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May 3, 2007

Fletch's Film Review: Ten 'til Noon; Disturbia; Hot Fuzz

Since I'm getting way behind, some short takes on three films I saw last week:

Ten 'til Noon

This is a pretty good example of trailers being effective marketing, for I would have never seen this movie (and possibly never have heard of it) without having seen the trailer. Though a small, small budget indie (more on this later), it has a terrific concept.

10 minutes of the same crime, told in real time, from five (or six - I can't recall for sure) different perspectives, followed by some tying up of the story afterwards. Think Rashomon (note: shame on me, for I haven't seen this, but know the general story) meets Run Lola Run. Granted, this film comes nowhere close to those two in terms of execution, but it's still a great concept.

The story focuses on the conning of a software developer (read: rich guy). There are certainly some colorful characters, and the writing isn't bad, but it's nothing memorable, either. The cast is full of people who you've have never, ever, heard of (Rick D. Wasserman? Jenya Lano? I didn't think so.). In fact, the only person I recognized (and only because I'm a big dork who happens to have a semi-photographic memory of actors and their roles) is Dylan Kussman, of Dead Poets Society "fame" (he was the smarmy red-haired kid who ended up ratting on the rest of the gang).

Likewise, it's obvious this was filmed on a shoestring budget; had the production values been a bit higher (better soundtrack, a known actor or two), this might be getting comparisons to (or at least getting accused of ripping off) Quentin Tarantino. However, as it stands, it looks and feels like a really well-made Cinemax flick (minus the soft-core porn).

Fletch's Film Rating:

"Whatever."


Disturbia

Shia LaBeouf has a bright future ahead of him. From his breakout role on TV in the tweener show Even Stevens to his breakout film role in Holes (a very good teen movie, by the way) to his supporting roles in such disappointments as I, Robot, Constantine, and Bobby, he has shown a charisma and appeal that few his age have. Like Matt Damon and John Cusack before him, he looks his age, yet has always talked with the confidence of an adult, and a smart one at that.

Unfortunately, as evidenced by the string of duds listed above, not to mention other disappointments like The Battle of Shaker Heights and The Greatest Game Ever Played, either he or his agent(s) aren't very smart when it comes to picking films to work on. Disturbia is no different.

If you've seen the trailer for Disturbia, there is really no point in seeing the film. It's all there in those two minutes - there are no surprises, no shocking events, nothing really remotely interesting. It's just longer. Though David Morse is good (in creepy mode) as usual.

Fletch's Film Rating:

"I want you to punch me as hard as you can."


Hot Fuzz


Probably not much needs to be said here in terms of introductions, as Fuzz is getting a good amount of press. To sum up, if you saw and liked Shaun of the Dead, then this film is for you. If you didn't like Shaun, there's a good chance you won't like this. And if you haven't seen either, I recommend them.

As with Shaun, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost once again co-star as buddies (though here their partnership is more or less forced on them), this time as policeman, though the chasm between their respective skills is about as wide as the Grand Canyon. Yada yada yada, the story doesn't much matter. This is their send-up of American action movies, though as you've probably heard, they're not out to parody those films, but to at once lampoon and revere them, most notably Point Break (a wise choice, and in this reviewer's opinion, one of the best action movies to come out in the last 30 years), the Lethal Weapon series, and Die Hard.

Probably the most impressive thing the filmmakers have done is that they've recreated much of the action movie magic with a budget comparable to your standard Woody Allen film. Were Jerry Bruckheimer given a budget matching Hot Fuzz's reported $15 million, he would probably come away with a killer two minutes of screen time.

Aside from that, the film hits on its notes, with only the action-packed third act being the weak part (ironic, no?). This is a testament to the sharp writing (by Pegg and co-writer/director Edgar Wright) and solid acting all around (though they received more than enough help from just about every British actor out there - a Harry Potter movie has fewer recognizable faces. Among them: Bill Nighy (Notes on a Scandal, Pirates of the Caribbean), Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge), Timothy Dalton and a "hidden" cameo by Cate Blanchett.

Fletch's Film Rating:

"It's in the hole!"


2 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Film Review: Ten 'til Noon; Disturbia; Hot Fuzz"

Farmacy said...

I don't get why people didn't like the third act... I thought it was the perfect ending (and hysterical to boot).

The only seen that really dragged in that whole sequence was the grocery store fighting sequence, but even that had it's moments.

Fletch said...

Wow, you went digging...I barely recall the third act, it's been so long. ;)

No, I think they tried a bit too hard for the big action finale. I still liked it - just thought it was the weakest part of a funny movie.