I can safely say you won’t see this one coming. Not because there is an unexpected twist at the end - or some other kind of cop-out - but because the characters in this movie are so unpredictable there is really no way of knowing what direction they are pointing their gun at, or when they might pull the trigger - accidentally or otherwise. This is a richly self aware movie, where the characters are literally writing the movie on the go. In an age where most movie characters - and writers - lack freewill and subscribe to common genre conventions a script like this might appear to lack direction or cohesion. But that is not the case here; it is just rare to see a movie where the characters truly have control of the events that surround them. Writer / director Martin McDonagh has done what many writers aspire to by breathing freewill into his characters.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Popular trash movies are sometimes compared to fast-food; they are manufactured to provide immediate satisfaction without little to no concern about the consumer’s health. The Paperboy is trash, but is has more in common with the juicy mess of grease cheese that fills the street-cart burrito you have at 4am in the morning after a long night of drinking than a McBurger cooked up in a sterilized kitchen. Like the burrito, this film has no care, no substance, and no shame but every single moment of it is delicious, rich in texture, and a unique experience.
Monday, October 15, 2012
Every now and then there comes a story so preposterous and incredible that you know it has to be true; no Hollywood screenwriter could have come up with it. Ben Affleck’s new film, in which he stars and directed, is one of those cases. The film opens with an animated intro covering the events that led to the Iranian Revolution; “This is the land of The Persian Empire”, it begins - as if this were going to be a large fantasy epic. But Argo is no fantasy and the film is ten times more gripping because of it.
Like most average movie goers, I am not particularly fond of modern day political thrillers. They involve a lot of characters sitting around, discussing “stuff” in complex jargon as if they were playing chess. Even the acclaimed Syriana was a bit of a bore. There is some chess playing in Argo but it is mostly for a set characters to pass the time; most of the film is all show business.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Any conversation dealing with time travel it can easily become an endless debate about the technicalities, ethics, paradoxes and impossibilities of practicing time travel. Time travel is messy and because of this it is a bit of a cheat when used as a literary device. It can get the writers into very tricky situations when the impossibilities begin to pile up, or it can be used to completely wipe a slate and start anew. Few writers have ever gotten it right, but when they do it is usually beautiful. Rian Johnson’s Looper gets it right within its own world. Unlike most time travel stories, Looper embraces the paradoxes. But more surprisingly it wipes them away in a rather clever - and intense - conclusion.
Monday, October 1, 2012
One has to know what type of movie your going into when you walk into Resident Evil: Retribution, the fifth part of Paul W.S. Anderson’s adaptation of the zombie survival video game. Essentially it is going to be wall to wall action, zero-to-none character development, and Milla Jovovich prancing around in near-S&M gear. I could essentially end the review here, the film won’t be any deeper than that but, as far as bad action movies go, the Resident Evil franchise has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. So I will indulge a bit more.