- Category: Art
- Written by Jim Dee
Rendition . ***
Here's what kind of struck me about Rendition. It's a political message movie (a fact I did not hold against it, as it makes its point well). However, this is the only reason I can think of for having such major actors in such small supporting roles. Reese Witherspoon as the pregnant wife? Come on ... That's poor casting. Of course, Reese has her own reasons, I suppose. (Still trying to shed that Legally Blonde typecast, perhaps?) And what's with Meryl Streep as a CIA chief? Seriously, I think those kinds of casting moves reduce a film's quality because, the whole time, the viewer thinks, "Wow, that's Meryl Streep!" (when we should be thinking, "Wow, that is a CIA chief"). Jake Gyllenhaal did an "okay" job as a CIA analyst. He came off a bit bland, IMHO, except the parts during which he was supposed to be drunk or stoned from smoking god knows what from a hookah. He's a good actor; this just wasn't a great role for him.
Smokin' Aces .*** (but a strong ***)
First, this is not a "great" movie. But, it's got outstanding action, some killer dialogue, and some of the more oddly enjoyable characters I've ever seen. I don't have much to say about it, really. Why over-analyze? It's completely insane, yet enjoyable.
Children of Men . ****
This is an all-around great MF-ing movie. I'd never heard of it, but saw a preview for it on one of the other movies I rented, so went to find it. It's a couple years old, I think. Basically, it's the story of the possible end of human existence. In the tale, set not too far into the future, all women have become infertile (the youngest known person on Earth is 18) and Britain has devolved into some kind of fascist state. I'm going to have to research this one a little more, as I'd love to know where it was shot, and what the budget was. Visually, the movie is remarkable.
No Country for Old Men . ****
What can I add to the heap about this Best Picture of the Year? Not much. So, I'll just briefly note that this Coen Bros. pic is actually a highly entertaining, 2-hour way to teach the following lesson: If you find a dying, thirsty, Mexican drug runner (esp. one whose compadres had $2 mil in cash that you've taken), for god's sake don't bring him water!
21 Grams . *** (but a weak ***)
An older movie, I know ... I'd never seen it, though. See, this is what happens when you take a non-linear approach toward story-telling for no other reason than to BE nonlinear. You see this more often after Tarantino popularized the approach with Pulp Fiction (one of the best films ever made). I realize that most people praised the hell out of this movie. It didn't do much for me.
In the Valley of Elah . ***
This movie is mostly about the Viet Nam vet father of an Iraq veteran. When his son returns home from the war and turns up missing, the father (Jones) drive cross-country to investigate. In the process, he learns quite a bit about his son. I'd heard some good things about this movie prior to seeing it, and thought it was well done, well acted, etc. The title refers to the area in which David fought Goliath. I'm not sure why I did not pick up on the metaphor last night. The Jooge had had another remission while I was watching this movie; either that, or she decided to state her opinion of the film by evacuating her bowels on my livingroom carpet. In any case, I'm still not sure what the metaphor is. Who is David, who is Goliath? There seems to be a number of ways to piece it together -- the father versus the establishment, the soldier versus the atmosphere of war, the enemy versus us, us versus the enemy. I know what you're thinking ... You think I held back a half-star or so just because Charlize Theron dumped me a while back? I tell you, it's not true!
And that's all for this installment. I still have Black Snake Moan to watch tonight, which will conclude my week of action film binging.
Below, are the original comments on this post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.
On March 14, 2008, wrote:
no country for old men was damn good.
On March 14, 2008, wrote:
My other half is v. interested in this. Thank you on his behalf
On March 15, 2008, wrote:
Old Country was amazing. I liked Children of Men as well. I really want to see Black Snake too.
On March 19, 2008, wrote:
I watched No Country For Old Men and really enjoyed it. I am not indignant about the ending the way some people seem to have been. I thought the same thing about the water.