Thursday, June 19, 2008

Even Laziness Can Be Surprising...


Been sitting on reviews I need to finally finish up...the "He Said" of Sex and the City, the long-awaited Indy review...and some well-deserved support of some truly great films (Indy and Sex not among them, sadly).

Also went to see the new and "improved" Incredible Hulk...my worst suspicions were confirmed on that one...but again, more on that forthcoming.

I had to just take a minute to write a few words on a really fabulous experience I just had tonight...watching a film I didn't much care for the first time I saw it, over 5 years ago. This is not a formal "video pick"...that will happen tomorrow, and the film is truly wondrous. But I just had to talk about this surprise...

In the course of a conversation I was having with my 11-year-old son about the awfulness of The Happening (he obviously is too young to see it, but was nonetheless fascinated by how I described its badness), he asked about some other films starring Mark Wahlberg. After filtering out the ones I just couldn't show a pre-teen kid (some of the very best ones, unfortunately, like Boogie Nights and Three Kings), it suddenly hit me: we could sit down and watch The Italian Job together. I remembered having lukewarm feelings about the film, but knew it would be appropriate enough and fun enough...and for some reason, I felt like revisiting it.

I don't know exactly what was up my ass when I sat it down to see The Italian Job when it first hit theaters in 2003, but it was something that really clouded my judgment. While I thought way back when that the film was an overrated trifle, one that paled in comparison both to the 1969 original and to great modern heist pictures in general, I sit here now prepared to say that I think the film is vastly underrated. It is, in fact, a near-masterpiece of the heist film genre.

Part of me can't quite say that I would bestow a four-star rating on the film, but damn if it isn't just about perfect as a slick, smart, engrossing, energizing entertainment. F. Gary Gray, a director who has made a handful of strong films and a handful of other shit, completely outdoes himself as a stylish action director. His flair and his pace are what make the film soar, and he picks the perfect pieces to fill in the gaps. The cinematography is lush, the editing is pitch-perfect, the acting (from a stellar cast, including Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Ed Norton, Mos Def, Seth Green, Jason Statham, and Donald Sutherland) is flawless, and the soundtrack makes the film bump with the sort of rollicking glee that only the best music can induce.

I honestly could not turn away from the film once--prompting K and the boys to dub me "stingy" for insisting on pausing the movie every time I had to get up to do something.

What a wonderful surprise...and the perfect way to snap me out of my blogging laziness.

5 comments:

the WIZARD, fkap said...

Well, you've inspired me to pull out my DVD of The Italian Job.. . I'll probably watch it tonight.

Like your "original" view, I was very lukewarm to the film when I first waw it, but my son thought it was one of the all time greatest (echoing your new view). My son is 29 (boy am I getting old) and can now watch anything.

We might be going out tonight to see Get Smart.... but I hold out little hope for that film based on the few reviews I read........

Speaking of reversals of opinion on a film... one of these days I'll have to tell you our story about Erroll Morris' The Thin Blue Line. But I'll have to wait for the right opportunity and the time and space to tell this story, which involves the same son when he was about 9 or 10.........

the WIZARD, fkap said...

I still haven't seen Get Smart or rewatched The Italian Job. My Bad.

But, thanks to FEEDJIT, I have noticed that I get a fair amount of traffic migrating from your blog over to mine. No comments, but I 'm supposing that's because I'm just too far on the other side of the political spectrum from you all right now. Not to worry, I'll be returning to the left, liberal, progressive side very shortly......

My only "movie related" comment today is actually about a new cable summer television series. I'm extremely impressed with The Middlemen over on ABC Family (a network I'll admit I have never watched before in my life). This series reminds me very much of the original Don Adams' Get Smart series. It's also been compared (very fairly) to the movie version of Dragnet.

These writers are having entirely too much fun. Imagine getting paid to do that.....

J McKiernan said...

We HAVE seen "Get Smart," and hopefully there will be reviews coming soon. So behind yet again...busy week this week, too, so I will be hard-pressed to get a lot of posting done, but I would love to get down the reviews for Indy, Sex & the City, Incredible Hulk, and Get Smart, if nothing else.

Stay tuned...and go watch the Italian Job!

Vigilante said...

Italian Job looks good enough to risk 90 minutes on it!

J McKiernan said...

I think you'll have a good time...

...it is probably a surer bet than "Hancock," I suppose, even if "Hancock" is, in my opinion, even better...