A low budget flick about a CPA who's flipped his paranoid lid. Or has he? What I liked best about this film was how it managed to pull off all that it did B-list actors and hardly any budget to speak of. A few beakers and some tubing is all it takes prop-wise to suggest terrorism. In today's over-done bluckbuster climate, you have to appreciate this quality. Production-wise, I think it aspired to be a psychological thriller rather than a movie about terrorism. It fell short of the mark a bit, but wasn't too awful. Actually, in retrospect, I have to say that the movie was more clever than it presented itself as (if that makes sense). In other words, I think the movie's main problem was that it should have been a book.


Death Sentence . **.5

[Slight spoiler ahead] Well, I just had to rent this one, if for no other reason than to further my skills at the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" game. I won't totally "ruin" it for anyone, but I will say that I sort of lost track of time while watching this and thought it was over way before it actually was. And that first "ending" surprised me. I thought, "Damn, that took courage, because in real life, that's exactly what would frickin' happen." (It's true, I actually thought the word "frickin'.") But of course I was wrong. Still, it wasn't awful.


Next . **.5

Not bad, but certainly not great. Nick Cage wasn't looking too good in this one. However, I've always had a thing for the undeniably beautiful Julianne Moore. The movie was surprisingly clever (for a Nick Cage film, that is), which I didn't expect. I suspect most P.K. Dick worshippers would probably point out all of the ways Hollywood screwed up Dick's genius. And I'm sure Hollywood did louse it up a bit. I'm a fan of Dick's, too, though the only book of his I ever read was "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" In that case, I found the book *highly* superior to the movie adaptation, Blade Runner (which I nonetheless also enjoyed). Next is about a guy who can see just 2 minutes into the future, with the exception of any events related to Jessica Biel's character. I wonder how this movie would have been if Biel and Moore had switched roles. Cage is 44 years old, Moore 48. Wouldn't they make a more logical romantic pairing than Cage & Biel (who is 26)? In any case, I can also see into the future. I see a Hillman / Moore romantic pairing forming in the periphery. Stay tuned for that. (Unless I forget about it.)


The Hunting Party . ***

I was going to award this one **.5 instead of ***, just based on my general apathy toward Richard Gere. However, the movie was actually pretty decent. I also like Terrence Howard. He seems to be a rising star these days, even though he's been around film for quite some time (and even though he's a Jehovah's Witness, which is kind of weird in my book). That's Jesse Eisenberg on the left, btw. He was in some other things you may have seen, such as The Squid and the Whale (probably better than anything listed in this post) and The Village (which I didn't see, but never heard aything great about).


Since I'm "batchin' it" for the whole week, I'll probably continue the movie fest ... I'm thinking of renting Rendition tonight. Anyone have suggestions for other relatively recent action flicks? Or spy movies, or psychological thrillers, or anything extremely good yet not serious?

Original Comments

Below, are the original comments on this post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On March 10, 2008, M@ wrote:

Anything w/ lesbians I like.

On March 10, 2008, JBanholzer wrote:

RE: Minimum acceptable age for fantasy dating life

I was once told that the algorithm to use for this is to take your age, cut it in half and than add 7 years. For example if you are forty, cut it in half to 20+7=27. Fifty works like: 25+7=32.

However, when I posted this formula on a recent discussion board, I was accused of using the same formula as Hugh Hefner.

Any thoughts on this magic method?

On March 10, 2008, Pezda's Ghost wrote:

I just finished the 2nd and 3rd Bourne movies, which I thought were decent. I am, however, way behind on my testosterone laden films.

On March 10, 2008, Pezda's Ghost wrote:

Oh, I did recently see Casino Royal, which I really enjoyed.

On March 11, 2008, Beth wrote:

I saw Michael Clayton and enjoyed it. None of the others have played on Oxygen.