Tuesday, February 21, 2012

25/50 Lurching On

Everyone on the edge of their seat for when I finally finish a book!? Stay tuned!

But until then:

Unstoppable (2010) (14/50 movies)
I have to give this props for a movie that is so gloriously stupid. It comes off as one of those eighties movies that are ultraspecific in the occupations it explores (i.e. action movie about being a bike messenger: Quiksilver!) I also have to give it props for using, at least to my eye little to no CGI in the stunts which is pretty unheard of these days. Even though it is a true story, it still comes off as the cinematic equivalent of this:
Where problem is stacked on top of problem, but I guess it wouldn't be excitement without that. Also, I mean it lives up to it's name and moves at a brisk pace, so there's that.

I was disappointed though, that nowhere, not even the closing credits did they use this song:

I mean half the time they are showing a TV Screen with the words "Runaway Train" on it.

I would have settled for this one as well

Also, it features the greatest looking railroad boss

And Kevin Corrigan as...I believe a railroad...inspector of some sort
Kevin Corrigan usually gets roles as scumbags, so it was quite a twist to see him play someone helpful.

Rampart (2011) (15/50 movies)
You know, I thought that this was gonna be my first new, as in first newly release in 2012 movie, but at least according to IMDB it came out last year. Which is true, it's been on the festival circuit for a long time last year, and I feel like I have been hearing about it for a while. I tried to go catch "The Adventures Of Tin Tin" but it was only being shown in some special screening room and was sold out. So I hurried across town and caught this. Now, I had been interested in seeing it but was slightly annoyed by it's tag line in the trailers, something about Woody Harrelson playing "The Most Corrupt Cop In Movie History" which, as Vincent Vega would say, is quite a bold statement. And it turns out I was right, Harrelson's performance is really good, but I still expected better from a James Ellroy script, this should be right in his wheelhouse. Harrelson plays the main cop character, who has been corrupt his whole life, and gets embroiled in a new scandal, scandals actually, just as the heat is coming down on the LAPD in  general over the Rampart scandal in 1999. I mean it's a somewhat interesting character study of the machinations of a true asshole, but in the end, I don't know, I didn't find it all that interesting. And, quite frankly, Harvey Keitel's life falling in "Bad Lieutenant" was still more interesting, and even that I don't feel like going back and watching again.

Sidenote: there have been rumors for a long time that the Rampart division rogue cops were involved in Biggie and Tupac's death. The fact that I kept thinking about this during the movie shows how much I kept drifting during the movie.

Moneyball (2011) (16/50 movies)
This is an interesting case, especially as far as "sports movies" goes. This is like The Social Network of sports movies. Let me explain: before I saw The Social Network I wondered how they were going to make basically a bunch of people hanging out on their computers into anything dramatic, and David Fincher managed to do so. With this I was like, how are they going to make a book that is basically about statistics into an interesting, dramatic movie? Well, they managed to, and while it is an interesting attempt it didn't grab me as much as The Social Network did. But when thinking about this as a sports movie or a baseball movie, it's interesting how it definitely did not end up where a typical sports movie ends up, I don't want to spoil it, but it ends in a much different place than one would expect, and I liked that as a surprise. Being a true story I am not sure how much you can chalk up to drama, but even the one big triumphant moment is at a somewhat strange spot, again as far as baseball movies go. I thought for the most part it was perfect, I liked the flashbacks to Billy Beane's (Brad Pitt's) playing days, but I thought they could cut the personal stuff with Pitt and his family. I did think Pitt and Jonah Hill were perfect for their respective parts, I'm not sure it is Oscar-worthy performances, but in these parts they were cast really well. I just think in the end it was a bit overlong and lost a lot of steam as it came to the ending, but maybe that was sort of the point.

But, hey, Bill James ended up helping the Red Sox to 2004, so I guess, for this area. there is a happy ending embedded in there.

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