Friday, December 05, 2008

Heaven is a place on Earth

I didn't watch a lot of films lately and even when I do, I do not feel compelled enough to write a review.
The last three I remembered watching were Max Payne, Quantum of Solace and The Sky Crawlers. Max Payne was a movie that I knew wasn't going to be good from all the previews and reviews that were already going around.
But somehow I just wanted to see how it would turn out since a Dark Angel of some sort appeared in the film and the protagonist is a cop seeking revenge from the death of his family.

I was further interested in seeing it when a reviewer was honest with his opinions about how poor the story was and that the theme actually involved some sort of substance abuse that resulted in hallucination, which was rather fascinating because that was how the Dark Angels eventually came about in the film.
He also highlighted a few scenes that was worth taking a look at in the manner of which the director shot them.
As it turns out, Max Payne is exactly as he said, just another video game flick brought onto the big screen.
It is plain and directed without real emotions.

Mark Wahlberg is just not the guy who can up the ante to any film, as yet, when the focus of the story is based solely on his character.
This is evident in films like Invincible (2006) and Shooter (2007).
He does fairly well though as the charismatic leader in The Italian Job (2003) when he was supported well by other interesting characters.
Perhaps someone should be honest about this fact to him so he can improve on his acting.
But I tend to think that it would be difficult for him to escape the stereotype of an action character - not action hero.
He just doesn't have something written for him that can bring out his true expressive self.

In contrast was Quantum of Solace, which had Daniel Craig as 007, after the successful reboot in the previous Casino Royale (2006).
It just seems like the role was made for him although not in typical stylish and charming fashion of his predecessor Pierce Brosnan.
The common between the two however was that both of them are great actors who can appear in films of different genre to that of the action hero - not action character.
Maybe it was because they knew how to play it to their strengths when the script calls for it, such is Will Smith as another fine example.

Quantum of Solace though as many said was not as good as Casino Royale, it is in my opinion that it is a film that I thoroughly enjoyed because you could really feel the emotions of the characters and the kind of situation they were put into; the things that they had to keep inside of them until they find a point of release.
This is helped by the vision of talented directors in Marc Forster and Martin Campbell of course.
What impressed me was how danger was so intimately portrayed as each fight and car chase scenes had me absorbed in the fragility of life when one error can mean death, yet the characters go about it with full knowledge of the possibility of dying but engaged in fighting to stay fully alive.
When you look into the title of Quantum of Solace, it made perfect sense as that was ultimately what was intended. It is the purpose of making peace with what is fighting within oneself.
It is the struggle to find meaning in living when all else about you seem to be dying.

That would bring me to the most recent movie in the form of Japanese Animation.
Directed by the acclaimed Mamoru Oshii of Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence fame.
Mamoru Oshii has his own unique directory style in the manner of philosophy where you'll need to derive meaning from the scenes rather than having it explode right into your face.
It is a good experience away from Hollywood scripted entertainment.
One quote in The Sky Crawlers that really had me thinking was "Why do those that may die tomorrow has the need to grow up?".
You see, the protagonists in The Sky Crawlers are fighter pilots known as Kildren, who are forever in the state of adolescence and can never grow up.
They seem to be reliving their days over and over again in silent suffering with the occasional thoughts of death to end it all.
It would be reminded though in the end that even if life was torturous, when things appeared meaningless, but when one can succeed in fulfilling the role that really made you feel alive, then life can be seen in a totally different perspective that becomes meaningful.
Things you see become beautiful and... I hope you get what I mean.
I'm really at a loss for words just as when I left at the credits and missed the epilogue.

Let me end here with this article from ROPEOFSILICON:
Would Someone Finally Destroy Mankind Please?!?!
What? Of all this talk about life and now this? The destruction of life?
Not to worry... it is not cynical.
It is just that sometimes I feel we need a different perspective to maintain balance and keep life interesting even if it is liven up on the big screens where dreams are reality to some.

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