Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
So I'm working late in the Labs tonight when I catch a hint of the unmistakable scent of flash powder. Before I can say, "Hello, Mysterio," there's a WHOOSH! and a flash and a thick cloud of acrid smoke. The Domed One himself comes rumbling out of the smoke, pleased as punch to tell me that he's seen a new movie produced by a friend of mine before I have. I'm damn curious about it, too. I first reviewed the script back in April, and I know that Frank Darabont really believes in first-time feature helmer DJ Caruso. If this works, it could finally pull Val Kilmer out of the career tailspin he's been trapped in for years now. Let's see what Mysterio's got to say...
Hey all, “Mysterio” here with yet another early glimpse of yet another film starring Val Kilmer. Do have a thing against Kilmer? Well, yes… yes I do. I have a thing against Kilmer acting in crap-ass movies like the one opening today. He’s been good in films like “Real Genius” and “Tombstone” before, so he’s got the chops, he just needs to pick good projects to use ‘em in. So does he in this one? I’ll cut to the quick. Keep on readin’ and find out.
In this taunt and tense thriller, executive-produced by Frank Darabont, “The SALTON SEA” stars Val Kilmer as Danny Parker, a man bent on avenging his beloved wife’s cold-blooded murder and searching for closure along the way.
In his search for his wife’s killers, Parker finds himself caught up in a cesspool of users and dealers along The Salton Sea. “Tweakers” he calls them as he slowly blends into their world and precariously balances on line of ultimately becoming one himself. But the drive of quest fuels his desperate need for redemption.
Within this group, he finds a friendship in Jimmy, whom he feels at best with among this band of meth-users, which include Adam (“Saving Private Ryan”) Goldberg.
Across the way from his apartment, he forms a kinship towards an battered and bruised Colette (Deborah Kara Unger) whom has her own set of personal pains that Parker feels he can help rescue her from. One in turn comes from an abusive Quincey (played to the “t” by resident favorite, Luiz Guzman). His first line in the film is the best. As Parker reaches his apartment, he finds Quincey pounding relentlessly on Colette’s door, threatening her. Parker just stands there for a second, and as Quincey turns to him, he barks back, “You mad-doggin’ me bitch?” It’s a line that only Guzman could nail and he does that and his role just right. That is currently my favorite toss-out line, and it can be used in a wide array of variations. “You mad-doggin’ me jackass?” is but one of many. This should be the catch phrase of next year. Kindda like “show me the money” was in “Jerry Maguire.”
As Parker finds himself getting deeper and closer to the truth, he crosses paths with a motley bunch of characters played by the likes of Meatloaf, Anthony LaPaglia, Peter Sarsgaard, B.D. Wong and Vincent D’Onofrio as the completely sadistic, and bizarre dealer, Pooh-Bear who wheezes and wears a prosthetic nose piece. D’Onofrio is really good and creepy here in a fun hillbilly sense.
The film has several non-linear moments to it, some told in flashbacks and voice-overs, which makes the story more interesting. The odd bits of comedy throughout are quirky and work in slightly offsetting the tone in places, which I liked.
Overall this was the first screening of this film and it clocked in roughly at 108 mins. It’s pretty tightly cut, but I noticed that it still could use a bit of nipping and tucking here and there to keep it lean.
The one REAL BIG problem I had with the film is with (I’ll call) the “resurrection” scene of LaPaglia’s character near the end. Lame, unnecessary and insulting to the audience at this point. Ax it.
So unlike Kilmer’s upcoming film “RED PLANET” opening this weekend (but will then be retitled, “DEAD PLANET” next weekend), his acting was FAR better and more interesting here, which was a welcomed surprise.
(Who, YES did also enjoy “JASON X” in a fun campy, nostalgic sort of way.)