This didn't get very good reviews so I wasn't expecting much but I actually liked it. I've always liked Michael Mann's approach to movies and Blackhat is a typical Mann film. Stylishly shot with some nice performances and some pretty good fight scenes. Similar to, and maybe a little better than, his Miami Vice movie.
I saw this a couple of months ago and it's probably one of my favorite films of the last few years. Kind of like a cross between the original Mad Max movie and an art film. I liked it enough that I picked up the director's previous film, Animal Kingdom, which is also very good.
This movie has its problems, but if it isn't a complete success it can lay the blame on overambition and big ideas, rather than underambition and big explosions (although, to be fair, it does have some big explosions, too).
If you ever looked out your window and grumbled, "Where are the jet packs and flying cars I was promised, dammit!", this movie has an answer for you. And the answer is that we were too lazy and complacent to make our dreams real. But it's not too late.
As messages go, I can think of worse ones.
From what I've heard, those jet packs only last about a minute, so not very fuel efficient. Not much fun if we're constantly having to fly to the nearest gas station.
On the other hand, how difficult could it be to make a cell phone you can wear on your wrist? Where's my two way wrist radio?
I saw Tomorrowland on Saturday night and IMO it's biggest shortfall was implying that technology can solve all our modern problems, failing to address the problems caused by rampant overpopulation and associated environmental devastation and pollution. OK, not all that surprising for this sort of film, and at least it didn't try to convince viewers that a return to blind faith in religion would solve everything.
Lots of movies I've seen in recent weeks without noting them here. Among them:
And there was Report to the Commissioner. Another early '70s New York City cop movie, although it is not based on a true story. It starred a young Michael Moriarty, who is thoroughly miscast as an idealistic hippie-dippie rookie detective who doesn't fit in with old-school bulls Yaphet Kotto and Vic Tayback. Moriarty's character, Bo Locksley, wants to relate to people where the old guard is all about knocking heads.
One day, he gets an assignment to find a teen runaway, a girl from South Succotash, Iowa or someplace. Old-school guys like Kotto or Tayback would make a show of asking around, file a report and forget about it -- which was exactly what was expected, as the "runaway" is actually an undercover cop posing at the girlfriend of a heroin dealer. Unbeknownst to her, her captain and her lieutenant decided that some dumb flatfoot making noises about looking for her would cement her cover with said dealer.
Unfortunately, this dumb flatfoot -- who didn't know the assignment was bogus -- was consumed with the sad thought that Ma and Pa Kettle back in Cornhusker, Indiana or wherever the heck she was from, were crying their eyes out about their little lamb in the wicked sinful Gomorrah that was 1970s New York, and resolved to actually find her. Worse, he DID find her. Still worse, he resolved to send her back to Wheatstraw, Kansas, or wherever it was -- which drove her crazy, wondering why this creep is stalking her.
Our earnest detective comes to the loft the "girlfriend" shared with the heroin dealer -- and he shows up too(!). An argument ensues, shots are fired, and they rookie detective and the heroin dealer are off on a mad race across town, down fire escapes, across rooftops, behind alleyways, even on the roofs of cars, until they both wind up in an elevator in Macy's department store.
Thus begins an hours-long standoff between these two men, neither of whom knew the girl detective got killed in the crossfire back at the apartment. And her captain and her lieutenant, being the kind of ambitious sharks who lasted long enough in the NYPD to reach the rank of captain and lieutenant, finagle a way to cover their butts. At one point, there's a press conference about the standoff, and some reporter asks if this is a love triangle gone bad -- and they run with it.
Our doofus detective and our desperate drug dealer, meanwhile -- after several hours trapped with each other and no food, air or toilet facilities in that elevator -- come to a truce and agree to leave its confines. Our drug dealer emerges first, and immediately gets shot full of holes. Our poor rookie detective comes out second ... and is arrested for the murder of the woman, as the captain and sergeant floated the story that he was a jealous ex-boyfriend who couldn't stand to lose her to another man (and he's Black, too!). And our poor dumb rookie was so confused, dehydrated, and sleep-deprived, he actually started to believe the story was true! By the time the Report to the Commissioner of the title was prepared and delivered -- exonerating him and putting the blame on the captain and lieutenant, where it belonged -- our poor schmuck hung himself in despair.
I read the book, and the movie brings it all to life, although it's rather grim. Includes an early appearance by Bob Balaban of The Legion of "Hey, It's That Guy!" Character Actors, and the first movie role for Richard Gere, as a pimp. Moriarty approaches him while looking for the girl from Cheese Curd, Wisconsin or some such, and Gere, being in the business he is in, gives him a girl -- one girl's the same as any other, hey? (A pissed-off Moriarty at first accepts the insult, but doubles back and lets Gere have it.)
Wikipedia says it was Cape Flattery, Washington.
Really? I was sure it was South Succotash, Iowa ...
Once you wade through the art house pretentiousness, all you end up with and all EX MACHINA ends up being is a movie about a guy trying to build a better sex toy.
Fred W. Hill said:
I really enjoyed Ex Machina; great, thoughtful sci fi and I can really do without so much mindless action and explosions that are so prevelent in so many fantasy/action movies of the past decade or so. Seventh Son I saw a few weeks ago and thought was far too cliche-ridden and forgetable. My favorite comedic film of the last few months was What We Do in the Shadows. I rarely ever see films twice, but I did pay to see both Ex Machina and What We Do in the Shadows twice.
I watched the silent film Seven Footsteps to Satan (1929), which is an adaptation of an A. Merritt thriller about a supercriminal. The movie has a different storyline, as I knew going in, but it takes more from the book than I expected. The book's hero is a man of action, but the movie's is an ordinary guy who proves to have the right stuff at the climax.
- Pulp Fiction. I didn't see it when it was out, and seeing it all these years later, I didn't get what the big deal was.
I think that this is one of those cases where the movie has been copied, redone, remade, retooled, and plundered to such a degree that it's no longer possible to see its impact anymore. But it really was something new at the time.