Saturday, June 04, 2005

That's some impressive talent: The Interpreter and Unleashed

One thing I noticed while watching The Interpreter and writing about Unleashed is that both of these movies have a whole ton of talent attached to them. Morgan Freeman is kind of what you'd call an incredible amount of acting ability overkill in a fight-fest like Unleashed, but on the flip side, the movie wouldn't be nearly as good without him. That's a tough part to not make look silly, I think

On the other hand, Sean Penn really is overkill on The Interpreter. I mean, you expect Nicole Kidman to do this kind of good but ultimately inconsequential movie every once in a while to keep her profile up, but Penn seems to be slumming here (Kidman is, after all, a Movie Star while Penn is an Actor).

Anyway, both of these are good movies with impressive casts and crews, but not something I'll feel the need to own on DVD. And that's cool; not every movie can or should be immortal.

The Interpreter

* * * ¼ (out of four)
Seen 1 May 2005 at Loews Harvard Square #1 (first-run)

There's some grade-A talent on The Interpreter. Nicole Kidman is a movie star with enough talent to deserve the title; Sean Penn is one of the best actors working today. Sydney Pollack is behind the camera, and he's a craftsman who tends to go too long between films. And though some of the names of the writers may not be familiar, Scott Frank (Dead Again, Minority Report, Out of Sight) and Steven Zallian (Schindler's List, Clear and Present Danger) are among the best in the business, especially for movies of this type. Put them all together, and you get the filmic equivalent of a beach novel: A smart, well-executed thriller that compels the audience to take it seriously despite ingredients that often form the basis of easily-dismissed movies.

The plot involves Silvia Broome (Kidman), a United Nations interpreter, overhearing some information that seems to point to an upcoming assassination attempt. Tobin Keller (Penn), the Secret Service agent assigned to investigate, is initially suspicious because there's no other intelligence to indicate it, and it very quickly appears that Ms. Broome has a personal connection to the likely suspects and a partisan interest in the target: She grew up in the African country that the tyrant in question rules, and her parents were killed in the fighting. There's probably something going on, since it wouldn't make sense for her to come to the authorities if she were trying to kill him, but her reluctance to provide details is vexing.

Read the rest at HBS.


* * * (out of four)
Seen 11 May 2005 at Loews Boston Common #14 (preview)

"Come on," I told my brother. "I've got tickets for a preview of Unleashed. It's got Jet Li punching and kicking people, many of them in the head!" He wasn't sure; he was already spending one night away from his girlfriend that week. "AND it's got Bob Hoskins being crazy!"

Now, there are some who say that you need more than a man beating up dozens of larger, better-armed fighters to make a good movie. These people are spoilsports, but to appease them, the movie is roughly half other stuff, so they can have reasons for their fighting. Bart (Hoskins) is a gangster who has a secret weapon: Danny (Li), whom he has brought up from childhood to be an attack dog - docile so long as he has his collar on, but a tornado of violent action as soon as it comes off. A witness to one of these beatdowns offers Bart a chance to make Danny an attraction at his underground fight club, but Bart will soon lose Danny during a car crash, with Danny taken in by Sam (Morgan Freeman), a blind piano tuner, and his foster daughter Victoria (Kerry Condon). It is, of course, only a matter of time before Bart finds his now-domesticated dog and tries to put him back to use - which, of course, puts his new family in danger.

Read the rest at HBS.

1 comment:

Matt S. said...

Hey now... let's be fair. It was that I had only spent one night of five WITH her, not away from her