Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Hurt Locker

©2008 Summit Entertainment
The Hurt Locker (2008), starring Jeremy Renner.

[EDITED 16 March 2016]

The Hurt Locker won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

The Director
Kathryn Bigelow (Oscar © Winner, Best Achievement in Directing)

The Writer 
Mark Boal (Oscar © Winner, Best Original Screenplay)

The Actors
Jeremy Renner (The Town), Anthony Mackie (Notorious), Brian Geraghty (Jarhead), Guy Pierce (Memento), Ralph Fiennes (the noseless one in the Harry Potter movies),  and Saint Elsewhere's David Morse.

The Story
Sergeant First Class William James (Renner) becomes team leader of an Army bomb squad in Iraq in 2004.  He breaks rules and constantly puts himself and his team at risk, and we often wonder when he is being noble and when he is merely being reckless.

Watching The Hurt Locker, I kept in mind the criticisms I had heard in 2009 (its year of release in the US) from some active and retired military, that real bomb squad personnel would not be, or be allowed to be, so reckless. However SFC James is presented as an anomaly from the beginning, so if we accept higher-up Colonel Reed (David Morse) as another anomaly (and pretend for two hours and change that there are no safeguards against such anomalies in our military), we're on our way to a willing suspension of our disbelief. From a movie-making perspective, though, the most likely reason for SFC James' atypical bravado is the same reason the CSIs on CBS all forgot they weren't detectives and chased down suspects and interrogated them: it was more exciting that way. The film is exciting, and well acted. The disputed accuracy of its portrayal of Army bomb squads notwithstanding, it also has the feel of reality, perhaps owing to the acting, directing, editing, and heck, maybe the sound work too.

Why You Should See It
You got the part about the six Oscars ©, right? If the Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay don't do it for you, how about Best Editing, Sound and Sound Editing?

Why You Should Avoid It
You only watch comedies. You never read the paper because there might be a mention of someone getting hurt. You're afraid that if you see an Academy Award winning movie, you might hear a British accent, be forced to think, and find yourself using the word "film."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Season of the Witch...condensed!

©2011 Relativity Media

Season of the Witch (2011), starring Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman.

[EDITED 9 January 2015]

The Director
Dominic Sena has created 2000's Gone in 60 Seconds (hey, look, a big Nicolas Cage face is on that poster too!).

The Actors
Brits, all of them, I believe, except Nicolas Cage of California and Ron Perlman (say New York twice). Stephen Graham, born in Liverpool, sounds like he was raised in Brooklyn. Granted, modern British speech would likely sound as strange to 14th Century Europeans as a Texas twang.

The Story
Behman (Cage) and Felson (Perlman) fight in the Crusades, and after each bloodfest the one who has produced the lower body count buys the night's drinks. All very endearing until their instant epiphany, after which they desert, only to be captured as deserters, only to be pressed into service to transport an accused witch (Claire Foy, trying to sound American for some reason) to trial, which is obviously the best way to stop the Bubonic Plague. If you can explain to me the explanation near the end, I will be much obliged.

Why You Should See It
You can only perceive movies in random four-minute increments, so the plot doesn't matter much to you.

The Rating
Tuna half stars.