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A Measure of the Sin (2013)
A new genre: "Droning Delirium."
As seen on pay-per-view, $10, three attempts - that isn't good.
The direction, the camera work, editing, story, score, and acting all contribute seamlessly and equally to this awful delirium of a movie. It's a plodding, empty landscape of mediocrity trying to be artistic, which would have bombed even in the heyday of low-budget '60s experimental films.
This great delirium, moved along (if that's possible) by monotone and endless narration (presumably by the writer/screenwriter Kristy Nielsen) is invariably monotone and so poorly recorded as to be almost painful to make the effort to increase the volume and listen to the bland delivery of an uninspired story.
Then of course the score gets louder as well. It's a segment of a mediocre suspense score dragged out from end to end. Numbingly monotonous.
The direction? Well, Jeff Wedding directed, edited, helped write, and did a bang-up job of botching each assignment. Why, for instance are we looking up the nose of "The Man" each time he graces the protagonist, Meredith, with another drab line of dialog? He's not more scary with the annoying close-ups. In fact he had a face that could have been used for a more ambiguous and subtle character, lost by the closeness (which could be a statement of his domineering and controlling - albeit empty - persona. But we GET it already.)
Forget all that, though, there is no chance for ambiguity in these characters. The only thing that will keep young men watching is the sporadic nudity. The only thing that will keep young women watching is the aura of 'women's issues' that offers nothing new or interesting on any level. Older movie vets will wisely cut their losses and leave, unlike me.
A sophomoric attempt at a film and story-telling, at best.
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
3 is too much
Three stars? Maybe, but the third installment deviated in direction so much that it was distracting. I eagerly anticipated this third in a series I'd come to equate on a level of Bond films. But Greengrass's shaky-cam was ridiculous, amateur, contrived, pretentious and annoying. Pretty much the worst camera direction I've ever seen, and I've seen a zillion films. The boardroom scene, for instance, where the camera's off in a corner and shaking like a leaf while it looks at one eye of a person who's face is blocked by another's shoulder is, well, as I've already said.
Do I hate shaky-cam? Obviously. And second to that I hate choppy quick-frame editing. So what else is in this film? Yup. Fight scenes were once choreographed by real talent like Bruce Lee, now they're faked motions edited into a blur of sound effects and snap shots. It's lame to the point of insulting. This pap has been fed to enough doe-eyed kids that I fear the next generation will positively crave the stuff. Bye-bye realism.
I didn't walk out of the theater, though, there were still all those great locations I'd heard about. But where were they? Oh, the camera is doing close-ups in all the exotic locations they'd spent millions to film in. What an idiotic mess.
Freeway Killer (2010)
Not a fan of the genre but...
First, this subject isn't really my cup of tea but I have to say a great performance is a great performance. Scott Anthony Leet had me mesmerized. He's off the radar as an actor and that's a shame. In this character he ran the gamut of emotions, from joy to fear to hatred so intense you move back from the screen a little. He draws you in with an earnestness and subtle vulnerability then strikes like a cobra before you can blink. His lust is convincing and his restless insanity is fascinating to observe. You can see the raging volcano is going to explode at any moment.
That's not to take anything away from Dusty Sorg's "Vernon Butts" character. He also played a seamless supporting role in the film, as Butts supported Bonin in real life. His languid pseudo-mystical presence made for a great contrast in these two creatures. And Cole Williams as "Kyle Peterson" plays a kid many of us possibly knew. He was bored, simple, alone and willing to follow the intensely dangerous Bill into dark places without the least concern for people or consequences.
The fact that this is a character study and not a gore-fest fits fine in its modest budget. The lack of back-story or set detail didn't detract from the film for me. I lived in SoCal during his reign during the hellish '70s on the freeways and remember watching my own back. I already knew as much detail as I wished to: that he kidnapped, tortured, raped, and killed people about my age. But getting near someone in that state without paying dearly for it is what this film's about.