媒体与艺术 | culture | 미디어와 예술 看电影 | on the sofa | 영화를보고

On the sofa: Safe House

Reading Time: < 1 minute

When I see that name Ryan Reynolds on a poster I cringe. Reynolds has appeared in a number of unintentionally comic roles from the Green Lantern to Blade Trinity; or the Marks & Spencers marketing campaign.  So I had my expectations set pretty low for Safe House.

Safe House is a beautifully shot film based in modern-day South Africa; a paranoia-driven thriller a la 3 Days of The Condor, but for the war on terror rather than the cold war. Reynolds does a pretty good job of playing a convincing scared novice CIA officer. What brings it is the ensemble cast around him like Brendan Gleeson who recently stared in The Guard.

The story ends in a bloody Reservoir Dogs-esque climax, whilst there are no surprises the film takes the audience along for an enjoyable ride.

The trailer is on Tudou so may need some patience whilst it loads.

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On the sofa: Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I realise that this is a belated take on the film, but I was laid up ill over Christmas so only got see it recently. I am not a Tom Cruise fan and didn’t have high hopes for the film so I wasn’t disappointed. It has the same kind of action set-pieces that one has grown to expect from the franchise. I have a little more time for it than most of its ilk as John Woo directed the second film in the franchise – not the greatest of his works, but if he can see something in the franchise, I’ll sit through the films. The film opens with a prison break with a fight sequence that was like a poor imitation of the Bourne movies.

The film had a great ensemble of actors including Michael Nyqvist (who would be familiar to those who have seen The Girl trilogy of Swedish films) as the villain of the piece in a role that was only slightly understated compared to Alan Rickman in the original Die Hard.

The action does have peaks and troughs so it doesn’t feel quite as unrelenting as say a Transformers film. The shots based in Dubai make good use of the city state’s sky line, though in reality the cast would have been killed on the country’s notoriously dangerous roads if they had attempted a tenth of what they did in the film.

Product placement

As with previous Mission Impossible films, product placement featured quite heavily in the film. BMW supplied its Vision Efficientdynamics Concept car; a plug in hybrid that looks like the love child of a BMW M1 and a Tron light bike. It was interesting that extensive use was also made of a Land Rover defender, a BMW 1 series and what looked like a 6-series convertible.

it was interesting to see that an effort was made to tone down Apple’s product placement: whilst there were a number of iPhones, iPads and a MacBook Air on view; the MacBook Air came with a cover to subdue the illuminated logo on the back of the case. This is in sharp contrast to competitors like Nokia on Tron or The Dark Knight which amped up the on screen brand imagery of their products as well as the form factor.

Visual lanaguage

Interesting to note that in general anything that had a blue aura around it, was supposed to be high technology from server rooms to gizmos that got the cast in and out of sticky situations. Technology gets pimped (as in Pimp My Ride) with blue LEDs and cold tubes hidden around the case.

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On the sofa: Love And Other Drugs | 电影审查

Reading Time: < 1 minute

I got to see Love And Other Drugs which was a surprisingly adult (for Hollywood anyway) romantic comedy with a good ensemble of actors.  Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway give great performances but the real joy is supporting characters played by Hank Azaria as a corrupt doctor, Lilly Pharmaceuticals super-salesman Gabriel Macht and Oliver Plat as Gyllenhaal’s boss and mentor.

The sub-plot of the romance is set in the pharmaceutical sales environment of the US in the late 1990s and does for the the pharmaceutical industry what Glengarry Glen Ross did for the housing sector.

The film prominently features Pfizer and Lilly as an central part of the story in a way that I am sure they wouldn’t want to be portrayed including hard-ball pharmaceutical sales tactics and a Viagra-induced medical emergency.

I am not a rom-com watcher, but I would quite happily watch this film on DVD again.