Bullets 1 (Jan-Feb 2012)

Posted: March 5, 2012 in Movies, Reviews
Tags: , , , ,

Mini-reviews to help you choose

When I started this blog, it was intended to mainly be about movies.  So, I figured it’s about time I start reviewing some.

The first few months of the calendar year are usually a graveyard for new releases.  The major studios are focused on putting their Oscar bait into wide release and their advertising dollars into those Oscar campaigns.  Bucking that trend, the first two months of this year brought an unusally rich selection of films.

For these and all future reviews, I will grade on a five-star scale.

Haywire (d. Steven Soderbergh)

** 1/2

This is not a story you haven’t seen.  Highly skilled secret agent type is set up by shadowy persons unknown within her own organization,  The agent proceeds to tear through opposing forces in an attempt to clear her name and reveal the parties who framed her.  The difference here is Gina Carano of MMA fame.  Carano is a striking woman.  Even more so for me because of the utter certainty that she could break me like a twig which I would gladly let her do.  Her undeniable beauty aside she proves herself to be a capable actress in her debut role.  She’s not perfect but there’s potential here.  She’s got skills.  Hollywood needs a good female action star and with her talents, clearly on display in the brutally simple fight sequences, she more than fits the bill.

Haywire will be available on Blu-Ray & DVD on May 1, 2012

Chronicle (d. Josh Trank)

***

This is a ‘found footage’ film, a phrase which to some has become a bit of a dirty word.  Don’t let your preconceptions about the increasingly popular and overused storytelling device keep you from seeing this film, though.  Using a cast of mostly unknowns, we are shown the story of a bunch of moody teenagers who suddenly find themselves empowered.  Oh, those angsty teens.  Think back to when you were in high school.  Was there someone you just didn’t like?  Someone who tortured you, physically or emotionally?  Now, what would you have done if you could’ve done something about it?  What would you have done if you could’ve done a whole hell of a lot about it?  Couple those tricky questions with the shadow of parental abuse and you have a disturbingly realistic portrayal of why an otherwise innocent kid could lose their shit and start hurting people.

Chronicle can still be found at theaters in your neighborhood

The Woman in Black (d. James Watkins)

***1/2

Hammer Film Productions has a long and storied history which I will leave to others to tell.  Once an afterthought, the legendary horror film producers have had a bit of a resurgence of late with the vampire remake, Let Me In and the direct-to-video Wake Wood.  Their latest is this quietly menacing ghost story starring Daniel Radcliffe, Mr. Harry Potter himself.  Great ghost stories don’t have to show you a whole bunch.  A few jump scares here and there, the suggestion of a spectral figure down a darkened hall, noises and creaking in an abandoned home.  All of that is on ready display here.  Radcliffe does seem a bit young for the character he’s playing and it is admittedly jarring to see him playing anyone but Harry.  That not withstanding, he is great in the role and the movie has a great supporting cast.  This is old school British horror and there ain’t a damn thing wrong with that.

The Woman in Black can still be found in theaters

The Grey (d. Joe Carnahan)

****

Liam Neeson just keeps on proving that he is a gen-you-wine badass.  This beautifully shot movie is directed by the same man who brought us Narc, Smokin’ Aces, and the dreadful A-Team feature.  Please don’t let that dissuade you from checking it out.  It is leaps and bounds beyond anything he has ever done and maybe ever will do again.  The trailers for the film did it a bit of a disservice in selling it as an adventure film featuring Neeson going all Rambo-with-a-fist-of-broken-glass on a pack of wolves.  The wolves are indeed a constant threat in the film and are used to great effect but they are primarily a device to move the plot along and to dispatch some, though certainly not all, characters.  This is instead  and make no mistake about it, a survival film.  Anyone familiar with the tropes of survival horror will know what that means.  And if you haven’t experienced such a film, I can think of few better with which to cut your teeth. 

The Grey is still in theaters.

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The preceding reviews are strictly the opinion of the reviewer.  The fact that they are correct in every respect should not influence your decision to see the reviewed films.

Though you would be a dumbass if you didn’t at least see The Grey.

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