Tuesday, July 30, 2013

It Hit Me: Welcome to the Punch

Anyone who knows me, or this collection of mildly unstable humans known as my household members, knows that WE LOVE MOVIES.

Like, it's an obsession. My daughter writes an entertainment blog when she's not corralling teddy bears and the wonderful, friendly, patient, not at all pushy or entitled or spoiled customers who come into that store (one of these days ... I WILL HAVE STORIES ... but not now because we need her to remain gainfully employed). Husband works in the industry and has for the last 25 years, although folks who say "wow that is so glamorous" don't live with the silicone and foam and fiberglass that walks in on his clothes every night. MOVIE MAGIC, folks.

It's also why when stupid Facebook starts asking me questions in the margin about HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MOVIE, I, like a drone, click-click-click my way through tons of movies, wasting ridiculous amounts of time, giving away my secrets to All the NSA Trolls watching me because of COURSE I am that interesting and important and of COURSE my OCD won't let me not click when someone asks me such questions, even if it's a ZuckerRobot. (I'm sure this shit taps into our inner child who needs to feel validated and loved by proving to our ego that we are worthy and smart and not a failure at all even if we have mommy/daddy issues and even though we're on FB in the middle of the day when we should be working.)

WHY YES FACEBOOK I HAVE SEEN THAT IT WAS FIVE STARS ... and that one. Three stars. Oh, no, that one was terrible WHY DOES DISNEY KEEP MAKING PUPPY MOVIES? *ahem* For the record, I only watched Santa Buddies and Santa Pups because Yaunna was in them. SHE WAS. An elf. My sweetie height-challenged lass ... 

That's her. Cute, eh?
We talk about books and movies around here. A lot. If you're not into books or movies, you will be bored stiff by our conversations, and chances are, we're not friends anyway, so you don't have to worry about us boring the hell out of you with our book-and-movie chitchat. We talk about story, characters and their arcs (or lack thereof), why certain stories work when others fall flat, goals, motivations, conflicts, who has the best hair, why Jennifer Lawrence wins at life, what the HELL is going on with Johnny Depp and if poor Taylor Kitsch will ever make another movie ... SUPER IMPORTANT STUFF.

So, in this vein, I bring you a movie review of sorts. About my latest obsession. Stop what you're doing, go to your local DVD/Blu-Ray retailer (online or in person), and GET THIS FILM:

But, JENN, you're only telling us to watch this because Mark Strong is in it. OH MY DEAR GOD he is so in this, and he's absolutely enthralling, as per usual. My obsession with him, while mildly unhealthy and borderline creepy, is not the only driving force behind me instructing you to view this film post haste.

It's a bloody good movie.

The script is tight -- like, your-pants-on-Thanksgiving/[insert international holiday that allows you to pig out]-after-you've-made-the-third round-of-the-table tight. The good guys aren't wholly good, and the bad guys, well, they have heart and soul AND I LOVE THAT because we rarely see that with bad guys. Thing is, bad guys are BAD because they believe in what they're doing. Rarely are characters bad simply for the sake of being bad (except in stupid cartoons, which we addressed ad nauseam in a prior post). Bad guys THINK they're doing the right thing. They believe that what they are doing, whether robbing a bank or cutting someone's throat, is for a higher cause, a power or belief system bigger than themselves, for a lust or power or desire they have no choice but to fulfill. In essence, a bad guy is nothing but a good guy with motives otherwise deemed unseemly by society at large. (Except Voldemort. SOMEONE please explain to me why Voldemort was bad. Why did he want to kill Harry Potter? Hogwarts was so lovely -- why destroy it? Disclaimer: I haven't read the books. Despite my writerly girl crush on J. K. Rowling. I am so ashamed. Please don't tell her. *hangs head*)

Just ask Wreck-It Ralph: "I am bad, and that's good. I will never be good, and that's not bad. There is no one I'd rather be than me." 

But when it comes to the quintessential bad guy, filmmakers are onto Mark Strong. He brings to the screen a depth not often seen in villainous portrayal. Even Frank D'Amico in Kick-Ass is a bad guy who loves his kid. Bad guys have families -- lovers, wives, babies, friends. A well-crafted, expertly drawn bad guy is NOT a bad guy.

Jacob Sternwood is exactly this man. But what brings him to his knees will make your heart melt in your chest. Never underestimate the love one parent has for his child.

Daddy Sternwood in his Very Bad Day. (Mark Strong is CRYING. *melts* God, I love it when they cry.)

Great visual themes/motifs in this film. Director Eran Creevy is a writing/directing phenom who gave us modern-day London without Big Ben or the London Eye. Classy, sleek, elegant, dangerous. Delicious.
James McAvoy -- there aren't enough measure-centric words for me to express the depth of this lad's talent. (Clearly, because now I'm making shit up. Measure-centric? WTH does that mean? You know -- measuring words. Inches, feet, miles, centimetres and kilometres and Celsius for you anti-Imperialists out there.) A FB friend of mine keeps me in the loop with McAvoy (and her other very justifiable crush, Michael Fassbender), so I'm never far away from knowing what this hunk of Scottish Delight is doing. He plays police officer Max Lewinsky, a copper whose heart is absolutely in his job. The first four minutes of the film will lay the scene for the conflict that will define him for the subsequent calamity that is his career, and in each nuanced movement, line, and thrust of the gun hand, McAvoy delivers. I feel Max Lewinsky's pain. Every. Single. Ounce. And when I say ounce, think about that when he's decanting his knee. Just wait. You'll see what I mean.

The climax of this scene was shot in 500 frames per second. Which means IT IS GLORIOUS.
Andrea Riseborough ... girl, you got it goin' on. This is one of the things I LOVE about British films. First, everyone can act. Like, they got some wacky acting vitamin in the water there because they are all so effing awesome. This is the first thing I've seen Miss Andrea in -- I am so embarrassed to admit that out loud (although I do have the Oblivion soundtrack so does that count?) -- but it certainly won't be the last. She's amazing. Her character, Sarah Hawks -- I don't know if I can talk about this without crying. So I won't.

Somebody get this girl a Moleskine.
Welcome to the Punch has it all: conspiracy, criminal intent, flawed good guys and soulful bad guys, a couple of bad guys who are real bastards (and YET, they are again working toward that "selfless commitment"). Sure, lots of guns and shoot-'em-ups happen for the action junkies, but the STORY. I think I might take to the street corner with my sandwich board reading SEE THIS FILM OR THE END IS NIGH if I think about this too much. It gave me all the feels. And it takes a lot to do that. At my last medical checkup, they had a hard time drawing blood because I am made of cold, hard granite.

So yeah. There you have it. My version of a movie review. I could keep going ... the super-bad-ass performances by Peter Mullan, whose Roy is a friend to Sternwood like Horatio is to Hamlet (read: true blue through and through) and Johnny Harris (omigod, I haven't hated a bad guy in a film this much in forever, which tells me ex-soldier/hired mercenary Dean Warns is exactly what cinema is missing) and the sinister calm of David Morrisey's go as police captain Thomas Geiger ... gahhhhhh. I told you I wouldn't shut up. THIS IS YOUR FAULT.

My sole complaint? This is aimed at the folks responsible for the movie's score: it is only available in the UK via Amazon UK. I needs it, Precious. I'm in Canader, and we can't get it here. This makes us sad. You don't underSTAND my love for haunting, layered movie scores. Some people use meth; I use movie scores. I tweeted composer Harry Escott, but alas, I'm just another creepy stalker fan person. So, hey, Worldview Entertainment and IFC Films? Could you please see about getting this score into the North American market? Kthanksbye. 

Get thee to a film shop. Buy. Watch. Adore. Comment.

One last shot before we go:

Love you, honey. Even if you're shooting someone. #badguysrule
Xs and Os, lovelies ...