Wednesday, May 27, 2009

BACKDRAFT and the GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE

So as promised, I watched BACKDRAFT. This film has aged well in some ways and is still partially enjoyable. But for the most part, I don't care to see it ever again. Kurt Russell holds it down and actually acts. Ron Howard's creepy brother fits as a guy who works in a morgue. And Scott Helicopter Glenn's presence brings enough manliness to nullify the milquetoast femaleness demonstrated by that Baldwin boy. There isn't much to talk about in regards to this film. It is Hollywood big, and it is interesting to note that the captain from Firehouse 17 made the transfer to Tommy Gavin's firehouse on RESCUE ME. The film is plagued by this horrid music, though. Throughout the film I was thinking it was a Hootie and the Blowfish ripoff. Then I was thinking it was some bad Bruce Springsteen. It turned out to be Bruce Hornsby and the Range. Horrible. Bottom line: BACKDRAFT doesn't hold up over time. That thing is dated.

Still haven't made it back to MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS. . I want to, but after that firefighting female Baldwin movie, I decided to aim my sights on SHARKS IN VENICE starring a now corpulent Stephen Baldwin. Truth be told, I focused on that film long enough to generate a few conversations and watch a few youtube vids on the subject. I think I am done with killer sharks and Baldwins for the time being.

So I did the fanboy 180 and stepped away from testosterone, effects, and comic bookery and watched THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE with my girlfriend. I have to say that for an experienced director, Steven Soderbergh hasn't brought all of his skills to the table on this one. The big news is that THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE is starring Sasha Grey, a real porn star. Sasha isn't given much to work with. She is a call-girl with an understanding personal-trainer boyfriend. The film is ripe for levels of conflict that are only barely touched. The comparison of her prostitution to his the level of self-whoring that he must do to make it in the personal trainer business doesn't wash. The dialogue comes off perfectly, and the film is beautifully shot. But this film is just some unsatisfying speculation that refuses to hit the painful, abrasive notes of TRAFFIC or SEX LIES and VIDEOTAPE. This 77 minute film deals with superficial people, but in its presentation, the film itself is superficial. The viewer is left with too little to work with. We are left with a hollow film about hollow people. Perhaps, that is what Soderbergh wanted to do, but this film is far from whatever truth it needed to deliver. A new director could have hit the Hollywood scene with this film and great things would have been expected from them the future. However, Soderbergh seems to have done this film half-heartedly and while distracted. He is capable of better.

I should also cite that I took down Woody Allen's ZELIG recently too. I want so much to like this guy, but movies like this make me want to break his glasses on his face. Next up? I am thinking I need some Bacon in my life. Kevin Bacon to be exact, and his completely unsung DEATH SENTENCE.