Saturday, August 13, 2011

Saturday Night at the Movies: "Trucker"

Welcome to "Saturday Night at the Movies," a weekly feature in which I recommend an older title that you can go watch, right this very minute (provided you have Netflix Instant).

James Mottern’s Trucker begins with Michelle Monaghan having a deep, hard orgasm. That’s one way to get people’s attention, I guess. Satisfied, she climbs off the young man, puts on her clothes, blows off the gentleman’s attempts to engage further with her, marches out of his motel room and climbs into her big rig. It’s a blunt scene, quietly effective, telling us much of what we need to know about her character, Diane Ford, a long-haul trucker.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

In Theaters: "30 Minutes or Less"

Ruben Fleischer’s 30 Minutes or Less is a film nearly undone by the uncertainty of its tone—both in terms of how the events in the frame slam into each other, and how uneasily they coexist with life off-screen. You see, it is inspired (very, very loosely) by the story of Brian Douglas Wells, a 46-year-old pizza delivery driver who was involved in a bizarre 2003 incident in which he was forced—by virtue of the remote-controlled bomb strapped to his chest—to rob a bank and turn over the cash to his kidnappers. At first glance, this sounds like it might have action/heist/comedy potential, until you discover that Wells was killed when the bomb went off, and turned out to have been involved (at least in some manner) with the planning of the scheme. Whatever the degree of his involvement, I can’t imagine his friends and family will be too amused by the decision to turn his misfortune into a wacky summer comedy.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

On DVD: "Super"

James Gunn’s Super is a singularly unique movie-going experience—wildly, yet entertainingly, uneven, it skids and crashes all over the goddamn place. It’s such a weird hybrid, this movie, an equal but odd mix of parody, gore, and honest-to-God pathos. The story is yet another in the “loser with no powers becomes an inept superhero” subgenre, yet it works in ways that predecessors like Kick-Ass and Defendor did not. Why? Who knows. It adopts much of the same style—mixing broad parody with real violence—but somehow, subtly, takes itself just seriously enough. We’ve seen much of this stuff before. But not quite like this.