So, remember what I said about the new David Mamet movie and how awesome it sounded and how you should definitely check it out when it comes to your theater? Well, uh … nevermind all that. I caught a screening of it last weekend and this movie actually had less coherence and dramatic structure than an actual mixed-martial arts match. A lot fewer kicks to the head as well, which was a tremendous disappointment. It was so muddled and ridiculous that it actually made me reconsider David Mamet’s entire career.
As a playwriter/screenwriter, his talent can’t be questioned. “The Verdict”, “The Untouchables”, “Glengarry Glen Ross” (play and movie), “Oleanna”, (the play, more than the movie) and “Wag The Dog” are all great. It’s when he takes over as writer/director that things go a little haywire. “The Spanish Prisoner”? Somewhat entertaining (i.e., very well acted) but I defy anyone to explain what the hell happened in that movie. “The Winslow Boy”? It was rated G, for pete’s sake. “State and Main” is actually pretty brilliant, but “Heist” was another mixed-up mess. So after seeing yet another conspiracy film filled with ludicrous and incomprehensible twists, I found myself longing for another “Karate Kid” sequel and wondering if this previously unassailable talent had any idea what he was doing in the first place. I’ll certainly think twice before proclaiming his genius again (the obnoxious commercials for that horrible Nathan Lane play, don’t help either) or before putting one of his features on the must see list.
What is on the must-see list? “Man On Wire,” which I also checked out at the Tribeca Film Festival. It was phenomenal; one of the best documentaries you’ll ever see and a fascinating look at a man obsessed. It has enough buzz that it will hopefully receive a theatrical release very soon, and I urge you to see it when it does. New Yorkers will especially be mesmerized by the footage of the construction and early life of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers. Well, that and the guy laying down on the half-inch thick cable strung in between them!
But enough about what I did last week. Let’s talk about “Iron Man“! I’m still not sure why Robert Downey Jr. is starring in a superhero movie, but I’m glad that he is. Although I’ve never followed this particular comic, I’m eager to see how the big lugnut turns out the big screen. It looks like a worthy leadoff man for the summer blockbuster season and it’s first on my agenda for weekend entertainment.
In fact, the only flick even bothering to challenge it is “Made Of Honor,” a nifty little bit of counter-programming designed to snare all the girlfriends of the guys who weren’t smart enough to buy “Iron Man” tickets before they sold out. Unfortunately, I liked this one better the first time I saw it, when it was called “My Best Friend’s Wedding.”
On the limited release front, one of the buzz films of Sundance hits NYC theaters this week in the form of the ’80s youth nostalgia pic “Son of Rambow.” We actually know a guy named John Rambow (with the W) and we suspect that if he ever met Sylvester Stallone he might punch him in the face. Watching this film might be slightly less entertaining than seeing that, but this movie is fun for all ages. Provided those younger ages don’t like giant metal men who can shoot rockets from their wrists and fly. Maybe make it a double feature?
To sum up: Don’t see “Redbelt.” Seriously, just don’t.