I’m a little behind this week, but it’s better late than never. It’s been a so-so week of movies for me. There was one really good title and the rest were average. Once again, in order of my favourite to the least, here’s a quick rundown of what was playing on my screens.
On The Job – Inspired by a real scandal that shook the Philippines, this movie is one of the finest movie I’ve seen lately. There are 2 main story arcs: a backup hitman learning the ropes from a seasoned killer and an up-and-coming detective groomed by his corrupt father-in-law. Their stories run parallel but eventually converge, and that is just clever writing. The technical aspects are well-executed, particularly the cinematography and sound design. The cast is exceptional as well, especially Joel Torre as the older hitman. Overall, a fine piece of work from the director Erik Matti, and I’m looking forward to his next film. Watch this if you’re looking one of the finest modern crime thrillers from Asia.
Out of the Furnace – To be honest, this left me a little disappointed. Firstly the ensemble cast had outstanding performances. In fact, they were so good that I had expectations set for a spectacular finish, but the ending was a little flat. I think the film’s weak plot couldn’t hold up the weight of the cast. Watch this for the strong performances from the cast. I think Casey Affleck is improving as an actor and seems like he’s ready for his big leading role soon.
2 Guns – This turned out better than I had expected. The chemistry between Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg is believable and great to watch, and with a plot filled with double and triple-crosses, this action-comedy is very entertaining. If you’re a fan of bromance movies or simply looking for a brainless but enjoyable shoot-em-up over the weekend, then you can’t go wrong with this one.
The Art of the Steal – This movie is almost like Ocean’s Eleven meets Guy Ritchie, but without the pizazz from either. The plot is predictable and there were no standout characters or memorable performances. It ended up a little bland and forgettable for me. The use of the first-person narrative in the early parts of the film was interesting but it didn’t develop enough in the latter parts. It could have been a fantastic device for dramatic irony if Kurt Russell’s character starts letting you in on the final cross. Watchable but don’t expect to be blown away. This isn’t The Usual Suspects.
Wrath of Vajra – This movie didn’t quite work for me. It feels like they wanted to make a martial arts movie, so they choreographed a bunch of fight sequences then wrapped what looked like a story around it. There’s nothing wrong with that, a lot of martial arts movies had thin plots but at least they were unapologetic about it. Wrath of Vajra took itself a little too seriously. The acting was forgettable but the fighting sequences themselves were choreographed quite nicely, although I had issues with the quick edits. I just prefer fight sequences with an uninterrupted string of action. Lastly, the use of slow-motion shots (ala The Grandmaster), is a little too gratuitous for my liking. Watch for the fight scenes, forget everything else.