Brief thoughts on recently viewed movies

by Mr. Nobel

Lawless

Would’ve been so much better as a mini series. There’s no real connective tissue to the film; it moves in bursts and fits. There’s plenty of compelling stuff from moment to moment, but it never coheres as a whole. Consequently, my mind was flooded with ennui every 30 or so minutes, and I zoned out for a little bit before coming to on some arbitrary scene with Shia LaBeouf. Speaking of which, any animosity I had for the man was resolved by that scene with Guy Pearce beating his face into a pulp. Damn, man.

End of Watch

This mix of really great, compelling stuff and really dreadful, unwatchable shit. The hand to hand stuff was all terrible, especially that first bit where Jake Gyllenhaal’s character turns the camera back to himself every other second. Also weird is the film’s obsessive, compulsive need to justify placing cameras in each scenario, except for the times where David Ayer forgot and you’re left wondering where the fuck that angle’s coming from. The really great, gritty, propulsive stuff, however, works beautifully. Something about that found footage aesthetic adds to the intensity of the gunfights and the shoot ’em ups. Even the character moments between Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena get a boost from the style.

Men in Black 3

Terrific cast, some really witty material and a knowing wink of irony save, nay elevate an ill-conceived plot. The whole time travelling gimmick could have worked since they build it up as a way to explore K’s backstory, except they don’t. There’s some fuss made about a traumatic, formulative event going down, but the reveal makes absolutely no sense and explains absolutely nothing. But, like I said, Men in Black 3 is still hugely entertaining and enjoyable because watching Will Smith banter with Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin never gets old.

Act of Valor

 

Stunningly awful script, filled to the brim with bullshit purple warrior-poet prose. Every other line is some ghastly and meaningless platitude rendered almost humorous by the lead actor’s flat, affect-less voice. The action plays like something out of a Freddie Wong video, constant jarring cutaways to first person cam mixed with shoddy DSLR cinematography with little sense of continuity or geography. The acting, however, isn’t that bad. If they’d held back and just gone with less writing, the naturalistic swagger and obvious technical proficiency of the SEALs would’ve shone through.

 

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