Sometimes it’s a dilemma: what DVD should you rent or what movie should you stream or order-on-demand? Do you want a date flick, an action caper, or a goofy comedy? Weekly Surge is here to help with our reviews of recent at-home movie releases, which we’ve watched from the comfort of that favorite recliner.
“Act of Valor”
The last year has reaffirmed a couple of factoids about the Navy SEALs. The first is they’re badass warriors that can rappel into dangerous environments and kill global villains. The second fact is they’re horrible actors. Now, that may be a sweeping generality, there could be a Brando SEAL out there somewhere. But if this film is a barometer of the acting skills of these highly skilled individuals, it’s blaringly obvious that there’s no intense training in the art of dialogue. What is worse in this premise of Navy SEALS playing Navy SEALS is that the filmmakers equaled the playing field by hiring only terrible talent to portray the bad guys, too. The plot has no depth – this is a really long commercial for the Navy SEALs. But they don’t need it. We’re on your side already…you’re preaching to the choir…you had us at hello. We don’t want to watch American heroes flub lines and act out stereotypes and wartime clichés. Thank you to the men and women who offer their life with valor for this country. And shame on these filmmakers for trivializing that sacrifice with this piece of drivel – pass.
It’s bad when a director and the actors won’t promote a movie. Maybe they had disagreements with the studios. Maybe they don’t like the final edited cut of the movie. Whatever the case, the movie is usually a mess and bombs at the box office. Well, this one did bomb but it’s not the mess you would expect. There are a few plot holes and some of the characters could use some bolstering in development. But overall, in a world of subpar suspense thrillers, it’s a pretty good film. Helped along by the performances of 007 himself, Daniel Craig, and the always sturdy Rachel Weisz. There are some nice twists and turns but the movie doesn’t rely on a gotcha-factor. The acting pulls it together. Naomi Watts also turns in another good job in a supporting role. It’s not a dream movie but it’s no nightmare either – worth a watch.
“A Dangerous Method”
Director David Cronenberg has made a career of creeping-out and disgusting his audiences. Movies such as “The Fly” and “Crash” have dealt with a man transforming into an insect and people having sex during car crashes. But the whole body of his work has delved into the psychology of his characters. Cronenberg retraces this interest into psychology back to its origins with this film – tying together the relationships of Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, using a seriously screwed-up female patient as a catalyst for testing psychoanalysis and its potential. Cronenberg reunites with his celluloid BFF, Viggo Mortensen, as Freud (this is Mortensen’s third film with Cronenberg). Michael Fassbender continues to string together career-defining roles and Keira Knightley hasn’t let down a period piece yet. If you are interested in the birth of modern psychology at all, this is a movie for you. The method is amazing acting but there’s no danger of a lousy film – worth a watch.
Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge