Saturday, August 14, 2010

Reviews from the Pad: Scott Pilgrim, Expendables, Alice Creed

Yup, it's Triple Header day here at the Pad....

We start off with the most... unique film of the three, Scott Pilgrim vs the World. Directing and co-writing a film that could probably only be described as hyper-kinetic, Edgar Wright succeeds in his adaptation, unlike M. Night earlier this year, by being wise enough to pick the parts he liked, keep the characters fans adored, and then toss the chaff while shifting a few elements around to end up with a fun little summer diversion. Because of this, if you're going looking for the "pure" Scott Pilgrim experience of the novels then you're likely to be disappointed (especially since the final act was written based entirely on advanced Coles Notes from O'Malley because the last book didn't exist when the film was written and shot), but the result is quite possibly the best possible Scott Pilgrim film you could have expected to get upon hearing all 6 books would be compressed down into a single movie. The main differences are that our basic plot - Scott's fallen for Ramona, has to defeat her 7 Evil Exes to keep her - now unravels over the course of about a month and moves some, but not all, of the conflict to a Battle of the Band's event backed by Gideon Gordon Graves that offers Sex Bob-Omb a chance at breaking into the industry while Scott's also chasing the heart of Ramona Flowers. Probably the key reason to see the film is to experience the fight sequences though. Fast paced, augmented with Mortal Combat-esque effects, and well shot; they're the highlight of the experience in many ways.

It's a fun little action comedy that's definitely unlike anything you've likely seen on screen before so, if you're gonna see one this weekend, it's the one you should hit because The Expendables is kinda mneh. Not particularly bad, not particularly good, it's basically just retreading ground well worn in the 80's. The only reason to see this film is that Stallone remembered he somehow cast someone who can actually act and gives Rourke a solid monologue in the middle of the film in heavy closeup that Rourke pulls off with aplomb but that's going to be just as good on DVD. Otherwise, the movie brings a stale plot involving a team of mercenaries that gets handed a death trap of a job, thinks better of having to do anything with it, but gets drawn into doing it anyways when the leader feels obligated to help the local who was captured by the mark while they were recon-ing the hit. From here you get lots of explosions, updated CGI gunshot wounds and severed body parts, and big guns making lots of noise alongside impossible shots while no bullets land amongst our good guys. In other words, it's a guy flick staring a bunch of aging, current, and b-list action stars - leave the girl at home.

Or, take her to see The Disappearance of Alice Creed. This British psychological drama is about the kidnapping of the titular woman by two small time criminals seeking to ransom her to her rich father for two million Pounds. Staring Gemma Arterton as our victim and Martin Compston and Eddie Marsan as her captors, it's a well acted film that does a good job of holding your attention - which is saying something considering the first 10 minutes or so are done in almost complete silence - but is probably one twist too many long and pulls it's punch at the end. However, it's interesting in how it's able to tell it's story through the use of pretty much 3 locations for the majority of the film; making it a rather crafty bit of work with regards to getting the most out of what you have.

No comments:

Post a Comment