Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Kingdom

Jamie Foxx has grown on me ever since Collateral. He star's in Peter Berg's geopolitical thriller, The Kingdom, as a "never take no for an answer" FBI agent that leads an FBI investigation on foreign soil, Saudi Arabia a land with over 5000 princes.

Ronald Fleury (Foxx) leads his team into Saudi Arabia to find the culprits behind a terrorist attack on a compound housing American employees and their families. The team has only five days to investigate, and a U.S. diplomat played by the always energetic Jeremy Piven would rather they just do a photo op and leave on the next flight out. But the team didn't fly all that way to go on a safari.

The team is made up of an explosives expert (Chris Cooper), an intelligence analyst (Jason Bateman) and a forensics whiz (Jennifer Garner). Agent Fleury convinces the local Saudi prince to let his team do their job and find those responsible for the attack.

While the chemistry between these powerful actors may be a tad forced, the actors deliver solid performances, Chris Cooper just coming off of his excellent lead role in Breach (another great geopolitical thriller), brings balance to the team. Jason Bateman, provides the comic relief in the film and zings out his one-liners perfectly. Jennifer Garner a.k.a Alias is right at home as an FBI agent who can hold her own against the terrorists.

This film has a great story set against the back drop of terrorism, and plays out like an episode of CSI or NCIS. It drags a little in the middle, but builds momentum in the end with ambushes, gun battles, (how many RPGs can you dodge?), and careening car chases that takes "thriller" to a new level, not to mention the suspense. Well done Berg!

I'll never understand how killing a 100 or even 3000 (e.g. 9/11) will somehow further the religious goals of a group of sick-twisted people, or how it brings glory to Allah. I was never great at math, but even I can see that it does not add up. The Kingdom starts out showing us a timeline of terrorist acts leading up to 9/11. Have these acts accomplished their goal? What is the goal? A holy war? Not happening. Change U.S. Policy? Only in that we now spend billions to hunt you down. Paralyze the world with fear? Just the opposite, we have become apathetic to suicide bombings. We were all horrified September 11, 2001, but now when we read in the news fifty killed in a market by a suicide bomber, we yawn and turn to the sports page to become outraged at an NFL player killing dogs. (hey, I'm outraged too!)

So my message to terrorists: Come up with something new! Killing people isn't working. You're boring me! Think outside the bomb; Hire the ad agency that does Bud commercials if you want to get people's attention.

Okay, sorry for the rant folks, go check out The Kingdom, it has a great story and a killer cast!

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Brave One

Jodie Foster plays Erica Bain, the host of a public radio talk show called “Street Walk” that takes a nostalgic and happy-go-lucky view of New York City. But after her fiance, David (Naveen Andrews) is brutally killed, her radio show changes and becomes darker, and so does she.

At first she is afraid to go back out onto the streets that she once loved to roam during the day recording sounds of the city for her show. But after she buys a gun, she soon has the fortitude to roam the streets at night. She becomes a stranger to herself, a killer that has always been lurking just beneath the surface. She has a series of run ins with bad people and takes out her revenge on them. Driven by grief, she is surprised that her hands don't shake after the killings.

A homicide detective named Sean Mercer (Terrence Howard), who happens to be a fan of her show and saw her recovering at the hospital after she and her fiance were attacked, takes on the case of the vigilante. He slowly puts the pieces together as he follows the clues to the mystery vigilante who is "doing his job." But will he have the dedication to bring her to justice?
I really liked this movie! Who wouldn't love watching a "civilized" educated woman turn into a prowling, gun toting huntress vigilante. She was probably anti-gun before the assault. Every one's anti-gun until they or their loved ones are brutally attacked and violated by the animals on our streets that have no respect for human life. I don't suggest everyone run out and buy a gun to shoot every creep that looks at them wrong. But when the slavering wolf stalks you, be ready.
There's not much I can find wrong with this movie. It has a great story, awesome acting, interesting characters, and an ending, I could not predict. Well I might have chose a different title, The Brave One doesn't fit perfectly for me. I might have called it, The Stranger. Check out this dark tale of street justice!

Friday, September 14, 2007

3:10 to Yuma

I like a good western and 3:10 doesn't disappoint. This western has a decent twist, it departs from the hero standing tall and wearing a white hat. The hero in this movie, Dan Evans played by Christain Bale has a limp from missing part of his leg, is down on his luck and is unable to take on a few local bullies trying to run his family off his land, to the shame of his oldest son. The bad guy, outlaw Ben Wade played by Russell Crowe isn't all that bad. Well...okay he is, but you end up wanting to like him anyways.

The movie is about a group of men trying to get Wade to a train station so he can face justice at the end of a noose. The group is short handed and Dan Evans voluteers to help them because he needs the money to get out of debt. Of course Wade's gang is hot on their heels intent on freeing their "boss."

Over the course of the journey we learn backstory of the two main charaters. I liked how it wasn't just blurted out all at once and shoved down our throats like some films do, but is presented in bits and pieces along the way, even to the climatic ending. The chemistry between Evans and his son was a nice sub plot and added to the story.

This film is a remake of the 1957 film of the same name making it the second redenition of Elmore Leonard's short story.

Russel Crowe may be a jerk in real life, aka throwing phones at hotel staff, but that man can act! Even if you don't like westerns, this is a great film with an excellent story. Saddle up and catch that 3:10 train to Yuma!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Title of new 'Indiana Jones' revealed

NEW YORK (AP) -- The title of the new "Indiana Jones" movie, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Harrison Ford, has been revealed.

The "Jones" cast: Shia LaBeouf, Steven Spielberg, Karen Allen (seated), Ray Winstone and Harrison Ford.

"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" will be in theaters May 22, 2008.

The title of the long-awaited fourth installment of the adventure series was announced by Shia LaBeouf, who co-stars with Ford in the film, at the MTV Video Music Awards in Las Vegas on Sunday.
The new Indy adventure, which is set in the 1950s, also stars Cate Blanchett, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent and Karen Allen.
Sean Connery, who played dad to Ford's globe-trotting archaeologist in 1989's "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," will not reprise the role in the new movie.

The series began in 1981 with "Raiders of the Lost Ark," followed by "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" in 1984.
In promotional photos, the 65-year-old Ford appears fit as ever.
"I have to say, he looks amazing," Kathleen Kennedy, the film's co-executive producer, along with George Lucas, told The Associated Press in July. "He looks fantastic in the outfit."

Friday, September 07, 2007

Shoot 'Em Up!

This film had Smoking Aces II written all over it. Did that stop me from going? Nope. Hey I am a Clive Owen fan for some reason. Maybe it's his piercing stare or his eclectic accent, but I decided to give him a shot. (Don't pardon the pun). See he has recently made a couple of real stinkers (IMHO). Namely Inside Man and Children of Men. I didn't really care for those two films at all. But could Clive really be in a third bomb?

I'm afraid so. Sure I get that the movie is an over the top spoof of hero action flicks, but I at least want to be entertained. Sin City was entertaining! (Clive's in that one too BTW). This film was an abysmally silly waste of celluloid.

It starts out with Mr. Smith (Owen) sitting on a bench at the bus stop minding his business and eating a rather large carrot. "What's Up Doc?" immediately hopped into my head and yes he actually says the line later in this live action cartoon of a film. A pregnant woman in distress comes limping by the bus stop followed by a killer with a gun. Mr. Smith rolls his eyes (along with me) and the gun shooting starts and never stops till the credits roll for this aptly named strait to DVD film. Stay home folks, the summer movies are over, and watch the new shows rolling out this fall. Heroes is back with season II and I am looking forward to checking out the Bionic Woman September 26th!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007