The Core Dump

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

[By Nic Lindh on Friday, 28 November 2008]

Movie roundup, part nine

Includes Quantum of Solace, Control, Live Free or Die Hard, Hitman, Oldboy, and Shoot ’Em Up. Not a bad round-up.

Quantum of Solace: Doesn’t reach the same heights as Casino Royale, but isn’t bad either. The new, grittier Bond is definitely the right way to move the franchise forward, but Quantum of Solace rides right at the edge of not being a Bond movie at all. Hopefully they’ll put back more of the Bond tropes in the next installment.

Control: The short, sad life of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis. Directed by Anton Corbijn so as you’d expect the videography is strong, distant but full of emotion.

When the topic of a movie is a man who commits suicide at the age of 23 after creating some of the most hauntingly disturbing music ever, it’s no wonder Control isn’t exactly a laugh riot.

It’s impressive that Corbijn, who more than any other can be credited with crafting the “look” for bands like U2 and Depeche Mode, manages to be so restrained in his directing.

Control is well worth watching, both for Mr. Curtis’s personal drama and as a snapshot of an exciting time in popular music.

As a bonus, here’s the Anton Corbijn-directed video for Atmosphere. If you like it, you’ll like Control:

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Live Free or Die Hard: Well, that was insulting. Seriously, I get the whole over-the-top thing they were going for, but sheesh, at least a nod to the laws of physics every once in a while would have been nice.

The one saving grace of the whole debacle is the performance of Timothy Olyphant, who is so fantastic at portraying the guy who is exactly one heartbeat away from going utterly and completely batshit. It is always immensely entertaining to behold.

Apart from Olyphant, though, the movie is tired and over the top in the same way as an old stripper who tries to compensate by gyrating wilder than ever. Sad, really.

Hitman: I watched Hitman since Timothy Olyphant is in it, and surprisingly for a movie adaptation of a video game it doesn’t suck. Not great, but has its moments.

Of course, why anybody would cast Timothy Olyphant—an actor whose forté is acting like he is on the verge of a nervous breakdown—for an emotionless character is beyond me, but it seems Hollywood forgot to check with me first.

Oldboy: Korean cyberpunk. Who’d a thunk it? The first half of the movie is very good, a Kafka-esque nightmare writ in neon, but then it fizzles into a ludicrous ending. Still, worth watching for the first half.

Shoot ’Em Up: I’ve seen some painfully dumb movies in my day, and I’m guessing you have to. Unless you’ve seen Shoot ’Em Up, though, you haven’t been fully exposed to complete, utter, and relentless stupidity. To make it even worse, and to remove any excuses, this is a high-budget movie with a strong cast. Great editing. Great effects. Great cinematography. But. The dumbest. Script. Ever. Really. You can tell the whole cast are in physical pain by the dumbness of the script.

But they got paid. All you’ll get out of watching this dreck is losing a part of your life you’ll never get back and a headache.

If I were king, Gitmo would be for people who create this kind of garbage.

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Includes The Storm Before the Storm, White Trash, Calypso, Tell the Machine Goodnight, Prince of Fools, and Provenance.

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Nic starts a new podcast about—gasp!—American sports.

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Mostly excellent non-fiction in this installment. Includes Fantasyland, The Miracle of Dunkirk, Das Reich, The Undoing Project, Waiting for the Punch, Vacationland and Points of Impact.