Shoot ‘Em Up

I went to the movies with some friends to watch “Shoot ‘Em Up“.  I had some expectations for the film, since I liked the trailer and the cast, and the title was somewhat promising.  I’m glad to report that the film was by far better than any of my expectations.  I really enjoyed it from start till the end, plus the credits, minus the break, which some of the cinema halls are still doing (silly!).

What did I expect from this film?  Entertainment.  I wanted it to be a good action movie, with lots of shooting, car chases, and humor.  Visuals, sounds, special effects, and dynamics of it all.  It was all in there.  And more.

I ranked this film as 5 out of 5, 10 out of 10, and the best out of the best without even thinking for far too long, and, to be truly honest, even before the movie was over.  That’s how much I enjoyed it.  But just in case you are skeptical, here are a few points, which I considered (I’ll try to make at as spoiler free as I can):

  • Action!  I wanted a lot of action and I got it.  It was all action and very little of anything else except for the action.  I don’t think there was a single minute in the film without somebody shooting somebody, aiming at somebody, ambushing somebody, or planning to shoot somebody.  The title of the film is a very well chosen motto.
  • Acting.  Three main roles were played by Clive Oven, Paul Giamatti, and Monica Bellucci.  Clive Oven is an excellent choice for this sort of movie, especially considering how well he did in “Inside Man“, “Sin City“, and BMW’s “Hire” series.  Paul Giamatti is an excellent actor too.  He is not as well known as he should be, and this film was yet another opportunity for him to show himself.  He was great!  In fact, it’s been a long time since I enjoyed acting in the action movie this much.  (Tarantino’s cast doesn’t count).  As for Monica Bellucci – she is a very beautiful woman and a good actress, but I am not a big fan of her.  Either she doesn’t have a spark for me, or I don’t see it.  However, she did good in this film too.
  • Visuals.  In a film like this, photography and special effects are of extra importance.  And they were done right.  Camera angles, lights, cuts, compositions, and all that were very good.  There were a few interesting perspectives too.
  • Music.  There is an extra bonus in here.  The choice of hard and heavy music was great – nothing suits the action movie better.  And one of the first track’s was by the legendary “Nirvana”, which helped to set the right mood for the film.  It was like one cool rock-n-roll party.
  • A  touch of drama.  In a film like this, a tiny bit of drama is needed to set the stage, provide some background, and explain the story.  Without this tiny bit of drama, all those killings don’t have much meaning.  But.  The mistake that so many action movies are falling for is too much of drama and sadness. Cemeteries, funerals, and things like that don’t belong in the action movies.  Gladly, the “balance of the tiny bit” was perfectly kept in this film.  Just enough was provided without too much shown to break the fun, entertainment, and rock-n-roll atmosphere.
  • A deep thought or a spotlight on a global problem.  This is my personal criteria for a 10 out of 10 movie.  I believe that whatever the genre or the story of the film is, there is always time and place for a little bit more than just what is needed to entertain the audience.  But, as with the previous point, there is a dangerous pitfall – propaganda.  Many films spend too much arguing about either side of the global warming issue, or useless wars, or drugs, or something else.  “Shoot ‘Em Up” brings attention to the problem of gun control.  But, again, it takes only about 40 seconds of the movie time without disrupting the main course of the film, and gives a few things to think about.  Really slick!
  • References to other movies.  This is also just something that I like. I believe very much in “standing on the shoulders of forefathers”.  I believe that no movie is an exception – all were inspired by some previous work mixed together with something else.  I think paying respects to those inspirations is a nice thing to do.  Again, it should be done as a barely noticable touch here and there, without destructing people’s attention from what is going on.  I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but I saw some references to “Sin City”, “The Matrix”, “The Transporer”, and a few other films.  Tiny, almost unnoticeable references.

In summary, the film is worth every penny of the ticket, every second of the screen time, and every dollar for the DVD, which I’m definitely going to buy.  This is some quality stuff, which doesn’t come out of the movie companies every other day.  Strongly recommended for the fans of the action genre.


Sideways (2004)I was in a mood for some light and entertaining film, so I picked up “Sideways” which was marked as comedy, romance, and drama with high rating. I thought it was one of those nicely done romantic comedies with some sadness to it.

Directed by: Alexander Payne
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Cast: Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen, Sandra Oh, Marylouise Burke, Jessica Hecht, Missy Doty, M.C. Gainey, Alysia Reiner, Shake Tukhmanyan, Duke Moosekian, Robert Covarrubias, Patrick Gallagher, Stephanie Faracy, Joe Marinelli
IMDB raintg: 8.0
My rating: 8.0 ********

Continue reading “Sideways”

Cradle Will Rock

Noone in the shop could tell me anything about “Cradle Will Rock“. I couldn’t remember any trailers or posters either. The list of names on the DVD cover looked impressive, so I rented it.

Directed by: Tim Robbins
Genres: Drama
Cast: Hank Azaria, Rubén Blades, Joan Cusack, John Cusack, Cary Elwes, Philip Baker Hall, Cherry Jones, Angus Macfadyen, Bill Murray, Vanessa Redgrave, Susan Sarandon, Jamey Sheridan, John Turturro, Emily Watson, Bob Balaban
IMDB raintg: 6.8
My rating: 7.0 *******

I wasn’t wrong. The film turned out to be excellent.

I’ve seen several films that show theatrical play in development. As far as I remember, I liked all of them. I don’t know why. Maybe it is a theatre lover inside of me. Or maybe because theatre demands more acting and directing talent attention.

“Cradle Will Rock” is an original movie. It mixes the theatrical play development with pre-Second World War political tension and adds a lot of personal drama to the mix.

With all of that, it is a little bit difficult to follow in the first half of the film. Things get developed slowly and it is not always easy to make sense what is what and why is it there. Excellent casting helps the situation a lot. Actors deliver that personal touch that makes the film interesting to watch even without making much sense.

Towards the second half of the film situation changes. I could suddenly make sense of everything that was happening. All those many characters became clear to me. All story lines started to merge. The more they merged, the more I was sucked into the film. It was an amazing feeling.

Another good side of the film was that it was ver positive. Surely, it touched upon some ugly issues of life in society, but it never lost its huge positive charge. Happy ending was expected from within the first few minutes of the film.

Overall, I enjoyed it a lot. I can’t recommend this film to everyone out there as it is not a simple and easy going one like most of the Hollywood crap these days. But if you are in the mood for a good film, make sure you watch this one.


Evening in the movie with Olga. This time we went to see “Paycheck“.

It was a rather disappointment. There are few interesting ideas, but there is also a load of crap that this movie doesn’t need. Ben Affleck fighting with the stick while being a genuis computer engineer is really stupid. And overall Ben Affleck has nothing to do with this movie. They needed someone more geeky-looking. :)