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Friday, July 25, 2008

Dead or Alive

angelina-jolie-viper-02.jpgAngelina Jolie is hot, there’s no denying that, and seeing her shoot bullets around hunks of dead meat has its charms, but are they enough?

I’m talking about her latest, Wanted, which I went to see last night with a buddy of mine (and a competitor, when it comes to certain blossom) yesterday afternoon. I had a ball hanging out with him, despite the questionable flick.

Man, this was one bloody and violent flick – and this assessment is coming from a died-in-the-wool horror writer/fan, so take that in consideration. Yeah, for a fantasy/action/whatnot film, well, they were a bit heavy-handed with the catsup bottle. Necessary? No. Gratuitous? Yes. Entertaining? The jury’s still out on that one.

You see, the movie is a visual treat. The car chases/crashes are over-the-top cool (natch), the action sequences are adrenaline-rush choreographed (natch, again), and the special effects are special (natch, also). The actors all put in earnest performances (good).

So what went wrong?

The script. And I kind of felt it in the pit of my stomach going in. All the good stuff was expected – in this day and age, if the special effects aren’t special, well, something is really wrong. And car chases are now physics-defying marvels. So all that stuff met expectations. But the script. It’s become the Achilles heel of the action/popcorn movie genre, which, sadly, has become another expectation. It’s like they’re so worried about the other issues that the script must bend to them, rather than embrace them, so we get ginormous holes, spotty character motivations and characterizations, logic lapses, and just “well, they don’t need to know that” moments that have you walking out with one big-ass question on your mind.


I give this flick a C

P.S. One more thought. End of the 70s Alien was released and it changed the look of science fiction films for good. This is definitely a post-Matrix flick. Unlike Alien’s influence, I don’t think The Matrix has been all that positive on genre films. It’s made it okay for characters in the know to like, withhold important information, without anyone really complaining about it. You get lines like, “shoot the wings off the flies”, and the character, who has no idea he can do it (of course, we know) blubbers and moans as he’s taken down a path of the impossible without getting very many answers as to how/why/etc. While no film in recent memory is as egregious as the Matrix films, there’s definitely a belief that cool clothes and sexy stances trump all.  Riddle me this…


Sidney said...

I didn't like it as much as I thought I would. The shot of her shooting from the car is cool, though.

Charles Gramlich said...

It looked like the whole purpose was a visual treat so I'll probably watch it when it comes on PPV

Thomas M. Sipos said...

I won't watch this, film, as I don't like most of Jolie's work. It's not her, it's just that she picks crappy projects.

I loved GIRL, INTERRUPTED. One of my TOP favorite 1990s films. I think it's the only Jolie film I loved.

Hated LARA CROFT. Adventure films, for some reason, bore me to tears. I saw the first INDIANA JONES film, once, and hated it. Booooring!

Hated MR AND MRS SMITH. Big mistake seeing it.

Horror and Indie (GIRL, INTERRUPTED; HENRY FOOL; CLOCKWATCHERS) are my fav film genres.

But even Jolie's indie films don't appeal much to me.

I don't even think she's that good looking. I prefer Winona Ryder in GIRL, INTERRUPTED.

Clifford said...


Sounds like we seek out the same films. I liked the first Indie a lot, the second one bored the craplets out of me. The first one was novel, in a throwback kind of way, but after that, they fell into the bigger is better trap...

I like a good actioner, like Aliens (the second one, unlike the first, was NOT a horror film), but they're pretty rare anymore. So if I'm gonna part with some greenbacks, I'm more likely to do so on a indie or horror pic. That said, Batty Bat is on my list of pics before the summer is over...and Iron Man was among the best pure entertainment films I've seen in a while. So sue me for bein a flip flopper (:

Oh yeah, can you say "Midniht Meat Train"? We need more horror...

Thomas M. Sipos said...

As I told you, THE ROCK is the best action film I've ever seen.

An extraordinary screenplay. Not a bad guy vs. a good guy, but multiple levels of key characters some shifting from bad to good. You think a character is one way, and then there's a key shift and you rethink.

A tight script. Many layers of action and human motivation, yet all strands coming together in the end, supporting one another.

There's great action, a great chase scene through San Francisco's hilly streets. Plus humor, romance, pathos (but not overly sentimental).

Did you see THE ROCK yet?

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This is me and one of my two cats. His name is Cougar, and he’s an F1 Chausie. A chausie is a new breed of cat under development. Chausies are the result of a cross between a domestic cat (in Cougar’s case, a Bengal) and a jungle cat (Felis Chaus). Cougar’s mom is 8 pounds and his father is a 30-pound jungle cat. He’s about 16 pounds, super intelligent, spirited, and toilet trained. A writer without a cat (or two) is not to be trusted.