Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Because sometimes, on the day between two double-features of Oscar-nominated shorts, you want to see a goofy car-chase movie, and the one that’s playing has a good enough cast to be interesting. It was going to be leg two of a four-movie day, but I was kind of zonked at the end of this one, so I pushed the others off.

Anyway, I go back-and-forth on how much I liked this one; it’s got a lot of fun moments but some really dumb ones as well. Some good car-chase sequences, but not the type that make you say “whoa, how’d they do that”? Surprisingly capable, a few good lines, not particularly well-written.

One thing that did amuse me, though, was when the movie gets to the scene where the characters strip down to their underwear for less than no reason, Felicity Jones’s character winds up showing less skin than Nicholas Hoult’s because apparently her stockings count even though she just told him he couldn’t wear socks (it is an incredibly stupid scene). I like to think that this was negotiated in her contract, because why wouldn’t you grab that if you could?


* * ¼ (out of four)
Seen 25 February 2017 in Regal Fenway #3 (first-run, DCP)

Somewhere in Hollywood, the show-business equivalent of actuaries run the vital statistics of each mid-sized genre movie through a formula to determine whether something merits a theatrical release or if it goes straight to the video-on-demand services. In the case of Collide, it would seem to be less one overwhelming variable than several having values that may not seem that great - you’d have to go a few spaces right of the decimal point to see them - but which, when added up, result in hard drives being sent to theaters rather than cable companies. There’s undeniably some fun in seeing its smash-ups on the big screen, but genre fans will probably be able to rattle off a half-dozen or so movies that deserved the spotlight more.

It chooses the German autobahn as the venue for its chases, although it spends the first act pretending one won’t happen, as American car thief Casey Stein (Nicholas Hoult) and American bartender Juliette Marne (Felicity Jones) meet in Cologne, but she says she doesn’t date guys involved in the sort of people he works for. So he quits, but it turns out that she needs a new kidney, and as a non-citizen she’s on the very bottom of the transplant list in Germany while she’d have to pay two hundred grand as an uninsured American. So Casey takes One Last Job for Turkish drug dealer Geran (Ben Kingsley), who is looking to double-cross Hagen Kahl (Anthony Hopkins), the seemingly legitimate kingpin who won’t bring him in as a full partner. This involves Casey and his partner Matthias (Marwan Kenzari) stealing a semi full of cocaine, and that sort of plan is almost guaranteed to go wrong.

There’s an enjoyable straight-line simplicity to this story, give or take a flash-forward prologue and a fair chunk of time getting Casey and Juliette met, together, and finally over a barrel, and there are times when it seems like filmmakers F. Scott Frazier (who came up with the story) and Eran Creevy (who directs) get a little too cute. That opening tease, for instance, shows a wreck involving a car and one of Hagen’s trucks, and while they’re clever enough to set up multiple situations where the audience might think they’re about to come full circle, setting up the same situation inevitably leads to repetition, especially when they’re also holding a little bit of information back in a way that seems unnatural; both would allow them to have more going on and the viewer not so aware of their playing screenplay games if handled a bit better.

Full review on EFC.

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