Category Archives: movies

Extract World Premiere at Paramount

Extract World Premiere at Paramount

ExtractMonday afternoon I decided to read through all of my unread emails. This generally just means coupon type things and some mailing lists I don’t follow religiously, but it also included emails from Austin Film Society. There are always local screenings of things and I don’t always pay the greatest attention. But, I noticed that one of them mentioned a World Premiere of Extract. That sounded interesting. I realized it was for Tuesday, the next day, and figured it would be all sold out. It wasn’t, surprisingly. It’s the WORLD Premiere of the film, I just assumed that would mean something.  Mike put some feelers out to see who of our friends would want to go. Only one other couple was game, our friends Josh and Libby — recently wedded. They are big movie folk, so they were all for it.

The ticket prices were quite steep – $35 – but I realized that it was all going towards the Texas Filmmakers’ Production Fund. That’s a great cause, so that makes the hit of the price a bit softer.

I’ve seen quite a few premieres of various sorts at the Paramount before, but I’ve never really tried to catch the red carpet stuff. Libby was really wanting to stick near the red carpet to see Jason Bateman when he arrived, so we waited out there with them. We got a good spot right inside the door, against the barrier thingies. For the 10 feet worth of red carpet, it took Mr. Bateman like 30 minutes to get to where we were. I swear he is more adorable in person than anything on the screen. So friggin’ cute! We also saw Patti Griffin, and Mike Judge while we were waiting out there.

YARRRRRRRR! Thar be SPOILERS ahead. Ye’ve been warrrrrned!

Now, let’s discuss the meat of the matter — the movie. Hmmm. It’s been a couple days, so I’ve had time to do some thinking on this. I didn’t like it. I liked certain bits here and there, and Jason Bateman was awesome. And, shockingly!!!, Ben Affleck kinda stole the show. Now, let me see… why didn’t I like it?  It was weak. The story was so jumbled and loose that it just felt like a high school student’s assignment. Mila Kunis character almost seemed completely useless. I mean, I know we have to have a love interest or affair interest in this case, but her part seemed completely tacked on. There was this gigolo that Ben Affleck’s character hired to bang Jason’s wife, played by Kristen Wiig. There was almost an element of… “Is he really banging HIS wife, or someone else?” But it wasn’t really a forced mystery, so it seemed just so badly drawn out. I’m probably not explaining this well. But, let’s just say everything in the film felt too middle of the road. Like someone had a choice in what direction to go for particular story ideas, and instead of making a confident decision… they just decided to split the difference. Which makes for a very poorly constructed weak story.  Even some of the really funny stuff in the previews, wasn’t nearly as funny in context. Which doesn’t happen often, but it hurts when it does.

I love Mike Judge. I still watch King of the Hill, and I even really liked the poorly received Idiocracy. Not cuz it was a great movie, but the ideas behind it still make me think. The quick and dirty of that movie is that all the smart people don’t breed fast enough, and over time all the really stupid mofos have breeded like bunnies and everyone in the future is pretty much the worst simpletons you can imagine. Even the people in power. Scary, scary ideas mainly cuz I can definitely see that happening. Oh, but it is a comedy. Anyway, yes, fan here. So this film is just kinda heartbreaking. He’s just so much better than this film. Hell, everyone in the film is better than this.

Poor Draco Malfoy

Poor Draco Malfoy

I’ve just returned from seeing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  I think the film was very well done. Absolutely stunning cinematography, the music was bloody brilliant, and Michael Gambon‘s Dumbledore didn’t annoy me as much as he had in previous films. However, the one thing I kept finding myself thinking is … Poor Draco.

This even shocked me. I’ve hated that damn boy since the beginning. And in the films, Tom Felton seems to make me hate Draco that much more. I don’t know whether it’s because I don’t like Felton, or he really embraces the douchey-ness of Draco. Either way, mission accomplished. But in this film, you really see Draco struggling with what is right or wrong. While all the other kids are going to quidditch matches, going into town for Butter Beers, and snogging in the hallways, poor Draco is spending his free time repairing a magical cabinet so the Death Eaters can come attack the school. You know he comes from assholes, and I’m sure he feels the need to grow up to be an asshole too… nature versus nurture and all that… but you can still see his internal struggle. It even looks like it takes a bit of a physical toll on him too. He looks paler than usual, gaunt… and if he’s not careful, that grumpy sneer/frown thing he’s got going on is gonna get stuck that way.

In the end, Draco does not have to do the awful thing he’s been tasked with. Someone else does it for him. This may be his only saving grace in this particular year at Hogwart’s. He was just not meant to be a kid. Hell, even Harry Potter gets to have more fun than this poor fellah.

But, and this just occurred to me, maybe this is a perfect representation of karma. You treat people like crap long enough, it will come back to bite you in the skinny, pale, mean ass.

He’s Soooo Dreamy! (Twilight Review)

He’s Soooo Dreamy! (Twilight Review)

Last night I went to an early preview screening of Twilight at the Bob Bullock IMAX Theatre. It was an Austin Film Society event, and Richard Linklater was the MC for the evening, as he is one of the founders of AFS. The director, Catherine Hardwicke, was also in attendance. She did work as Linklater’s Production Designer on a couple or so films, so they have some history. There was a Q&A afterwards, and it didn’t suck.

Mike, my workout bud Sarah, and my boss’ daughter Courtney were with me. I’d heard from my boss how much his daughter was into the books, so when I had an extra ticket, I offered it up. She was super excited and really sweet. I hope she enjoyed herself.

First off, let me tell you my pre-watching thoughts. I was not in love with the casting. I could definitely see Kristen Stewart as Bella. But I was really not digging on Robert Pattinson as Edward. I mean, c’mon, Edward is supposed to be this beautiful being. While Robert Pattinson isn’t unattractive, he’s just not even close to what I pictured for Edward. The rest of the cast I wasn’t too concerned with, but I wasn’t awesomely thrilled. I did hope the casting of Alice would be good, cuz she’s a fun character. To sum it up, I loved the books, so I was really wary of the movie.

Ok, now to the after-watching thoughts. Casting wasn’t as awful as I was thinking. With the exception of Peter Facinelli as Carlisle Cullen. What the hell? Bizarre. Overall, I liked it. But I didn’t find it terribly moving. Kristen Stewart was good, but didn’t have a tremendous amount of range. Shockingly, I really did enjoy Robert Pattinson’s performance. I still don’t feel like he looks like Edward. I don’t even think I would call him beautiful, as Edward is so often described in the book. Handsome, yes. Perhaps even untraditionally so, thus the allure. He’s got enough “ugly” in him to make it interesting. What do I mean by that, you may wonder? I think that the people we are drawn to in flocks have some slightly off about that beauty. And he definitely has something slightly off. But I can dig it. Anyhoo, back to the performance. I definitely felt the attraction from Edward towards Bella, but not so much in the reverse. The main part of the story, the falling in love part, was the part that I missed most. It seemed like one minute Edward was all hateful towards Bella, the next they are in complete and utter love for all eternity. Nah, not so much. Granted, this does happen in the book, but in such a way that it builds properly. I missed the buildup, cuz it just wasn’t there. My husband, Mike, also pointed out a hole to me that I probably looked over, because I’d read the book. There’s a bad vampire that gets a whiff of Bella and suddenly has to have her. So they take off running to get her away from him. However, we never really find out why does this vampire have to have HER. Why would he be willing to run all over the US tracking her down? That is covered in the book a bit more, so I guess my mind filled in the blanks.

I also didn’t love the camera work and choice of shots. I know this is supposed to be an intimate story, and a good way to get that across is close-up shots. But, yanno that adage.. too much of a good thing… definitely applies here. There was also a lot of handheld stuff, and it seemed slightly messy. The glaringly awful thing in the movie was the special effects. Wow, bad. There’s a scene where Edward exposes his skin to the sun and it “sparkles”. Man, talk about velveeta. Yeeeow. Edward’s skin overall (non-sunned) wasn’t too bad, but Carlisle’s?!?!?! Wow, let’s dip a dude in a vat of rice powder or something. Goodness. But I do need to remember that the budget for this movie was kinda low ($40mil) for such a largely hyped movie. So, they did good.

Don’t get me wrong, I did like this movie. I’m even contemplating seeing it again. And I very rarely see movies more than once in the theater. It just felt loose, watered down even. I do recommend anyone into vampire love stories with a bit of blood & action go see it. Then, if you haven’t read the book, go do that. You’ll like it even better.

7 out of 10

… monumentally awful.

… monumentally awful.

So, my first Blu-Ray on the PS3?

Hitman.

I thought an action packed movie would be good to test out the audio & video. While the thought was a decent one, my execution was sorely lacking.  I should have picked something I’d seen before, or well, anything else. This movie was horrible. This was almost as bad as Ghost Rider. This was slightly better just from the eye-candy standpoint, but that’s it. Timothy Olyphant is better looking than Nicolas Cage any day of the week.

What was wrong with the movie? Um, everything? Casting was horrible, the acting was horrible, story was shite, film style? What film style? A toddler with a hand-me-down cam could have done better.

I’m not terribly familiar with the video game the movie is based on, but I think the Hitman dude was supposed to have been raised in some weird assassin training camp for orphans. But I’m not terribly clear, cuz all you see are repeated flashbacks of some kid getting his shaved head tattooed and handed a pair of guns. And because of this lack of back story, and his seeming lack of emotion, I could have really cared less what happened to this dude. The female character was annoying as hell. I don’t know if they were trying for a romantic thing or not, but if they were, I laugh. Pathetic! They couldn’t even come up with decent excuses to get the chick naked, so they just make her naked randomly.

And the audio! Holy hell. I could have done better with a tape recorder. I don’t understand, but a very large portion of the dialogue was looped — meaning re-recorded and put on top of the video. Sometimes it was so far off, I didn’t even realize it was supposed to be that character speaking. And I’m pretty sure they looped the audio with different voices than the original actors. And some of the people that seemed off were quasi-known people. So, you’re bound to know that isn’t their real voice. I was just shocked at how much looping there was. You are almost always going to have some, and it’s usually done as well as it can be, but this. Man, shocking.

So, because of how bad it was, I didn’t even pay attention to Blu-Ray picture quality. It could have been the best transfer ever known to man, and I would not have cared. Video quality can only help so much.

I almost think I should recommend people watch it cuz it was just so bad. You just have to understand how bad it was!

So, yah, go check it out, and let me know what you think :D

SXSW 2008 – Day 9

SXSW 2008 – Day 9

Blah… That was my last SXSW movie of 2008. I started typing this March 15th, the last day of SXSW, and much like my SXSW 2008 experience, it petered out. So, here it is, so I can continue on with other things. Sorry about it’s incompleteness.

The last day of the film fest. What to see, what to see.

Well, I was up really late messing with the mac, so I missed the movie I wanted to see at 11am. I wasn’t crushed. Next movie is RSO [Registered Sex Offender]. Strange, it’s a comedy. It was filmed here in Austin, and I did have the chance once to see it “In Progress”, but I didn’t go then. I need to starting going to those AFS in progress things. Anyway, so, I started the trek downtown, and was dreading the chore of finding parking. I actually found parking pretty quick, and close to the Alamo Ritz. As I was walking from parking lot to theater, it dawned on me that I just paid $10 for parking in order to see one movie that I don’t have to pay for. Seems kinda munged. I also notice that downtown is SLAMMED. Sixth street is closed and there are stages set up everywhere.

SXSW 2008 – Day 8

SXSW 2008 – Day 8

Yah. I was tired. So, I actually did not see one SXSW movie today. I did watch movies though. As weird as that might be. I wasn’t in the mood to be crammed in a theater with a bunch of people, but I was still in the mood to watch cheezy flix. I went to H.E.B. to get some stuff for lunch, and then decided to look at one of those DVD rental dispenser things. I ended up getting 3 movies – 3’s the max. I rented Fantastic Four 2 (sucked, I wasn’t expecting it not to), Resident Evil 3 (not bad, I didn’t hate it like the first 2), and 30 Days of Night (quite impressed, but then I had no expectations). I also spent my entire day messing with the Mac, which I have now dubbed flicks, for obvious reasons. And for those that aren’t finding it obvious, it’s because I pretty much bought the machine to get my crazy Final Cut Pro editing on.

Yah, so Day 8. No SXSW films. Suckage.

SXSW 2008 – Day 7

SXSW 2008 – Day 7

As the SXSW days go by, I am finding it harder and harder to make myself go to any films. My original plan for today’s filmgoing was 5 movies. I made it to 2, and one of them wasn’t on the plan at all. So, the day began with me missing my first film that started at 11am, so that made me rethink. So, I decided to head down to Alamo South Lamar for the 1:30pm showing of Humboldt County. I quickly read that it was about a dude sort of trapped in aHumboldt County community of pot farmers, and that Fairuza Balk was in it. Since I love Fairuza, and pot seems kinda cool too, I decided what the heck. I make it a bit late for seating, but 30 minutes before the film starts. I get a crapcrap seat in the front, but whatever. 1:30pm comes and goes, and the film still isn’t starting. After another 5 minutes, some SXSW dude comes out and says that the film was so popular they opeend a 2nd theater, and now they have to link the projectors together so they can play it on both screens simultaneously. We get a couple more updates, and the movie finally starts around 2:30pm. Since my next film was in the same theater, I figure I’ll be ok for timing.

The first shot of the movie was almost painfully long as it slowly zoomed out of our lead actor’s face to show us the classroom environment of a medical school. Despite the slow shot, the film actually gets going pretty quick. I liked that the film didn’t necessarily glorify pot and pot farmers, but it used the whole setting as a real-life classroom for our medical student lead. The film was very nicely shot, and I really loved the use of late afternoon/early evening light. I’ll have to remember that for future filming myself. Maybe it’ll allow me to get away with reflectors instead of full-on light setups. Blech. Of course, the beautiful setting of the woods added to the environment and the way the light spills through the trees and whatnot. Ok, I’ll try to stop with the technical commentary, but I really did appreciate the great lighting. The film was really good, and some excellent performances by Jeremy Strong (lead, Peter), Brad Dourif, Frances Conroy, and even the cutie 11yr old Madison Davenport. 8 out of 10

Edited to add: Fairuza isn’t in the film too terribly long. She’s basically the cinematic device to get our lead to the potfarming community. However, there was a great scene of her singing in a night club, and wow. She was amazing. She has a great voice, and I was unaware of that. Nice bit of a surprise. She’s grown up quite a bit from the very first time I ever saw her in Valmont. She just gets more gorgeous every time I see her… which isn’t nearly often enough, IMO.

I stayed at Alamo South Lamar to catch the documentary In a Dream. This seemed a bit unique to me. A documentary about an artist, Isaiah Zagar, and his family, made by that man’s son, Jeremiah. I would imagine most people would want to show their family as a wonderful beautiful thing, and try to hide all the uncomfortable secrets. Jeremiah Zagar does the opposite. He exposes his father, mother and brother’s life as it is. When it’s good, it’s good. When it’s not, it’s not held back. This was a beautiful film. I didn’t know anything about Isaiah Zagar or his art before this film. But afterwards I feel like I’ve seen his art, and I’ve seen the pain that inspires it, and it’s all beautiful. 9 out of 10

This might even have been my last film for SXSW 2008. I’m just not feeling the movie love this year. But, who knows, we’ll see.

SXSW 2008 – Day 6

SXSW 2008 – Day 6

So, got home early-ish last night, and yet still went to bed late cuz I was playing on the Mac, natch. I also knew my first movie wasn’t going to be until 1:30pm, so no big thang. Well that all went to shot at about 6am when I woke up with a lovely case of acid reflux. I couldn’t find my reflux meds for a while, so I ended up staying awake. I don’t know if you know how much it sucks to lay down while stomach nastiness is already trying to crawl up your esophagus. Well, not fun. So, I decided I could kill time until my first move by – you guessed it – messing with the Mac.

My plan was to head down early to get some food at Wiki Wiki Teriyaki, but that went in the crapper cuz I run late like that. So, hungry, I head to Paramount. While on my way I get a text fromBananaz Rob asking if I was going to see the Gorillaz documentary Bananaz. I texted my confirmation, then went into Paramount. I fumbled with bag, beverage, and popcorn. After settling in I get a text from Rob saying “WTF?” I’m all wuh? Then he texts me “How’s the popcorn?” I start looking around and lo and behold, Rob and Alev were like 5 seats down my aisle. I was seriously baffled cuz I didn’t know they had the afternoon off. They joined me on my side of the row, we chat, we laugh, and I spill my popcorn everywhere. Cue movie.

WTF? Indeed. I think I now know less about the Gorillaz than before the movie. I’m just so damn confused. I could rarely understand anything that was being said. When I could understand, I just never understood what the hell they were even talking about. Other than a slight indication of chronology due to when albums were released and touring, I have no idea. I just have no idea. If this review has confused you. Join the friggin’ club. 3 out of 10

Cook, as in cookin’ meth. County, as in yanno a state type taxing district, but probably more like country. Thus Cook County. This is basically the story of a family of cookers/users of meth and the path their lives take because of it. It shows a small slice of the meth lab life and what people are capable of stooping to. Abe (Ryan Donowho) has been abandoned by his father Sonny (Xander Berkeley) for over two years. He was left to stay with his Uncle Bump (Anson Mount). Sonny returns suddenly with a new truck and no explanation to where he’s been.

I’ve definitely seen Xander Berkeley better. However, Anson Mount was unbelievably awesome. His performance was just insane. Also, it’s been a while since I’ve seen him on one TV show or another, but damn he was skinny in this film. Nasty skinny. Like meth addict skinny :D Seriously excellent tweaker performance. Donowho was also quite stellar. I knew I recognized him but I couldn’t figure out from where. After the film I went to IMDB on my itty bitty RAZR and found the only other thing I would have seen him in was The OC. He’s a cutie and he is quite talented. Overall, I would say the film felt a teensy bit sluggish, but it was still quite good. 7.5 out of 10

I had a bit of a wait between Cook County and Texas Shorts. So, to kill time I went to Whole Earth Provisions to scout out their selection of Reef flip-flops. As of right now, their selection kinda sucks. However, I might wear flips year round, but I guess the vast majority don’t. Regardless of crappy selection I was still able to find me a pair… as well as a T-shirt, lip balm, and some bug bite balm. I always have issues with bug bites, so I’m willing to try anything. Ok, now back to the theater for some shorts. I am a lot more curious about shorts this year, and these being from Texas make me even more inquisitive.

I didn’t realize this was the premiere of Texas Shorts. The theater was packed! I ended up sitting next to one of the actors in a short. We talked a little about short films and the complete awesomeness of Alamo’s fried pickles. MmmmmMMmmm, fried pickles. The shorts were eh. Most were pretty bad, but the last one I saw was really good. I’ll have to look up the name of that one.

I left Texas Shorts early, and I didn’t feel bad about it. I know, I’m awful. Mike was already in line at Paramount for Choke novel. He’s the dude who wrote Fight Club, among other things. I also knew that . I didn’t know anything more about this film except that it’s based on a Chuck PalahniukAngelica Huston was in it I quickly learned that Sam Rockwell was the main character and that this was gonna be funny. Victor (Rockwell) is a sex addict. It’s the first thing you learn, actually. I’ve always enjoyed Sam Rockwell and this just made me love him much more. He’s just awesome. The film overall seemed simple. But not in a bad way at all. Like it was filmed in such a way that you don’t pay attention to the filmmaking, just the story and the actors. Well done. 8 out of 10

SXSW 2008 – Day 5

SXSW 2008 – Day 5

Let me begin by saying, I’m slightly disappointed in SXSW this year. There just seemed to be more great narratives last year than this. And there seem to be a ton more documentaries at SXSW thisShot in Bombay year. I can appreciate a good doc, but I am a narrative person. I tell you this because I honestly could no get my butt motivated to go see any films until 5pm on Tuesday. Let me also add that I do have a strong desire to play with my new Mac. So, I’m sure it’s a combo of crappy movies & a great new toy.

I met up with Rob & Alev at Alamo South Lamar for Shot in Bombay, a documentary by Liz Mermin. This is a documentary that follows the making of a Bollywood film – Shootout at Lakhandwala – and kind of all the political crap around it because of it’s subject matter, as well as the court crap the star has to deal with continually. I guess I thought this was more about Bollywood in general. But whatever, this was ok. Nothing great, nothing awful. I guess I’ll be like Simon Cowell here, and say it was forgettable. Unfortunately, it wasn’t “Mind Blowing!” at all. 5 out of 10

The only other film I saw this fine day was the gamer documentary Second Skin. It follows gamers and the different ways the games they play effect their daily lives. It ranges from the functioning gamer to the downright full-on addicted gamer who loses everything. Very well shot, for sure. However, I was disappointed. Much like Lord of the Rings, it seemed to have like 5 endings. This film could very much benefit from an editor that wasn’t the director. I felt like it wobbled a lot and it had a very weak core. BUT, I thought there was definitely enough for a great doc. It needs restructuring for sure. It also definitely needs to be shorter. There was a lady in the film that I think was supposed to come across as sympathetic, but she came across as downright creepy. Her son committed suicide due to gaming, according to her. However, just in the bit that she’s in there, I could see her having a bigger hand in that event. Anyhoo, again, it seems to be my theme of SXSW this year… it was good, but not great. 6 out of 10

SXSW 2008 – Day 4

SXSW 2008 – Day 4

The Lost CoastI was running just a smidge late, but I made it to The Lost Coast at the Alamo Ritz. It was my first movie at the Ritz for SXSW. I ended up with a rather bad seat. But oh well. That’ll teach me for being late. The movie is about three high school friends that sort of reunite for Halloween. The night sees them dealing with their past as they try to make it to a party and then trekking to the beach. I really liked this film. It was simple, quiet, and gorgeously shot.. but not in that, “I’m a great cinematographer” way. Just simple, but beautiful. 8.5 out of 10

I got right back in line at the Ritz to try to get into A Necessary Death. Ok, I will be honest here. I thought this was an actual documentary. The film is a movie about a movie. The documentary being filmed can be best described by it’s classified ad… “Documentary Filmmaker looking for suicidal individual to follow from first preparation to final act.” I just couldn’t believeA Necessary Death that there would be anyone that would do this sort of thing, so of course I had to see it. What I liked most about the film was how it stands alone regardless of it being real or not. I didn’t even realize it wasn’t real until the credits started rolling and I saw “Script by”. Maybe that makes me really twisted, but whatever. Very well done, and I’m betting it didn’t even cost that much. I need to come up with cheap, controversial, awesome, film idea stuff too. The Q&A had almost everyone involved it would seem — the producer, director, and all stars (except one). It better get released. It would seriously be an injustice in the film world if this never saw the light of day. 9 out of 10

I got back in line for The Black List — a documentary where Elvis Mitchell interviews various African-American celebrities of various sorts. It’s a way to reclaim the term blacklist from its negative connotations. This one is hard to describe, but I really enjoyed this film. The interview subjects were really well known people, and it seemed that during the interview they were more themselves and less of their public personas. It was really well filmed, and I was uber impressed at how relaxed all the subjects appeared. And, you will have the opportunity to see this on HBO later this year. Keep your eye out. 8.5 out of 10

I attempted to hoof it fast over to the Paramount to get into Judd Apatow’s latest — Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I was late, and it was apparently full. So I got in line for the next film, Stuart Townsend’s directorial debut, Battle in Seattle. I knew I wanted to see this film, cuz Stuart Townsend is a hottie (yes, I knew he wasn’t in the movie), and his woman Charlize Theron was in it. However, that was the extent of my knowledge of this movie. I had no clue what it was even about. Turns out, it is based around the true events of World Trade Organization protests in Seattle in 1999. Wow, super impressed by this movie. I love these little types of surprises. Random movie turns out to be awesome. Sweet. I highly recommend this movie, from both the film standpoint and the historical standpoint. I felt a bit like a lump, cuz I had no idea about these events at all. But I’m guessing that might be common. And, I think that might be a point of making a film like this — to keep the information in front of people so they don’t forget or they get informed for the first time. Lovedlovedloved it. 9 out of 10

Edited to add: I had a request for more info on the actor’s performances in Battle in Seattle. First, let me say THANKS! for reading. I love to know that there are people besides my family that read this. Back to the actors… Martin Henderson was awesome. I think the only other thing I’ve seen him in is Bride & Prejudice (which I adored), so I had no real preconceived ideas about him. I thoroughly enjoyed his performance. My only criticism about it was I never really truly felt his motivation for being where he was. I know in the story it’s because his brother died during some protest in some way. But, in the performance, I just wasn’t feeling that. I definitely felt his passion for the work he was doing, but the brother thing just felt like info. Charlize Theron was just OK. Woody Harrelson was pretty good. He seems to be getting better as of late, or I just dislike him less. Anyhoo, I think their relationship just felt odd to me. Hmmm, I don’t think I ever truly believed them as a couple. But whatever, still overall good. Michelle Rodriguez… I usually just can’t even stand to watch her on screen. I loved her in Girlfight, but since then, she’s given me the willies. But I really liked her in this movie. Her performance was strong, but subtle as it needed to be. And a surprise in the film was one Mister Andre Benjamin (aka Andre 3000 from Outkast). He’s getting quite good with his acting skills. I won’t say he’s in Mos Def‘s arena yet, but he’s definitely working at it. He plays the upbeat, slightly comedic portion of our protesting team in the film. I would say Andre Benjamin, Martin Henderson, and Woody Harrelson’s performances were the best of the bunch, and what really made the film for me.

Edited again: I forgot to talk about Channing Tatum‘s performance. I wonder if that means something. Actually, I quite liked him. He plays a SWAT type police dude working with Woody Harrelson’s character. He starts out as a hardass against all the pansy protestors, but due to some experiences, starts to feel/understand them. I’ve not seen anything else he’s done yet. I was almost going to see Stop-Loss which he is also in, but the laziness had set in. However, having seen him in Battle in Seattle, I did almost get off my butt to go. Looking at his current filmography might scare you, with all the teen pop movies he seems to enjoy doing, but do not let this fool you. He’s actually quite talented. I’ll have to keep a look out.