Sunday, 24 January 2010

(500) Films of Empire - Day 131

460 - Crash - 1 star
No not that one. No humping of open leg wounds here.
Not many films have got me really angry while watching them; Last Days, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls for example, but Crash is certainly one of them.
"How I loathe thee, let me count the ways"

1. The Academy selected this as Best Picture at the Oscars over Brokeback Mountain. Can you believe it? Jack Nicholson certainly couldn't when he opened the envelope!
2. It's one of those films that blatantly tries to appeal to the Academy; an issue movie, actors taking on their 'serious' role (Fraser, Bullock, Dillon), lots of nice soundbite speeches, blah, blah, blah
3. Shoehorning in characters from different storylines into meeting each other (the Persian daughter turns out to be a doctor who attends to Don Cheadle's dead brother for example). As if we are supposed to believe that everyone knows everyone in a city of 4,000,000.
4. The Persian shopkeeper shoots the girl with the invisible cloak of protection who is 'miraculously unharmed' because his gun had blanks in it. He shot her at point blank range!!! Even a blank is going to do damage being fired that close.

A 2 hour long film so unsubtle and heavy handed in its message that could quite easily have been summed up in these short, sweet and hilarious five minutes.

202 - The Killer - 3 stars
Yes John Woo, 30 seconds in and already a shot with a dove in it. 3 minutes in and we've got Chow Yun Fat flying through the air with two guns. Just what I've come to expect from John Woo after the delightfully OTT Face Off (which is awesome for, if nothing else, the bit when Nicolas Cage is whacked out on drugs mumbling about how he's going to "take his face... off" complete with hand actions). But this should be Face Off cranked up to 11 since Woo wasn't limited by Hollywood standards.
I think I might have used this line in a previous review, but I've done so many now I can't remember plus it holds true to this film as well. "Wow them in the end and you've got a hit" says Robert McKee in Adaptation. And this film certainly wows us at the end. I'd actually found the film kind of tame and a bit disappointing after hearing all the hype about the "bullet ballets" but the ending totally made up for that.
Now I know that this was released before Heat, but the final shootout is a look at what would happen had De Niro and Pacino's characters ever teamed up, as Chow Yun Fat's assassin works with the cop sent to catch him (who develop a mutual respect for each other) to fight off the real bad guys. More guns, bullets, squib packs, doves, somersaults, and Wilhelm screams than you can shake a stick at, with a few bonus freeze frames and slow motion shots that evoke a feeling of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Days remaining - 234 Films remaining - 307

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