Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Looks like SHOOT 'EM UP screened last night and we had a fair amount of people writing in to tell us about it. I know Moriarty got to visit the set, so keep an eye out for his set report.
The first reviewer pointed his own gun to my head and made sure I post his review. Everyone seemed to like the film, some going crazy-in-love, some scratching their heads a bit. Enjoy the reviews and beware of spoilers! Keep in mind it's an early screening of an incomplete film!
Hey, Quint. I'm sending this one to you because I like you and I like your reviews. So you get the scoop for the morning edition. And you (the "Aint It Cool" you, not Quint "you." Remember, I like "Quint" you) better fucking print this one. I'm tired of writing these well-thought-out reviews for you (again, the "Aint It Cool" you) people and having them end up in the recycler while you publish seven other reviews written by half-literate twits from the Talkback human veal pen. New Line screened writer-director Michale Davis' SHOOT 'EM UP at The Bridge tonight in Los Angeles. I have to say that when I had the invitation to this screening forwarded to me, I was really pumped. I read the script review on Latino Review months ago. That combined with the Clive Owen attachment made this a real "must track" on my movie radar. Unfortunately, I went in with higher expectations than what was ultimately delivered. I also have to say that I hate having to skip forward six paragraphs when reading reviews from contributors who think I give a flying fuck about what kind of popcorn they got or what traffic they hit on the way to the theater or how ugly their ugly girlfriend is. So no skipping in my review. I'll just tell you that we were the first audience ever to see this movie. So without further ado, the movie-- Being a wannabe screenwriter myself out here in Hell-A, I'll take my best shot at the logline: When a drifter (who also happens to be a crack shot) accidentally interrupts an armed assault on a women giving birth, he must take the newborn from its murdered mother and ally with the only woman he trusts (a hooker who specializes in breast-feeding fantasies) to protect the infant, his girl and himself while evading a relentless killer who won't stop until the baby -- yes, the BABY -- is dead. Cool set up, right? Well, SHOOT 'EM UP is a strange movie. I'm still digesting it. I'm sure if I wrote this review tomorrow morning instead of tonight that this whole experience would have gelled more for me. But enjoying movies is all about that visceral reaction we have during the movie and the excitement we (should) have when leaving the theater, right? Well, SHOOT 'EM UP just never settled with me. This is a film that, I think at least, is very much in the vein of KILL BILL and SIN CITY. It's anchored in this hyper-violent surrealism that exists in a world that you need to just buy or you're never going to enjoy a moment of the movie. I bought KILL BILL. I bought SIN CITY. The problem is, SHOOT 'EM UP, unlike the former two movies, never made the sale. The "world," the graphic novel, is never established convincingly. Sure, the action is over the top and even a lot of fun at times, but the tone of the movie keeps vacillating between real and surreal and you're never sure where exactly you're supposed to be. The result for me was that I was never really comfortable immersing myself in the film because I didn't know where I was supposed to be. On one hand, the movie is an action cliche-buster, like when we see Paul Giamatti's villain character scream "God, we suck!" after thousands of bad-guy bullets miss Clive Owen's Mr. Smith as he daringly escapes with a newborn baby tucked under his arm. On the other hand, the movie sinks into it's own cliched action pit of hell when the audience is left eye-rolling at long, expository "this is how I am going to get away with it, Mr. Bond" speeches from Paul Giamatti's big-boss bad-guy. Note to screenwriters everywhere: if you find your villains explaining your plot to YOU, it's time for a rewrite. For fuck's sake, doesn't anyone try anymore? Unfortunately, I think the above-mentioned bizarre fluctuations in tone tears out the spine that could have held this promising premise together and made it a great film. Beyond that rather damning criticism, I unfortunately have a few other complants. Paul Giamatti was miscast. I've liked the guy in everything I've ever seen him in, but here he comes off as awkward and forced. Whereas Phillip Seymour Hoffman was quite believable (and hate-able -- in a good way) in M:I3, Giamatti never seemed comfortable in his role as the wicked villain. In a sorely missed opportunity, Giamatti's character continually receives calls from his pissed off wife throughout his baby assassination caper. Sounds funny, right? I feel like Tarantino would have done something really interesting with this, like having Giamatti sweet-talk the missus who terrifies him while he berates his own men. In SHOOT 'EM UP, however, we endure this plot device for a good two hours before receiving an extremely lame payoff. This is another example of where I had trouble immersing myself into Davis' SHOOT 'EM UP world. Even the title, SHOOT 'EM UP, promises a delicious candy land of over the top hardcore violence and ridiculous machismo. We get a lot of it, sure, but in the end I wasn't entirely convinced that Davis had decided whether he was making KILL BILL with big guns, babies and big-boobed hookers or the next noirish Michael Mann cop procedural. Monica Belluci, while absolutely breastacular, was difficult to understand at times and is far too stiff and refined for the role she played (again, a hooker who indulges men's Oedipal breast-feeding fetishes). Many of her quips (which would have been quite funny if delivered by a more Jenny McCarthy type) where lost in the oddities of her _____ accent -- what the hell is that accent anyway? She was another bad choice in my opinion and it hurt the chemistry of the film. Clive Owen, as always, turned in a virtuoso performance. Thank god the Mr. Smith character was him. Had it been a Vin Diesel type or even a Bruce Willis type, this film may have been unbearable. The story itself had plenty of mystery (why are they trying to kill a baby?) that pays off pretty well with plenty of twists and turns and PLENTY of gratuitous violence and balls-to-the-wall action along the way. The film needs to be edited down a bit to trim out some of the unnecessary exposition. If it was a little tighter and featured a lot less of the Auric Goldfinger soapbox exposition, the film could probably play well to a less snobby audience. I actually think this will do well with the 15-24 male audience (you know, the ones who are afraid of books) when released. But I'm a film buff, film lover and film connoisseur. I have a real mean streak that comes from beating the shit out of my own writing on a daily basis. I'm very critical (something Harry may want to learn how to be someday -- Mr."I giggled through Lady in the Water"). Therefore, I have very high standards when it comes to movies. I'm really bummed to say that SHOOT 'EM UP just didn't meet 'em. Sorry, guys. Riskbreaker
Review #2. Much much less restrained... "I saw a movie that fucked me so hard that my balls will ache for the rest of the year." Now if that's not a pull quote I don't know what is...
Harry, tonight at the Bridge Cinema in LA I saw a movie that fucked me so hard that my balls will ache for the rest of the year. Shoot 'em up… I swear this must be the highest body count in a movie since the entire army of Sauron was wiped out in Return of the King. Everyone has read about what the concept and story is about and Latino Review interviewed Davis who gave his description of the film and it is exactly as he said: [SHOOT 'EM UP starts literally in the middle of a gun battle where the hero, Mr. Smith, is delivering a baby in the middle of a gunfight. The mom dies but the infant lives. He thinks the assassins were after the mother, but he soon discovers the baby is the target. Mr. Smith must uncover the reason why this newborn is the target to save the kid's life and his own. Mr. Smith is the angriest man in the world and is the worst person in the world to take care of the kid. He is near homeless. He takes the baby to a prostitute that services men with a lactation/mommy fetish. He calls her DQ, short for Dairy Queen. She’s the perfect heroine to help him. The three form a makeshift family while on the run ands under fire. Every possible cool thing you can do with a shoot out is explore in this relentless- RUN-LOLA-RUN with a gun-like story. It also has a strong anti-establishment angle that I like. It combines influences of the Hollywood action film and American Indie films, along with a big dose of world cinema, mainly the Hong Kong action films.] Well, Michael Davis did a truly kick-ass job with on this and his previous gigs of Monster Man (good genre flick) and 100 Women and 100 Girls will not prepare you for what he pulls off with this movie. Davis said he just wanted to make a balls-out action movie where every scene was a kick-ass gun battle. Well, he did it in spades. The performances by Owen, Bellucci and Giamatti are pardon the pun ‘killer.’ Clive Owen.... Clive Owen… Clive Owen… no wait, who is the fucking moron that decided not to pay him a billion dollars to play James Bond? He is a dangerous action superstar… Mad Max blended with James Bond. The Mr. Smith character is an enigma and no one knows who he really is, but boy can this guy kill people. Monica Bellucci is so amazingly hot. She plays a prostitute with clients who wear diapers and have a tit fetish (I guess this was a studio tie-in for the ‘got milk’ campaign). Did I mention she was hot? There is a scene where she and Clive Owen are fucking in a hotel room… Monica on top ‘nice and tasty’ - and a group of assassins bust-in… Owen dives and rolls while still inside Bellucci and while they continue to fuck he stands and takes out 6 or 7 guys until they both climax. Now THAT IS ENTERTAINMENT! Paul Giamatti plays a sick-fuck hit-man who is charged to take out the baby but Smith keeps getting in the way. Giamatti’s performance is like sorbet. He has some great lines and an ongoing thing where his wife keeps calling during killing sprees and he calmly lets her know that his ‘business trip’ will be running a bit longer due to complications but he will be home in time for his son’s birthday party. I won't go on since I am sure you will get multiple posts on this screening but this is one damn good flick. I don’t know when New Line is going to put this movie out but whenever it is I say LOCK & LOAD… Harry, if you use this post, please call me “Patient Zero”
And review #3!!!
Hey Harry, I was a guest of a friend tonight at a screening of a new movie tonight called “Shoot Them Up” and I remembered that you guys had covered it on the site last year or something. You had said how the director did all this animation to show how the film will play out and that got him the gig directing. He’s obviously a very charmed guy because he got a cast that any director would die to have. Clive Owen doesn’t have a lot to do in the film except look badass and shoot a lot of guns. He does both real well. Everyone calls him “Smith” and wonders what his deal is. He can shoot so well that people think he must be black ops or something. No one is sure. He lives in an abandoned building. He’s basically a homeless dude chewing on carrots all the time because they are good for his eyesight, which helps him shoot. He’s the hero of the film, but he doesn’t want to be. He tries to get out of being the hero three or four times at the beginning and towards the end he actually shoots somebody (bad) in cold blood. He’s such a modern hero it isn’t even funny. When the film begins Smith is delivering a baby while shooting a bunch of bad guys. He even shoots the umbilical cord (yes really). At first I wasn’t sure what to think about the film. Most of it was funny shit but the action and the music made me think the director was trying to be serious. It took almost half an hour for me and my mate to realize that the whole thing was tongue in cheek- and when we did we laughed the whole way through to the end. Monica Belushi is the Italian hooker. She’s got a hot body and a supermodel face. She’s also got breast milk, so Smith tries to give her the baby. Along the way Smith and “DQ” (lol) fall in love. They try to build a surrogate family for the baby whose mom died during the opening shoot out. Enter Paul Giamatti as Mr. Hertz (groan) who wants to make sure the baby doesn’t live out the day. You spend most of the movie wondering why and trying to figure out why. He has the best line of the entire film when he shouts after the escaping Smith and DQ to his men- “Do we just suck or is this guy really that good.” I really, really enjoyed this film- it kind of flew by. The action is some of the most original I have ever seen, including a shoot out on a roundabout, a shoot out in an alley and a cool as shit shootout in Smith’s lair. It took me a while because I didn’t know what I was seeing, but hey, I’m visiting from Australia and I got a free movie out of it but I would definitely see it again. Sincerely, Cortex