Red State: a kidnapping, turns into a hostage situation, which goes south pretty quickly from there. Be warned: this is nothing like anything Kev Smith previously done. For me, Smith films are defined by his ridiculously snappy / witty / unrealistic dialogue – none of those traits were overly abundant, but conversations are still not quite natural. There’s a mumble jumble of social commentary, gunfighting, politics, government handling of situations and blood-splattering gore; none of which were pushed to the front of the film, giving it a bouncy tone and a premise that constantly changes. In saying that, it’s all quite enjoyable and entertaining at the time, but ultimately the cinema equivalent of junk food – it fills a 90 minute void -isn’t too memorable! Cast-wise, Goodman steals every scene, but is closely followed by Park’s ultra-extreme rambling hate Baptist. It reminded me a lot of Burn after Reading in a ‘govt f-up’ way, especially the abrupt wrap-up, although it’s not quite in the same league.
The Guard: An odd Irish policeman teams up with an FBI agent to stop a major shipment of drugs. As the main character, Gleeson steals every scene and the entire show with his portrayal of an offbeat copper that switches between brilliance and insanity so often and effortlessly that you never know if he’s playing it straight or dumb. There’s a lot of other memorable characters woven through the story like Mark Strong’s disillusioned drug trafficker, both other bad guys, the elderly mother and rookie partner. The humour’s blacker than black, and drier than a bucket of sand – not for everyone, but for me it was fantastic, easily one of the funniest films I’ve seen so far this year. The story’s good, and keeps going through to the very last scene. The Guard is funny, sweary, a little surreal but very entertaining.
3:10 to Yuma: arguably two of our generation’s finest actors (Bale / Crowe) play a law-abiding rancher and a notorious outlaw respectively. Initially, I thought they’d work better cast the other way but was absolutely blown away by both performances. The story moves along brilliantly and from start to finish the film is full of action, drama and brilliant characters – both main and the supporting cast. Unfortunately, the ending’s a wee bit far-fetched, but adds even more depth to one of the main roles. A must-see film!
Flash Point: The story was pretty much a dumbed down version of the Departed (which is a dumbed down version of the Infernal Affairs Trillogy!) but it was easy to watch as it didn’t really make you think. The best thing about this film was the non-stop ass-kicking fight scenes scattered throughout, that culminate in a HUGE 20 minute action scene. The combat is all pretty realistic and based on Mixed Martial Arts. After watching some of the features the reason it’s so good was that they drafted 5 legendary fighters to help choreograph and film the action. It’s pretty much a Tony Jaa film, but not as cheesy and far more life-like. Well worth buying / renting / lovefilming if you like your action flicks.