Weekly movie wrap-up: Clooney, the goat killer

April 19, 2010 at 11:44 am (Movies, Reviews)

Another really slow couple of weeks – hence the lack of last Monday’s post. However, I did see a couple of interesting movies, so here’s the rundown.

Green Zone (dir: Paul Greengrass)
An Iraqi-set war film that drew obvious comparisons to Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker – not flattering ones, however, THL clearly being the better film. However, that doesn’t mean Green Zone is bad. Paul Greengrass knows how to direct action scenes – he showed it time and time again, especially in the Bourne films. This time, he got his star, Matt Damon, armed him with weapons and a rebel attitude, and followed him through the streets of Baghdad with increasingly annoying shaky cameras. The result is a surprisingly shallow film, with a weak plot, boring characters, but bad-ass action moments. A decent, fun watch, that never rises above mediocrity.

Hot Tub Time Machine (dir: Steve Pink)
I had a feeling this might turn out to be a really funny film – and it was. Never mind the silly premise that never gets explained (not that it needed to, anyway. What can you explain about a hot tub time machine?). The movie is funny as shit, the characters are brilliantly played by really funny actors, and the jokes are mostly spot-on – I didn’t laugh so much since last year’s The Hangover. I wish it would have offered better character development and more meat on its story, but hey, I’m nitpicking.

Cop Out (dir: Kevin Smith… not that it matters)
I have no idea why Kevin Smith accepted this project. Does he need money? Did he stop caring about what films he’s associating his name with? Did he really like the script? It’s disappointing that a talented director with a cult following, like Smith is, was lured into directing a movie that wasn’t his own and he obviously didn’t care about. This could’ve been made by anyone – the result would have been the same. But the complete lack of Smith’s touch and faith in the project isn’t the only issue. I have never seen Bruce Willis so fucking bored and boring. And Tracy Morgan… where do I start? His style fits his 30 Rock character, but when you see him playing this film exactly the same way – even the more serious scenes – it makes you wonder whether he is the worst actor alive. Despite all these rants, the movie isn’t 100% awful – it has some funny moments. But, at the end of the day, what we’re left with is nothing. KS should’ve thought about that before signing on.

The Collector (dir: Marcus Dunstan)
If you’re getting bored and frustrated with the latest entries in the never-ending Saw franchise, like me, but if you still don’t mind horror flicks with traps, torture and gore, like me, then The Collector might be right up your alley. Directed by ex-Saw scribe Marcus Dunstan, the film felt a lot fresher than it seemed by reading the synopsis. Yes, the Saw vibe is present throughout, but this is nevertheless different. I liked the whole beginning bit, with the guy and his girl’s issues, that make him decide to rob his employer’s presumably empty house. I liked the whole idea of pitting a thief against the masked killer. I liked the traps and most of the kills (yes – including the cat). And I really liked the whole mistery surrounding the killer – we don’t get to find out pretty much anything about him, and that was a welcomed change of pace after getting to know Jigsaw’s life inside out. Unlike most opinions I heard, I found The Collector to be fresh and entertaining.

The Men Who Stare at Goats (dir: Grant Heslov)
Well, here’s what just might be the weirdest film of the year. A really funny, awkward comedy about an army division that plans to develop soldiers with superpowers – including, yes, killing living things by just staring at them. Don’t let the synopsis fool you however – this has nothing to do with superheros and such. It’s just the story of a bunch of odd individuals, led by George Clooney in a hilarious role, doing odd things like trying to run through walls, convince their foes to drop their guns, or killing poor innocent goats, by simply using their heads. The film is a smart satire with goofball characters and surprising situations – unfortunately it is hurt by a bad and boring third act that lowers the overall awesomeness of the movie. Anyway – in terms of weird satires that are just.. well.. weird, it’s hard to find something weirder than this film.


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