Welcome to The Mundane Adventures of a Fangirl

I consider myself a Fangirl. What does that mean, you ask? A "fanboy" in the most common understanding is a hardcore fan of 'genre' based entertainment in particular. In my case - science-fiction and comic book based movies and television. Because I'm a chick - it's fangirl, not fanboy. There you have it! I am a big movie fan, however, not necessarily a 'film' fan. And now - I have the forum to present my opinions to the public! These will mainly be movie reviews -that will always be my opinion - repeat OPINION. Just what I think, and in no way do I present my opinion as fact. I hope you enjoy and maybe it will help you decide what to see at the movie theater this weekend!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Movie Review: The Cold Light of Day (PG13 - 93 minutes)

There's nothing wrong with keeping a movie short, especially if the movie is unoriginal and average.  Lockout was something from earlier this year that made use of a short running time.  I think that 90 minutes, give or take, is a great length for an average movie.  It's short enough that if you really don't enjoy it, you're not too upset; and if you loved it, it leaves you wanting more. 
The Cold Light of Day is three minutes past an hour and a half - and thank goodness, you really wouldn't want it to be any longer.  Where Lockout was silly, over-the-top and fun; Cold Light of Day is bland and boring.
Director Mabrouk El Mechri has done a few french films that I have not seen, and one that I have.  JCVD is a small independent movie that came out in 2008.  It's 97 minutes long and it's almost impossible to describe.  It's a semi-autobiographical picture in which action movie legend Jean-Claude Van Damme plays himself having a really bad day.  He has to get money from a bank to his lawyer or risk losing his kids through a difficult divorce proceeding.  The bank gets robbed, and he has to come to grips with who he is, compared to who he is perceived to be.  It is quiet, small, intelligent, and mostly in french - but so worth the rental, in fact, I think it's available streaming on Netflix.  Check it out, it's absolutely not what you expected.
On the other hand, El Mechri's new picture, the Cold Light Of Day is, unfortunately, exactly what you expected, almost the entire way through.  Where JCVD was shot quick and small; the attempt to use a similar style for this 'thriller' comes off as a misfire.
Henry Cavill plays Will, a young businessman who has just arrived in Spain to spend a week vacationing with his mother, father, younger brother and his brother's girlfriend on a sailboat.  Unfortunately for Will, he's upset because his company has just gone bankrupt.  He goes ashore, and while he's away, his family goes missing.  He attempts to contact local police for help, only to bump into his father, who drops the bombshell that he's really a CIA agent, and has always been.  Apparently the family is being held as ransom while the kidnappers demand a briefcase that Martin (the father) had just delivered to his superiors.  Will must then negotiate various chase sequences through Spanish streets, and find what help he can to get his family back.  He enlists the help of a woman whose uncle is friends with his father.  He then encounters some Israeli agents, more CIA, and more cops.  Oh, and you never find out what is in the briefcase.  I am telling you that now so it won't upset you later.
If that sounded a bit ludicrous to you, you're correct.  Secret CIA operatives, rogue agents, mysterious briefcases, Israeli agents, Spanish city streets; all of that could piece together to make an interesting movie.  The opening sequence of the family assembling on the sailboat involves dialogue to set up their relationships, but feels really forced, clunky, and fake.  Will gets in touch with the police once he finds that the family is missing, but suspects they might be working against him, so he runs away, and promptly runs into his father.  Will states earlier in the movie that they family moved through 9 different countries while he was growing up, would he really not speak any spanish?  And why would he leave the American Embassy with a suspicious person, when at this point he's convinced everyone is after him?

When I stopped thinking and just sat and watched, the action sequences were fun, the locations were beautiful, and the pacing was good.  In terms of casting, everybody was okay, but not great:
  • Henry Cavill as Will, honestly, the reason I wanted to see this movie is to keep watching him in different things before Man of Steel comes out next year.  After this movie - it did nothing to change my opinion that the new Superman will be a disaster.  Cavill is fine, his american accent is passable, I'm just not sure I bought him in this particular role.  He is sufficiently confused, but then continues to react flatly as more and more craziness happens as the movie goes on.  He does determined well, but I have no idea if that will apply to Superman.  Maybe it's unfair to compare everything he's doing to a Superman performance that isn't out yet, but in all honesty, that's what I'm thinking about.
  • Bruce Willis plays Martin, Will's secret CIA agent father.  SPOILER ALERT (or maybe not), he gets killed pretty quickly.  This is pretty obvious from the trailers, as he is not around for the majority of the action.  In all honesty, his death was so quick and sudden, I kept expecting him to come back.  Similar to the way I kept expecting Morgan Freeman to come back in R.E.D.  Willis is only briefly in this movie, and probably could do this type of role with his eyes shut by now. 
  • Sigorney Weaver is the reason to see this movie - if you see this movie.  SPOILER ALERT (or again, maybe not - it's obvious in the trailers) she's the bad guy.  She does such a good job of being quietly icy about everything that happens in the movie.  She's totally unflappable, and just assumes she's going to come out on top.  She also shoots people left and right (right out in public!) for almost no reason.
  • Veronica Echegui plays the neice of Martin's friend Diego.  She joins Will on his adventures, and helps him after he gets shot at the club she works at, providing some very entertaining side characters, who are only briefly used.
  • Joseph Mawle - most recently seen in Game of Thrones as Benjen Stark (or you know, not seen), plays Weaver's henchman.  He's a bit frightening.
  • Rafi Gavron plays the younger brother, but honestly, that character, his girlfriend, and the mother have nothing to do.
So, yes, the potential was there, but the movie was a bit disappointing.  It moved pretty quickly - again, thank goodness it was short!  I think that I wanted more from it than it gave me, but, again, decent action sequences, a cold, evil performance from Weaver, and enough beautiful shots of sailboating in the Spanish Mediterranean to make you wonder if you could afford that vacation.
5 out of 10 - directly middle of the road...meh.  Gained points for the locations and scenery...pretty!  Lost points for not giving me more of the neice's club friends, because they were cool!  Lost points for Cavil walking weird.  He carries himself strange, and shorter than he is.  I wonder if that was a conscious acting choice, reflecting Will's confusion and uncertainty (I might be reading too much into it there)?  Or is he bowlegged?  hmm....Time to go check the Tudors, or the Immortals.  Speaking of which:
Bonus Video 1:  Cavill in the Tudors - HBO's amazing Henry the VIII tv series.  He played the king's best friend.  He's not doing any walking in this scene, so who knows if he really is bowlegged.  Warning - this scene gets a little steamy towards the end (but only a little)!
Bonus Video 2:  Man of Steel trailer.  There's just so many things wrong with this I don't even know where to begin... to start with, I don't believe that there is a major fishing industry in Kansas, and even though Kevin Costner is doing the voice over, it's not a baseball movie...Argh! this looks terrible!  Nevermind, I'm going to re-watch season 10 of Smallville again...
Bonus Video 3:  Cast interviews!

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