Thursday, November 13, 2008

Otis and Quantum of Solace

Otis was directed by Tony Krantz from a script by Erik Jendresen and Thomas Schnauz about a lonely loser cum serial killer who's fixated on his sister-in-law and his abusive brother, but he bit off a little more than he could chew when the family of one of his victims tracks him down.

It's a fantastic idea and I would have loved it if the script had been just a touch tighter and had a better ending. Neither the ending on the movie nor the included "alternate ending" were very good, but the movie one at least gives you the illusion that...well, I don't want to give the ending away, so I'll leave it at that.

It's a surprisingly funny, gory, mean little piece of work that had really good cinematography and strong performances from all of the actors involved. Even the slightly over-the-top performances from Illeana Douglas and Daniel Stern as Riley's parents balanced out the twisted performances of Ashley Johnson and Bostin Christopher as Riley and Otis respectively. I have to admit, though, that I can't see Ashley Johnson in anything without thinking, "Look at Kirk Cameron's little sister all grown up and doing movies he wouldn't approve of...GO ASHLEY!"

Overall: the ending really hurts the flick because while it's slow and could have used some script editing, it was still very enjoyable.


Quantum of Solace was directed by Marc Forster from a script by Paul Haggis and Neal Purvis & Robert Wade. If you've been under a rock for the past year or two, it's the newest James Bond opus. It takes up shortly after the end of Casino Royale as a grief-stricken Bond goes on a rampage as he hunts down the major players in a mysterious organization fronted by this movie's Bond villain, Dominic Greene, and his Dario Argento look-alike side kick, Elvis.

I'm not a big Bond fan. I liked Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan in the role, but I didn't see Brosnan's last turn in the tux. The Daniel Craig Bonds have brought a sense of fantastic realism to the character and a breath of fresh air to the franchise and with Marc Forster at the helm, and Haggis at the script, we're also seeing the brutality and the heart of the character in the midst of all the intense action scenes. And, believe me, the action scenes were very intense.

It might be a good idea to watch Casino Royale before this flick because there were characters that I should have remembered, or that I remembered only vaguely, and the movie doesn't spend a lot of time reminding the audience of the past flick. That's a good thing since 98% of the movie doesn't deal with those issues, but for certain scenes, a little more information would have been nice.

As I said before, we're seeing much more of the heart and brutality of the character, but I don't think those words would mean much without the icy blue eyes of our current leading man, Daniel Craig. My mom would agree, but for different reasons. He plays Bond as a barely controlled hurricane of self-destruction as he journeys through his darkness to find the light. As far as the Bond movies are concerned, his performance is pitch-perfect. Our main Bond girl, played by Olga Kurylenko, was a great and equal participant in Bond's adventures, on a journey of her own. Our second Bond girl, played by Gemma Arterton, was just a plot device and eye candy and disposed of as soon as she wasn't needed any longer.

Our villain, played by Mathieu Amalric, was properly creepy and chilling with an animalistic side to match Bond's.

The cinematography was great. During some of the action scenes it was a bit difficult to see what was going on for the jerkiness of the camera, but overall it was shot and lit very well.

The score was great and I really didn't find the opening song to be as bad as everyone else. I thought it was actually pretty good and the distinct sounds of Jack White and Alicia Keys mixed pretty well. And I loved the look of the animation of the opening sequence.

Overall: highly enjoyable, awesome movie and well worth the price of admission.

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