Friday, May 24, 2013

Wake in Fright

Ambitious piece about a schoolteacher's (Bond) sensitive personality quickly spiraling into a state of harshness and recklessness, all triggered and influenced by overheated drunks he meets while passing through the outback to Sydney on Christmas vacation. Visually intriguing to anyone who has never been to Australia. The overall story may have worked better if it focused more on being a drifter instead of the psychological aspect; still, why pry at such excellence? Bond is exceptionally convincing in his transformation; while the supporting characters are even more likable and civil than the protagonist, even when the film tries to portray them as the instigators of the main character's behavior—especially Pleasence. About an hour in is when the pacing gets aimless and stays that way until the climax; so, the film definitely won't meet every movie-goer's idea of "brilliance". Despite any flaws one might try and spot, the film is gripping and definitely leaves an impression. The 360-degree opening shot of outback-nowhere-ness is nothing short of awesome. 

Hit and Run

Shepard stars, writes, co-directs, co-produces and co-edits this skin-deep action/"comedy" about a former getaway driver helping his fiancé get to Los Angeles but is sidetracked when his past catches up with him along the way. The role of the fiancé is played by Shepard's real life fiancé Bell. Talk about self-indulgent. Arnold has his moments of quick childish humor at the beginning, but that quickly wears thin when his character drifts into his own sub-plot. Cooper perhaps has one of the most shameless roles of the last few years as a dreadlock'd ex-con who manhandles people bigger than them if they buy cheap dog food (Oh no! what a waste of flesh) and then steals their dog from them (because a dog is better off with a criminal than someone who's poor—or am I supposed to assume the guy is a criminal because he is big and scary?). There are also some weird cheap-shots that are supposed to be edgy, but really just lack any sort of real creativity (the Filipino prison rapist joke, for example). The soundtrack is just Shepard's iPod on random. Shepard, Shepard, Shepard, Shepard. Oh, and he does his own stunts too. Wow! what a well-rounded guy. Too bad all his talent can't make a decent film.