Sunday, September 30, 2007
Movie Reviews: THE KINGDOM & BUG
FBI Special Agent Ronald Fleury (Jamie Foxx) assembles an eclectic team (Jennifer Garner, Chris Cooper, Jason Bateman) for a mission inside Saudi Arabia to find and capture a terrorist responsible for a deadly attack on Americans. However, the agents find themselves strangers in a very strange land until a native police captain takes them under his wing and helps them navigate the deadly streets of Riyadh.
Cast Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Chris Cooper, Jason Bateman, Jeremy Piven, Danny Huston (more)
Director(s) Peter Berg
Writer(s) Matthew Michael Carnahan
Status In theaters (wide)
Release Date Sept. 28, 2007
Running Time 110 minutes
MPAA Rating R - for intense sequences of graphic brutal violence, and for language
The Kingdom is an action thriller that thinks it's a lot smarter and meaningful that it actually this. Peter Berg does a good job of directing this film and gives it a nice sense of realism with shaky camera angles and documentary style shots. Sadly the story breaks down into a series of tired clichés from other action movies as the cast is given very little to actually work with. The characters themselves are pretty much prototypical hero characters; Foxx as the super agent going against orders, Garner as the super female agent, Bateman as the wise cracking tech guy and Cooper as the good old boy. The actors do the best they can with the material with Cooper and Bateman really shining through all things considered. Ashraf Barhom also delivers a fairly impressive performance as the Saudi police office in charge of the investigation. The story's failing become more and more apparent as the movie moves forward and become more about car chases and bloodshed than anything more cerebral. The Kingdom's answer to everything seems to be fairly simple; shoot first, ask questions later. This film takes what could be powerful subject matter and takes the easy way out. As a whole, this film is a soulless action flick that takes current situation simply as a back drop while never addressing the real world issues or consequences.
A weirdo war veteran (Michael Shannon) who suffers hallucinations about insects
shacks up in an Oklahoma City motel with Agnes (Ashley Judd), a lonely waitress on the run from her abusive husband (Harry Connick Jr.).
Cast Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Michael Shannon, Lynn Collins, Brian F. O'Byrne (more)
Director(s) William Friedkin
Writer(s) Tracy Letts
Status On DVD
Release Date May 25, 2007
DVD Release Date Sept. 25, 2007
Running Time 102 minutes
MPAA Rating R - for some strong violence, sexuality, nudity, language and drug
Bug is the kind of claustrophobic neurotic film that will not appeal to everyone's taste but for those that can find the beauty of the direction and story will find quite a bit to like here in William Friedkin's mind warping film. Ashley Judd supplies a stripped down performance, both literally and physically, with no pretense of stardom apparent. It is both required and needed for this film. Michael Shannon delivers a wonderfully schizophrenic performance where he can go from childlike to terrifying in a matter of moments. William Friedkin infuses the film, which more or less occurs in a single room through, with a sufficient amount of style and flair to keep the proceedings both intriguing and disturbing. As the film moves toward its conclusion the visuals provide the necessary amount of discomfort and oddity to visualize the two leads break from reality. As mentioned, this film will not be for all audiences especially in the later half as the performances become more and more over the top and the audience is left to ponder what actually happened once the credits roll.