The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, December 28, 2007

AVP (2007)

Don't see it. In a strange mood, I went to see Alien Versus Predator Two. Oh, I have reasons--I didn't want to see anything really good, because T wasn't with me. But this movie just demeans both franchises unforgivably. No one with any connection to this mess had any idea why the original films worked. I mean, "Alien" was just "It, the Terror From Beyond Space" crossed with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and unleashed upon unsuspecting audiences. The characters were realistic, the situation ghastly. "Predator" had Arnold and a team of serious bad-asses, completely realized before you even glimpsed a monster. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. Otherwise you have decent monster suits, and a bunch of shaky-cam. And there are scenes of a pregnant woman being mouth-raped that were just disgusting. I don't need this. Stay away. An "F+"
Charlie Wilson's War. The story of a Texas congressman who single-handedly funneled vasts amounts of arms to Afghani rebels is irresistible. Loved it. Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts are great fun playing against type, but Phillip Seymour Hoffman as a CIA case worker steals the show. Solid "B"
"The Great Debaters." Underwritten "true" story of a small black college that developed a winning debate squad and challenged white teams in the Jim Crow era. directed competently by Denzel Washington (who also stars) and co-starring Forest Whitaker as the father of one of the debaters, the acting is fine, but the story feels...just a hair flat. The debaters should have been forced to defend positions they didn't agree with. Oddly, though, one critic ranted about how all the white characters were villainous. This is absolute crap. Most of the SOUTHERN white characters are, but the college deans are not just polite, but fair-minded and articulate. Many dozens of perfectly polite and nice folks. Some people are just too sensitive. A "B" that could have been an "A"
Warning! Sambo Alert!
Yes, there is a brief but nicely done (and placed) love scene. Not with Denzel, however, who doesn't get so much as a kiss. But it was nice to see.


Unknown said...

scenes of a pregnant woman being mouth-raped

Ugh. Serious deal breaker for me right there, even if the movie had otherwise been good.

Steven Barnes said...

Repugnant. In a better movie, it might have been one of those mind-bending oh-my-God moments. But here, it was just a bunch of guys sitting in a room thinking of different horrible ways to kill people you've barely met. Feh.

Anonymous said...

Based on this, and on the 16% rating that AvP gets on rottentomatoes, I think I will be saving my money. Hell, the holiday movie season seems to have run aground once more. I haven't seen Sweeney Todd yet, however...

Frank said...

I'm looking forward to seeing Charlie Wilson's War. I read the book by George Crile when it came out in 2003 or so and it was terrific. What I found amazing was how unliley a story it is. Who could make up a story like that without it seeming to be made up?

The convention wisdom is that Ronald Reagan won the cold war; But it is pretty clear that Charlie Wilson was a big help.

And I don't know how much they reveal in the movie, but in the book it was clear that the Reagan Whitehouse and CIA chief Bill Casey were much more interested in fighting a proxy war with the Soviets in Nicaragua while Wilson and Avrakotos were more interested in pulling a reverse Vietnam and directly killing Commies.

And, it must be noted, that what Charlie, Gust, and Joanne did resulted in the largest and most successful covert operation in US history.

Anonymous said...

I too hated the shaky camera work.

It's like an admission that they were either too lazy or too incompetent to film a proper action sequence.

The twisted sexuality behind the look and movements of the Aliens has always turned me off, so the "mouth-rape" was tasteless but not unexpected.