HALF PAST DEAD (2002)

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Elizabeth

Finally, a movie bringing together Steven Seagal and Ja Rule together. After audience pleas on what they really wanted to see in a movie, the film gods smiled down upon us and brought about Half Past Dead.

Half Past Dead is the first movie I’ve seen in a long time that literally serves no other purpose than to be “an action flick.” Helicopter crashes, explosions, gunfire, rocket launchers, undercover cops, rogue cops, fast cars, and even a mid-air fight that takes place on randomly hanging chains all make it into Half Past Dead. What is the plot of Half Past Dead? It doesn’t matter. The majority of it takes place in a prison, there’s a Supreme Court Justice being held hostage, as well as a death row inmate who wants to die (not the best choice in hostage), and they’re all either looking for either escape from prison or $200 million worth of gold. They eventually find the gold, though not in the prison, and it ends up being a box of maybe 200 gold bars. Is one gold bar worth $1 million? I’m not going to pretend to know anything about the rate of gold, but it doesn’t seem likely.

The real star of Half Past Dead is not Ja Rule, but Ja Rule’s fucking gross expressions, mostly consisting of licking his lips with a smirk on his face while looking the overly-sexualized thief up and down. This is a move that doesn’t strike sexual arousal into the hearts of females, but more like disgust and slight fear.

I would say the overall best part of Half Past Dead was Chris constantly thinking it was called, and referring to it as, Left for Dead.

Christopher

This gem came from the brilliant mind of a man who loves video games way too much, thinks Ja Rule and Steven Seagal are the two greatest badass and topical people on earth, and owned the leftover set from some cheap TV show. There are not too many action movies that keep me engaged throughout but THIS movie . . . well this movie isn’t that much different. It’s certainly not boring but it impossible take anything seriously. Anything. When viewing the behind the scenes videos it was apparent that all the actors loved the director because he let them, “do whatever they wanted.” And that was extremely apparent. The fact that someone thought this was a cool, modern film makes it all that much more brilliant. But much like watching wrestling alone this film is not for solitary viewing. If you choose to partake in its true brilliance please watch it with a few friends.

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ZERO DARK THIRTY (2012)

jessica-chastain-zero-dark-thirty

Christopher
There is a lot of hubbub about this movie which has me a little nervous about talking and it. Not so much that the internet will react negatively to my comments but more so that I really have no idea what to say. I know the basic information about the killing of bin Ladin but it’s certainly not something I have researched. All I really know to say is that it’s bizarre and stupid that this movie came out so close to the event but I do believe that this is an incredible movie.
Also, it’s a film that has a lot to it but who would have thought it would be the film to bring about a scene between James Gandalfini and Captain Jack (Doctor Who)?

 

Elizabeth

Wednesday night Chris and I saw a free preview screening of Zero Dark Thirty, which I had wanted to see but was also a little nervous about. Movies about war aren’t really my favorite for a number of reasons, and I fully expected to be stressed while watching it, which ended up being completely accurate.

Zero Dark Thirty is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a bad movie. But is it a good movie? I almost have the same conflicting feelings about saying the movie was good as I did about being happy about someone’s death, even if that someone happened to be Osama bin Laden. I think a lot of that boils down to the timing of this movie being too soon after the actual assassination of bin Laden. A year and a half isn’t enough time to separate the movie from the actual event.

The movie opens with a black screen, only playing audio of 911 calls and voicemails left by September 11 victims. While I think this is sort of a cheap tactic, it can’t help but be an effective reminder of the human element that was at stake in searching for bin Laden. I had a bit of a hard time following the story at the beginning, a combination of having little knowledge of the politics and events themselves as well as just not being great with political/espionage movies in general. I feel like I always have a little trouble following movies like that. In my defense, I think it can be a sign of weak storytelling if someone with no knowledge of the subject can’t follow what’s happening.

There’s too much of a mix of fact and fiction here: for such a huge and recent event, it’s not fair for the filmmakers to make the audience pick and choose what they know about the subject versus what’s being shown on screen. With movies like this, I feel like you have to go all the way, making a borderline documentary, or fictionalize it entirely. Maybe that’s just me, but I think the whole thing could have benefited from being made much later.

That being said, it was nice to see Jessica Chastain in something other than fucking Tree of LIfe, which I hate so much. Despite playing a pretty one-dimensional character, she did a good job here.