While mostly passed over and crictically ignored, hated, or despised, Club Dread is pretty funny. Bill Paxton is Coconut Pete, and that's all that really matters. His songs rule, his laid-back demeanor and inability to remember lyrics is spot-on, and hey, did I mention it's Bill Paxton? Coconut Pete is a treasure, one not to be missed. Anyone expecting Super Troopers 2 will be disappointed, and it helps to watch this one with a slightly inebriated, having-fun-with-dumb-movies type of crowd.
?Nothing But The Truth? does not try to hide its connections to the Valerie Plame case, and for the most part it is successful. Kate Beckinsdale stars as the journalist, Rachel Armstrong, who outs a CIA agent who believes the US is wrongly invading a country. In this movie, an assassination attempt has been made on the President and the retaliation is set in Venezuela, not Iraq.
The movie is saved by its strong performances. Kate Beckinsdale gives it her all, and I think she really got this role. Matt Dillon does well as the antagonist. Angela Bassett is Rachel?s editor, and doesn?t have much to work with. Alan Alda plays the lawyer who eventually takes over the case for Rachel, and he turns in some great work here. A couple of TV actors even show up - David Schwimmer and Noah Wyle. Neither is distracting, and both do well enough.
Somehow, Vera Farmiga looks incredibly like Maggie Gyllenhaal - except without as much of a droopy face.
The movie does a great job arguing for journalistic integrity and the need for journalists to protect their sources. It does a great job showing the struggle one can go through in jail while being abused by the government. However, all the hard work and solid performances are undone by the end. I can?t give it away, but the last few moments of the movie almost ruined the whole thing. Fortunately, the rest of the story was compelling enough to make this a worthwhile endeavor.
Battle In Seattle effectively blends fact and fiction, making for a fairly compelling story. The cast is excellent, featuring Martin Henderson, Woody Harrelson, Charlize Theron, Michelle Rodriguez, Jennifer Carpenter, Ray Liotta, and Andre Benjamin.
The story takes place in 1999 in Seattle, obviously, when the WTO was meeting. The movie sets the scene fairly quickly, and it doesn't really waste time explaining everyone's motivations.
What it does show, effectively, was how quickly things spun out of control, and how a peaceful protest quickly turned into something more frightening. I'm not really familiar with the actual events, but this movie felt genuine in its representation.
Charlize Theron's character might be a little predictable and cliche, even, but I still felt like she was effective. I'm not sure how Woody Harrelson managed to be her husband, though. Lucky guy.
I went into this one without any expectations, and I finished it feeling satisfied.
The International tries to be a thought-provoking thriller, but it fails. Clive Owen tries his best to save it, but the plot is too ridiculous, outrageous, or confusing. Take your pick. Spoilers in the next paragraph:
For instance, there is an assassination attempt in the movie, and the villains go through great lenghts to frame someone. Only, their second shooter just so happens to be conveniently wearing braces only made by one manufacturer. So, throw all the hard detective work out the window. This took me right out of the movie.
That said (spoiler free from here on out), this movie has a little too much dialogue. There is a great action sequence/shootout in the middle that, again, doesn't make a lot of sense, but at least that's entertaining.
The cast is fairly solid, led by the awesome Clive Owen. Naomi Watts is fine here, if not slightly miscast.
Overall, it's too bad this one comes up a little short, because Clive Owen deserves a little better.