On Screen: Rewinding 10,000 Vantage Points

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Forest Whitaker, left, and Dennis Quaid in ‘Vantage Point’ 

THREE TO GET READY | Forgo “Rewind,” but others are OK

My boys Zachary and Addison and I checked out a couple of movies while down at Universal Studios (hey, the parks closed at 7 p.m.) and then Lee Ann and I had a “date night” on Tuesday and saw another…here’s a brief look at each, along with a sampling of critics’ thoughts…

Vantage Point

It may be gimmicky, but Vantage Point’s cinematic strengths and story draw you in and keep you hanging on until the end. Despite the complexity and tendency toward being formulaic, it’s a decent movie experience. 

Thumbs up: “As the pieces start to be revealed, you realize you really didn’t need to sit through all of the “flashbacks” in the beginning. You could have just watched all of the little twists as the film unfolded and been just as happy. Director Travis seems to have been a student of the “Bourne” films, and, with the exception of the jumpy beginning, he has crafted a well made feature film debut. The cast, particularly Quaid and Whitaker , do their best to keep the story moving which, as I’ll say again, gives the movie its own spirit.” – http://www.crazedfanboy.com

Thumbs down: “From every perspective, Vantage Point is a wholesale disaster. Director Pete Travis and screenwriter Barry Levy’s fractured political thriller was reportedly inspired by Rashomon, which means that the filmmakers don’t understand Akira Kurosawa’s classic, as instead of utilizing their multiple-viewpoint tale to investigate the unknowability of truth, they merely provide different angles on the same event – a presidential assassination at a Spanish peace conference – to generate dull mystery. Levy’s script is a monumentally cheap and absurd creation that elicits only dumbfounded disbelief, stacking inanities on top of illogicalities to erect a monument to cinematic suckiness.” – nickschager.com

10,000 B. C.

I had trouble from the get-go with Omar Sharif’s narration, but this film grew on me. Lots of action, some above-average CGI and nice effects, and a satisfying ending…not great, but good enough to enjoy.

Thumbs up: “More than anything, 10,000 BC is an updated version of those old Saturday matinee action films and serials, filled with hair-breadth escapes, wild coincidences, things foretold by ancient prophecy and mysterious places such as the Mountain of the Gods, from which ‘no one has ever returned.’ And that doesn’t even get into the legendary White Spear and the wise shaman called Old Mother who knows all about it. Yes, the film has so much up-to-the-minute, cost-is-no-object computer-generated imagery that we can practically smell the fetid breath of the herds of woolly mammoths that are much given to fierce stampeding. But the film’s heart is in its throwback innocence, its determinedly old-fashioned story of a young love that will not die and a young man who is a hero in the making but doesn’t know it.” – http://www.calendarlive.com

Thumbs down: “Sometimes, there’s just nothing good that can be said about a movie, so the best recourse is to just bury the mother and move on. Such is the case with the dumb new Roland Emmerich movie, 10,000 B.C., which is hamburger onscreen—and not the lean variety. This movie is about 90 percent cinematic fat. The other 10 percent? Gristle. Maybe a bit of bone.” – http://www.weekinrewind.com

Be Kind Rewind

I loved Mos Def in “16 Blocks,” but he and a seldomly funny Jack Black couldn’t save this stinker. Truly one of the most disappointing movies I’ve seen in some time. The dialogue seems to have been ad-libbed and the story uneven. Just a real clunker. I had high hopes for this movie, but it ranks among the worst 10 I’ve ever seen.

Thumbs up: “But it’s hard to get too cranky about a movie that, at heart, is a tribute to the joy of making things with your friends. As its title indicates, Be Kind Rewind is also a valentine to disappearing analog technology—typewriters, VCRs, and Depression-era radios are tucked into the corner of nearly every frame. While the sentimentality of the Capra-esque ending, in which the whole town comes together in an attempt to save the video joint, feels unearned, the film’s closing image still imparts a powerful sense of melancholy. The overhead shot of the townspeople as they gather to watch Mike and Jerry’s last masterpiece suggests that the wonky, predigital, let’s-make-a-movie world of these childlike Passaic dreamers is about to be permanently erased.” – http://www.slate.com

Thumbs down: “Although this is a conspicuous example, it’s something that the whole movie suffers from: details that are too present to ignore, but too arbitrary to matter. There is the matter of Mike’s behavior in the first act: it certainly looks like he’s being shown to be mentally handicapped in some way, and by all appearances Mos Def thought the same thing, judging by his performance and the very strange thing he does with his voice. But once the moviemaking plot kicks in, that element of Mike’s character is totally abandoned. There is a simply terrible romantic subplot that dies aborning. And so on and so forth. I almost want to call the script a first draft, with all the ideas that stop and start and are then forgotten. As a direct result of all this aimless digression, the story plods along at a glacial clip, particularly in – once again – the first act, which drags on and on through Fats Waller and Jerry’s paranoia about the local power plant (which exists only to facilitate a plot point that could have been knocked out in the film’s first five minutes) and the note that Mr. Fletcher leaves Mike that the younger man misreads (a warning to keep Jerry out of the store, and it makes absolutely no sense given everything we know to that point about Jerry, the store, and Mr. Fletcher). If you can get past the awful dramatic inertia, there are a few bits and pieces that work, but not nearly enough to justify the film’s existence.” – antagonie.blogspot.com

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