The Core Dump

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures

[By Nic Lindh on Monday, 09 July 2007]

Movie roundup, part four

This round-up includes Day Watch, Smokin’ Aces, Children of Men, Paycheck and Beerfest. One of them is somewhat funny.

A brief dump of movies I’ve seen recently:

Day Watch: The sequel to Night Watch, the excellent Russian movie about Others who live among us and do nefarious things. Day Watch is really more of the second part of Night Watch than a sequel.

As a bonus, after Day Watch you can go back and watch Night Watch again, and it will actually make sense. Trust me on this.

Day Watch takes the best parts of Night Watch, streamlines the plot and adds even more impressive visual effects.

This is easily the most visually creative movie in years. Very highly recommended.

Note though, that unless you’ve seen Night Watch nothing will make sense.

It’s showing on very few screens in the States, so unless you live in a metropolitan area you’re probably going to have to wait for the DVD release. The only reason I can see for the limited release is—cover your eyes, children!—the dreaded use of subtitles. Heaven forfend people in the States are forced to read at the same time as they munch popcorn.

It’s a really impressive movie. Don’t miss it, whether you can see it on the big screen or will be forced to wait for the DVD release.

Smokin’ Aces: This movie is what you get when you take Snatch and run it through the Hollywood stupidifier. Well made and with interesting visuals, but the plot is dumber than a movie star’s genitalia and the quote-unquote denouement makes the rest of the movie seem like it was written by Dostoevsky.

Smokin’ Aces does work as a popcorn movie and has good energy, but is one of those frustrating experiences where obviously somebody had some good—if derivative—ideas and was neutered in the process.

Children of Men: Didn’t make it all the way through. Well made and with an interesting concept, but boy howdy is it depressing. Yes, to my surprise, somebody finally made a movie too dreary even for me.

Dooooooooooooom.

Kudos.

Paycheck: Continues the proud Hollywood tradition of raping Philip K. Dick’s corpse. Casting Ben Affleck in a starring role is of course a warning that a movie will be dreck, but low as my expectations were, Paycheck managed to be so bad I couldn’t get through it.

John Woo completely phoned in the direction, and the plot isn’t so much full of holes as it’s something a stoned 15-year-old comes up with before drifting off to sleep to the soothing sounds of Pink Floyd.

For instance, and the moment when I had to stop the movie because what it was doing to my blood pressure can’t be healthy: Our hero has had his memory wiped by villainous greedy people after he finds out something horrible that will happen in the future and has mailed clues to his future self. Cunning clues. But—and this is important—only clues the Evil Security Forces of the company he works for will let him send out. Innocuous things. Such as—here we go—an access card for the most secure area on the company campus.

Yeah. Click.

And BTW, the whole memory-wipe thing is all that remains of Philip K. Dick in the whole story. As I recall, Dick wasn’t that big on writing motorcycle chase scenes with product placements. But then, memory isn’t to be trusted, is it?

Beerfest: For those times when Will Ferrell is just too highbrow. Beerfest is rude and crude, with lots of drinking and gratuitous boobies. It’s also really funny in parts. If you liked Eurotrip, you’ll like Beerfest. If you’re offended by binge drinking and potty humor, eh, not so much.

It’s actually worth watching just for the submarine scene with Jürgen Prochnow.

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