Sunday, June 24, 2012

Safe House: gripping!

the Poster:

the Trailer:

the Plot:

a legend to all CIA operatives

Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington), an ex-CIA agent turned international criminal, acquires a file from renegade MI6 agent Alec Wade (Liam Cunningham). Attacked by the mercenary Vargas (Fares Fares), Alex got fatally shot whilst Frost escaped to an American consulate and is moved to a CIA safe house in Cape Town, South Africa.

The "housekeeper" of the safe house is Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds), a low-level agent. He watches Frost's interrogation and waterboarding by Daniel Kiefer (Robert Patrick).

Weston was left alone with Frost, as the shooting warfare ensued

Weston is reminded of his duty to protect the Safe House's guest

When Vargas and his men attack the house, Kiefer and his team were executed, and Weston escapes with Frost captive.

Weston contacts his mentor, David Barlow (Brendan Gleeson), at CIA headquarters for guidance. Catherine Linklater (Vera Farmiga), another CIA operative, intercepts the call and orders Weston to lay low and call back later.

Linklater and Whitford assessing the situation

Weston hides with Frost and calls his girlfriend Ana Moreau (Nora Arnezeder), telling her to leave the house. Linklater later tells Weston to go to Cape Town Stadium to retrieve a GPS device with the location of a nearby safe house.

Frost is incredulous with Weston's decision to cuff him at the stadium

Weston retrieves the GPS at the stadium, but Frost creates a diversion and escapes by disguising himself as a policeman.

Weston, detained by the police, later escapes and confronts Frost only to have the latter escapes after causing injury to him.

Weston went after Frost

the experienced Frost wins over Weston

Weston is ordered to visit the nearest American embassy for debriefing by the CIA Deputy Director, Harlan Whitford (Sam Shepard). Instead he meets with Ana, where he reveals that he is a CIA agent and sends her away for her safety to Paris. Ana is reluctant to leave but Weston beseeches her to do so.

Ana is incensed for being lied to and then requested to leave Weston

He then locates the house of Frost's contact, Carlos Villar (Rubén Blades), where Frost is attacked by Vargas and his team, but escapes with Weston's help. They learn that Vargas is actually working for the CIA, which is seeking to retrieve the files Frost received from Wade. It is revealed that the files contain detailed information of corrupt activities by many intelligence agencies, including the CIA itself, and that Weston's own superiors may be implicated.

over injuries, Frost confided that being CIA operatives isn't that much fun.


Keller was caustic in his admiration of Weston's posting at the Cape Town city

Frost is taken to the new safe house by Weston, where Weston is attacked by the housekeeper, Keller (Joel Kinnaman) who got the signal through his phone. After much struggle, Weston kills Keller but is badly wounded in their fight.

Frost leaves Weston who then passes out from the wounds sustained in the fight with Keller.

Meanwhile, Linklater has arrived in South Africa with Barlow to discover who leaked the location of the first safe house, but is shot and killed by Barlow, who goes to the safe house and reveals that he is Vargas' employer.

Linklater confided that the ensuing cat and mouse chase is for a microchip holding secrets. Barlow promptly shot her
Barlow confirms that the file contains incriminating evidence against him, and encourages Weston to lie about what has happened. Frost returns to rescue Weston by killing Vargas and his men but is shot by Barlow.

Weston, outraged, then shoots Barlow in the chest, killing him. Frost gives Weston the file and tells him he is better than Frost before he dies from his injuries.

Back in the U.S., Weston meets with Whitford, who informs Weston that unflattering facts about the CIA must be removed from his report, and he will be promoted as a senior case officer. He asks Weston about the file's location but Weston denies having been told about it by Frost. Whitford states that whoever has those files will have many enemies. Weston leaves, then leaks the files to the Internet, incriminating personnel from many intelligence agencies, including Whitford.

Later on, Weston sees Ana across a street in Paris, France. She reads a note passed to her from him, looks up at Weston, and they both make eye contact. She slowly smiles.

the Review:
one word to describe the movie: GRIPPING. i often watched movie concurrently with other tasks, playing computer  games mostly. but for this movie, i was forced to abandoned the side activities after 5 minutes or so of the movie.

RR played his role convincingly. his warring emotions and battling conscience were in constant havoc and chaos as he determined the next step to take. and he was attentive, making us believe that Frost is not so hard to find.

and that brings me to the holes in the story. it was a miracle that Weston could easily pinpoint Frost at Carlos' house. and during the escape earlier at the stadium full of people. it was so easy for Weston to spot Frost. i bet he is full of luck indeed.

and talking about luck, i wonder why the mercenaries didn't pick Ana up as collateral as her connection to Weston is all too apparent to Barlow and Whitford. they could arrange for her to be ransomed for Frost. but nope, she escaped clean as a whistle to Paris.

it was also stated that by having and leaking the information on the rogue secret agents of multiple nations, Weston shall have enemies from front, back, left and right. yet, he can easily go to Paris to meet Ana, without having to disguise himself. which brought the incredulity factor in my mind, don't the bad guys have other balachis at their back and call? is it suffice to assume that the only bad guys in CIA are Whitford and Barlow? i mean, shouldn't Whitford as Deputy Director have another rogue agents on his side too? ini tidak, when Barlow is dead, as if it's ok now, the super villain is dead and CIA is now clean.

and the mercenary himself is of mistaken descent. this movie is shot at Cape Town and the super villain is of Arab descent with konco-konco Arab plus African. hmmm...

the up points of this movie however, is that you could experience the perplexing emotion running amok in Weston. and that basically he is just doing his job for his country while maintaining his conscience. with tears dripping off his quivering eyelashes, the red eyes just convey how tortured he was in his course for truth and justice.

mata-mata yang bening, ewwah :)

 DW also portrayed a convincing image of a rogue agent escaping the CIA grid as he lost his trust in the agency's backhanded ways in achieving the greater good for the country regardless of the collateral damage. when Carlos dies of honor and loyalty to Frost, it was a very touching moment...

Carlos asks Frost to not divulge the secret contained in the microchip

all in all, this film is about honor and loyalty among comrades for the right justice. and it struck a cord within me, a government officer, to question my motives in serving my country etc. ewwah. berfalsafah la pulak, he he he

just to note. i do love the clothes that Linklater wore. very nice!
among others :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Just Notes # 4

ha.. last night i downloaded more movies:
  • Coriolanus (a Shakespeare adaptation) - among others, Jessica Chastain, Gerard Butler and Ralph Fiennes
  • Man on a Ledge - Sam Worthington and Jamie Bell
  • Quantum of Solace - Gemma Atherton and Daniel Craig
  • Safe House - Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington
  • One for the Money - Katherine Heigl
  • Game of Shadows - Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr.
hopefully i can review them soon!

and yes, the viewership for Slow-Pokey is reaching 5,000. here's for the next 5,000 views, hopefully by next month or so? hahaha.. such wistful thinking :)


RF and JC
SW and JB

DC and GA

DW and RR

RD Jr and JL

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New York, I love You! : aimless amble that gets you nowhere

the Poster:

the Trailer:

the Plot:
New York, I Love You tells of  11 segments, starting with Ben (Hayden Christensen), a pickpocket who finally meets his match in Garry (Andy Garcia) who is in relationship with Molly (Rachel Bilson). 

Ben is scouting for his victim
Molly is waiting for Garry at the bar
Garry confronted Ben who picked his pocket earlier
Molly drops by to see Ben

They leave the place together
then it proceeds to the story of Rifka (Natalie Portman), an Orthodox Jewish bride to be married in a wedding ceremony steeped in Jewish tradition negotiating for a diamond sale with Mansukhbai (Irrfan Khan), an Indian jeweler of Jain faith with 2 kids, jilted by his wife who left for India to be a saint. 

Over the course of a few minutes, the densely packed script covers language, dietary restrictions, religion, love; all of it delivered with a narrative punch. and Mansukhbai was later portrayed to wistfully daydream that he is the groom Rifka is marrying.

Rifka with her REAL groom

Next, is about a sleep-deprived composer, David Cooler (Orlando Bloom), carrying on a phone flirtation with his director's unseen assistant, Camille (Christina Ricci). after David threatened to quit his job, only Camille appeared at his apartment to help him understand the book assignment related to his current piece.

a composer struggling to finish his assignments

David struggles to finish the book

Camille finally shows up. David teases that now they are getting married.

Then the dangerous push-pull of flashfire attraction of Lydia (Drea de Matteo) and Gus (Bradley Cooper) who struggle with the after effects of their blazingly intense one-night stand.

Lydia berates herself for fantasizing about the one night stand

they met again as Gus about to enter a taxi

no need to guess of how the night shall end

in the end, they met in front of a bar as Gus stopped a taxi. they then proceed to make out in the taxi, perhaps to spend another night together.

there is also an Upper East Side Hotel ghost story featuring Jacob (Shia LaBeouf) as a hunchbacked bellhop interacting with Isabelle (Julie Christie), a faded opera star which put a damper on the latter's wish to kill herself.
Jacob surprises Isabelle with violets

they share a drink together

we were then showed that the hunchbacked bellhop is a ghost that died falling from the open window.

Jacob lying on the pavement, dead
and the real bellhop (John Hurt) mentioned that the violet is from the hotel management who still remembers her preference.

this movie also includes a comic prom-night ode to teen hormones and Central Park. Mr Riccoli (James Caan), a pharmacist in full grump offers his wheelchair-bound daughter (April Bowlby) to accompany his customer (Anton Yelchin) to a senior prom night after he got jilted by his girlfriend, Gabrielle (Blake Lively).

sporting father Mr Riccoli is.
they stumbled upon Gabrielle with her more matured escort

having a good time

they spend the night at the Central Park

rushing her home the morning after

things do happen beyond our expectation, non?

what happened that night and the morning after really puts a smile on the boy's face.

then there was a writer (Ethan Hawke) as a fast talker trying to pick up Janice (Maggie Q) through sharing sexual innuendos and whatnots, which comes off as an extended joke with a predictable punchline. 

they shared a lighter

sexual innuendos dripping here and there

he tried to convince her to follow him back to his place
However she tells him that she's a hooker and men who wants to sleep with her have to pay. the scene by the street in front of a restaurant was later reenacted by a couple of strangers at first it seems. Alex (Chris Cooper) and Anna (Robin Wright Penn) talked by the street, with Anna seducing Alex before entering the restaurant.

Anna flirts with Alex
a married couple rupanya

 it is later revealed that Alex was her estranged husband whom she refers to in their by street conversation. and the night ends with them talking with ease and much intimacy, perhaps due to the initial conversation as strangers.

we then are treated to the story where a Chinese herbalist (Shu Qi) becomes the object of fantasy for an alcoholic Painter (Uğur Yücel). 

the Painter is obsessed with the painting

he follows her around

He pursued her and asked her to come visit his place for a painting session. later, as she went to his apartment, it was later found out that the Painter has died, leaving sketches of her face sans her eyes.

Dante (Carlos Acosta) is a Cuban dancer taking care of a little blond Caucasian girl, Teya (Taylor Geare). 

Dante's love for Teya is apparent

heading home to meet Teya's mom

His affections for her impressed the onlooking mothers who mistaken him for a manny though the girl is in fact his daughter, out on their time together. he then returns Teya to Maggie (Jacinda Barrett) who reprimands him for being too soft on Teya. 

then there were scenes of Sarah (Eva Amurri) who berates her boyfriend, Justin (Justin Bartha) for not taking her on a trip. 

:laments: :laments:

impulsively he took her to the american airline agent and booked a trip to Rome, promising to buy her a toothbrush when they got there.

Abe (Eli Wallach) and  Mitzie (Cloris Leachman) as a married old couple took a jaunt in the city, constantly poking at each other with sarcastic comments. it was revealed that it was their 63rd anniversary and as they leave the pier, their affections for each other is more apparent.

the loving couple, despite the constant bickering

itn the end, it was made known that the 11 segments were connected by the snapshots taken by a videographer, Zoe (Emilie Ohana). 

Zoe is filming random people around New York

the moment she met Gus

spending time with the Chinese herbalist

the Review:
this movie frustrates me much with its slow pace and incomprehensible plots. i have to rewatch and pay attention to the dialogue just not to miss the point. should i watch this in the cinema hall, i would have fallen asleep or worst, ended up frustrated.

however, there are segments of this movie that i like. the one with Natalie Portman and Irrfan Khan, Anton with April and last but not least, the old couple. sweet sangat :)

the scenes in this movie is a bit dry. and you kinda lost your objectivity in its quest to be artistic. as i said, it's an aimless amble around New York, showcasing the places of interest which are very nice to look at.