The Bank Job – This movie caught me completely off guard. I was expecting a throw-away action flick in the same vein as The Transporter. Not so. The Bank Job is actually a very entertaining and serious heist film.
Set in the 1970’s, the movie manages to bring in Government conspiracies and cover-ups, dirty cops, and a brutal torture scene and still made it seem plausible. They even brought in a love triangle without making it feel tacked on to please a female audience. I am still amazed that the producers managed to fit in all the same components as every other heist movie (even the rag tag group of misfit thieves) and still made the movie feel original. It is a great throwback, and really feels as if it could have been made about thirty years ago.
Jason Statham did an excellent job bringing some depth to his character and not churning out another typical Statham film (though I do tend to enjoy those as well). The supporting cast worked well together; not a single character standing out as being out of place or miscast. Another huge praise I have, is the total lack of gimmicky gadgets and tools. The whole plot comes off without ever becoming cheesy or cliché.
I have only two complaints that I can think of: 1) a bit of a throwaway love-scene in the middle of the movie (though it does become important later on), and this is no fault of the movie itself 2) I was a bit lost for a few minutes at the beginning. This is mainly due to the fact that it was late at night and I had already turned my brain off expecting mindless action. Being confronted by an actual plot, I was pleasantly surprised.
I definitely recommend this one.
Just Add Water – This obvious piece of festival bait started out with a bit of promise, but by the time the final fifteen minutes rolled around, things had completely fallen apart. The main characters were decent, and except for a completely flat and one-sided Danny DeVito, somewhat likable. This movie tried to recreate the feel of movies like Waitress, an abominable piece of garbage in its own right. The problem with this sort of movie is that it reduces everything and everyone to a single dimension: the good guys are good, the bad guys are bad. Nothing unexpected happens and no one shows the least bit of intelligence. These stories show simple people with simple dreams, but they just end up seeming condescending.
I’m actually really tired of the term off-beat being used to justify comedies that aren’t funny. But that’s a whole other post.
The movie is all about a guy named Ray (Dylan Walsh) who lives in the desolate and, incidentally, real town of Trona, California. He is a parking garage attendant who spends his nights talking to his white trash neighbors and dealing with his reclusive and unloving wife. The town is run by the local meth-dealer who happens to be about 17 years-old and acts like a dictator. Ray is completely meek and unassuming, taking abuse from just about everyone in his life. His only joy is the daily trip to the local grocery store where his beautiful and single high school sweetheart Nora (Tracy Middendorf) works. If you can’t figure out what is going to happen based on that information, I pity you.
Something very exciting happened this last weekend. It happened only once this year, and, if everything goes to plan, it will happen an unprecedented three times next year. Yes, last Friday, the incredible Coen Brothers released another movie: Burn After Reading.
Everything about the movie showed promise: a great cast, great filmmakers, even a great poster. We saw it on Friday night, and we were not disappointed. I had been looking forward to it for quite a while, and was a bit worried that I would get a bit too hyped about it and end up disappointed. Not so.
The movie is a ensemble set up, but mainly follows two gym workers (Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand) as they attempt to blackmail the CIA into giving them money for what they think is classified information they have stumbled upon. The two bumble around, eventually going to Russians to try selling the information there. Everything falls apart as all the characters paths cross again and again. Throughout, plot lines of lost love, divorce, broken dreams, self-obsession and alcoholism are woven together, all treated with the typical Coen style of holding nothing sacred and willingness to send anything up for a gag, laugh or plot point.
In honor of yesterday’s post, here’s something that is definitely worth watching. This is a scene from Jim Jarmusch’s spectacular Coffee and Cigarettes featuring Tom Waits and Iggy Pop.
Check it out.
After hearing about the movie 21 for some time and having been constantly asked whether I had seen it yet, I finally watched it. It was more of a situation where we were at the video store trading in our online rentals and didn’t really feel like taking the time to make the rounds through the store. We were tired. We decided to just grab this one as it was first in the new release section and go.
You know how they say driving tired is the same as driving drunk? It’s the same with picking movies. When you’re tired your reasoning skills go out window. This is my excuse. We didn’t even get around to watching the movie that night; we just went to bed.
We watched it last night and I thought there were some really funny moments to the movie, the only problem being that those particular moments were not intended to be funny. (You may or may not consider some of the following comments to be spoilers. I don’t but you might so read at your own discretion.)
I am definitely a movie person. I love movies. I love comedies, dramas, action movies, foreign films and romantic comedies. I even watch dance movies with my wife. Not really my thing, but I’ll still watch them because I love movies. However, there is one genre that really irks me: sports movies. I just can’t really get into them.
For one thing, you always know how the movie is going to end. The good guy wins. There are a few exceptions (e.g. Rocky), but this is definitely the rule. This defect can be set aside, but the real issue I have is that pretty much every sports movie is the exact same. They might feature different sports, and they may have different settings, but they all have the same story. To illustrate my point, I present the plot outline of every sports movie ever made with examples on some points.
– Introduction to the underdog, illustrated with a crushing defeat, taunting by winners and depression
– New coach introduced (Might Ducks, Hoosiers, A League of their Own, Coach Carter, etc.)
– Everyone hates coach for unorthodox ideas (possible racial tension) (Remember the Titans, Glory Road, Mighty Ducks) Continue reading
I watched In Bruges last night, and I was caught completely off guard. I really didn’t know anything about the movie and I wasn’t holding out much hope for it. From the cover, and the bit I read from the back of the jacket, I figured I’d be in for another typical hit man on the run type story.
What I wasn’t expecting was a movie with three extremely interesting characters with excellent dialogue. Think Vincent and Jules from Pulp Fiction running around in a world created by Guy Ritchie (If you don’t know my taste in film, being compared to either Tarantino or Ritchie is a good thing, particularly the latter). Aside from not having any freeze-frames or intense music montages, it could have easily been another of Ritchie’s films. Watching two killers trying to appreciate art, Catholic relics, and racist dwarves in movies, all while spouting great lines that come at you out of nowhere, sets up an incongruous story that twists around in some very surprising ways.