Saturday, October 16, 2010

Reel Rhino Review - RED - A Damn Fine Fun Film!

Bruce Willis is a stud. The essence of American heroism in film. I think I love him....of course in a hetero hero-worship kind of way, but love him none the less.

I have not had a great deal of exposure to Mary-Louis Parker, but let me tell you, she is adorable.  I think I will start watching WEEDS, I am told it is excellent (minus a short lull in the middle of the series ~ Mike and Lora, I am glad you stopped the arguing!)


WOW! I have had a great couple of weeks at the movies.  I have seen several 5's, 4.5's, and 4's, with very few low rated flicks.

RED keeps up that great tradition (well not that great of a tradition...perhaps streak is a better word)!

RED is based on a graphic novel of the same name, by Warren Ellis and Cully Hammer, and the screenplay was written by Jon & Erich Hoeber.  The film was directed by Robert Schwentke (previously of Flight Plan and The Time Traveller's Wife) and when brought together, this creative team has put out an amazingly fun and original film, based on a serious and very well done graphic novel.

Graphic novel...yes, I do feel that they are comics by another name, but if we have to call them graphic novels to get studios to pay attention to them and bring them to the big hell with it, GRAPHIC NOVELS they are!

RED introduces us to Frank Moses, a retiree, but from what industry it is not immediately clear.  That is until a wet-team kicks in his front door in an attempt to put him down and he defends his house with the dexterity of a trained killer. 

As we meet Frank, he is on a daily basis, calling Sarah Ross, a call-taker at a government retirement office, to "complain" that he has not received his check.  Sarah is played in sublime fashion by Mary-Louis Parker.  Frank, with every call, is in fact tearing up his checks just for an excuse to call her.  He likes Sarah and she likes him. Once Frank realizes he is a marked man, he goes to Sarah, who lives in Kansas City, to protect her. 

She is reluctant at first, but eventually goes along with him to figure out what the hell is going on.  It helps that she is a fan of romance novels with cheeseball plots and that the most recent one she read involved the CIA.  She leads a mundane life and this is her chance for adventure.

We get to meet some old associates of Frank's, previous CIA operatives Joe (Morgan Freeman) and Marvin (John Malkovich), as well as an old MI-6 pal in Victoria (Helen Mirren).  As Morgan Freeman says in the trailer: "We're gettin' the band back together."

These guys are great...true treasures of cinema and they make this movie the awesome adventure that it is....add in Brian Cox as an old Russian agent with a past as an adversary and a future as a pal?...and Karl Urban as William Cooper, a young ambitious CIA agent who stays one step behind our band of merry retirees.  It all adds up to something very fun!  Urban and Bruce's confrontations give use some of the best battles in the movie and also some of the more tense moments AND some of the more comedic.

Richard Dreyfuss cameos as a smart-ass badie who's career of choice is that of an arms trader.  Dreyfuss is always entertaining, but he rarely raises the bar to A-game level...his performance here is on-par with this thinking...decent but not exceptional.  I guess he serves his purpose and it is better to have Dreyfuss in this role than some random dude.

Also in the flick is Rebecca Pidgeon, also known as Mrs. David Mamet, as William Cooper's supervisor in the CIA.  My first exposure to her was as Col. Ryan's wife on THE UNIT, a great and too short lived TV show.  She was wooden there and I think her delivery has improved over the past few years.  As the wife of Mamet, I can see their attraction as while Mamet's works are normally well-written, the speak often comes off as stilted (see Spartan, see Redbelt ~ both favorites of mine, also).

There is a great cameo by Ernest Borgnine as well, as Henry the records keeper.  Borgnine is a great comedic actor and cameos like this are a gem in the waning years of his career.  Borgnine is 93 years old and I think we will likely not see him in many more films.  The role was perfect for him, and he played it perfectly.

The flow-through of this tale is both easy to follow, fun, and filled with great scenes.  Some of the digital effects are easy to distinguish from the practical effects of a bigger-budget movie, but I am moving to a point where it is easier to suspend disbelief in exchange for a great time at the theater.

See this movie.  Reel Rhino gives is a 5 of 5 horns strictly on the balls-to-the-wall fun, laughs, quality of acting intermixed with quality of story -- remember, this is an action movie based on a graphic novel.  If nothing else, where have you seen such a cast for this kind of movie.

It is well directed, well-cut, well-written, and well-acted.  See this movie.  It is worth your $10 for a theater viewing.  This will not play as well at home, so see it on the big screen if you can.

Lots of action-violence, explosions, a little blood, and some cursing (including an F-bomb) to get this flick to PG-13.  There is plenty of killing depicted or discussed, so while it is not a PG, it is by no means anywhere near an R.

I will be shocked if RED doesn't take the weekend box office.  I saw it at 5:00pm in Merriam, KS at a Cinemark.  SOLD OUT!  The age range in the theater ranged from about 15 to 100!!  As the movie started, I feared there would be some walkouts given that their previous roles as Nelson Mandela and The Queen of England certainly helped to bring some in, but this would be a different movie entirely.  Classier roles not considered, this film manages to keep an even keel that appeals to a wide variety of audiences.

And as for my love letter to Mary-Louis Parker...WOW!  This movie has me seeking out WEEDS on NETFLIX.  I think she is adorable and as a 46 year old actress, I say BRAVO!  Megan Fox take is a beautiful actress and guess what, she can act!  Keep it up MLP!  You now have a fan in me!

Oh...I guess my love letter for Bruce Willis continues!  I think I could compete with Kevin Smith for my level of fandome for Bruno aka David Addison aka John McLane aka MY HERO!  Bruce, never stop making movies.  I know occasionally you will make a flick where you are vulnerable or counter to the persona that America has come to love you long as you give us a RED or FIFTH ELEMENT or yes, even a DIE HARD every few years, we will always love you.  And as for COP OUT, I for one am a fan...KEVIN SMITH + BRUCE WILLIS +  HAROLD FALTERMEYER = NICE! 

I hope to see JACKASS 3-D tomorrow.  My recommendation for you is this...JACKASS will be there always and it is at its core, juvenile, potty humor -- WHICH I LOVE!  But, given the decision to see RED or JACKASS, make it a RED weekend!

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