The Film Freak – November, 2011

Adam Miller

November is the no man’s land month, Halloween has returned to it’s coffin and the evil Christmas mob are waiting in the wings, but my favorite holiday, Guy Fawkes night, is as forgotten Corey Feldman… who’s “Cory Feldman?” I hear you ask… “Exactly!” I smugly reply.

Source Code / Mission: 8 Minutes

Duncan Jones made a big splash back in 2009 with his feature length directorial debut “Moon,” a remarkable movie that starred the ever-brilliant Sam Rockwell, with a cool little voice over by Kevin Spacey.

The film explored isolation and how the light at the end of the tunnel may help us get through a situation, but looking straight ahead blinds us as to what is really going on around us. Jones has a lot to live up to with Source Code or Mission: 8 Minutes as it is clumsily named in Japan.

So is it better than it’s older brother?… Nope! Not to say it isn’t a movie worth seeing, as it is a different take on the action genre, but the bigger budget, the bigger cast and the bigger expectations may have made Source Code… sorry, Mission: 8 Minutes too similar to most other blockbusters to stand out like Moon did.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Colter Sternes, an agent who has access to some top-secret tech, which allows him to occupy another’s body for a short time (8 minutes)…think of Assassin’s Creed and you get the picture.

Sternes is sent back in time to find a bomber on a train, trouble is, he meets Christina Wanen (Michelle Monaghan) and in true Hollywood fashion, he falls in love with her.

The importance of the mission, his love for Christina and his own sanity slipping away as he skips from one body to another creates a tense atmosphere.

But the unexplained technology, the unlikeliness of meeting your soul mate eight minutes before they die and Gyllenhaal’s action man persona, may alienate all of those that loved the beautiful simplicity of Moon.

Cowboys and Aliens

A film that was no doubt funded due to its “clever” title rather that its narrative is Cowboys and Aliens, starring Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig.

Directed by Iron Man’s Jon Favreau, the movie is an action set during the frontier times, with one set of invaders (the cowboys) being attacked by another (UFOs).

Craig’s amnesiac character has the only weapon to take down the alien fleet and an odd battle between good old-fashioned steel and grit and laser beams and flying saucers takes place.

Fair Game

Dou Liman (the Bourne series) brings us the political-thriller, Fair Game, this month, starring Naomi Watts as Valerie Plame, a CIA agent who is married to top journalist, Joe Wilson (Sean Penn).

In an effort to uncover the truth about Iraq, the CIA turn to Wilson, who not only believes that there were never any nukes in the country, but prints a story saying so.

In punishment for the damning article, his wife has her real identity leaked to the public as punishment, jeopardizing the safety of their own family and that of her contacts’ living in Baghdad.

Rango

Johnny Depp voices the crafty chameleon, Lars aka Rango, in the newest CGI kids flick…aptly named, Rango.

Stumbling into a corrupt town full of rodent cowboys, Lars the chameleon has a chance to reinvent himself and tells all he is a murderous wildboy, Rango.

After killing accidently killing a hawk, he is made sheriff and has to deal with the local debt collectors and criminals, as well as a little cross-species romance. A funny movie for kids and adults alike.

1911

Jackie Chan, now 57, gets on both sides of the camera and directs and stars in 1911, a movie about the overthrowing of the Qing Dynasty and the founding of the Republic of China.

Those looking for crazy kung-fu will be disappointed, but if you enjoyed Red Cliff, the head cinematographer, Li Zhang, shares the director’s chair with Chan for 1911.

An exaggerated account of what really happened, with lots of slo-mo and explosions, but a little insight into a period in history we hear very little about.

Kaiji 2

Tatsuya Fujiwara stars as Kaiji Ito in this OTT movie about gambling. By rolling the dice and risking it all, Ito managed to make 2 billion yen in two weeks.

He is then invited to join a contest where the stakes are life and death. Bringing a band of outcasts; a down and out gambler with nothing to lose, a girl who’s father killed himself due to his escalating debts and the a level-headed senpai, the four try and win the tournament.

But you never can trust a gambler, so expect a few twists and turns along the way.

Koino Tsumi

A rather saucy title set in early 1990s Japan, a killer is working is way through Love Hotels, apparently seducing and then murdering young women.

The story is split between a female detective and a wholesome housewife who is happy so long as her husband is content.

The story starts out simple enough, but soon spirals into lust, sexual exploration and a fair share of danger. Not your average Japanese blockbuster and perhaps not the best option for your date night.

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