Abbreviated Movie Notes

It’s been a while since I’ve said anything about the flicks I’ve been checking out, and since I got Netflix I’ve been checking out a lot, so I’ll offer some abbreviated comments since there’s a lot of ground to cover.

Jens Pulver: Driven – A documentary about former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver documenting his training up until what could possibly be his last fight. Lots of emotionally charged stories from his childhood. I’m sorry he had a father like he did. Well worth a watch.

Lonely Hearts – Travolta and Gandolfini play a couple of detectives hunting a pair of killers (Hayek & Leto) in the 1940s. I was surprised at how well Salma Hayek played a psychopath.

Inferno: The Making of the Expendables – I’ve always known that Stallone was a writer and director, but I never realized just how talented he was until I actually saw him do it. The Expendables was a fantastic flick—maybe the best action movie ever (sounds hyperbolic but I’m being serious)—and seeing just how much Stallone put into making it makes me appreciate it all the more.

Bunraku – An over-the-top martial arts fantasy flick starring Josh Hartnett, Woody Harrelson, Gackt Camui, Demi Moore, and Ron Perlman. Bunraku apparently refers to a type of Japanese puppet theater and it’s a fitting title for this movie about a world that is ruled by one ruthless and seemingly invincible villain. Great fight scenes with weird acting, but I think that was supposed to be part of the charm.

The Oxford Murders – This was a witty, off-the-cuff, crime thriller that didn’t take itself too seriously. Elijah Wood played a non-loser, which was a stretch for him, but he pulled it off. There’s an ironic streak to this flick in that they’re looking for a cold, calculated killer, who bases his killings on mathematical and logical patterns, but the truth is that it’s all completely random.

Brooklyn Rules – An over-acted coming-of-age friendship tale about a trio of kids from Brooklyn. Naturally there’s plenty of mob stuff in there, which got a bit hokey, but what really ruined this movie was Freddie Prinz, Jr.’s fake accent.

And Soon the Darkness – This one was a bit slow but probably truer to life than I care to imagine. A couple of young girls go on a bike tour in Venezuela only for one of them to be kidnapped for the purpose of being sold into sexual slavery. Decent plot; okay acting; I wouldn’t watch it twice.

In the Electric Mist – Tommy Lee Jones plays a detective in Louisiana investigating one case that helps him to solve another one from decades earlier; a crime he witnessed as a child. Jones turns in the expected stellar performance; John Goodman and Peter Sarsgaard weren’t too shabby either.

Boot Camp – Had I not known someone who was in a program similar to the one depicted in the movie I would think that this was wildly improbable. Unfortunately, abusive boot camps of this sort exist, and they do much more to harm children than they do to reform them.

Harry Brown – Michael Cain as an old royal marine who takes vengeance on a local street gang who murdered his best friend? What’s not to love about that?!! I generally prefer British television to their movies, but this one was as good as anything comparable to it made in the US.

Good Neighbors – An offbeat dark comedy/crime thriller about some English (and by that I assume they mean “English speaking”) folks living in Montreal with a predictable twist and a random ending. Jay Baruchel really needs to try playing a different sort of character. He seems the same in every movie.

The Double – Richard Gere and Topher Grace both turn in fantastic performances in this smart spy thriller. One of the best twists I’ve seen in a very long time. You think you have it figured out early on, and then a bit later you’re convinced you do, but when the twist really comes you realize how you’ve just been fooled by a bait-and-switch. Check this out if you get a chance!

The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations – This was super-predictable and borderline incoherent. Don’t waste your time.

Stolen – A father grievingly investigates the kidnapping of his own son while stumbling across a 50 year old kidnapping. Solving the old crime means solving his son’s kidnapping as well. Spoiler alert: it ends in tragedy. Pretty slow; not terribly original; but a decent flick nonetheless.

Drive Angry – Poorly acted; stupid plot; horrible theology; decent action scenes.



2 thoughts on “Abbreviated Movie Notes

  1. I think I said this some time recently, but what the heck. I am super psyched to see Expendables 2. Van Damme and (my God) Chuck freakin Norris. Most of my fondest memories with my dad growing up are of watching Westerns and action movies starring all the guys in this movie. Too bad Seagal didn’t make the cut…

  2. Derek: Yeah, you mentioned your excitement, and I can’t blame you! I’m really looking forward to it too. It would have been nice for Seagal to play a villain in the sequel.

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