Sunday, February 21, 2010

For a change, some bite-sized film reviews.

Saw one of the stupidest films ever on DVD Friday night--LAW ABIDING CITIZEN. Starts out as a DEATH WISH ripoff and turns into a war-on-terror polemic that makes 24 (at its most extreme) look rather progressive by comparison. Not much logic, certain actors either ham it up (that's you, Gerard Butler) or walk through their performances (stand up and wave, Jamie Foxx and Colm Meaney) and Kurt Wimmer's script is anything-for-an-immediate-effect. Surprised that it became a moderate hit last year.

SHUTTER ISLAND may be getting some obtuse treatment by current mass-market critics/reviewers (A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips looked down their noses and uttered "Skip It"
on AT THE MOVIES), but it will stand the test of time; better than the two previous Scorsese/Di Caprio collaborations--the good-not-great THE DEPARTED and THE AVIATOR.

GETTING THE KNACK (available for DVD rent or TV/PC streaming on Netflix) is a worth-watching 80-minute summary of the rise and fall of the L.A. power pop group.
The Knack was a hot ticket on the L.A. club scene and musicians as diverse as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and Stephen Stills were eager to jam with them onstage. By 1981, ego trips, drug abuse and faltering post-GET THE KNACK record sales caused the band's first demise. The Knack later regrouped; ironically, 1979's "My Sharona" became a hit all over again in the 1990s when used in Ben Stiller's REALITY BITES (surprisingly, this isn't covered in GETTING....). Engrossing and sometimes sad to watch in the wake of frontman Doug Fieger's death from cancer a week ago at the age of 57.

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