Thursday, May 17, 2007

Movies x3

I saw three movies last weekend. I started writing full-on "Movie Chat" posts about each of them, but I stalled out. However, I did want to pass on some quick observations, so, here goes:

The New World: Geez, do I feel like a dope for not trying harder to see this when it was playing in the theaters. This was by far my favorite Terrence Malick movie and this may be the first time that I've felt that his style and sensibility was 100% perfect for the subject matter. I was looking over the Netflix member reviews of the movie and I was surprised to see people comment that it was kind of slow (charitably) or even boring, because there's stuff happening all the time - each scene - heck, each shot - is full of plot/character/thematic details.

Running Scared: I know why I started watching this one - I liked Wayne Kramer's previous movie and I generally like Paul Walker (no one "plays" dumb like he does) - but I really don't know why I kept watching it. There are a couple of action set pieces that are interesting from a action junkie's POV (a gun battle in a hotel room that is shot and cut to emphasize the confusion of a bunch of guys trying to kill each other in a very cramped space; a gun battle on a hockey rink that makes great use of the ice - a little like the fight-on-oil sequence in The Transporter), but I found it far too serious, far too dark, and far too exploitative to be enjoyable. Probably the most awful thing I've seen recently.

The Break-Up: I loved parts of it: sometimes it was like a contemporary version of Blume in Love in the way it never blunted the characters' bad behavior but remained sympathetic to them. Other parts of it, though, were straight out of the standard rom-com playbook: I'm thinking mainly of the John Michael Higgins and Judy Davis roles, but also the way John Favreau's character gets to be the movie's (unlikely) font of wisdom for the "crucial" scene that makes explicit what the movie had wisely kept implicit until that point.

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