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Non-Review Review: Jack Reacher

Much like its eponymous leading man, Jack Reacher is efficient. That’s probably the best thing that can be said about this adaptation of Lee Child’s One Shot. Coming in at two hours, the movie manages to keep everything relatively under control. Any fuzzy logic is masked by the smart decision to keep things moving at a quick enough pace, distracting from the fact we’ve seen it all before, or that the characters seem especially paper-thin. At times, Jack Reacher suffers from being a little too shallow, a little too safe, a little too predictable. While Christopher McQuarrie can be an excellent writer, he seems to be only developing as a director. He handles movement reasonably well, but the direction amps up the melodrama to almost unbearable levels at certain points in the film.

It’s not terrible, and it’s certainly not an out-and-out failure, but I’d struggle to argue that it’s a successful franchise launch. For most of its runtime, Jack Reacher succeeds at merely being inoffensive and trying not to weigh too heavily on our patience. It’s not the most convincing of victories, but it could have been a lot worse.

Gearing up for a franchise...

Gearing up for a franchise…

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Non-Review Review: Into The Abyss

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2012.

Capital punishment is always a thorny issue to tackle, if only because of the delicate relationship between the victim and perpetrator of the original crime. It’s easy to seem sly or manipulative while painting the convicted murder as some victim of society or social injustice, while ignoring the impact of their actions on the family and friends of those they killed. Werner Herzog is always a deeply fascinating director, whether of narrative films or documentaries.

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Non-Review Review: Bad Lieutenant – Port of Call New Orleans

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is a mess of a movie. I don’t mean that as praise, nor do I mean it as criticism. It’s just a jumble of ideas and scenes, plot contrivances and random incidents, all tied together through the central performance of Nicolas Cage as Lieutenant Terrence McDonagh. Watching the film, I’m not entirely convinced that it really works, but I do have increased respect for Nicolas Cage, who seems to hold Werner Herzog’s shattered examination together through the sheer force of his performance.

Off the cuff...

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Thoughts on Documentaries and Objectivity…

I caught The King of Kong at the weekend and I really enjoyed. It’s a fantastic underdog tale set in a fascinating subculture that really deserves to be seen. However, the movie was beset by claims after the fact that it had been somewhat unfair to Billy Mitchell, the reigning Donkey Kong champion who found himself cast in the role of villain. While fictional movies take liberties with their characters all the time, I can’t help but wonder what sort of standard should apply to documentaries. They obviously require some basis in fact, but to what extent is possible to be entirely fair and objective in bringing any subject to screen?

Something to chew on...

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