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Friday, November 28, 2014


Watched Cleanskin, last night. It's a 2012 British movie about the effort to root out homegrown Islamic terrorists.

It offered a rare semi-sympathetic glimpse into the mind of a Muslim terrorist, and showed what a chess  game intelligence is. The plot had some nice twists, and the ending was unexpected.

Sean Bean stars as the British soldier recruited to stop the terrorists; his portrayal was grittily realistic. His character was a stoic man of action, not the usual Dorothy Parker-with-a-gun type Hollywood generally favors.

If you like realism, and don't mind violence, you'll enjoy it.


Anonymous said...

I'll have to rent this. I'm always on the lookout for movies that don't make it, or that I don't get to see for whatever reason. (That includes virtually all of them....)

I have a suggestion for you, if you can get your hands on it, Path To Paradise:

It was a TV movie made of the 1993 WTC bombing, and the thing that made it so good was that it was made in 1997 and is totally, shockingly un-PC - and very prophetic. They didn't know what was going to happen. But seeing it after 9/11 (as I did) was a very eerie experience. As the commenters point out, the ending is a total shocker, which I won't ruin for you.

The guy who played Ramzi Yusuf was brilliant. He's a British actor of Pakistani origin whose done a lot of stuff on British TV. Those actors are always very good.

OT, I just read this tweet about Ferguson:

"Grand Jury believed a 300lb charging man who just tried to shoot cop with own gun was a deadly threat. Me, too."

That about sums it up in 140 characters.


Anonymous said...

" usual Dorothy Parker-with-a-gun type Hollywood generally favors"

By this do you mean they are always spouting witticisms at odd moments?

If so, I agree with you. I find this very annoying.

I think I know where it comes from. I am by no means a "cineaste" - just someone who likes to grab odd titles from the library shelf. I learn things from the habit because I see movies I never would otherwise, and then look them up on the net afterward.

One day I grabbed a DVD that was an old (early 60s) Japanese samurai movie. The film was full of all these witticisms. The hero would be fighting off 50 enemies, then he would stop and crack a joke.

I looked up the background of this movie on the 'nets and learned that this is indeed a convention of these films. By the early 60s, these movies were popular with hip, cool, Hollywood moviemakers, who stole this tic and made it into a Hollywood convention.

I found the convention amusing in the original Japanese version and very annoying in the American retreads. Whenever this happens in an American movie I just want to say, "Enough with the jokes. Just kill people."


Steven said...

Thanks, I might watch it. There was a really good two part tv programme about a Pakistani brother and sister on opposite sides. The brother felt grateful and loyal to Britain and became an agent, while his not particularly religious sister's experiences of injustice led her to hate Britain and become a terrorist who went to Afghanistan for training. It showed a lot of that process of training and bomb making and safe houses and nerves in a realistic way. The brother had to stop her before she blew herself up in London. Again, really gritty and realistic, though I'm not sure how common it is for people to become suicide bombers without being very religious. I could look up the name if anyone is interested.

Some really good things like that come out of Britain. I still love Hollywood though. Enjoyed jack reacher last night.

John Craig said...

Coco --
Thanks, I'll keep an eye open for it.

Yes, that Tweet does sum it all up.

Yes, exactly, the obligatory witticism (usually a pun) right after a killing. As much as I liked the old Sean Connery Bonds, starting with Dr. No in 1962, those movies were probably the worst, and they unfortunately started the tradition (I'm guessing that most American filmmakers took their cue from Bond and not the samurai movies, although various other things were stolen from them).

John Craig said...

Steven --

Sounds like the makings of a good plot. I agree, it's hard to imagine a suicide bomber who's not devout, especially since a lot of them seem to be banking on the 72 virgins they expect to meet in paradise.

I was surprised how much I liked Jack Reacher. I normally can't stand Tom Cruise, but he was good in that one.

Anonymous said...

I thought Jack Reacher spent too much time explaining what a badass he was, and how he was going to kick all seven of their asses, and spent not enough time just kicking the ass.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Ha! The lead up didn't bother me, it was done with an air of weariness that offset any possible conceit that might have been read into that little speech he gave.

I never, ever figured I'd buy Tom Cruise as a tough guy, but he gave a good performance.

Anonymous said...

Thanksgiving night (after the guests had all left), members of our family watched a Disney movie, Frozen. My niece, Rachel, who is a registered nurse, working in a pediatrician's office picked it out (apparently they play this movie at her workplace, for their patients). She was gung-ho about watching it. It was an okay movie. All of us who watched the movie, including Rachel's hubby, Clint (I was wondering what his thoughts were about this movie), didn't mind watching it - I was relieved that it wasn't a super long movie. Your movie was probably more interesting, intense, action-filled. Our's was more or less a musical.


John Craig said...

Birdie --
That does sound a touch boring. But Thanksgiving with a lot of family is probably not the time for anything "controversial" in any way.