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Moriarty Jumps Sideways In The Air And Fires Two Guns At SHOOT ‘EM UP!

Hey, everyone. “Moriarty” here. I’m starting to panic a little bit. It’s the end of August already, and I’ve only seen about 90 new films this year. Normally by this point, I should be well over 120 films seen, and I’m worried that I’ll come in really light this year. I’m seeing five films a week at this point most weeks, which is a big commitment of time when you live as far out of Hollywood as I do now and you’re also juggling family time, obviously important with a two-year-old in the house. This week alone, I've seen DAN IN REAL LIFE, MICHAEL CLAYTON, THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD, HALLOWEEN, and I'll wrap it up with SLEUTH tonight. The Friday before I left on a family trip last week, I ended up sitting down in the New Line screening room in the middle of the afternoon to see SHOOT ‘EM UP, probably the one chance I’d have to see it pre-release. I have a feeling a fair percentage of action fans are going to have preposterous fun with SHOOT ‘EM UP even if they don’t have a big Alamo Drafthouse-style event afterwards. I think people who get the movie and get into the vibe of the movie are going to have a huge amount of fun. Davis sets the tone for the film quickly and expertly, and by the time the title splashes across the screen, you’ll know if you’re onboard or not. You’ll know if this is a film you’re going to hang with for ninety minutes. It goes by lightning fast, too, but if you’re turned off by that quick burst of activity and violence at the beginning, you’re not going to hang with the rest of the film at all. It just gets crazier from there. This is a pure action film, where each moment is either getting the characters to an action scene or an action scene, and where each action scene is built to be a little different, a new riff on what’s come before, constantly upping its own sense of the outrageous. It’s easy to orchestrate mayhem, but it’s hard to make it count. SHOOT ‘EM UP is ridiculous from the moment it starts, and yet, somehow, in the midst of this insane mayhem and despite the fact that the film moves at a preposterous gallop from the opening frame to the last, there’s a soul in there. Part of that comes from the fact that Clive Owen and Monica Bellucci are full-fledged grown-ups. But part of that comes from the fact that the entire thing is so earnest, so completely without any post-modern winking. Yeah, the film has a sense of humor about itself, but it doesn’t treat action films like they’re beneath contempt, something to be roasted instead of enjoyed. I’ve heard a few people reference CRANK when describing SHOOT ‘EM UP, and I can see why they’re making the comparison. Both of them are almost delirious with the potential of action cinema, giddy at what they get to do. But CRANK is filthy like it was made by a couple of college guys, while SHOOT ‘EM UP is filthy like it was made by an overcaffeinated 13-year-old. Even when it’s doing its best to shock you, there’s an exuberant sweetness that makes it fun. Take the bad guy in the movie, for example. Paul Giamatti flirts with mainstream stardom every year, but he seems happy to trash whatever carefully cultivated image he’s been working on when he plays a role like this. He took the character that Michael Davis wrote and then cranked up the skeeze factor by about a thousand percent. It’s hilarious, but when you see how far he’s willing to push it, you might be momentarily shocked. You can practically hear Davis snickering off-camera, though, and Giamatti has so much visible fun that it’s hard to stay offended. There’s a mystery of sorts driving the film, but when the pieces all fall into place, you realize that the “why” is far less important than the “how” in the way this thing unfolds. Peter Pau’s photography makes great use of daylight and grime, and I like how neatly the film sidesteps the film noir thing visually. The film moves so fast that when it ends, you’ll be a little shocked. That pacing is one of the reasons Davis gets away with everything he does. If this film took itself even a little more seriously, it would collapse. You can see that this is not an expensive film by any means. The visual effects feel low-budget, and the skydiving scene in particular is more exciting in the way it’s imagined than in the way it’s executed. But again... somehow, that’s part of the charm of the thing. To me, this feels like an old-school New Line film. It’s easy to forget these days that New Line was an exploitation house back in the day. This movie reminds me of something like THE HIDDEN, a genre exercise that more than delivers on its premise, one that never stops trying to entertain. And honestly, I appreciated seeing the New Line logo in front of this one because it suggests to me that there’s still room for that New Line, the New Line I was fond of before there was any hint of LORD OF THE RINGS on the wind.


Drew McWeeny, Los Angeles

Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 31, 2007, 7:55 p.m. CST

    first?

    by lavatory love machine

    hi

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 7:56 p.m. CST

    Giamatti

    by Virtual Satyr

    I've been waiting for him to play are real sleazy villain and this movie looks to answer my prayers..can't wait to see it.

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 7:56 p.m. CST

    clive should be bond

    by lavatory love machine

    he's such a badass

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 7:56 p.m. CST

    People

    by shmu65

    who post that they're number 1 are gay.

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 7:57 p.m. CST

    Just having Monica...

    by Forsakyn

    Makes it worth seeing!

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 7:57 p.m. CST

    i.e...

    by shmu65

    lavatory love machine.

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 8:01 p.m. CST

    Hey! I'm in this one.

    by Nazzim O'Bazzim

    I'm Innocent Bystander Diving For Cover # 15, or something. Even back then on that shooting day I thought that this might be one I'd like to watch. The scene features Clive saving a baby on a merry-go-round by shooting the bars on it so that the thing moves faster and makes it hard for Giamatti to get a bead on the kid. I thought "Hey, I don't think I've seen THAT in a movie before..."

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 8:15 p.m. CST

    This movie looks fun.

    by one9deuce

    But I would have seen it anyway since Monica Bellucci is in it (and by default, Monica's perfect ass and rack).

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 8:33 p.m. CST

    Second Moriarty's review

    by Trader Groucho 2

    And I'd add that it's a really stupid fun enjoyable ride. Loved it.

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 9:13 p.m. CST

    Meanwhile,

    by SuckLeTrou

    there is a new DePalma film out that is on the front page of Drudge and making people wet their pants in Venice apparently...why nothing here?

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 9:24 p.m. CST

    Once you Have Krack your life is over

    by Fartgod The IRSTard

    or in your case Krack you sad sack you never had one

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 9:28 p.m. CST

    De Palma and Owen

    by AdmiralNeck

    That De Palma film sounds like a cross between Casualties of War and Blair Witch. The UK press is all over it, and it sounds like the old man had something really spcial up his sleeve. Good on him for keeping quiet about it until now. TomBodet, you see Children of Men? Clive Owen is anything but woodlike. Best male lead performance of 2006, IMO.

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 9:34 p.m. CST

    I'm glad they're showing the same trailer over and over

    by eggbeater

    They're not giving away much of anything. I can't wait for this movie and i'm glad it hasn't been spoiled for me by the trailers.

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 10:16 p.m. CST

    Thank god for no self-aware nod wink nudge bullshit

    by Guy Who Got A Headache And Accidentally Saves The World

    Christ, it's about time a movie can take itself seriously, ESPECIALLY an over the top one like this.

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 10:19 p.m. CST

    "Only" 90 films...?

    by Osmosis Jones

    I've seen about 32 films this year, and I don't have a girlfriend or kids. Schmuck...

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 11:19 p.m. CST

    And what the fuck was that

    by JUSTICE41

    And what the fuck was that all about?

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 12:01 a.m. CST

    Is this BananaVenom guy serious?

    by Bob of the Shire

    Let it go dude. Screaming about something insanely minor like that constantly doesn't get peoples attention, it just makes them increasingly apathetic to your cause.

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 1:54 a.m. CST

    So, what you're saying is, that you didn't like LOTRs?

    by The Dum Guy

    "the New Line I was fond of before there was any hint of LORD OF THE RINGS on the wind"<br><br>Are saying that in... you don't like them screwing Jackson?

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 3:13 a.m. CST

    Mori how are the action scenes shot?

    by IndustryKiller!

    A film like this lives and dies on the way it's filmed. In an age where so many directors (I'll point a huge finger at you Michael bay) get credit for shooting horrible action. An action scene isn't impressive unless its very dramatically sound, which it doesn't sound like shoot 'em up (excuse the pun) aims for, or unless its technically impressive with a camera that know where it needs to be and shows full range of the action. That is all I want to know from a review of this film.

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 3:28 a.m. CST

    Industry Killer

    by drew mcweeny

    Davis has a good sense of geography, and his action is the sort of set-up, gag, pay-off choreographed action that Spielberg did so well at a point. He uses a sort of Warner Bros. cartoon pace through the thing... he sets up a scene and the geography of it. He throws in a complication. He sets it off. He throws in another complication. Things pay off in hilarious and violent fashion. Big punchline to the scene. Next scene. Repeat. That's what makes it such a bracing, quick ride.

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 3:53 a.m. CST

    All ways good to see Scott Stillborn is

    by Phategod1

    still and asshole.

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 4:33 a.m. CST

    Hmmmm methinks I'll have to check it out

    by IndustryKiller!

    Sounds good Mori thanks.

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 6:50 a.m. CST

    Looks more funny than dramtic

    by Midol Boy

    But that's not a bad thing.

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 6:50 a.m. CST

    dramatic

    by Midol Boy

    DUH!!

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 7:12 a.m. CST

    I want this car. I need the keys. Thank you.

    by kwisatzhaderach

    Bye.

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 7:30 a.m. CST

    I'm sorry, but was that a review?

    by AARONIUS

    Seriously, it sounds like you enjoyed the film Mori, but I still know less than if I watched a trailer for it. You made the comment that you've seen almost 100 films this year, but how many do you review at this site? It seems to me for a site so heavily in love with film that there might be a few more movie reviews on here. Back on the subject of Shoot em Up, a lot of people keep talking about Monica Belluci like she just lets it all hang out in this movie, but what's the real deal. Does she do a nude scene, or are the fanboys here so desperate for women that they'll pleasure themselves to a fully clothed lady now?

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 7:37 a.m. CST

    Paul Giamatti's next role should be as the Punisher ...

    by GCH888

    Now that would be something I'd want to watch. Instead of rebooting / reimaging films let's have a movie which shows a comic character when he's old and tired.

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 7:47 a.m. CST

    There's a Red Band Trailer

    by slfricky

    http://tinyurl.com/2e g6qe not seen it mentioned here before

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 7:51 a.m. CST

    Anyone remember HARD TARGET?

    by gotta eat

    It's been done before, chaps. Move along, nothing to see here.

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 8:42 a.m. CST

    cool. I was worried about this

    by Russman

    Clive is the mother-flipping man!

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 9:42 a.m. CST

    Clive Owen

    by tk 421

    Graduate of the Armand Assante school of smoldering intensity. Other class memebers include Viggo Mortensen. Not that it's a bad thing, I have all sorts of man love for Clive.

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 10:41 a.m. CST

    Clive

    by deadshot07

    Is far too cool to be Bond.

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 12:37 p.m. CST

    Like it was made by an overcaffinated 13 year old????

    by Cinemajerk

    And you call that a COMPLIMENT??? The movie Crank SUCKED. I love the Bellucci boobies...but I ain't payin money to see this crap. These kind of hyper stylized crappy movies suck. Especially when made by Americans. Do not even compare these movies to early John Woo classics like Hard Boiled. Anyway...I just thought it was funny how the reviewer described this movie as being directed by over caffinated 13 year olds....as if that was a compliment. Gimme a break.

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 1:08 p.m. CST

    Phategod1

    by Fartgod The IRSTard

    anyone even know what this scrotum was TRYING to write? Tis sad- thought you had to be literate in order to collect IRS payments from little old ladies.

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 1:52 p.m. CST

    LIVE FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT TONIGHT

    by zillabeast

    Live Draft Sat Sep 1 8:15pm PST Yahoo League ID: 423376 Password: big http://football.fantasysports.yahoo.com/f1/register/joinprivateleague_league_select?.scrumb=

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 2:42 p.m. CST

    CRANK sucked...

    by Motoko Kusanagi

    ...royal monkey dick.

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 4:08 p.m. CST

    Dear Hollywood: believe it or not, we LIKE adults

    by Big Dumb Ape

    Mori said: "There's a soul in there. Part of that comes from the fact that Clive Owen and Monica Bellucci are full-fledged grown-ups."<p>I KNOW this will fall on deaf ears... I KNOW the suits who occupy the studio offices here in Hollywood will barely comprehend what I'm about to say, which certainly explains why they greenlight such utter trash, and thus flush millions upon millions of dollars down the toilet repeatedly...but, yes, Hollywood, not everyone in this world is a pimply face, over sexed teenager and, yes, not everything you produce has to be cast, written, and badly dumbed down as if we WERE all teens.<p>So just a reminder and FYI to you: Moriarity's dead on right about that point. A big part of what makes this work is that we don't have to try and laughably believe that Justin Timberlake or whoever is your latest hot young age-specific demographic star is the one performing the action. It's BECAUSE of their age and life experiences that people like Clive Owen or Monica Belluci can actually...GASP! (and I know its hard to believe that you'd actually want to see this in a movie)...act.<p>Yes, believe it or not, there really are these things called ADULTS out here in the real world who also enjoy going to the movies and who also enjoy a wide variety of genres, but we really hate that you have adopted a LOGAN'S RUN mentality that once you hit 30, you're somehow of no use anymore.<p>So maybe you should FINALLY start to realize one of the core reasons box office numbers are off yet again and continue to plummet is because you keep forgetting THAT one simple fact...

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 6:24 p.m. CST

    Where the fuck is Vern?

    by Gilkuliehe

    Come on, I want Vernon H to tell me about this and Zombie's Halloween. Not that I don't enjoy Drew's, but come on. The guy knows this shit better than anyone.

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 6:44 p.m. CST

    total fucking destruction

    by ironic_name

    phartgod is actually don murphy, he uses the same pathetic insults on every board hes posted at. donny! i got transformers on my harddrive, i usually don't bother with pirated movies, but you are so annoying i got it on principle.

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 7:16 p.m. CST

    Once you Have Krack your life is over

    by ironic_name

    and once you do so much coke that writing fake slander as quentin tarantino seems like a smart move, you wont be taken seriously again. that said, i hear you have a life size astroboy statue, thats actually really great.

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 8:57 p.m. CST

    May not be Post-Modern, but still JOKEY

    by topaz4206

    "If it took itself a little more seriously, it would collapse."<br><br>What happened to unapologetic bad-assedness? What happened to someone calling himself Tequila without batting an eye? When I see the trailer for this I think to myself: "What a cool visual style, I wish they had the balls to NOT BE FUNNY."<br><br>John Woo, please go back to Hong Kong and get back to business!

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 10:09 p.m. CST

    Exactly right, Big Dumb Ape

    by deathbird

    In his "Great Movies" review of ALIEN, Roger Ebert made the observation that had the film been made today, the entire cast would be in their twenties. Honestly, can we get back to 70's horror, where the narratives centered around ADULTS!!!

  • Sept. 2, 2007, 3:07 p.m. CST

    krack

    by ironic_name

    i was directing my comments to phart aka don murphy. christ, its a LION.. GET IN THE CAR!

  • Sept. 3, 2007, 12:11 a.m. CST

    Clive Owen is...MAX PAYNE!

    by Zeke25:17

    Which of course would make Monica Bellucci MONA SAX, in THE FALL OF MAX PAYNE: A FILM NOIR LOVE STORY. Here is a game just BEGGING to be made into a film, and Owen is just the guy to play him. How bout it guys???