Been awhile since I've done a movie review (and they seem to be the most popular posts that I make). Here are two recent movies, both of which I felt mediocre about going in and came out loving one and really disgusted at the other.
This movie, starring Colin Farrell and Sam Jackson begins like any other police drama. It seems to have a nice rhythm and keeps the audience guessing where it's going to go. I enjoyed the characters, which seemed pretty fleshed out and the plot takes the audience on a ride that made me rather excited about how it would turn out. And then the second half of the movie starts. I admit, I started thinking that the plot was getting a bit to convoluted but then it all seemed to fall into place without any real surprise and eventually ended rather flat.
The acting is well done. Sam Jackson chews scenery as you would expect him to and I have enjoyed most of Farrell's work. I was very impressed with Michelle Rodriguez and the other supporting roles acquitted themselves nicely. But the action sequences lacked quite a bit. In fact, I could barely see some of them, and the ones I could see suffered from what so many action films suffer from - that cut and choppy style of camera work and editing that really kills the audience participation. In an age of John Woo, James Cameron, Ridley Scott, et al. I was extremely disappointed with the results here.
As well, the end of the movie is quite the let down. You start thinking this film will go somewhere and realize at the end that it was a complete waste of time. It's too bad, because this was a good premise and the plot that seemed laid out was interesting. Unfortunately, the writers (much like Saturday Night Live) couldn't figure out how to end the skit. Two thirds of the way through, I knew exactly what was going to happen. A disappointment, indeed.
Out of Time
I don't know about you, but I think Denzel Washington is one of the top actors of the past twenty years. I cannot recall a film of his that I have ever really disliked. Heart Condition maybe. He just does everything so flawlessly that you are totally drawn into each character he plays. Going into this movie, I had the idea the perhaps he was playing another bad guy, like Training Day. Then it seemed like he was being set up (which is close). By the time the movie ended, I was pleased with the direction the movie took and was blown away (once again) by Denzel's performance.
The movie tracks a day or two in the life of a small town Florida police chief that finds himself wrapped up in a murder investigation run by his soon to be ex-wife. Eva Mendes plays the wife and plays her beautifully. I'm sure everyone wanted J-Lo for this role, but Mendez does this much better than Lopez ever would. John Billingsly plays a medical examiner that works with Washington's character and tends to steal any scene he is in. The rest of the cast is spot on as well, except perhaps Dean Cain.
This is a thriller, not an action movie, but those sequences that call for action are done very well and the camera work is beautiful, surely helped by the incredible look of the Florida Keys. Overall, I was captivated throughout this film wanting to know what direction we were going next and the script never gives anything away. You aren't quite sure if Denzel's a good guy or a bad guy, but you follow behind him faithfully, hoping he will find a way through whatever is trying to stop him. Washington is so good at playing tough, yet so good at playing vulnerable - I am simply in awe of him. This film will not blow you away, but it's got plenty of juice for it's size.
As you can see, S.W.A.T was extremely disappointing and Out of Time extremely enjoyable. Both films flew under the radar during their theatrical run in that I don't recall either making too big of a splash. But one has a director that really loves his work and the other a director that I'm not sure knows what he is doing. I'd watch S.W.A.T. if you have not seen it, but only to see what I mean. I'd recommend Out of Time anytime. Very fun movie and, as I've said, Denzel is incredible as usual. That is all.