Thursday, 28 August 2008


Some years, I guess there aren't enough good movies around to fill all the Oscar categories. Why else would this rake up five nominations?

I, like Earl (and please, that comma is essential), have only been watching good movies of late. And some average. But no shite.

Until Sunday, when I watched Munich. Okay, it's not possible to dismiss a movie with such high production values as being out and out shite, but it is, for the bulk of its audience, a failure, I would say.

Munich follows the story – not a factual one, as such, but that's too complicated for a simple man like me to get into – of what happened after the Israeli athletes were butchered at the Olympics in 1972. Israel's famous secret service (that's not the oxymoron it seems…), Mossad, decides to do something about it and pursue those it apparently knows were responsible. Fighting fire with fire, you might say.

Eric Bana, he of the single expression (with the exception of Chopper, of course, in which he was wonderful and articulate), plays the lead, and there's a good supporting cast which includes Daniel Craig and Geoffrey Rush.

It's a lovely looking film (except, as with all period movies, all the cars are absolutely immaculate, which is kind of annoying), the acting – Bana aside – is pretty good, and the story follows an event that's always fascinated me.

So what's the problem? Well, it's not thrilling enough to be a thriller. It's not engaging enough to be an effective drama. So what the hell is it? The simple answer is, about 40 minutes too long. With a more brutal editor, you could comfortably hack at least 40 minutes from this movie which adds nothing to it; in fact, I would suggest that those 40 minutes are there to make this a 'worthy' movie, with 'depth' and 'characterisation'.

But I don't buy that. Not one bit. It's flabby; some great performances in there, sure, but flabby and there's at least one character too many involved. It's indulgent – of Spielberg.

I think it's about time someone admitted this... Spielberg's lost it. Whatever he had, it's gone. Indy 4? Munich? I rank them about the same, though Munich is 'worthy' and Indy is popcorn entertainment – they both failed equally to do the basics, and so they're both Grenades. War of the Worlds, The Terminal… It's not a great list, is it?

Which reminds me, I haven't done Indy 4 on here yet... And when is Eric Bana going to add the 'l' to his surname? No, smartarse, not Eric Blana. You know what I'm saying.

Monday, 25 August 2008

The Condemned

Hey kids!

Long time, no see. And really for no other reason that I've gone through an extended period in which I have only seen good movies. Not a true turkey amongst them. Oh sure some have been so-so (The Brave One), some have been mildly disappointing (The Heartbreak Kid), but none have been truly terrible.

Then I saw The Condemned over the weekend. Oh, how things change. And yet I was still hesitant to post a review here on the Grenade trashing it. Why? Lemme 'splain.

There are definitely two different Earls battling it out for supremacy in my brain. The first one likes good movies. Great direction, beautiful cinematography, inspired acting and well-written scripts. That Earl, let's call him Alpha Earl, is a fan of Kurasawa and Kubrick and the Coen Brothers and Malick and, well...the list goes on.

But there is this second Earl, let's call him Omega Earl. He is a fan of B-movies and zombie flicks and the A-Team. All Omega Earl needs is some popcorn, a shoot 'em up and a really loud television set and he is okey-dokey. Omega Earl loves his porn as well, in case anyone was wondering. Too much information? Crap!

So while Alpha Earl can clearly see what a horrible film The Condemned is, Omega Earl is happier than a pig in shit to waste 90 minutes of his life glued to the tube feasting on its glory! Bunch of guys beating the crap out of each other - check! Bad acting from the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) - check! Even worse acting from the non-wrestlers in the film - check! Wildly derivative script - Hells yeah!!! I'm pretty sure I've seen this same film about a half a dozen times now, and I'm pretty sure Alpha and Omega Earl duked it out over each version.

Omega Earl usually wins.

So if you aren't into mindless violence and cringe-worthy dialogue, give this bad boy a pass. But if you want to feed your Omega twin...