Tuesday, June 16, 2009

DJG's Weekend Watcher

Noise * * * *
Directed by: Henry Bean / 2007

Come On Feel the Noise…

Last week while jump starting our five-month-old car and car battery for the first time, my wife and I (and most likely every neighbor on the block, including the wonderful Becca who helped us – thanks!) learned that for some unspoken reason, the Honda Fit Sport likes to HONK obnoxiously loud when having jumper cables applied to it. Who would have thought? And did I mention it was just after 7 in the morning? I’ve never liked making loud noises (well, at least in public) and I’m positive that we gave an early awakening assault to most sleepy heads. I felt awful about it, but I must say that I feel granted at least one such episode in comparison to the dozens that are assaulted on my ears daily as I live and work in mid-town Kansas City, MO. I can 100% relate to Henry Bean’s wonderful movie “Noise” that showcases Tim Robbins at his manic-comedic best fed-up with noise that he eventually joins the cause in order to get his point across in a court of law. I sleep restlessly at night to loud drunk girl neighbor, have my ears blown walking to work by explosive hot rod engines and sit in an office cubicle near a busy intersection that every emergency vehicle siren passes and screeches through and every other car rattling the office windows with the worst and most deafening music imaginable. I have to listen and complain about noise every day, but it’s a real treat to WATCH a movie like “Noise” with the stereo surround sound thumping!

The International * * *
Directed by: Tom Tykwer / 2009

In a Court of Flaw…

A great deal of care and attention seems to have been given to making “The International.” However, I wish that I had more care to want to give it my own attention, even after watching it one and a half times and some scenes three times. This political thriller of bank fraud and weapon dealing globe trots more than Harlem’s basketball team, visiting more locations in the first 20 minutes than I will my entire life. Interpol and F.B.I mainstays are represented by Clive Owens and Naomi Watts, even though I have no idea what they are constantly talking about and where they seem to be constantly going. And if my job carried this amount of stress and danger, I would have quit years ago. Is it really worth it? Secondary characters are introduced and re-introduced and are given ample time for me to get to know, but I still haven’t figured out who they are or their roles in the game. Well, except for one or two but even still they come and go and I’m left with wanting more from them as individuals than another introduction of yet another pair of political cat and mouse. Who is good. Who is bad? Am I supposed to be confused? Stylistically, “The International” is photographed well and at times sits somewhere between Alfred Hitchcock making a movie with Michael Mann. Though, their films are far more enjoyable for me to sit with and I can tend to follow them better. By far the best scene is an impressive shootout at the Guggenheim Museum. It’s certainly not the greatest action sequence ever made, but it is filmed exceptionally well and effective for such an unusual space. Just the idea of a shootout in a museum is awesome to me, especially in one of the world’s most famous buildings and with an exhibition that digitally projects mini films within the film. Also, I just love a good shootout and seeing recognizable places riddled with holes. However, I shouldn’t have watched the DVD extras on how it was accomplished as I was a little bummed. Despite its faux face to New York City’s architectural elite, it is quite astonishing how well they pulled it off to look real. Still, the action was too little and too late for me because the movies is so darn 24-7 talkie (and not in a Tarantino way) without telling me anything or helping me move along with the players. Granted, I’m known for not being the best at following fast paced political or heist thrillers with multi-tiers, but quite honestly this one just needs some guidance or a guide book. Political justice is on the mind and motive of Owens’ character, though what he and the viewer gets is that in this world, there is no such thing. Which, most of us have pessimistically figured out long ago. So, how about some storytelling justice?

Soul Men * *
Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee / 2008

Soul Searching…

I was bummed about the early passing of comedian great Bernie Mac. I’m even more bummed that Mac’s last performance is forever sealed in “Soul Men”, a movie that could have had heart had it not lacked so much soul. I'm sure there are many out there who rolled in their seats, but please give me re-runs of “The Bernie Mac Show” any day. PS: Another R.I.P. goes out to Isaac Hayes, who also appeared in "Soul Men."

Snakes on a Plane * * * * ½
Directed by: David R. Ellis / 2006

Still Slithering…

Remember way back in 2006 (even a year or more before), when the internet hype for “Snakes on a Plane” promised more box office cleavage than when the final numbers finally came slithering in? Well, despite everything, the movie is still what it was meant to be. And that is, colossal campy fun at high altidudes! Personally, I can’t get enough of this one! -djg

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