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Digital Divide: July 2011

| June 30, 2011 | 0 Comments

A Few Small Repairs

If there’s one thing that can be taken as gospel, it’s the belief that if something works once, it will most assuredly work again for someone else. Of course, that little pearl of wisdom rarely turns out to be true, but it sure doesn’t stop Hollywood from clicking its heels three times and wishing it were so. Case in point: In the wake of the surprise success of last year’s Inception, the race to produce the next oh-so-trippy mind-fuck of a film is on in earnest. And doggonit if Universal doesn’t almost pull it off. Almost.

Based on the Philip K. Dick short story “The Adjustment Team,” The Adjustment Bureau (Universal Pictures) tosses out the concept that there is no such thing as fate. Not only is everything pre-determined, but there’s actually a group of individuals in charge of making things happen exactly according to plan.

Matt Damon plays up-and-coming New York politician David Norris. As the youngest person ever to be elected to Congress, Norris is on the fast track to the White House. Yet a last minute scandal derails his campaign, and sets him on a different path. On this new path, he meets Elise, played by the always wonderful Emily Blunt. Thing is, the two really aren’t supposed to meet. Or are they? Sometimes they are, sometimes they aren’t. That’s just the kind of movie it is. Of course, their lives will cross repeatedly over several years, and they will repeatedly be pulled apart.

It really does take too long to describe the settings and circumstances that provide the cause and effect of The Adjustment Bureau. Suffice to say, that Norris discovers what goes on behind the scenes, and proves quite the determined lad to go against the conspiracy to do things his own way in his quest to hook up with Elise.

I say The Adjustment Bureau almost works as well as Inception, and it does. However a plot hole so large you could fly an Airbus through gives it an insurmountable shortcoming. Not to give too much away (because it is well worth seeing for both the performances and the story), but the whole film would be over in about five minutes if Elise would actually learn how to use a phone.

The Blu-Ray release features deleted scenes, two features on the film’s preferred means of travel (going through one door and coming out the other side halfway across town), an interview with Blunt, and commentary from director George Nolfi.

Sucker Punch
Warner Bros.

If you subscribe to the school of thought that says the films of director Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) have become mere exercises in style over substance, you can stop wasting your breath arguing the point – Sucker Punch pleads your case for you all by itself, thank you.

It’s alleged that this is the first film from Snyder that’s neither a remake or based on someone else’s material. Sure, he’s credited as the writer as well as the director, but I have a theory on that. I have a sneaking suspicion that he went to various comic and sci-fi conventions and handed out a questionnaire to the fanboys in attendance. On this questionnaire was written one poser: What do you think would make a cool action sequence? He then took five answers and went to work.

Hot chicks in naughty school-girl outfits fighting zombies in German army uniforms? Check. Hot chicks in naughty school-girl outfits fighting giant samurai robots? Check. Hot chicks in naughty school-girl outfits using the Hindenberg for aerial combat? Check.

The actual story is irrelevant, as it just serves as a bridge to one video-game sequence after another. And, as is often the case with big-things-go-boom movies, the Blu-Ray release comes loaded with special features and is available in several different versions. It’s a good way to try to dupe the viewer into forgetting the lack of substance in the film itself.

Also available . . . For the first time, AC/DC‘s 1980 film Let There Be Rock (Warner Bros.) gets the DVD treatment. Filmed in Paris way back in 1979, Let There Be Rock showcases one of the last performances by original howler Bon Scott. Classics such as “Whole Lotta Rosie,” “High Voltage,” and of course “Highway To Hell” are included. Fittingly, the band would go on to have statues made of them for the rock ‘n’ roll pantheon after his death, but Let There Be Rock shows just how much work Scott put in building the pedestal.

— Timothy Hiatt

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Category: Columns, Digital Divide, Monthly

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