Tag Archives: Salt

Oscar Predictions: Sound Mixing and Editing

23 Feb

In my second Oscar Prediction post I will tackle both Sound categories, the Mixing and Editing ones, both of which, I believe, are all but sewn up by a certain mind-bending summer blockbuster.

BEST SOUND MIXING

Nominees

  • Inception (Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick)
  • The King’s Speech (Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen and John Midgley)
  • Salt (Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan and William Sarokin)
  • The Social Network (Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten)
  • True Grit (Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland)

I honestly cannot see how Inception could lose this one, the work done here, done by the same trio that was nominated for working on The Dark Knight, is just mesmerizing, mixing the sound of three very intricate dream levels and music and a huge amount of elements, it’s all seriously great stuff.

However, if an upset were to somehow occur, I could only comprehend it being at the hands of the team that worked on The Social Network, that film was extremely dialogue-driven and the mixing of it, with many times the dialogue overlapping and with the background noises blending in, was superbly done. The group of four who worked on this one was the same which was nominated before for David Fincher’s previous movie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and two of them already have two Oscars (David Parker won for The Bourne Ultimatum and The English Patient, while Michael Semanick won for King Kong and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King).

Should Win: Inception
Will Win: Inception

BEST SOUND EDITING

Nominees

  • Inception (Richard King)
  • Toy Story 3 (Tom Myers and Michael Silvers)
  • TRON: Legacy (Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague)
  • True Grit (Skip Lievsay and Craig Berkey)
  • Unstoppable (Mark P. Stoeckinger)

Don’t expect this award to go to anyone else other than to Inception‘s Richard King, who already won twice before, in 2008 for The Dark Knight and in 2003 for Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. The work he does here is sublime, coming up with a really neat sound difference between the dream and waking worlds.

Should Win: Inception
Will Win: Inception

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Oscar Nominations: My Reactions

25 Jan

The Oscar nominations were announced bright and early this morning. And while most of the nominees were predictable, there were still quite a bit of storylines to take out of the morning’s announcements.

Firstly, of course, the outrageous snub of Christopher Nolan in the Best Director category, Inception might have made the Best Picture ballot and Mr. Nolan himself got his second career Screenplay nod, but the Academy yet again failed to mention him for Best Director to make room for the Coen brothers. Another snub was The Town, which ended up with a sole Oscar nomination and got snubbed in the Best Picture as well as Director and Screenplay races, the films nominated instead were still quite deserving, but still, too little love bestowed on such a great film.

Then, on a far more positive note, this was also the year in which films that came out of Sundance came out strong at the Oscars, which is terrific news for the independent film business, The Kids Are All Right and Winter’s Bone both got 4 nominations in major races, Animal Kingdom got a Best Supporting Actress bid, and four out of the five Best Documentary nominees were shown in Park City a year ago.

As for what the nominations will mean come the big night on February 27th, well, The King’s Speech certainly got a huge boost today, scoring an even dozen nominations, the most out of any film this year. That has some people jumping from The Social Network‘s bandwagon into the one driven by Harvey Weinstein, since for the last several decades the movie with the most nominations has won the Best Picture race 75% of the time. Now, let’s play statistics for a while here, I actually still think The Social Network will still win this for now, but the stock on The King’s Speech has certainly risen in the last few weeks. First, of course, was Saturday’s PGA win, and considering that association has bestowed its award to the eventual Best Picture winner 13 out of the last 20 years it means it has the odds going for it.

But then again, lets not forget just how much The Social Network has going for itself, it pretty much swooped the Critic’s groups awards, including big wins at the Globes and the National Board of Review. Not to mention that David Fincher is the clear front-runner to win not only the Best Director Oscar, but the DGA honors that will be announced on Saturday. And really, the Best Director winner is always considered the likely victor of the big race and, in fact, the winner of the DGA award has actually went on to have their film win the Best Picture Oscar 33 times in the last 40 years.

So, who really has the advantage? I honestly don’t know, this really is one seriously tough race to call, and I won’t call it until all the remained precursors are done with. Yes, the DGA will most likely go to The Social Network, but then the BAFTAs will presumably be all over The King’s Speech considering it’s a home-grown film. The PGA win by Tom Hooper’s film was big, yes, but so were the many Critic’s Associations and Globes wins by David Fincher’s movie. So, if I may interject, I think that the one awards show that may be a big indicator as to what will happen on Oscar night will be the SAGs, taking place this coming Sunday.

Hear me out for a while, the SAG obviously doesn’t have a Best Picture award, but rather a Best Ensemble one, meaning it will honor the combined acting performances of the cast in a film. And while I still think that the front-runner for that one is The Fighter (which has four seriously spectacular performances), I can see an upset happening courtesy of The King’s Speech. The Social Network won’t win that one, it has some great performances but it can’t compete acting-wise with those two other films, so that race will be the one to prove just how much support The King’s Speech has. And if it wins that one, then I probably will update my predictions and consider it the front-runner for the Oscar, because, remember, the SAGs have many times served as indicators of Oscar upsets, I’m obviously referring to 1998, when the SAG went to Shakespeare in Love, the same film that went on to win the Best Picture Oscar over the clear favorite, Saving Private Ryan, and most recently in 2005, when Crash ended up with the SAG win and ended up upsetting Brokeback Mountain for the Academy’s top honor.

So yes, this will be a Best Picture race for the ages, one I’m really excited for and one that will come down to the very end. Will The King’s Speech end up with the win? Consolidating itself as the biggest Oscar bait there ever was in 2010, a biopic about British monarchy counting with excellent performances all around and a spectacular director working form a brilliant script. Or, will The Social Network prevail? The film with very young up-and-coming actors, directed by a director that started out working on music videos and then went on to create some of the most masterful and popular films of the last decade and a half, one about a modern phenomenon and full of quick-witted, very fast and talkative scenes. It will be a New School vs. Old School battle to the very end, the historical dramas have fared very well in the past, I’m thinking Gandhi or The English Patient, but as of late, with winners like The Hurt Locker and No Country for Old Men, it feels as though the Academy is skewing more towards films oriented to younger audiences with a more gritty sort of feel. We’re in for one very entertaining race to the finish line.

But enough about the big race, I’m sure we’ll talk much more about that in the near future, but for now let us revise all the nominations announced by the Academy today.

BEST PICTURE

  • 127 Hours
  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • Inception
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network
  • Toy Story 3
  • True Grit
  • Winter’s Bone

All the usual suspects here. I went 9 for 10 as far as my predictions go, considering Winter’s Bone felt the love from the Academy big time today and crept into the big party, throwing out my original prediction for the tenth slot: The Town. Again, as for who will actually win it, I have no idea, it’s a big split between The Social Network and The King’s Speech, and we’ll have a clearer idea of the state of the race once the remaining precursors are all said and done.

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Darren Aronofsky (for Black Swan)
  • Ethan Coen and Joel Coen (for True Grit)
  • David Fincher (for The Social Network)
  • Tom Hooper (for The King’s Speech)
  • David O. Russell (for The Fighter)

I went 4 for 5 in this one, considering I predicted the horribly snubbed Christopher Nolan to be invited to the party instead of the Coen brothers. However, True Grit got a massive ten nominations and the love went to the genius brothers instead. Which was well deserved, but it’s ridiculous that Nolan doesn’t have a Best Director nomination to his name yet. However, massive kudos to Darren Aronofsky for finally getting his first career nomination for helming what to me was the best film of 2010.

BEST LEAD ACTOR

  • Javier Bardem (for Biutiful)
  • Jeff Bridges (for True Grit)
  • Jesse Eisenberg (for The Social Network)
  • Colin Firth (for The King’s Speech)
  • James Franco (for 127 Hours)

Went a perfect 5-for-5 in this race, correctly predicting Javier Bardem’s nomination over Get Low‘s Robert Duvall. Still, Bardem’s nomination was much deserved, and it was awesome to see a foreign language performance getting a nod here. However, this has never been a race, the golden man probably has Colin Firth’s name engraved from this very moment.

BEST LEAD ACTRESS

  • Annette Bening (for The Kids Are All Right)
  • Nicole Kidman (for Rabbit Hole)
  • Jennifer Lawrence (for Winter’s Bone)
  • Natalie Portman (for Black Swan)
  • Michelle Williams (for Blue Valentine)

Another category in which I went 5-for-5 in my predictions. And it really is a lovely bunch of ladies getting nominated here, Michelle Williams got her extremely deserved nomination for her beautiful work in Blue Valentine and Jennifer Lawrence capped off her breakthrough year with an invite to Hollywood’s biggest party. This is, though, still a Portman vs. Bening battle, and even though I think Portman has the edge because hers was the better performance in the better film, I’ll wait until the SAGs are done on Sunday to call her a lock.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Christian Bale (for The Fighter)
  • John Hawkes (for Winter’s Bone)
  • Jeremy Renner (for The Town)
  • Mark Ruffalo (for The Kids Are All Right)
  • Geoffrey Rush (for The King’s Speech)

I predicted four out of the five here, the one I got wrong was Andrew Garfield who I thought would firmly land a nod but was bumped off by John Hawkes who was riding on the huge love given to Winter’s Bone here. Still, this is no contest, it’s Bale’s to lose, and he just won’t.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Amy Adams (for The Fighter)
  • Helena Bonham Carter (for The King’s Speech)
  • Melissa Leo (for The Fighter)
  • Hailee Steinfeld (for True Grit)
  • Jacki Weaver (for Animal Kingdom)

I’ve always said this was my favorite race of the year, and even though my personal #2 pick, Mila Kunis, was left out, it really still is. I said that if Hailee Steinfeld remained here and wasn’t voted as Lead, then either Ms. Kunis or Jacki Weaver would get the boot, I picked Kunis in my predictions but apparently the Academy really loved the Australian crime saga and wanted to give it a nod, as they should have, really. Still, this is the best race there can be this year, considering I could see any of these ladies potentially winning. Amy Adams was my personal favorite of the year, and she gives her best performance yet, and considering it’s her third nomination they may (and hopefully will!) give it to her. Helena Bonham Carter may find herself winning if The King’s Speech sweeps. Melissa Leo is the current favorite, and if she wins the SAG on Sunday then this will be hers. Hailee Steinfeld carries True Grit and the voters may like to reward a young one. And Jacki Weaver created one seriously compelling character here, though considering she missed out at the SAG I think she’s the less likely to end up winning.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Another Year (written by Mike Leigh)
  • The Fighter (written by Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson)
  • Inception (written by Christopher Nolan)
  • The Kids Are All Right (written by Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg)
  • The King’s Speech (written by David Seidler)

I went 4 for 5 in this one, and the one I missed was the one that pains me the most not to see here which was the beautiful Black Swan screenplay, which I had in favor of Another Year, but I guess you can never count Mike Leigh out of this race, he’s just that good. As for who will win it, I would very much like to see The Kids Are All Right pick this one up, or if not then Christopher Nolan as a sort of apology from the Academy for not even nominating him for Best Director. But, most likely, this one will end up firmly in the hands of David Seidler.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • 127 Hours (written by Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, based on the book by Aron Ralston)
  • The Social Network (written by Aaron Sorkin, based on the book by Ben Mezrich)
  • Toy Story 3 (written by Michael Arndt, based on the story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich)
  • True Grit (written by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, based on the novel by Charles Portis)
  • Winter’s Bone (written by Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini, based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell)

As I said in my predictions, Winter’s Bone was going to put up a fight to be honored in this category. In my predictions I had The Town listed instead of Debra Granik’s film, but, as I’ve already said, the Academy shout-out the Ben Affleck film outside of Jeremy Renner’s nod, so no love here either. I like Debra Granik’s script better though (had it 6th in my Best Screenplays of 2010 list, while The Town was 15th), so I’m happy about it. Still, there’s no way Aaron Sorkin is losing this one, but then again I said the same thing about Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner’s script for Up in the Air last year.

BEST ART DIRECTION

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
  • Inception
  • True Grit
  • The King’s Speech

Very very good bunch of nominees here, the only film I could have seen making the cut and still be happy about it would have been Shutter Island, but nevertheless, this will be a very cool race. I’m hoping Inception will prevail here, though Alice in Wonderland may have something to say about that and, if it turns out to be a sweep, so may The King’s Speech.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Black Swan
  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network
  • True Grit

If I would have to guess, I’d say True Grit will win this one. However, it was amazing to see Black Swan get listed here, though I would have liked to see The King’s Speech miss out on this race in favor of the wonderful job by the 127 Hours guys.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Io Sono l’Amore
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Tempest
  • True Grit

As I said in my review for The Tempest, you can never count any Julie Taymor film out of the Best Costume Design race (all four of her films have now been nominated), but still, this one will most likely go to Alice in Wonderland. Cool to see Io Sono l’Amore get a nod here, too.

BEST EDITING

  • 127 Hours
  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network

Out of the technical categories, Best Editing is the one that foretells the Best Picture winner the most, so this one is one we should pay close attention to. Since the award was introduced nearly eight decades ago, only nine films have won Best Picture without being nominated here. Which I guess also goes to explain why Crash trumped over Brokeback Mountain. But still, the two Best Picture front-runners are here, so seeing who wins may be decisive as to who takes Best Picture. My vote goes to The Social Network here, and I still can’t fathom why Inception wasn’t named.

BEST MAKEUP

  • Barney’s Version
  • The Way Back
  • The Wolfman

They failed to recognize Alice in Wonderland in this one somehow, so I’m guessing this one’s definitely The Wolfman‘s.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

  • 127 Hours (composed by A.R. Rahman)
  • Inception (composed by Hans Zimmer)
  • The Social Network (composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross)
  • The King’s Speech (composed by Alexandre Desplat)
  • How to Train Your Dragon (composed by John Powell)

Usual suspects in this one. Awesome to see Reznor and Ross up for this one, and they’re definitely my favorites to end up picking the award. However, Alexandre Desplat gets his fourth nomination with this one and still hasn’t won, so if The King’s Speech ends up owning the show he could win. However, Hans Zimmer’s score for Inception, which is all sorts of mind-blowing, may end up getting the win if the Academy feels it didn’t bestow enough nominations love towards the film, he hasn’t won an Oscar since The Lion King in 1995, despite being nominated 6 additional times since.

BEST SONG

  • If I Rise (from 127 Hours)
  • Coming Home (from Country Strong)
  • I See the Light (from Tangled)
  • We Belong Together (from Toy Story 3)

I honestly don’t know who will end up with the win here. All I know is that I’m happy no songs from Burlesque were named here.

BEST SOUND

  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • Salt
  • The Social Network
  • True Grit

This is the one category that had most prediction experts baffled. Everyone predicted a maximum of 11 nominations for The King’s Speech, and this is the one nobody imagined, and the one that showed us just how much the Academy loved the film. As strange as it may sound, a Sound nomination is what really let us know that it was the front-runner.

BEST SOUND EDITING

  • Inception
  • Toy Story 3
  • TRON: Legacy
  • True Grit
  • Unstoppable

I really liked seeing TRON: Legacy here, and I was sure that The Social Network would get a nod here, but out of nowhere came Unstoppable and made the cut. Still, a cool and eclectic bunch.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
  • Hereafter
  • Inception
  • Iron Man 2

I expected TRON: Legacy to make the cut here, but at least it got a Sound Editing nod so it didn’t go unmentioned. Still, if Inception loses this race the Oscars will have lost all credibility to me.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • Biutiful (from Mexico)
  • Dogtooth (from Greece)
  • In a Better World (from Denmark)
  • Incendies (from Canada)
  • Outside the Law (from Algeria)

This one’s always very tough to predict. But hopefully Biutiful will end up with the trophy.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • L’Illusionniste
  • Toy Story 3

This one isn’t a race at all, Toy Story 3 will win this one hands down.

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • Exit Through the Gift Shop
  • Inside Job
  • Gasland
  • Waste Land
  • Restrepo

No Waiting for Superman? Yeah, very very weird. Same with the lack of Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer. Still Inside Job would be a very cool winner, as would be Exit Through the Gift Shop, especially if we somehow get a Banksy appearance.

Salt

5 Aug

Title: Salt
Year: 2010
Director: Phillip Noyce
Writers: Kurt Wimmer and Brian Helgeland
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor
MPAA Rating: PG-13, intense sequences of violence and action
Runtime: 100 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating: 6.7
Rotten Tomatoes: 58%

I really liked Salt, I mean, yes, the plot may be predictable and illogical and whatnot, but it has Angelina Jolie in the title role, and she’s the one that makes this one work. And in this one you get to see why she is one of the most reliable stars around in Hollywood, she’s seriously good in this one, not in the way she was in A Mighty Heart or Changeling in which her performance was brilliant, but good in the way she was in Wanted a couple years ago, in which she knew the role she was in, and knew exactly what to do to make an action film work. That’s what’s so damn good about Angelina Jolie, she can be Oscar good when you need her to just as she can be a good sport in an action flick and guide you through the explosions and the chases.

Tom Cruise was originally set to play the title character, he left production to do Knight and Day instead, a film that wasn’t bad but that wasn’t as good as this one, and I think it was good for us that he dropped out, we got to see a decent enough Tom Cruise film, and then we had Salt rewritten for a female actor and be a much better film than it ever could have been with Mr. Cruise as the lead.

Salt is not the female answer to the Bourne franchise, I mean it does have a lot of similarities, but it’s not as great as those films were. It is still, though, a really solid spy thriller, the difference between the Bourne films and Salt isn’t the reliable lead, Angelina Jolie is just as good in this one as Matt Damon was in those films, but the Bourne franchise, being based on a great trilogy by author Robert Ludlum and all, had a terrific plot, while Salt has a plot that’s illogic pretty much every other step it takes. I don’t mean that in a bad way though, the plot may be completely implausible but it’s fun, and this is a film that was released in the thick of the summer season, and the only thing films released in that frame attempt is to be fun, and this an above average thrill ride, which is why I found Salt to be a tremendous success.

The action in Salt is pretty awesome, and this is the sort of film that works so well because of the action and not because of the plot in between the action. You see, this film moves at such a rapid pace and with such tremendous momentum that you don’t really get the benefit to thoroughly think over the plot you have just seen, and even though it is a flawed plot you will only get the chance to see those errors once you leave the theatre and start thinking in retrospect. One of the co-writers is Brian Helgeland, and he has done that same thing twice before this year, with Green Zone and Robin Hood, both films I liked quite a bit but felt there was something missing story-wise, this one’s actually much better than those two I think. Kurt Wimmer, the other co-writer, had previously done Street Kings and Law Abiding Citizen, and this one’s a marked improvement over both of those films.

Evelyn Salt, the titular character played by Ms. Jolie, is a woman who can apparently defy every single law of physics and we won’t care because a) She’s Angelina Jolie and we wouldn’t doubt a single thing she allegedly did and b) This is an action film and we don’t care because the stunts at least are wicked cool, and the stunts were allegedly all done by Ms. Jolie herself, so at least there was that degree of realism behind it all. What’s good about Salt is the way that it knows it has flaws, you know it does because every time there’s a new twist in the movie it spends no time overanalyzing the consequences it will have, but instead it just uses it as an excuse for another chase scene, that’s the sort of film I like, one that at least acknowledges its flaws and uses them to go back to playing its strengths.

All in all this is just one pretty fantastic action film, that’s all you need to know, notice how I’m saying nothing about the plot, that’s because it’s good enough, flawed as it may be, but all it does is get you to see action scenes after action scenes. Action scenes that have in Ms. Jolie a very willing and talented performer, in Mr. Noyce a director who certainly knows how to craft them, and in John Gilroy, the younger brother of Tony Gilroy, an editor who knows how to put the shots together to make it work as well as it does here, this is the same guy that worked on his brother’s fantastic Michael Clayton, so you know he’s good at his job.

I wouldn’t mind giving Salt a grade in the A-range, I won’t because those holes in the plot did actually bother me a little bit after I finished watching it, but if someone comes along and tells me that’s the grade he or she would give to this move I would be totally okay and proceed to converse about all that was good about Salt. Because that’s the thing, there are a lot of good things about Salt, the best of which is Angelina Jolie, and as a fun summer spy action thrill-ride it works in more ways than one, and because it never pretended to be anything more I highly recommend it.

Grade: B+

Knight and Day

26 Jul

Title: Knight and Day
Year: 2010
Director: James Mangold
Writer: Patrick O’Neill
Starring: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Maggie Grace, Paul Dano, Marc Blucas, Viola Davis, Jordi Molla
MPAA Rating: PG-13, sequences of action violence throughout, and brief strong language
Runtime: 109 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating: 6.7
Rotten Tomatoes: 54%

This project went through a lot of changes to get to be what we have today, a huge number of writers contributed to the script which was first named ‘Trouble Man’, then ‘Wichita’ and finally Knight and Day, director Tom Dey, who directed this year’s pretty bad Marmaduke, was at one point attached to direct with Chris Tucker and Eva Mendes in the two lead roles, but then Cameron Diaz came on board, and so did James Mangold, only to have people as different as Adam Sandler and Gerard Butler be rumored as the lead male, and then finally Tom Cruise came on board, after ditching two other projects for this one since he deemed them too similar to his Mission: Impossible films, one of those two projects was The Tourist, which is currently in post-production with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in the lead roles, and the other one was Salt, another spy thriller which, after Mr. Cruise dropped out, had the lead role re-written to fit a female and had Angelina Jolie come on board, that film was just released a couple days ago and is better than this one, and my guess is that The Tourist will be superior, as well.

That’s not to say that Knight and Day is bad, I just wanted to illustrate the changes this film has gone through, and I’m sure there were many more I read before but have now forgotten, and that the order of the ones I did mention isn’t really that accurate, but yeah, this one went through a lot and this film, in the end, is just a formulaic action-comedy-romance, a sort of breezier Mr. & Mrs. Smith if you will (and that’s the third project with Ms. Jolie I’ve mentioned now) and as such it’s quite okay, it’s just good summer fun, and, contrary to popular belief, Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz are still cool to watch, actually, maybe ‘cool’ isn’t really the right word, but I still find them charming, and that’s all any two leads need to be to carry a film like this between explosions and car chases, and if you had, like me, seen Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher in the horribly boring Killers just a couple weeks before seeing this one you knew it could have been seriously worse.

The thing is that in Knight and Day, like in pretty much every big summer blockbuster films for the past few years, even if you have two charismatic leads who can really be good just playing off each other, and even if you add a director like James Mangold into the mix, and he has done some pretty good stuff, there’s still a need for Hollywood to throw in way too many loud action sequences that are full of CGI, it’s not that I hate CGI, even though it may seem that way if you revise my last few reviews of these sort of films, but it’s just that CGI is now being used not to augment a scene but just to fill space and try and make something look flashy, when, nine times out of ten, all it does is clog it all up, this could have been wonderful as a rom-com with a bit of human action, and by that I mean both simpler fights and more sexy stuff, but instead the studio figures it’s summer and that audiences love stuff blowing up so they go all Michael Bay on our asses, when they should have figured out years ago that we as audiences have grown seriously smart, which is why Inception is currently working the way it is.

But still, this film kind of worked for me, it could have worked much better, that’s for sure, but what I love is that the reason this worked for me was precisely because of Mr. Cruise and Ms. Diaz, and their individual charm and chemistry together, I like that’s the reason because many detractors of the film are having a fieldtrip saying these two guys can’t open a movie anymore, and I think that’s false, yes this film didn’t do great business, but I don’t think it’s because of the leads, I’m guessing that next year when Mission: Impossible IV opens it will do great business, especially with Brad Bird as director, and, as for Ms. Diaz, let’s not forget that a couple years ago she delivered What Happens in Vegas which, even though wasn’t great, was a commercial success with worldwide grosses of nearly $220 million on a $35 million budget, and she has The Green Hornet coming next year which I’m guessing will do real well, so yes, I think they aren’t the reason why this one flopped, or at least not the whole reason which is what everyone is saying.

Mr. Cruise’s character has something some guys wants, Ms. Diaz’s character stumbles upon him and then they are both running from the FBI, but the plot here really is irrelevant, it just has to be mindless fun, and because we have these two actors as our leads it works, they sell it to us, yes, it is silly, but they seem to be in on that too, which makes it that much more fun, there are huge chases, there are beautiful locations (Spain! Jamaica!) and some quite okay comedy bits, but that all works because of these two guys, Tom Cruise still has ‘it’, I think he misplaced ‘it’ for a bit a couple years ago, but I think he has it back, and Ms. Diaz is still lovely as hell, she always has been really, and yes, there is far too much CGI for my taste in this one, but at least there’s no 3D, I just wish the action could have been replaced by more scenes of these two together just interacting like humans, without the explosions.

Grade: B-