Some Hollywood, some Art House, some Guilty Pleasures, here's a few I've seen.
First up, "2 Guns" was over at the Bay and, having finished it's run in SLOTOWN, was heading for HBO or SHOWTIME. Starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg as DEA and Naval Intelligence agent (both undercover thinking the other is a bad guy), "2 Guns" is one of those bromance, battling Bickersons, buddy movies, filled with Wahlbergian wise-guy pattter and Denzel's my-patience-has-just-run-out smoldering stares. All Roadrunner bloody/funny cartoony violence and impossible battles where everybody gets killed but nobody actually gets hurt. Or at least feels any real pain.
It's all fast paced fun with Perils of Pauline twists and turns and features a suitably evil Drug Lord (James Edward Olmos) with more life in him than his sleep-walking "Miami Vice" turn. And in a surprise casting, Bill Paxton plays an astonishingly scary Texas-drawling corrupt CIA agent who's the real kingpin. Paxton is usually cast as wussy Everymen and it's good to see him stretching into something quietly dangerous and in so doing he commands the screen whenever he sidles in the door.
If you're looking for "Art," and have 17 hours, 27 minutes to spare, try "Ain't Them Saints Got Bones," (at the Palm.) O.K. that's not fair. It just seems like 17 hours. But, I enjoyed this film. You have to settle down and be wiling to let the story unfold like a lazy hot southern day and understand you're watching an homage to Terrance Malick's "Badlands" and his even more visually ravashing, "Days of Heaven." Also, it may help to think of the film as an interesting visual representation of one of those timeless, mournful Irish ballads (the famous poem, "The Highwayman," set to music comes to mind); a simple tune unfurling a tale of love and loss, actions and consequences, always, always consequences, and the unyielding sorrow of unredeemable time. And fate, unstoppable, driving the song on to its end.
Rooney Mara (nearly unrecognizable from Dragon Tatoo fame) stars as the strangely listless pregnant girlfriend of Casey Affleck. They are heedless criminals, their heads stuffed with romantic nonsense (referencing Malick's "Badlands," which was loosely based on the murder spree of Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate.) Even though Mara shoots (but does not kill) the sheriff, Affleck does the gentlemanly thing and cops the plea and goes to jail. You can fill in the rest; a child is born, the years go by, the recovered sheriff falls in shy, hopeless love with the girlfriend, life goes on. Until Affleck escapes and, defying all warnings and dangers, returns to claim his family, thereby setting in motion everyone's tragic fate.
The movie got 4 tickets in "Ticket" and I'd agree. It's a really good effort, but requires close attention and a willingness to slip into the "song" and let it run out its variations to the end.
And for Guilty Pleasures, who could resist "Riddick?" I mean, really. Vin Deisel's got this shtick down to gleeful perfection and absolutely owns the franchise of all his double and triple X's and "Fast and Furious" enterprises. And this Riddick's down to the quintessential elements: Minimalist snappy dialogue, huge arms, fierce, preternatural competence, he's one major badass fighting all kinds of wonderfully nasty CGI alien creatures and a host of stereopypical badass Bounty Hunters, most of whom you just know are gonna go down like nine pins. Indeed, in this film, I soon began to feel real sympathy for the Bounty Hunters. They had no idea what they had gotten themselves in for, poor schnooks. And, in a fun twist, one of the hunters is a formidable woman (Katee Sackhoff from TV's "Longmire") who ends up fulfilling Riddick's predictions of what was to come when his chains came off, but not exactly in the way the audience thinks it will be fulfilled.
And best of all, Riddick adopts and raises a canine-like companion, a lithe, fierce striped creature that looks like a cross between a hyena and my greyhound, Finn, with the most wonderful pop-out ears in the world. I want one of those things! (Spoiler alert: The baddies kill his pooch. Boooo! Booooo! Which you just know is gonna seal their awful fate on the fangs of what's soon to hatch out of the ground when the rains come. Take THAT you dog killers, you!.) It's also clear that the CGI guys had a wonderful time designing this hideous planet, a place that looks like a waterless Paso Robles unless it can get it's water issues under control. So, Mel Gibson, eat your heart out. The faster and more furious road warrior is back and he's not gonna take any of it any more.
So, any of you see any good, bad, guilty pleasure movies? Do tell. The comment section will stay open a few days. (Still working on getting this (*&*%^%$ blogspot fixed.)