Thursday, August 05, 2010
Sam Worthington, the reigning king of green screen acting, plays Perseus. Half-man and half-god, he must save the Greek world from the ravages of Hades, who’s pissed off because he’s being played by Ralph Fiennes and that seems to be what Fiennes is up to these days. In his quest to get the gimrack that’ll help him defeat the whatsit, he fights giant scorpions, gorgons, and all manner of mythical beasts. It’s all great fun, and mom and dad even get to groove on the presence of terrific actors such as Fiennes, Liam Neeson, and Mads Mikkelson.
So, y’know, take CLASH OF THE TITANS in the spirit in which it’s given. This is adventure, straight up with a chaser, and it’s a heck of a lot of fun at the movies. I can’t wait to spin it up on the enormovision for my boys.
Monday, August 02, 2010
THE GREEN ZONE does so much right that I’m almost willing to forgive it its central flaw.
Director Paul Greengrass, who made the definitive 9/11 movie with UNITED 93, knows how to craft a good thriller. He knows how to do action and how to keep us in the audience on the ball regarding who’s doing what to whom and why. Matt Damon, obviously, has established himself as a versatile and capable movie star. Greg Kinnear, exceptional in a supporting role here, once again shows that he doesn’t get nearly enough respect in his chosen field. The film clips along briskly and coherently, and it hit all its marks.
But there’s a problem: the film is all about Damon’s character unraveling the mystery of the missing Iraqi WMDs in the immediate aftermath of Operation Iraqi Freedom. And we already know the solution to that one. To the even marginally aware viewer, how mysterious can this stuff actually be?
So dig the faithful portrayal of Army culture. Dig the reconstruction of the chaos in the days after the fall of Baghdad. Dig the outstanding performances and the craftsmanship and all the rest. If it’s enough to get you through the fact that you already know the thing this film’s hero is trying to learn, be happy. It just didn’t work for me.
[NOTE: The photo accompanying this brief review is not from the film. It's just a nifty picture I found when I typed "Green Zone" into Bing Image Search. I couldn't not use it.]