This Week In Cinema: August 18-24, 2013

the punisher dirty laundry

There’s something about an exposed tibia that is exhilarating, ya know!

In the middle of working eighty six hours this week I did manage to see an interesting trifecta of films,

The Brothers Bloom (2008, Rian Johnson, United States Of America) **1/2

A movie that suffers from the classic problem of trying too damn hard. It wants to be stylish so it tries as hard as it can to be stylish. It wants to be quirky and cute so it does all it can to shove cuteness and quirk down the viewers throat. It wants to be mysterious so it makes sure to not reveal anything about its characters. It wants to evoke a feeling of cool so it tries very hard to emulate cool. The Brothers Bloom falls short of being everything it wants to be because it tries too gosh darn hard. The wheels were turning, the elements were in place, but through the bludgeoning force of the films want to be liked it crushed any hope of me actually liking it as more than a failed attempt at cool.

Titan A.E. (2000, Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, & Art Vitello, United States Of America) **1/2

Don Bluth was not a man made for the age of computer animation. He tries his hardest, but he’s never quite able to successfully blend his hand drawn style with computer animated backgrounds. There were moments, and sequences, where the animation was impressive, but it all too often looked alien. The hand drawn and the computer clashed with one another and made watching the film unpleasant at times. The story is rote, and the voice acting is okay, but nothing to write home about. Titan A.E. was the last feature film from Mr. Bluth (he did direct one short film after this), and it’s a shame that an unsung titan of animation went out on such an inconsistent note.

The Punisher: Dirty Laundry (2012, Phil Joanou, United States Of America) ***1/2

At first I wasn’t sure what to think of The Punisher: Dirty Laundry. It was playing out as a very well made fan film, but a film that appeared to be missing the forest for the trees as far as the character of the Punisher is concerned. Then the conversation with Ron Perlman’s character happened and I realized that I was missing the forest for the trees, not the film. What followed that conversation, and what preceded it, is the very definition of the Punisher. He’s raw, visceral, and far from politically correct. The short film from Phil Joanou mirrors its lead character in the way it executes its game plan. The Punisher: Dirty Laundry is visceral, effective, harrowing, and provides an anti-hero who is easy to root for and despise all at once. I’m a fan of the superhero genre in general, and The Punisher: Dirty Laundry is an example of how great comic book storyelling can translate to the medium of film.

Wrap-Up:

Not much to choose from this week, but two of the three films were never in contention anyways. The Punisher: Dirty Laundry takes home movie of the week honors. Until next week, watch more movies!

Cheers,
Bill

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