Sunday, March 13, 2011

I take it you think everybody is who they say they are

Recent tragedy in my life has pretty much cut me off from watching TV or movies for the past two weeks. I tried to watch a few different things, Season 4 of The Tudors, which I’ve been waiting for from the library for months. 12 Angry Men. The Last Samurai. Okay, I didn’t try particularly hard to watch that one, only pretended to.

But I finally got a weekend “to myself” (read: at home working/moping rather than trying to run around putting out fires), and a couple of brand new (to me) movies. To celebrate this momentous occasion, I blog.


I saw the trailer for Shutter Island movie during whichever Scream Awards it premiered on. I thought, “Wow, a suspense movie by Scorcese, starring Leonardo DiCaprio? This is going to be great! How could it not be?”

I started watching the movie Saturday night. And fell asleep. Several times. Finally gave up, hoping that watching it Sunday morning it would be more interesting. Fell asleep again. Between this and The Depahted, Martin Scorcese is losing some serious points with me.

The worst part is, this should be a movie I would love. Creepy mental asylum, total mind fuckage where you suspect something is going to happen, but have no idea what it. Creepy doctors, all worlds of mystery and suspense. This is totally my genre!

Except I didn’t give a damn about any of the characters. As a matter of fact, the only semblance of sympathy I had through the entire movie was for the characters at Dachau. From the jump, I didn’t care about Teddy’s dead wife. Then when he started seeing her everywhere, I pretty much had it figured that he was, indeed, one of the looney bin occupants, and this was an elaborate dream world. The only part I didn’t see coming was the children being his, and that the doctor had planned it.

I seriously may never watch another Scorcese flick again. At least not a new one.


Salt, on the other hand, not only lived up to every expectation I had, it blew them all out of the water and brought my Angelina fangirling to a brand new level. It was not hard to surprise me, though, seeing as how my knowledge of the movie was extremely limited. Originally a male lead, rewritten specifically for her. Bond/Bourne-esque, and The Operative from Serenity is in it. That’s my knowledge.

I always make the error of watching Special Features before the film. Not all of them, if it looks like it’s obviously going to spoil me, I won’t do it. And of course I wait until I’ve viewed the film once before watching any commentary. But I watched a couple of featurettes which pretty much caught me up on the basic premise, without giving really anything away.

Similar to Mr. And Mrs. Smith, we start out with a very domesticated Jolie character, with the knowledge that she’s anything but. I have never liked her as a blonde, not even when she was macking on Christian Kane. And the blonde wig here was just tragic. But the moment the camera rounded her and we saw the black hair, the payoff was well worth it.

As much as I love emotional scenes with this actress, her real talent is in the action, and this movie is crammed with enough fight porn to fill even the most macho of macho men’s quotas for the year. And the best part is that these fight scenes don’t feel choreographed, like with Mr and Mrs Smith, but spur of the moment, vicious and mean and brutal.

And that sums her up in a nutshell. Evelyn Salt/Natasha Chenkova was mean. And that’s what makes this stand out next to other action movies. In the original script, it was a male lead, fighting to fight, yes, but also to rescue his wife and child. Angelina immediately said, “Erm, yeah, fuck that, no kid.” We got a little heart and spirit with her quest for her husband, and the heartbreak on her face for that split second after they murder her husband is very real, and extremely painful. But she snaps back, and keeps going, and turns into the baddest badass you’d never want to run into, male or female.

The pacing of the movie felt weird. It didn’t feel like there was really a beginning, and the end was strange and abrupt. Obviously leaving an opening for a sequel, which I am not averse to. But still, I watched it twice, once with commentary, and still didn’t feel there was a middle. Then again, I don’t watch a lot of Bond-esque movies, so maybe I’m just not used to it.

My Angelina fangirling is safe once more. Amazing.

My Leonardo love is in serious jeopardy, and may not recover.

1 comment:

  1. I liked Shutter Island way more than you did, and you liked Salt a tad more than I did. But I see your points for both. For me, I was totally in the mood to see that type of slowly and creepily paced film when I saw Shutter Island and unlike you I did care about his dead wife (but maybe it's because I LOVE Michelle Williams). I admit it could've probably worked better with maybe 30 minutes less, but I think it was great. Then again I also loved The Departed. ;-)

    As for Salt, it was highly enjoyable and one of the things I really loved about it OTHER THAN Angelina getting to kick ass which she does best was that it was such a tight little movie. No extraneous anything. It was wham bam thank you m'am kind of film which is refreshing especially during the summer when the film came out (and when I saw it). Plus I REVEL in the fact that he replace Tom Cruise in the film and the film he did instead (Knight and Day) did worse critically and box office wise that Jolie's film. Awesome.