Monthly Archives: September 2010

THE EXPENDABLES

Before seeing this film I thought the brevity of Bruce and Arnie’s cameos was lame but after seeing it I realize they were the smartest actors in the film. By limiting their involvement to the bare minimum, they don’t escape unscathed — the worst script of 2010 is no respecter of persons — but they do limit the damage to their reputations.

When Arnie walks out of the scene (or walks out on it?) he shows how to make a gracious exit appropriate to one’s age, in stark contrast to Stallone, at 64 the oldest man in the film, whose plastic surgery has made him look more like his mother instead of younger. Behind his back Stallone jokes that Arnold wants to become president — a reprise of the same joke in Demolition Man — but the rest of the movie backfires in the face of the mocker, making Arnold’s third career look dignified by comparison.

In terms of the 80s Nostalgenre, The A-Team has everything The Expendables doesn’t: characters with actual personalities, dialogue that makes sense, jokes that are funny, inventive action scenarios, and the most delightfully detestable villain of the year.

Mercifully I had a 40%-off voucher for my ticket.

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THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE

To say this movie resembles a made-for-TV thriller would be an insult to the quality of TV drama in the past decade. Also to the verb “thrill.”

Visually this film is lazy, and dramatically it is never suspenseful nor exciting. At least the first film in this trilogy, directed by Niels Arden Oplev, unspooled a moderately interesting mystery punctuated by some dramatic sequences of investigating, especially one of homemade cinematic detective work. Not to mention that it featured actual relationships between characters that developed over the course of the film! Daniel Afredson’s sequel contains no such elements.

The fact that Alfredson has also directed the third film does not bode well for the conclusion of this series. At least this time, the decision to remake the trilogy in English can credibly claim artistic integrity, and with David Fincher in charge, there’s no doubt it will be the superior product.