Thursday, July 16, 2009

Harry Potter for a Minute and Something completely different

A disclaimer: this is not a review of Harry Potter. I saw the film yesterday (opening day) and it was pretty good. Except for some changes from the book that I found unnecessary and an extra helping of teen hormonal issues, the movie was a lot of fun and probably the best to look at technically. And for some reason, the score was great. It is most unfourtunate though that Ginny Weasley is a good chunk of height taller than Harry at this point. Oh well…What I am actually writing about though is a quick, 2 moments that I have had in the last week. While listening to the radio, I have found myself nodding along to and enjoying songs by unknown artists. When I finally looked down to see what the songs were I saw that they were in fact a Nickleback song and a Black Eyed Peas song called “I Gotta Feeling.” I wanted to make a confession that as soon as I saw the artists for this songs, I changed the radio then looked around at the other cars to make sure no one had caught me listening. But then I realized that neither of the songs sound anything like the artists previous work. So I wanted to tip my metaphorical sombrero to NIckleback and for changing up their styles and tricking me into almost enjoying their stuff for a matter of moments. It was fun while it lasted, but then their past histories of trash, garbage and utter pieces of shit that passed for previous work came to mind and I felt like I was infront of a crowd holding my dick. So with that, I have to go to work.

p.s. this is my 50th post on the site, so if you want to send me a present, I would accept it

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Public Enemies

There really isn’t any reason a Michael Mann directed John Dillinger biopic starring Johnny Depp should be boring at all. It just shouldn’t happen. But Public Enemies, for some reason, is dull. The actors and everyone involved has outstanding chops and while the film does spend a good portion of the time focused on Christian Bale’s straight laced company man Melvin Purvis, there is no exposition into what makes this man tick. So Depp as Dillinger is really the only character in the film with any heart at all. None of the characters backgrounds is really explored but Depp is able to convey the motivations of Dillinger simply with an upturn of the lip or the raise of an eyebrow. Bale on the other hand is so stern and straight-laced, he really forced me to be dragged along with his storyline. The subplot about how Dillinger’s crime spree gave J. Edgar Hoover enough sway to really turn the F.B.I. into a juggernaut should be given its own movie, because there was obviously a lot that went on with Hoover, one of history’s most interesting characters, but all we see in this film is him looking angry that his agents aren’t catching enough high profile bad guys.
The film runs about two and a half hours, but instead of being an indepth look into the world of one of the greatest bad guys ever, it seems to drift along as the cops just keep messing up while the cool anti-hero skirts along to his next hiding spot. If the film was 90 minutes and more of a ‘run of the mill’ summer action film, it wouldn’t be very good or satisfying, but at least there would have been a set direction. The opening jailbreak scene, where Dillinger busts the rest of his friends out of jail is riveting, with huge shots of men with Tommy Guns shooting at the guards in towers, running across a dessert and the crisp sound of bullets flying, whizzing around. But after the men reach their hideout, the film slows down to a crawl. The three or four shootouts that actually are in the film are incredible, probably the best shootouts since maybe Heat. But once the fight is over and the gangsters get away, the film goes back to scenes of Bale looking stern, Hoover looking angry and Depp smirking with a beautiful Marion Cottilard on his side.
The character of Dillinger isn’t presented as a good guy in any way though, which is a good thing. He tries to show redeemable aspects in his loyalty to his friends and when he returns the money to bank patrons, but he even says that this is just so that the public will like him in the paper. But while he does nothing but steal and kill, the way that he goes about his life on the run really makes the audience care for his well being. The poor upbringing and the true believe in all things American are such simple things that allowed for a connection to the character that the rest of the people in the film fall by the wayside. And maybe Dillinger wasn’t really that exciting, which would explain the films boringness, but the way that Depp is able to show the soul of the man who really just wants a pretty girl, a Tommy gun, a nice suit and a fast car is a fascinating look into criminal life in the depression. The only other person who really has their good moments is Stephen Graham as Baby Face Nelson, but he’s just crazy, but he makes crazy fun. And in a film devoid of fun moments, it’s a nice change of pace.
So to summarize, in an era of all kinds of sensationalized legends of crime, Public Enemies tries to bring the real story to the screen and I don’t know enough history to say whether its right or wrong, but it sure isn’t as exciting and compelling as the stories would have had anyone believe. If it wasn’t for Depp simply being fantastic and making the audience love a man without redemption, this film would have been really hard to watch. But since Purvis has his own story to be told, no matter how void of anything worth seeing it is, Depp doesn’t nearly have enough screen time in this epic to make the films entire runtime worth while. I want to say I liked it, but there was just so much lacking in terms of a driving story, compelling characters and quantity of the excellent action sequences to make me recommend the film to anyone else out there.

The Reviews