Monday, May 01, 2006

Happy May Day Everyone! - May Movie Challenge, and Review - Man on Fire

You know, I have noticed a pattern going on with my movie watching, because of the way I set up my Netflix queue. Every once in a while, I move all the upcoming releases to the top of my queue so I have first dibs when they come out. Unfortunately this system doesn't really work all that well due to Netflix throttling, but I guess in theory, it may still be working to some extent. My thought was that while I wait for those movies to be released, I would be sent older movies in my queue, and then I'd get the new ones as they come out. Well there are just so many new releases to watch, that instead I end up watching almost only new releases. Well, I am a little over the newer movies. SO I thought, to spice things up a bit for me and the blog, I would set myself a goal of watching ONLY movies at least 20 years old for the entire month of May. Well, guess what? That starts today, May Day. I probably won't watch any tonight as I am still out of town and planning on having dinner with a cousin tonight. Tomorrow we're making the 12 hour trek (by car) back to Denver. But Wednesday it begins for reals!

Last night we marked the end of new movies with Man on Fire. I suppose now is as good a time as any to review it...

Man on Fire (Scott, 2004)
An ex-assassin (Denzel Washington) becomes a bodyguard to a little girl (Dakota Fanning) in Mexico City and will stop at nothing to get some answers and revenge when she is kidnapped and presumably killed.
Even though I am not a Denzel fan, I became interested in seeing this one listening to the director's commentary on Domino. Tony Scott, who directed both movies, said he enjoyed experimenting with incorporating text into the image in Man on Fire, and that this movie was sort of a precursor to Domino in its experiments with alternative film techniques. The text play was interesting, but very difficult to read, so we had to either rewind a lot or miss much of what was said. I enjoyed seeing Denzel looking really haggard as a longtime drunk, since I think he gets most of his accolades based on his good looks. Also, the visual texture is rich, and Dakota Fanning brings real credibility and heart with her performance. But there are so many cliché shots and obligatory scenes, that I couldn't love this movie. One such scene is the one where the drunk decides to give up alcohol with one decisive closing of the bottle. Too bad that was handled in such a traditional way when Scott managed to depict Denzel's previous loss of mental acuity in such an original way. Also, there are some gratuitous women-in-bras shots. And apparently women in Mexico always wear lacy black bras, no matter what they are wearing on top.

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