About Me

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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Quick movie reviews

I've seen a few flicks lately. Thought I'd share some thoughts

The Hurt Locker - This movie was thrilling, harrowing, and by avoiding the overt discussion of politics, actually says something interesting about the war in Iraq, and why human beings put themselves repeated in harms way. Plus, it's just a very well directed action picture. Why this isn't playing on 3000 screens, and being treated like a huge hit, is mystifying. I can't imagine anyone that enjoys, at the very basic level, suspenseful action films not really enjoying this movie. It's being marketed like a little indie feature. It's just not one.

Bruno - Just like everyone else said: I laughed really hard, but not because it was about anything. Bruno, unlike Borat, doesn't really have anything to contribute to the dialogue about homophobia. Bruno is a repugnant stereotype, and doesn't really show how people respond to real gay men and gay women. It just shows how people respond under duress to a strange (sometimes staged) situation.

It honestly is more akin to watching Extreme Sports than social commentary. You laugh because you're watching an shock junkie go for broke.

If there is something from Borat that remains embedded in Bruno, it's just how long most people try, very hard, to be polite and tolerant.

The major flaw, really, is that he often aims his "gotcha" cannon on people who aren't particularly powerful. People who attend TV show tapings. Hunters from Alabama. Hotel attendants. People who are trying to get their kids work. It's not that funny, at the end of the day, to use power to make powerless people seem like fools.

Public Enemies - I don't get the love this picture got in some circles. It's a perfectly acceptable movie in every way, which is why it was disappointing. There's little flourish in it. The love story (where the movie spends most of its time) is unaffecting. Bale and Depp never have that moment of real confrontation that movies like this one need (think the best movies of John Woo for the dynamic I wish I'd seen). There are a few moments I enjoyed, and some well composed action scenes. Beyond that, a minor effort.

Heat, which a lot of people (myself included) love...has an element of almost camp to it. Pacino is so quotable in it because he's just *this* close to being too big. It's what makes the movie...fun. Memorable. Watchable. There's an element of audaciousness in Heat that Public Enemies lacks. The latter tries to be understated, and just feels tuned down.

Moon - Wow. What a great movie. I don't know if it's still out in the theaters, but if you can find it, you really should see it. It takes scenarios that seem so played out, and just keeps making surprising choices with them. Smart, so well acted by Sam Rockwell (Oscar?) and really, really moving


Ian Mackenzie said...

My guess is that Hurt Locker is being marketed as an indie flick so that come awards time it's thought of as such.

isaac butler said...

I totally loved MOON, Matt! For once we're agreeing on a movie!

Actually, I totaly loved HURT LOCKER as well, I think it'sa near-masterpiece. Except (on a directorial level) the final 30 seconds are (for me) totally cheese-ball in a way that's completely outside of the vocabulary of the film.

I really really like PUBLIC ENEMIES. I agree it's no HEAT , but it's so unbelievably well-shot, and the shootout at the rural cabin is stunning. Also, I just think ultimately it's not really an action movie, it's a lot more like a war movie, most of the action is deliberately done in a non-thrilling way that feels a lot more like SAVING PRIVATE RYAN than, say, THE USUAL SUSPECTS. The dominance of faces in the visual scheme was really incredible, too.

For me, I think Michael Mann movies go like this:
COLLATERAL (After rewatching it, it's got #3)
MIANI VICE (completely perfect first 20 minutes, awesome final 20 minutes, complete shit in between)

I haven't seen THIEF or THE KEEP.