Monday, January 28, 2008

Basement Cinema Report

Two things this weekend:

Kevin Costner has the title role in Mr. Brooks, about a successful businessman whose life is going swimmingly well, except that he's having trouble quitting this nasty habit he has of killing total strangers for fun. His alter ego (well-played by William Hurt) doesn't want to stop, and talks him into a double murder, which he commits, but with drapes open -- careless, careless! He was seen in the act by an antsy creep (Dane Cook, aptly repugnant) who doesn't want money, doesn't want to go to the cops; he wants to go along for the next murder. What to do, what to do about that. Meanwhile, Brooks's daughter drops out of school for reasons that aren't what they appear, and cause serious trouble of their own. Also meanwhile, Detective Tracy Atwood (an unconvincing Demi Moore) is on the case, and may be closing in. Also also meanwhile, an escaped killer is hunting down Atwood, who also, also, also meanwhile is going through an exceptionally ugly divorce.

Intriguing concept, and I so love a good psycho-thriller that I tend to overforgive their flaws -- but I can't quite put my finger on exactly why this one didn't work. It wasn't dumb, but the script wasn't strong enough to hold up a plot that stretches credulity ("implausible" doesn't quite cover it). Dropping one of the also-meanwhile subplots might've helped focus it some, and freed up some time to explore more interesting parts of the Brooks character, a lot of which was left sort of dangling. As is, the character somehow misses the mark. For me, the mix of traits didn't come off complex, just inexplicable, with too many loose ends to be satisfying.

Ah well. It should've been better, but it didn't completely suck. And several critics of the paid variety liked it fine, so maybe it's just me (and my brother, who was visiting this weekend and didn't love it either).

Next up: Live Free or Die Hard. This latest Bruce Willis vehicle is utterly ridiculous, but cool. With a young genius computer hacker in tow (today's villains are using The Internet, you know), our reluctant hero John McClane hurtles through one scene after another -- all manner of things that could never happen or be survived, happen and are survived. Get down -- he dodges bullets! Take that -- he throws cars at helicopters! Bang! Pow! BOOM! Ouch, that's gonna leave a mark. And the quips! Villain: "McClane? I thought I killed you already." McClane: "Yeah, I get that sometimes." Over halfway through the film, McClane is barreling a tractor trailer over, under, and through freeway interchanges and whatnot, and the bad guys arrange to have him chased by an F-35 military strike fighter. You know, nimble as a bumblebee. At which point my brother comes out with the best line not of the movie: "OK, now we're just making stuff up." Good times.

And with that, why am I banging out reviews nobody reads of movies everybody's already seen, instead of getting some sleep in preparation for shoveling the foot+ of wet snow that dumped on us this evening, and is still coming down? S'fun, that's why, and everyone needs a hobby. But good night, already.


  1. I haven't seen any of them, but, honestly, I don't think I will, either. I don't really like Kevin Costner too much...and although I do like Bruce Willis, I think he's died hard enough, you know??

    Having said that, the Brooks movie sounded way more interesting than I originally thought it would be. Too bad it didn't work out.

    Good luck with that snow!! :)


  2. Forget it - not a psycho-thriller person. I did see the Bruce Willis one, for old times sake (I remember seeing the first Die Hard when it came out). Silly, but true to form.

  3. Those are two of my favorite movies from last year. I actually like "Mr. Brooks" quite a lot.

  4. Kevin Costner and Demi Moore in one film is the kiss of death for me. I haven't liked him in anything since the baseball films and her? I didn't even like when she was on General Hospital.

    But I loved Die Harder. So much fun. Totally ridiculous, but totally fun.