Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. The Bourne Legacy - Not as terrible as I was expecting.  I love the Bourne movies but I feel like a 4th installment is completely unnecessary.  I was excited by the casting of Jeremy Renner and, in all honesty, he is really the main reason to watch this movie.  It was just 2 hours and 15 minutes of him running around screaming "Where are the Chems?? I need the Chems!!" and I am ok with that.  There were some stand-out action sequences, especially towards the end, plus one really intense scene featuring Rachel Weisz and a workplace mass-murderer.  Other than that, the whole movie felt a bit pointless.  As an action movie, I would rate it above average, but compared to the other Bourne movies, I wouldn't rate it at all.

2. End of Watch - I enjoyed this movie very much.  It is very similar to one of my favorite current television drama's, SouthLAnd.  Gritty, intense, action-packed filled with unapologetic dialogue that puts the audience members directly in a "day in the life" of an LA police officer.  It almost makes one understand why cops are such assholes (seriously, I would not want to deal with what they have to deal with on a daily basis - it would probably make me an asshole too. Then again, one almost has to be an asshole to be a cop, so the question is which comes first? I'm generalizing, of course.).  Phenomenal performances from the two main actors, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena.  I have been a HUGE fan of Michael Pena for a while; I'm hoping he gets more roles like this to showcase his talent. The only critique that I have about the movie is that it became a bit repetitive: dangerous scenario, followed by racist banter, followed by a cute moment with Anna Kendrick. Repeat. Also, the ending was a bit contrived and unrealistic (compared to the rest of the movie, which felt very real).

3. Holy Motors - Describing this film with words would never do it justice.  It's an experience.  An incredibly odd, what-the-fuck-am-i-watching kind of experience.  The concept of one man experiencing life through role-playing/acting out others wishes/fears etc. is a complex one to put on film, and the narrative is hard to adjust to, but it's absolutely mesmerizing.  The "appointments" become increasingly bizarre and reality is blurred but it all felt really personal.  Denis Lavant accomplished something on-screen that I don't think can be compared to any other acting performance, ever.  It's something I would classify as performance art, as opposed to acting.  My favorite scene is probably the accordion scene, but the choreographed motion-capture scene was also pretty mind-blowing.  You can watch the accordion scene here: .  If that scene doesn't intrigue you, then you probably won't enjoy the film.  It's not a movie for the average movie-goer, but it is definitely a movie for people who love film as an art form - I can see this movie being dissected by cinema studies programs (as well as acting programs). Figuring out what it all means is a task that would involve multiple viewings.

4. For a Good Time, Call... - For a movie about phone sex operators, it is surprisingly sweet and cute.  It's also crude and raunchy, but it's a movie about phone sex operators!! The vulgarity should be expected.  The sweet and cute part comes from the chemistry between the two main characters.  The friendship between them is refreshing and reminiscent of my relationship with my best friend.  As the two girls in the movie, my best friend and I became "BFF's" because we had mutual friends and we were forced into living together (in college).  We are completely opposite in nature, but for some reason it was an instant connection.  It works because we use our opposite-ness (not a word, I know) as a complimentary connection instead of an opposing one.  The two girls in this movie realize that they can only benefit from each-others strengths and the bond becomes unstoppable.  Female friendships are often portrayed as catty and judgemental; it's about time for a change. If your best friend doesn't want you to be the best version of yourself, then she's not your best friend.  Ari Graynor is hilarious (and always under-used), so it is nice for her to get a starring role.  I didn't really care for the other girl, Lauren Anne Miller, who also co-wrote the movie.  She was pretty bland, but admittedly she grew on me by the end of the movie.  I also can't stand Justin Long; I don't understand how anyone finds him funny. There were some unexpected delights, like the cameos (it's somehow really funny to use famous people for cameos, just to have them masturbate), the "undercover agent for the lord", and the scene featuring Martha MacIsaac. Laugh out loud stuff.

5. Flight - Solid adult drama with a fine performance from Denzel Washington.  I didn't really have any interest in this movie; seemed a bit heavy-handed and by all accounts it is.  However, Washington really did give an outstanding performance and his nomination was well-deserved (I had doubts).  I think his performance is the sole reason that the movie held my interest. The movie is less about a plane crash and more about the destructive forces of addiction, but it's all a little too obvious (someone does drugs with the song "Sweet Jane" in the background - that's how (un)subtle this movie is).  The initial crash scene is done really well and is rightfully intense.  The aftermath, however, was a little slow-moving and repetitive.  Even with the complexity of the situation, it could really only end one way.  If it ended another way (less "clean"), it probably would have made a stronger statement on addiction, but it was clear from the beginning that this is not the type of movie it is.

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