Saturday, March 24, 2007

Hitting The Target

Training Day
There’s a certain kind of movie I really like. It clicks along with lots of energy, turns on a dime, and has visual panache. Director Antoine Fuqua produces this kind of work. In ‘Training Day’, starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke, every scene is shot with an easy confidence that is direct as well interesting and fresh. Fuqua’s camera is never quite where you expect it to be, and this yields a visual pop and drive missing in many films of the genre. The story isn’t fluff either -- each scene in 'Training Day' builds dramatic tension through Act II, and character arc rolls out well with a strong resolution in Act III.

Italian Job
The projects Mark Wahlberg chooses have solid story and clean lines. ‘The Italian Job’, starring Wahlberg and directed by F. Gary Gray, spins out with clean energy and visual snap, and has car chases that are of reference quality. The sequel, ‘The Brazilian Job’, due in 2008, is getting good buzz and will be a must-own DVD. Wahlberg has, somewhat against the odds, become a go-to action headliner, playing the everyman who (somewhat against the odds) wins out in tough situations in ways audiences can connect with.

The Matrix
Lorenzo Di Bonaventura has similar tastes in movies. He shepherds projects that have a straight-ahead energy like ‘The Matrix’, ‘The Perfect Storm’, and ‘The Departed’.
Each one of these stories is a good example of ‘painting your protag into a corner’ and forcing them to find a way out. These plots propel their characters headlong toward an unambiguous fate, and leaves audiences satisfied.

ShooterDi Bonaventura, Wahlberg, and Fuqua are the team behind the new thriller, ‘Shooter’, which opened this week. Wahlberg plays a Marine sniper who is enlisted to advise how an assassination of the president might be attempted from a range of over a mile. However, he finds himself on the run after the president is killed and he is framed for the shooting. The trailers I've seen have that live camera you expect from Fuqua and the story seems solid. This should do fairly well at the box office, and have excellent DVD sales.

Having a main character who is so talented with a rifle he can hit a target a mile away seems apt for these three filmmakers. Their talent for storytelling has the same kind of precision.

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