Mike Kueber's Blog

May 5, 2012

Saturday Night at the Movies #25 – Black Snake Moan, The Game, Dream House, and Killer Elite

Filed under: Movie reviews — Mike Kueber @ 3:46 pm
Tags: , , , ,

This week two friends highly recommended two movies to me – Black Snake Moan and The Game.

Black Snake Moan is a 2006 movie starring Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci, with Justin Timberlake.  All three characters seem to be losers who have earned their fate (Jackson’s wife dumped him and has now taken up with his brother, Ricci is a nymphomaniac, and Timberlake is being washed out of the Army), yet we are supposed to be rooting for them to get their acts together.  Furthermore, instead of relying on the drama of the story, the filmmaker continually intersperses the drama with a variety of bad dreams used for cheap shock value.  Thus, this so-called drama could be categorized as easily as a sexploitation film.  Promotions of the movie showed a chained and scantily-clad Ricci being towered over by Jackson, which resulted in Ricci complaining:

  • The way that movie was marketed was probably one of the most disappointing and upsetting things that’s ever happened to me in my career. I have no interest in exploiting women any further than they’ve already been exploited…All they [marketing bosses] cared about was college-age boys going to see it.”

The Rotten Tomato critics gave it a 66% and its audience gave it 70%.  That’s too high – I give it only two stars out of four.

The Game is a 1997 thriller starring Michael Douglas that earned a 71% from the Rotten Tomato critics and 82% from its audience.  One critic said, “Fairly entertaining nonsense”; another said “it strains credulity, but it’s clever.”  That pretty well sums it up from my perspective.  There is nothing to like about Michael Douglas’s character (investment banker) so I couldn’t get very concerned with his precarious situations.  Sean Penn is insignificant as Douglas’s brother, and the only character who held my interest with was the mouthy waitress Deborah Kara Unger who was paired with Douglas for several of his chases/flights.

The Game reminded of the movies The Departed and The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, where you don’t know who you can trust.  Rotten Tomatoes suggested that, “The Game is one of those films that requires the viewer to suspend his disbelief to a great extent, but offers pretty good entertainment in return for that effort.”  I disagree.  This was two wasted hours.  I give it only one and a half stars out of four.

After watching the two friend-referred movies, I returned to my Netflix queue with Dream House and Killer Elite.  I have no idea how Dream House ended up on my queue.  The Rotten Tomato critics gave it only 6% and the audience gave it 36%.  I believe those are the lowest scores of any movies that I have viewed recently.  Furthermore, the movie is a psychological thriller, which typically doesn’t interest me.  It stars Daniel Craig, who played James Bond a few years ago, and because I liked him in the Bond movie, I might have decided to try the movie.  Bad decision.  Neither the story nor the characters were interesting.  I give it one star out of four.

By contrast, action file Killer Elite had interesting, likeable characters, even if they were professional assassins.   It stars Jason Stratham, whom I had never heard of, with Robert De Niro and Clive Owen in supporting roles.  Killer Elite is allegedly based on a true story, as described by Sir Ranulph Fiennes in the book The Feather Men.  The film did slightly better with Rotten Tomatoes than did The Dream House, but it didn’t score well – 25% with the critics and 43% with the audience.  I enjoyed it, just barely, and give it two and a half stars out of four.


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