Not that I personally rent from Redbox all that often, but that doesn’t mean I don’t admire a brilliantly simple concept so well executed it’s a wonder no one came up with it before. I remember VHS kiosks back in the day, but for some reason those never took off. Simplicity, however, is difficult to conceive and even harder to execute. But once you got it, you got it — and Redbox has got it and then some.
The effect Redbox is having on the business of Hollywood is very similar to the destruction Napster caused in the music industry. Unlike the music biz, though, Hollywood will find a way to adapt. Still, it’s a fascinating phenomenon to watch (at least for me) and the winner is — as is always the case with capitalism — the customer; the little guy.
For starters, Brett Ratner is one of the most unfairly maligned directors out there. Why? I don’t know. But “Rush Hour” and “Family Man” are not only two terrific films — two of my favorites from the last ten years or so, but they’re VERY well directed. And if you ask me on the right day I’ll tell you “Money Talks” is the greatest movie ever made. Yes, Ratner has a few misses on his resume, but I’ll take Ratner’s post-1997 canon over Scorsese’s.
I said it.
As far as “Tower Heist,” not only is Eddie Murphy channeling his “48 Hours” days (minus that edge of anger that made him an overnight star), but the plot looks so wonderfully simple (a rarity these days), it can only miss in the execution. But not with this cast and not with this director.
Simple plots. Simple concept. Good actors. Good pacing. = My kind of movie. This is why I’m such a fan of B-movies. These hyper-complicated, 135 minute movies, where everyone is trying to show off and recreate “The Usual Suspects” — please just make it stop.
Hold my attention, put the camera on a tripod. That’s all I ask. Here’s the trailer. See if you agree.
Besides the fact that just the thought of this film makes me feel 13 again, I love that director Christopher Nolan is shooting part three in Pittsburgh. If you remember, its predecessor, “The Dark Knight,” was shot in Chicago.
Personally I’m tired of Manhattan and Los Angeles backdrops. I realize that those cities are easier to shoot in because everyone wants to go home after work, but the location and look of a film is crucial to the tone and after a while these two cities become so familiar you hardly notice them.
One problem is that neither city has changed all that much over the last couple of decades. Thanks in large part to ever-evolving fashions and automobile styles (not to mention the move from black and white to color), the New York and Los Angeles of the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s each have their own distinctive look. Unfortunately, since the 80s, very little has changed.
Time to move around some. Milwaukee is cool.
Speaking of unfairly maligned, I loved me some “Ghost Rider.” That doesn’t mean I’m blind to the film’s flaws, including a rather anti-climatic finale. But I’m a Nic Cage fan and a believer that Eva Mendes (who’s not in the sequel) has the acting chops to become a real movie star (she’s certainly all there in the looks department). The spiritual subtext of the story was, in my opinion, very well done — how about that “Penance Stare?”
Best of all, the sequel’s added the great Idris Elba to the cast.
As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t get AMC and refuse to pay another thirty bucks for 40 other channels I’ll never watch (including MSNBC), but after “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” and even the flawed “Walking Dead,” anything coming from this network is must-see once the first season is released on DVD.
One of the reasons cable shows are so superior to most network dramas is due to a shorter season. The nets produce anywhere from 20 to 24 shows per. Cable, on the other hand, only produces 12 to 13. For obvious reasons, fewer episodes usually makes for higher quality.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
CLASSIC PICK FOR SATURDAY JULY 30, 2011
8PM EST: All Quiet On The Western Front (1930) — Young German soldiers try to adjust to the horrors of World War I. Dir: Lewis Milestone Cast: Louis Wolheim, Lew Ayres, John Wray. BW-134 mins.
This classic anti-war film is 81 years old and hasn’t aged a day. Beautifully directed and acted with one of those endings that’s so subtle and perfect you never see the emotional wallop coming. This one stays with you for days afterwards and only gets better with each viewing.
Certainly, this is a message movie but there’s never any preaching or politics. Theme is king, not an agenda. Hollywood’s just greenlit a remake with Mimi Leder directing. Good luck with that.
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