Nov 262008

Format: Blueray

IMDB entry: here

The story of a woman who first encounters criminal violence with her boyfriend; she is beaten and he is killed. During her recovery, she encounters more criminal violence which she deals with using an unlicensed gun. The later might make this a pro/anti gun control issue film, but that does not interest me.

This could be a film that would be one of those run of the mill things that just does not make an impression, but Jodie Foster’s acting adds enough that you connect with the character and have an interest in her journey. Perhaps not a great film but definitely a good film.

Nov 242008

Format: TV broadcast with an ugly as hell station logo

IMDB entry: here.

This is your usual hollywood action movie; there isn’t enough plot to say anything about it. It is just a vehicle for a lot of special effects, explosions, car chases, and the like. If you want a film to make you think, then this would be a bad choice, but there is nothing wrong with a bit of mindless entertainment. And this is mindless entertainment in spades … which may sound like a criticism, but it is a fine film of its kind.

But it did make me think (so perhaps it wasn’t perfect). The storyline (without trying to give too much away) includes a whole bunch of policemen making a trip to a foreign country to “kick some ass” (or more correctly some arse). It occurred to me that this is a rather common theme in certain US films of the action variety – the evil villains are lurking in some foreign country and the heros just go after them without considering that what they are doing is effectively an act of war.

I am sure that US foreign policy is not controlled by US action films in any way, but the genre may lead the US population to be more accepting of more extreme forms of foreign policy and the belief that the US government is entitled to use practically any form of action against targets in foreign countries. This also implies a disrespect for international laws which leads to very little opposition when the US government ignores those laws.

The US is known (outside the US at least) as being more than a little gungho in certain foreign policy matters. Does the propoganda of actions fims let the US get away with this without as much criticism as it perhaps deserve ? Or even worse does being brainwashed by action films lead those who set US foreign policy act a little more gungho than is wise ?

There is nothing wrong with “carrying a big stick”, but those who do should remember the first part of the phrase “speak softly”. In the right circumstances, the more extreme forms of foreign policy are perfectly justified, but they also alienate the residents of those foreign parts. If you do not need to annoy people, why do so ?

Nov 152008

Format: Blueray

IMDB Entry here

Now this is what I call an action movie. A bunch of mercs are hired to get a case off somebody, and are gradually whittled down by casualties, and betrayal until it becomes about something other than just the job. Not only are the action scenes interesting and believable (too many modern films have action scenes that require the existence of superhumans), but include some of the best car chases anyone has ever seen.

It also has a lot of depth with a surprisingly complex and twisting story. Tons of mystery; not least of which, what was in the case ? Nobody knows.

Definitely worth a watch.

Nov 012008

Format: Blueray

IMDB entry: here.

On the surface this seems to be a simplistic story about a man who stumbles on a drug trade gone wrong, picks up some money, and finds himself pursued by those who want it back at any cost. But there is a far more complex story going on hidden beneath the violence having to do with the thoughts and feelings of an old sherif who follows on behind trying to pick up the pieces.

The added complexity adds interest and makes this interesting than a typical action film. It keeps your interest during a lazy rainy afternoon and is worth the time.

Oct 262008

Format: Blueray

IMDB Link: here

A re-make of Les Liasons Dangereuses with a pathetic Hollywood gloss. The core story could have been quite amusing if they had had the sense to portray the characters as properly dissipated young people. The characters in Cruel Intentions are schoolchildren which makes their actions somewhat unbelievable. This is not the fault of the actors; simply the age of the characters. The original story portrays a level of dissipation far beyond what is revealed here; making the theme of redemption through love considerably less powerful.

Don’t waste your time; try one of the film adaptations closer to the original.

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