Sunday, September 16, 2007

City of Violence

Darren found this one.
After watching and doing some research I discovered that I had two of the directors films in the vault!
Terrific nonstop action. It stars the director and the action choreographer, in a nearly nonstop ballet of action. This is a Korean film, from guys that have watched Hong Kong, Japanese and Thai martial arts...
We can probably thank Jackie Chan and Tony Jaa for the enthusiasm and hardcore martial arts on display here. My favorite scene involves a group of street B Boys, a baseball team, a bunch of lethal schoolgirls and a painting crew -- against our heroes..
Bottom line is simple: you like physical action shot without the hecticam? You have to go overseas.
To Korea.

The Brave One

I have been a Neil Jordan fan since "the Crying Game" -- in spite of the issues I have with that film. Said issues are largely due to seeing it when I was a young, critical bastard as opposed to my current state of older bastard. My favorite Jordan film remains "Mona Lisa"...made years ago.
"The Brave One" is something of a departure from both of those films, there are no gender politics, just the politics of fear. You know, the fear that has our country paralyzed, bleeding money and young men in Iraq and making the fat cats fatter in the name of homeland security.
Jordan suggests, with the help of a great performance by Jodie Foster, that fear is ultimately personal, and shows it to us. There is terrific music, terrific camera here in a story that we have seen before -- just not after 9/11.
Cause, effect and resolution are preordained going in to the film, even without seeing the trailer. Apparently there are no new stories, just new ways to tell 'em. Mr Jordan does a great job here, as does Terrance Howard and the aforementioned Jodie Foster.
Make no mistake, this is about us, not her.

Monday, September 10, 2007

3:10 To Yuma

I wish I had a transcript of the 3.5 vs 4 star rating debate Darren and I had. Firstly that kind of debate can only alert the listener to the levels of minutia two guys can argue about, and secondly act as an indicator that this movie is worthy of the debate...
To simple state that the great Elmore Leonard wrote this and you need to go shortchanges the 2 stars and the terrific actor that played the brat yute in this fine remake of a timeless western..
Except that it isn't timeless. This is the kind of movie that keeps me up at night pondering the meaning of America and civilization and government and pride and all of that nonsense. Doesn't mean this isn't enjoyable as a "popcorn western" but it was not meant to be that way by any but the crassest of promotors.
There is a reason why Crowe and Bale = must see, "3:10 To Yuma" does nothing but reinforce that equation. See it.

Shoot 'em Up

Clive Owen in an over the top "Action Comedy" -- who would a thunk it? Oh wait -- "Sin City" happened! Clive didn't need "Sin City" to get the part, that was cinched years ago with the "BMW Films". He is a natural choice for the role, and the directors are lucky he was game enough to play along..
He looks great. Monica Bellucci looks great. Absurd, contrived, and occasionally way too far over the top this movie, unlike "Slevin" or "Smoking Aces", gets it right more often than not. It is the not played for laughs "Hot Fuzz", an action fans movie made by action fans with a budget.
High contrast lighting and a heavy metal soundtrack were marred at both viewings by no one in the projection booth paying attention to the volume. Jokes were visual, one liners aplenty and a fast talking villain in the "Clarence Boddigger" mold played by Paul Giamatti, made the time pass quickly, with plenty of smiles.
Leave your brain at the door and enjoy the hyperkinetic action and camera.