Tuesday, March 3, 2009

anybody order the underwhelm?

the international--
feels, in every way, like your average james bond film. haven't seen naomi watts in such a thankless role in years, certainly not since she became a star. clive owen does what we'll call the heavy lifting, yet in such thriller-by-numbers material, it's very often the bad guys (read: character actors) who stand out. here it's broadway star brian f. o'bryne who comes off looking like a (most unassuming) badass. director tom (run, lola, run) tykwer's one slick shoot-em-up not enough to lift pic out of big budget mediocrity. he could use some help staging intimate talking (non-action) scenes. we're set up to be frightened by premise--who controls the Debt is in control; i.e., omnipotent financial power structure--yet resolution sure proves awfully simplistic.
bond: C+

crossing over
oo, this one had me cringing from the get-go. writer/director wayne kramer somehow assembled a generous cast of A-list actors--harrison ford, ashley judd, ray liotta--to have a go at his passion project. no amount of star power, however, can rescue pic from such stock direction and rubbish diaolgue. when these venerable thesps are not looking wooden, they're certainly sounding ridiculous. ambitious? sure; connect-the-dots stylings of Crash. comparisons end there.
rubbish: D

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