Archive | 11:10 pm

Not Quite Fit for a King

30 Sep

Terrorism, at least on the surface, is a pretty senseless act.

It’s often marked by big, loud actions that do nothing more than disrupt an otherwise peaceful existence.

Though this analysis might be weak and simplistic, I find it an apt way to begin a review of The Kingdom because similarly, the movie is often big and loud, and on the surface, it’s pretty empty.

Kingdom tells how a group of FBI agents go to Saudi Arabia to investigate a terrorist bombing in an American compound by an Osama bin Laden wannabe.

It stars Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, and Chris Cooper, but none of those folks — not even my beloved Jennifer Garner — give a performance that makes much of an impact.

Jeremy Piven’s also in the film, but he seems totally miscast. He’s playing an ambassador, but I kept giggling every time he was on screen waiting for him to bust out an Ari Gold–ism.

Which is not to say The Kingdom is a bad movie necessarily. But it sets everything up and then in about 15 minutes it blows up into explosions, chases and gunplay, and then it’s over.

Essentially, it turns a timely setting into a convenient place for an action flick. And it’s a good last 15 minutes, but sort of a waste nevertheless.

So I’m giving The Kingdoma B-. Sorry, Jen.

Down in the Valley

30 Sep

I wish I could review In the Valley of Elah fairly, but watching it was not a great experience.

That said, this is a very good movie.

Tommy Lee Jones gives a fantastic, Oscar-worthy performance as the father of an Army private who has disappeared after returning home from Iraq. It’s one of the best performances I’ve seen from him.

This is a more introspective character and his performance doesn’t require him to bark orders or chew scenery.

Instead, he’s often quite heartbreaking — particularly in his phone conversations with his wife, played by Susan Sarandon. Continue reading