A couple reviews of some movies I watched over the weekend.
1.) The A-Team. Not bad. Some of the reviews I’d glanced at prior to seeing the movie seemed to suggest the ridiculousness in the film’s trailers was the kind that induces eye-rolling, not happy grins. So going in I wasn’t sure if even a turned-off brain could enjoy what was to come. But to my surprise, 'The A-Team' is actually a tightly-written, smart-sounding action movie (not actually smart, unfortunately), more “Mission: Impossible” than “Smokin’ Aces”, with controlled direction from Joe Carnahan that never loses track of the plot during all the chasing around in search of the McGuffin. Couple small things I liked: 1.) Major Dad’s Gerald McRaney’s appears in the film; a pleasant blast from the past. 2.) Jessica Biel is better in the film than she is in the trailers. 3.) Newcomer Brian Bloom turns in a funny and legitimately menacing performance. The role is a by-the-numbers crazy mercenary bad guy, but Bloom pulls it off pretty well. I expect to see more of this guy. (Fun factoid: he also co-wrote the script.) 4.) Stay through to the end of the credits.
Quality movies have been hard to come by at the multiplex this summer (all year if you want to be technical), so if you've been avoiding the movies lately due to crap selection and just want to go and see something fun, this is your ride.
2.) The Fountain. Possibly the exact opposite of ‘The A-Team’. I DVRed this off HBO and watched it over a couple days. I’m of two minds about "The Fountain". On one hand it’s not the kind of movie I usually like. It’s plodding, self-serious, and depressing as all hell. It’s a wonder it was ever made; even more wondrous Brad Pitt was for so long attached and ready to star. But on the other hand, the film’s director, Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler), manages some moments of profundity in ‘The Fountain’ that are almost never seen in films outside of the art-house, and even then only rarely. Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz star as Tommy and Izzi, a married couple trying to deal with Izzy’s worsening disease while Tommy, a researcher/surgeon, works tirelessly to find a treatment that could cure her.
Pretty much everything else about the movie seems open to interpretation. Tommy’s overweening desire to keep Izzy alive may be an eternal struggle his soul has grappled with for centuries, life after reincarnated life. The first of these lives is Tomas's (also played by Jackman), a Ponce de Leon-like Conquistador, looking to find the fountain of youth. But is what we see of Tomas's life in