The Core Dump

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

[By Nic Lindh on Thursday, 14 February 2008]

Movie roundup, part seven

Lots of violence in this round-up. Flags of our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Smashing Machine, Slim Susie, Grindhouse: Planet Terror and Grindhouse: Deathproof.

Flags of Our Fathers: It’s really two movies: A pretty intense war movie about the events on Iwo Jima, which are rendered in suitably horrific detail, and a movie about regret centering around the war bonds tour on which some of the men who raised the flag on Iwo Jima are sent. The war piece is okay, the regret piece is well made but too long, and the two don’t mesh very well.

Letters from Iwo Jima: Takes the Japanese view about the invasion of Iwo Jima. Well made and of course it’s interesting to see things from the Japanese perspective. Has some interesting mirror points to Flags of Our Fathers.

The Bourne Ultimatum: For my money the best movie in the trilogy. Incredibly well-made with some of the most intense chase sequences ever filmed. The Waterloo Station scene is a marvel.

Unfortunately it leaves a lot of gaps and the backstory is never really explained, which is a bit frustrating.

If you watch the deleted scenes on the DVD, you get much more of the backstory and the plot actually makes sense. It would be nice if they could release an extended version of the movie with more of the plot baked in.

The Smashing Machine: Documentary about Mixed Martial Arts fighter Mark Kerr and his struggles with addiction to painkillers and the general life of a professional fighter. The movie also brings in other fighters and while some scenes are extremely brutal (this is full-contact fighting, after all), The Smashing Machine paints a nuanced and fairly sensitive portrait of interesting, if not always sympathetic, people. Well worth watching whether you’re into MMA or not.

Slim Susie: Small-town Sweden. A story that is a mix of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Northern Exposure with a bit of Pulp Fiction thrown in for good measure. The movie spends a bit too much time bowing to its predecessors, and suffers from an overabundance of clichés. That being said, it’s highly entertaining.

It really is something to see a small-budget movie get close to the impact of big-money productions like the aforementioned movies, and still have a distinctly small-town Swedish feeling.

Slim Susie is entertaining stuff, and if you have Netflix it’s only a few clicks away.

Grindhouse: Planet Terror: A gory and psychotic homage to the B-movies of the ’70s, Planet Terror manages to be an effective movie in its own right. It’s a technical tour de force with a gleam in its eye. On the negative side, there’s absolutely zero restraint whatsoever, so everything is completely over the top, which gets a bit tiring.

Grindhouse: Death Proof: Huh? I didn’t go to “feelm” school, and I don’t wear a black beret, so it’s possible Death Proof is doing something masterful that I’m just too dense to get.

I turned it off after an excruciating half an hour of watching a perfect replica of a horribly crappy ’70s movie. Supposedly some really cool car chase stuff happens after that, but after the torture that was the first half an hour, I really don’t care.

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