Don't worry, I haven't forsaken thee. Just enjoying spring break, which sadly isn't a cross between Blame It On Rio and the "Girls With Low Self-Esteem" series from Arrested Development, but in my own little corner pleasant nonetheless. Been working on a magnum opus, catching a couple of crappy flicks along the way. In brief:
Neil Jordan's The Brave One is a revenge melodrama with so many implausibilities and coincidences that it could have only worked as a dark fable: I'm surprised Jordan didn't completely go that route, considering he's done it before (most notably with Mona Lisa and The Crying Game). As it stands, his movie resides in an awkward halfway-house between hallucination and grim reality, with Jodie Foster waging battle not only with the vile scumbags lurking around every corner but also -- in a more losing cause -- against her own surgically-enhanced features. (It's depressing to see one of moviedom's most expressive faces turn into a rigid mask, as well as an actress whose large part of her appeal was the sense that she could take acting or leave it choose to embrace Hollywood's shallow notions of beauty.) There's a compelling idea at the core of The Brave One, and had the film the courage to implicate Foster's tragic heroine in her own crimes, something interesting might have happened. As Pauline Kael might have put it, it's the kind of screw-up only a talented director could make.
I drifted away from American Gangster at approximately the one-hour mark, or around the twentieth close-up of a syringe being injected into an extra's skin; did I miss anything? Mindblowingly boring, with a miscast Denzel Washington, an autopilot Russell Crowe, and a director more ill-suited to the material than Ken Loach helming a sequel to Master and Commander, Ridley Scott's Oscar-wannabe didn't fool anybody, other than those (including herself, to judge by the telecast) who thought Ruby Dee's five-minute supporting turn was A Sure Thing. We're not talking Judi Dench or Beatrice Straight, folks.