A swinger and director of smart action movies.
Swingers (1996) -- A realistic story about guys who aren't so much losers as they are regular guys. Very funny throughout, with some surreal and meta touches that don't get in the way. The hangup scene at the end is always great to me.
The Bourne Identity (2002) -- Thrillers usually aren't very thrilling to me, but this one stands out, in spite of the fact that the Matt Damon character is pretty self-absorbed (killing everyone on the street just to save his ass, for example) and we're supposed to root for him. A pretty fun spy movie on the whole. (See Paul Greengrass for the sequel, The Bourne Supremacy.)
Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005) -- The screen is full of things getting blown up, people getting shot, cars crashing, folks flying out of windows, and all the usual stuff we're bored of by now, but what makes this movie interesting is that these things are working symbolically to serve the real story rather than just being there for the sake of seeing yet another explosion. The symbols are simple and understandable by anyone, which is why this movie not only works for someone with a brain, but also as a fun popcorn movie. The story of a loveless marriage is shown with the usual coldness, sneaking around, and avoidance, but this time instead of sneaking around with another lover or even just preferring the company of the TV, the second life is one of being a super spy. Once things come to a head and the potential divorce sets in, the movie literalizes the feelings of wanting to kill your spouse and also the fear of the other person doing damage to you and the things you value, complete with the ice cold nature and brutal sarcasm that is now amplified. Knives are thrown; cars are crashed into each other on suburban lawns. Some of these things happen in real life. In the movie, luckily, it's played both for thrills and big laughs. The funniest moments involve Jolie trying to blow Pitt's head off with a shotgun or Pitt kicking the shit out of Jolie while she's on the ground during a big fight. Of course, this kind of violence often leads to a rekindled passion, and it certainly does in this movie since (because of good-looking Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt) the screen is dripping with sex the entire two hours. The movie's final image is one of a marriage working in perfect harmony, two bodies moving as one, each helping the other to destroy the evil that is attempting to break them up--here in the form of black-masked guys being taken out with huge machine guns. I'm not saying the movie is perfect (it's probably too long) or that it's not sometimes typical (one of their conflicts is discussed during a tango; "The Girl from Ipanema" is played as elevator music during a pause in the action), but if you're a sucker for action movies but wish they were a little smarter and had more of a point, this is almost as good as they get.
Copyright (c) Aug 2003 - Mar 2008 by Rusty Likes Movies