Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bullet Points - Adrenaline Rush

I feel like I say this every six months, but I haven't been able to write lately because of school.  There's these things called lab reports that take priority over comic books and movies.  Luckily, I've managed to keep a running list of things I've been watching (and don't worry, I still made it to some comic cons to get Tarantino art).  So to get my writing juices flowing, I decided to start things off with a bang - literally.  Here's some films and shows that are filled with flying bullets and big explosions:

  • Savages - Although Oliver Stone strayed from Tarantino's Natural Born Killers script to express his own opinionated beliefs, he usually makes pretty entertaining films.  Savages was a film I really wanted to see at the movie theater, but didn't get a chance to.  Luckily it came to video quickly and it was everything I expected:  A pure adrenaline rush filled with violence and sex.    With fast edits similar to the late Tony Scott, it's a story of two drug dealers who must save their girl from the Cartel after refusing to join them in a business venture.  Although older, Salma Hayek is vicious yet beautiful Mexican drug lord. Keeping Blake Lively as a negotiating piece, Salma commands the situation knowing both protagonists are in love with Blake, exploiting the fact "there's something wrong with their love story."  As usual with his typical roles, Benicio del Toro is terrifying and disturbing as the muscle and watchdog.   Even though violence dominates the story, it doesn't have the charm or wit like Pulp Fiction (even though it has John Travolta as a corrupt federal agent).  However, don't let this keep you away as it still has thrilling action that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
    • Skyfall - I've heard people compare Skyfall with movies ranging from The Dark Knight to Home Alone (yes, there are booby traps, but no paint cans to knock Marv and Harry down).  I'm currently on a journey through Bond's filmography, but I believe Daniel Craig is my favorite 007.  However, Skyfall has been my least favorite film from his run.  It's a back to the basics story, but it doesn't contain the same grittiness as Casino Royale.  Not to say I didn't enjoy this movie, but it just doesn't carry the same intensity.  Javier Bardem as the bad guy was fun - his character was similar to his previous role from No Country for Old Men spiked with the intellectual charisma of Dr. Hannibal LectorSkyfall is definitely a pretty and mesmerizing film, featuring beautiful landscapes filled with ultra vibrant colors.  Even though this flick didn't meet my expectations, it laid down the foundation for another sequel, re-introducing characters such as M, Q, and Moneypenny.
    • Looper - Who doesn't love Joseph Gordon Levitt?  Put him in a sci-fi thriller with a unique story, what isn't to desire?  Looper has its action moments, but it's definitely a thinking movie.  Having dabbled in computer programming, I really enjoyed the analogies linking the present and future.  Also, when JGL was supposed to close the loop, Bruce Willis was a good choice for his future self.  With a quiet and solemn demeanor, Bruce proved to be resourceful and outsmart "himself." Although the film style isn't as dirty as Blade Runner, Looper definitely has a similar feel of contemporary landscapes re-imagined with a future twist.  For instance, the small farm where the beautiful Emily Blunt lives has a classic country vibe, but the household items are futuristic and truly imaginative because they may never come to existence.  One final note, I believe director Rian Johnson is a filmmaker to keep an eye out for.  If you're not familiar with his work, see his neo-noir film Brick.  However, to really show off his creativity, Johnson provided a downloadable commentary that could be listened to on your iPod while watching Looper in the movie theater... that's what I call genius!

    • Justified - Justified sets itself apart from other crime shows because it doesn't focus on the flashy Italian mobster life.  Instead, it dives into the trashy and poverty stricken territory of Harlan County, Kentucky.  Season 4 differs from seasons past by not focusing on the Dixie Mafia, but on the Detroit Mafia who is invading the Southern territory to settle some personal vendettas.  The one thing I've noticed about this show is that it tends to start off slow each season.  However, as the episodes progress, the story builds momentum and you can't stop watching as you eagerly await for next week's episode to premiere.  Timothy Olyphant as Raylen Givens is a perfect match for the show.  As the US Marshall we love to root for, his quick wit is appealing even though he sometimes walks the line.  To compliment the hero, Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder is the perfect Foil because of his sly motives shielded by his exterior Southern Charm (you'll also love his lackey role in Django).  If for some reason you avoided Justified, I recommend getting caught up on Hulu before it starts again next year!

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