Saturday, September 29, 2007

Cowboys, Hitmen, and...The Rock?

I feel that I've been neglecting this blog, especially since I've seen some pretty entertaining movies in the last month. So instead of trying to be all ambitious and write three full reviews, I'm just going to throw three mini-reviews together in one blog.

First up: 3:10 to Yuma. Never before have I been so anxious about people making it to a train on time! I knew there was very little chance of Yuma not being good, and I was not at all disappointed. Christian Bale and Russell Crowe just might play American cowboys better than the Americans who've done it in the past! Crowe's slick badman Ben Wade is likable even though he's a cold-blooded killer. Bale's Dan Evans is so honorable that, even though what he's doing is basically suicide, you root for him every step of the way. The standout star, however, is neither of these men. It's Ben Foster. You know, the guy who played Angel in X-Men 3? Yeah, he's MILES away from being angelic in this movie. His gun play is deadly and his sneers just might be worse. Everyone thinks these roles might put Bale and Crowe on the road to Oscar, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear Foster's name thrown around a bit.

Now, let's take a venture away from a solid story with a little gun play and talk about a lot of gun play with little story--Shoot 'Em Up. Never in the history of film has a movie been more aptly named. Shoot 'Em Up is like watching every single James Bond movie without any of those pesky plots. Clive Owen is a mysterious man named Smith who knows his way around a gun (and a carrot). Paul Giamatti is a professional hitman named Hertz who loves his violence more than he loves his wife and son. The beautiful Monica Bellucci is a lactating prostitute named Donna who cares for the baby that Hertz is trying to kill and Smith is trying to protect. Honestly, any movie that involves a professional hit on a newborn really shouldn't have a plot. But, since I knew what I was getting into going into the theatre, Shoot 'Em Up was a hell of a good time.

Now that I've talked about two movies I actually wanted to see, let's talk about one I didn't really have any urge to see--The Game Plan. I have nothing against a cutesy family film, but I usually like to wait until they're on DVD to watch them. But my editor at Critics Rant needed someone to review it, so I took one for the team. I thought it was simply going to be a silly story with an abundance of sight gags, sappy message moments, and an ending we all knew was coming before the end of the first act. Well, it is a silly story with all that stuff, but there is something about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson that makes this story a little more interesting. No, it’s not his impressive biceps (though the opening sequence of him working out didn’t hurt one bit). Johnson is actually a decent comedic presence. If you’ve seen Be Cool, you know what I mean. The man may be physically suited to play the action hero, but his strong suit is definitely as the comedic hero. The combination of his on screen charm with the adorable Madison Pettis (as daughter Peyton) makes for an enjoyable two hours at the movies.

So, there you go. Three movies, three paragraphs. I'm hoping, in the coming weeks, I'll be able to keep up with the more in depth reviews not just for your reading pleasure but so that I can remember what I've seen over the past year!

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