Movies for the Weekend of 11/23/2007

This weekend, I saw three movies, all of them at the Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek.

RoboCop (7/10)

The first was the mid-80s classic RoboCop, showing as the midnight movie this weekend. It had been quite a while since I had last seen it, and it was the first time I had seen it in a theater, but it’s a good movie and was well worth it. I don’t think that it’s ever revealed exactly when the movie was supposed to be set, but its depiction of the “future” isn’t as laughable as many other movies of the same type. Many of the special effects look pretty lame by today’s standards, but interestingly enough the IMDB trivia page indicates that they were done on a Commodore Amiga.

Hitman (5/10)

The first new release that I saw this weekend was Hitman. It is based on a video game of the same name (and there’s a scene in the movie where you can see a couple of kids playing it in the background). I’m not really very familiar with the game, and I’ve never played it, so I can’t say how faithfully the movie followed the game, but judging the movie as a standalone entity I thought that it was decent at best.

There was enough action in the movie to keep it interesting, but there was nothing at all original about the story and as such any attempted plot twists really weren’t much of a surprise. It seemed rather un-covert to have their highly-trained secret assassins shaved bald with a big bar code tattooed on the back of their heads, but apparently everyone else is so stupid that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t seem to make them any easier to spot when they’re making their way through a train station, and it doesn’t raise too much of a red flag when an arms dealer’s bodyguards let him alone into a bathroom with their client with little more than a pat-down. Also, the little glass beads scattered on the floor outside of a hotel room that crunch loudly when you step on them are apparently ignored by both special forces operatives and the housekeeping staff. Perhaps the filmmakers thought that throwing in some unnecessary nudity would make up for it, but I think that they misjudged that by at least a couple of cup sizes.

No Country for Old Men (8/10)

On Sunday, I saw No Country for Old Men. I will have to admit that I wasn’t all that excited based on the trailers and hadn’t originally planned on seeing it, but I was lured in by the high IMDB rating (it’s currently got an 8.9 overall, or an 8.6 from the top voters, which puts it at #27 on their Top 250 list), and also because by the time that I was ready to leave to go to the theater it was too late to make it to the showing of The Mist. I’ve been bitten in the past by going to see a movie based on its rating when I didn’t think that I’d much care for it based on the trailers, but in this case the trip was worth it.

The basic premise for the movie is that a man (played by Josh Brolin) is out hunting near his west Texas home when he happens across the aftermath of a drug deal gone bad. He comes across a satchel containing $2 million, which makes him the prime target for the ultimate bad guy (played by Javier Bardem), whose slow persistence and emotional detachment would seem right at home in the best horror movies. Add in a sheriff played by Tommy Lee Jones trying to track both of them down, a bounty hunter played by Woody Harrelson, and cameos by Stephen Root, Barry Corbin, and Beth Grant, and there are very few slow spots in the two hour runtime.

The only real complaint that I have about the movie regards a scene near the end with Tommy Lee Jones investigating the aftermath of a gunfight at an El Paso hotel. I don’t want to give too much away, but its portrayal in the movie is just confusing. Apparently the book on which the movie is based explains it more clearly, but that explanation certainly isn’t one that would have immediately come to mind when watching it on screen, and I’ve read several comments suggesting that in fact something different happened in the movie. It’s not really a critical scene, but the way it played out was a bit of a letdown when compared with the tension leading up to it.

Overall, though, it was a very good movie. There’s not a lot of predictability to it, and it will definitely leave you thinking.