The Spirit: Comic adaptation about a masked crime-fighter who fights crime with a mask on. Visually, it’s quite the treat although being brought to us by Frank Miller, one look at any shot from the movie indicates that this ‘borrows’ plenty visuals from Sin City – nothing new there. The Spirit is also lays it on heavily with Noir style, although it constantly regresses from cool to plain corny. The story is so one-dimensional and unimaginative that you’ll probably find yourself slipping into a coma in parts. Pretty much everyone was un-acting for the duration, besides Macht, who at least attempts to do something decent with his fairly lame character; that spends just as much time chasing tail as he does fighting crime. There’s plenty eye candy, from curvy Eva Mendes to the stunning Paz Vega, however they all feel a bit gratuitous, with no real point. Milo and Edgar from 24 also put in some face time. It all just seems very flat, with no real story or focus; random Japanese and Nazi sections anyone? There are some memorable and striking imagery & shots but overall it just feels like a low-rent Sin City.
The Hurt Locker: (Blu Ray) Disappointing. First off, despite being 130 minutes long no characters develop beyond superficial stock figures: ‘badass old-timer’, ‘young suicidal kid’ and the ‘hot-shot maverick that will get everyone killed’ – it’s also hard to feel anything, let alone sympathy, for someone so reckless and that goes AWOL as often as Will James. The plot’s essentially 5 near-identical bomb situations separated by limp character-building that never really covers new ground. On the other hand, it is well-shot throughout and the tension of each action / bomb-scare does come through in parts; the sniper battle was done well, definitely the highlight of the film. The acting’s also pretty good given how flat the characters were, but it was definitely amplified by the documentary feel. The picture’s alright, but the sound is phenomenal, creating a war-like chaos with the constant background noises – brilliant when coupled with the visual style – worth the upgrade. Overall it was too melodramatic and full of pro-American and pro-army tones for me to begin enjoying it: rock ‘n’ roll loving party-hard soldier turns his back on his family to keep saving the day in Iraq… really? It’s clearly a bit edgy (intimate & gruesome bomb scenes), contemporary (Iraq) and overcomes adversity (female director), hence it’s scooping awards, but for me, it just doesn’t cut the mustard. Look out for Guy Pearce and Ralph Feinnes before they get blown to bits. Is it the ‘best war film in years’? Probably, but with competition like jarhead and The Kingdom it that really saying something?