Reporting Eric Henderson
A few quick notes on the movies I covered in my Friday movie segment this week:
On paper, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close should’ve been a tearjerker for all times.
It features a young, lonely boy (Thomas Horn) without any apparent friends who spends his days and sometimes nights walking around New York City meeting people he doesn’t know, none of whom seem able to help him.
His mother (Sandra Bullock) seems to be spending more time escaping depression through sleep than caring after her only child. His only real guardian is an elderly man (Swedish movie legend Max Von Sydow) who is voluntarily mute and only answers questions via “Yes” and “No”-tattooed palms.
Oh, and his father (Tom Hanks) died in 9/11, a fact which is made salient extremely early on and incredibly often thereafter.
I’m not saying that a movie needs to apologize for dealing with September 11th, especially not when its chief function is to examine the mechanics of grief and how they affect the young. But I am saying that the way this movie fixates on the details isn’t so much illuminating as it is exploitative.
You’ll cry, but you won’t feel bad (or reflective) for doing so afterward. I find that problematic.
Not nearly as problematic, but also less memorable, is the mayhem committed by the lead character of the suddenly-prolific-again director Steven Soderbergh’s latest movie Haywire.
Mixed martial artist Gina Carano stars as Mallory Kane, a former Marine and current black ops-style fist-for-hire who jetsets on missions to either kill or rescue people. It’s left a little fuzzy so as not to alienate the same audience that wants to cheer her on for being able to choke the life out of her enemies while wearing a stunning little black dress.
The movie is reasonably good fun once you get past the repellant first fight scene, in which Channing Tatum throws the first (and second, and third) punch against Carano. But the fact that the movie’s arbiter of punishment is a take-no-prisoners Sigourney Weaver update shouldn’t seem, in 2012, so … precious?