September 23rd, 2012

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Dredd

Ahhh, my favorite way to spend an otherwise uneventful Sunday afternoon: doubling up at the movies. Over the course of the summer, Dredd had fallen off my priority radar. The trailers and publicity were kinda minimal, or at least I wasn't seeing it. I feared it was another remake gone bad, or at least unnecessary *cough*cough*Total*Recall*cough*. But then in the past week the buzz I was hearing was increasingly good. Sure, what the heck. Dark and bloody, violent and a lil messed up. Oh yeah, totally gets my stamp of approval.

Scheduling wise, the 2D showing worked better. At this point, I'm jaded enough with 3D that I don't seek it out. This is one of those rare occassions where I kinda wish I had paid the extra 3 bucks. Some scenes, particularly the drug induced ones, had me really curious as to what they would have looked like. Here's a good chance to throw out the obligatory: no I am not familiar with the comics, and no I have not seen the Stallone version.

I dont really know what specifics I can write about this one. I def got a bit of a Raid:Redemption vibe from it, just because it was good guys attacking a big freaking building full of baddies to get to the biggest bad at the top. You had an uncompromising and badass Dredd played by Karl Urban (I really did not know he had this side to him, but I loved it) and the telepathic rookie he was assessing, Olivia Thirlby. They were taking down ganglord Ma-Ma, played by one of the toughest cookies in Hollywood, tv's Sarah Connor and Cersei Lannister Lena Headey. It was nonstop, fast paced, with intriguing characters and lots of blood. Anything else I gotta say?

Dredd - \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/
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Arbitrage

I think this is the most pefect I've timed my second film. I got there during the penultimate trailer, so just enough time to catch my breath and mentally switch gears before Arbitrage started.

Could you believe that Richard Gere has never been nominated for an Academy Award? Yeah, I didn't either, but EW pointed it out when talking about him in Arbitrage. He's supported many a'nominee, some as far as wins, but he hasn't gotten any love. The magazine predicted this could finally be his shot. I'll need to see more of this year's pool before I make such a judgement, but he was good. He has been kinda typecast into the slick hotshot: Primal Fear, Chicago, Pretty Woman. Of course, the reason he gets put into this role so often is that he's good at it, and he can still manage a different spin on the character each time.

I had been a little skpetical about the film. The trailers hadn't impressed me, so I didn't find this worth hobbling (still on crutches) to last week. But this was another one that had increasing buzz that drew me in. What impressed me was that it juggled two major plotlines pretty well. Gere's hedge fund guy, Robert Miller, had two major headaches going on. He was trying to sell his company, but some fudging of the numbers on his part was threatening the deal. Meanwhile, he left the scene of an accident where his mistress was killed and the cops were trying to track him down. Each on its own could have gotten overcomplicated and disjointed, but the balance was good. It felt like the stakes were high and attacking from all sides. Quite effective.

The supporting cast was impressive as well. Susan Sarandon is always a commanding force, and I thought she was an inspired choice to play Gere's wife. The chemistry (positive and negative) was great, and she's one of the few women who could just own the screen against such a strong actor that has the majority of the focus. I was so drawn into Tim Roth's performance as the investigating detective, I kept on forgetting it was Roth. When you consider how many times I've seen him as Mr Orange in Reservoir Dogs, that's quite a feat! I also wanna call out Brit Marling as Gere's daughter and partner. Earlier this year we saw her in Sound of My Voice, and all I gotta say is hers is definitely a career to keep an eye on. I also just loved the father/daughter relationship. Made me wish I had worked together with my dad like that, although given that he was a high school teacher, that prolly would not have worked out.

Anyways, the movie was a fun ride. It lacked a little something to completely wow me, but still a worthwhile afternoon at the movies

Arbitrage - \m/ \m/ \m/ \n