Wanted is the ultimate vacation movie, meaning that first your brain takes a vacation, followed by the laws of physics. Finally everything resembling logic just sort of buggers off and joins them on holiday. It’s bloody, sexy, brutish, noisy fun.
Yeah, that’s right. I said fun. As pleasures go, this one is guiltier than O.J.
The high-tech motion capture technique that director Robert Zemeckis uses here has improved considerably since 2004’s The Polar Express, but not enough to recommend that he use it again. True, the creepy thousand-yard stares have been cut down to about a hundred-and-seventy-five yards, but when it comes to inserting lifelike characters into fantastical environments, there is more effective technique called using actors, that worked much better in little film called 300.
Despite its Hallmark Hall of Fame title, A Mighty Heart is a spare, unblinking look at the last days of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl through the eyes of his wife, Mariane, and those who desperately tried to find him after he was kidnapped in Karachi, Pakistan. With a subject just asking to be sensationalized, director Michael Winterbottom’s matter-of-fact documentary-style approach is not only much more effective, it’s downright commendable.
The Good Shepherd uses the classic form of the espionage thriller to depict the birth of the Central Intelligence Agency through the eyes of one character, Edward Wilson, himself a composite of several real figures in the early days of the American intelligence community. Despite its length, deliberate pacing and a central character that is not particularly sympathetic, this film is a compelling account of a crucial, little known part of American history.
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow was billed as an experiment in digital film making, shooting actors against a blue screen to be composited into computer generated images. I’m not sure if there’s anything here that George Lucas wasn’t already doing on a much larger scale for the Star Wars prequels, so as an experiment in technique, Sky Captain is probably much ado about nothing.
Job-related stresses can be murder on a marriage. John and Jane Smith (probably not their real names) learn this hard lesson in Mr. & Mrs. Smith, a tongue-in-cheek actioner that borrows from True Lies and adds a dash of War of the Roses. It doesn’t really matter how derivative a movie like this is, as long as it keeps you laughing over all of the explosions. Mission accomplished.
John and Jane (tabloid couple du jour Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) have hit a rough patch in their marriage. They just don’t talk anymore. It doesn’t help that both spouses have jobs of the “If I told you, I’d have to kill you” variety. Continue reading →