January 20, 2012, - 4:41 pm
Most of the new movies, this weekend, are ho-hum, but there’s one I enjoyed.
* “Haywire“: I really enjoyed this. It’s a light but stylized thriller, with mild intrigue and lots of fights and action. If you liked Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), you’ll especially like this, as its star is first-time movie actress, Gina Carano, a real life MMA champion. Normally, I hate movies in which petite women, like Palestina Jolie beat up multiple men who are much larger than they are. This is different because Carano is bigger, a little more butch, a lot more muscular, and she’s a lot more believable (except when she beats up the much taller and bigger and very hot Channing Tatum).
Carano is a black-ops secret agent who works for a government contractor. She’s been set up and marked for death by her bosses during a mission in Ireland, and she can’t figure out why. The rest of the movie shows her trying to not only escape more bad guys, but discover what’s actually going on and why. Lots of chases and more. You won’t fall asleep during this one.
The beginning is kind of confusing, as are some of the flashbacks, but it quickly picks up and everything is explained. And, at around 1.5 hours, it’s the perfect length for a movie. When it finished, I wanted more. My kinda movie and especially good for January, when bad movies are usually released to die a quick death.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close“: That author Jonathan Safran Foer, on whose book this movie was based, is an unabashed anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian Jew (who attacked Israel in a book edited by anti-Semite Jew Tony Kushner) isn’t the reason I hated this, but it only added to it. I found this movie incredibly pretentious and annoying, not to mention cruel and a time-waster. It’s mostly a wild goose chase by a too-smart, too-geniusy, annoying young boy. And, as with all Hollywood movies, there is absolutely no reference to who perpetrated 9/11. Apparently that was done in a vacuum by some ghosts who shall not be named. Yup, can’t sully the Muslims. That’s the ticket.
A father (Tom Hanks), who is very close with his young genius son, dies in the World Trade Center on 9/11. His son, who is rude and obnoxious, comes home to verbally abuse the doorman (this is supposed to be funny?). He discovers answering machine messages from his father calling to say what is happening in the Towers. The father also calls to say good-bye, after the son has returned home, and the son doesn’t answer the call, just merely listens. Huh? Then, the son hides the answering machine messages from his grieving mother (Sandra Bullock) and lies, telling her that the father never called. This is what passes for entertainment? Puh-leeze. It was cold and gratuitously cruel, making no discernible point.
Soon, the son discovers a key in a vase in his father’s closet. The key is in an envelope marked “Black,” and the son takes this to mean that his deceased father left him something and that someone with that last name holds the answer to what the key opens. The rest of the movie is mostly a search for that, with the message that all people named, “Black,” regardless of ethnicity or background are all human and to be loved and cherished. We are the world, we are the children . . . blah, blah, blah. Oh, and the boy embarks on most of his search with an old man who he’s told rents a room in his grandmother’s apartment, but he has other suspicions about who the man is. The man does not talk because he’s a survivor of the war. The boy is incredibly rude and mean to the old man, despite his “Can’t we all just get along” baloney with everyone named “Black,” so I guess he didn’t learn the lesson the movie saccharinly preaches to us.
This movie is a senseless time bandit. It stole two hours plus of my life I’ll never get back. Long, slow, and pointless. . . except to buy a self-hating Jewish author another luxe multi-million dollar apartment in New York.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Red Tails“: George Lucas whined to the media that he couldn’t get this movie made or distributed by Hollywood because it’s about Black people, and Hollywood is racist, so he had to finance it himself. Um, maybe the real reason has nothing to do with racism–a charge that seems trumped up to sell this movie as some sort of chit on the Black side of the race wars. Maybe the real reason this movie went nowhere before Lucas financed it, is because it’s just not a great movie. Not even close. And the script is slack. I like a good World War II movie, regardless of the race of the characters/actors. But this ain’t it.
That’s no knock on the tremendous, heroic accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen, a highly-decorated group of segregated Black pilots who fought in World War II and helped America beat the Nazis and the Axis. They were patriots, for sure. But it is a knock on this race-baiting, unrealistic movie that doesn’t do the Tuskegee Airmen proud. The script is long-winded and boring, except for the scenes in the air and a scene of a brave airman who helps White soldiers evade the Nazis. Those are suspenseful. The rest of the movie seems slapped together by someone with an agenda.
Almost all of the characters in this movie are caricatures. Most of the White soldiers and airmen in the movie are racists who completely do a 180 immediately upon seeing the in-the-sky skills of the Tuskegee pilots. Is that realistic? Probably not. Racists generally don’t change that easily. Yes, there was racism and segregation then–those are facts of history. But, while there were one or two decent White commanding officers in the film, the “evil White men” theme made me feel like I was watching the guy’s version of this year’s other raved-about race-baiting movie, “The Help” (read my review). And most of the Black pilots are saints, soon described by White soldiers as “the finest soldier I’ve ever met” and “the best pilots we’ve ever flown with.” That the Tuskegee Airmen were the most highly decorated group of pilots in World War II is a fact (which is presented in the movie). But the hyperbole is ridiculous, as are the disjointed stories that don’t help the movie along.
One pilot is presented as an alcoholic whose drinking nearly costs a pilot his life, but in the air there is no showing that his drinking hurt the other pilot. Another pilot is shown as a romantic who goes to the house of a woman he sees hanging laundry on the roof of her house near the Tuskegee Airmen’s Italian base. The woman and her mother immediately welcome this Black man into their home, and they begin dating, despite the fact that neither speaks the other’s language. How realistic is it that a White Italian mother in the early 1940s would welcome a Black guy to date her daughter? How realistic is it that a Black officer (Terrence Howard) would tell off his racist commanding officer in Washington and get away with it? It was just not accurate of the times or the behavior of the times.
Dialogue featured White airmen saying these lines about the Tuskegee Airmen:
We didn’t lose a single plane [with the Tuskegee Airmen providing them cover]. Well that’s a first.
That’s the best G-d damn flying I’ve ever seen. Drinks are on us.
He’s the best soldier I ever met.
Does this mean that White pilots were subpar and not good soldiers? Or somewhat substandard? That’s the implication. I liked the tagline of the movie, “Courage has no color.” The filmmakers should have taken that to heart. Again, the Tuskegee Airmen were heroes as were many other Blacks serving in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II. But while they were no less heroic than their White counterparts, they were also no more so. To make the latter claim would be racist and inaccurate. They were equally heroic. Period. Racism then doesn’t justify reverse racism now.
And the movie was predictable. I figured out a mile away which guy would be dead by movie’s end and which one would return alive. And other than that and the scenes in the sky, there just wasn’t much there.
I’d have liked to see what happened after World War Ii when the soldiers returned home and how they were treated. That might have been more interesting. Some went home to tremendous racism, others went home and became successes, and others, themselves, like deceased corrupt Detroit Mayor Coleman Young, came home to be racists against Whites and race-baiters themselves. (Young famously supported the boycott of apartheid South Africa, while secretly diverting public funds to obtain his own personal stash of South African Krugerrands.) That would have been an interesting flick. But this movie didn’t tell those stories. It was just a bore.
One plus: the movie was ultimately patriotic. But even the scenes in which the Black pilots killed Nazis–which should have been fulfilling–weren’t all that thrilling. And that’s the fault of a bad movie and a bad script, not Hollywood “racism.” If anything, the racist constructs in the film seemed posed to breed more racism . . . not against actual racists in the 1940s but everyone else in 2012.
I’m thankful for the service and feats of the Tuskegee Airmen. But not so thankful for this movie.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “A Dangerous Method“: This weird movie is the story of the mentoring love-hate relationship between two pioneers of psychiatry and psychoanalysis, Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, focusing mostly on Jung (Michael Fassbender) and his bizarre extramarital relationship with one of his patients (Keira Knightley), who goes on to become a psychiatrist herself. While it’s supposed to be based on fact, it seemed more obsessed with showing Jung and his paramour engaged in violent sex with him slapping her rear. Not entertaining. And it wasn’t enlightening in any way, and was very slow. Not for me, nor likely for you. And the point of this movie was . . .? I have no idea, other than to take your $10 and two hours.
Watch the trailer . . .
Tags: A Dangerous Method, Anti-Israel, Carl Jung, Channing Tatum, Coleman A. Young, Coleman Young, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Gina Carano, Haywire, Israel, Jonathan Safran Foer, Mixed Martial Arts, MMA, movie, movie review, Movie Reviews, Palestinian, pro-Palestinian, Red Tails, Sandra Bullock, Sigmund Freud, Tom Hanks, Tuskegee Airmen