Friday, February 24, 2012
Right away David Wain’s “Wanderlust” got me curious. Not only is “Wet Hot American Summer” one of the most perfect comedy films in recent memory, but I’m a fan of almost everything he’s ever been a part of. “The State” is absolutely brilliant, “Stella” very nearly reaches that level, and “Role Models” shows that he can direct actual complex characters. Early trailers for “Wanderlust” set things up as a quirky relationship drama/road trip movie. Later installments played up the new age, love-in commune angle of the story, and it looked like they were going to spend 98 minutes making fun of hippies. Don’t get me wrong, I can watch people bag on hippies all day long, no problem, but I was worried that “Wanderlust” might be a one trick pony. I should learn to have a little faith.
If you haven’t been keeping up here is the most important bit of background information you need to know about “Act of Valor”: the primary players in this new action film are active duty Navy SEALs. They’re the real deal, the real highly trained badasses, and this device is the primary element that sets “Act of Valor” apart from its action film brethren. Talking about “Act of Valor” is a tricky proposition. On one hand the film is intended as an authentic (at least somewhat) glimpse into the lives of the SEALs. On the other, it still has to function as movie. I know nothing about the day-to-day life of a Navy SEAL, so I can’t speak to the realism of it all, and will have to approach it as a movie, not an artifact.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
It’s difficult to take about “Safe House” without evoking the legacy of the “Bourne” movies, the influence is that obvious. Stylistically, thematically, and visually, “Safe House” is definitely getting an invite to the “Bourne” family reunion. This isn’t meant to be a knock against the film, especially since the “Bourne” films are some of the best kick-ass action movies in recent times, this is a simple statement of fact. And director Daniel Espinosa’s “Safe House” is a solid, if by the numbers, knock off. Though it isn’t anything you haven’t seen before, “Safe House” is lightning-fast, and full of shootouts, brutal fistfights, and chase scenes. In the end, isn’t that what you really want out of an action film?