Tag Archives: Jeffrey Dean Morgan

The Losers (2010, Sylvain White)

A friend of mine (colleague might be the better designation, but friend first, I suppose) has given up on punishing slash hating films for having bad endings. I disagree. Otherwise, I’d give The Losers four stars and scream recommendations for it from the rooftops. Because the end of The Losers, an exceptionally problematic action revenge picture, is the greatest thing ever. It might actually be the best ending of a film ever.

I’m even calling it a film. Literature is nothing but good fiction writing and the end of The Losers is nothing but good film.

The Losers fails for a lot of reasons. Mostly because it utterly wastes an excellent cast. Chris Evans might be taking on the only great role left in adapted fiction (he’s due to be Captain America) but The Losers almost completely wastes him. Almost. It’s nice it doesn’t, because it certainly wastes its other exceptional cast members.

Columbus Short, a fantastic character actor, is reduced to a nothing role; his finest moments are basically when he directly echoes his role on “Studio 60.”

Óscar Jaenada has like ten lines. They’re all good. It’s too bad the film doesn’t do anything with him. (Look at me, still calling it a film).

In case you’re counting, The Losers doesn’t get four stars because of its exceptional, wonderful, better than Ocean’s Twelve ending, but it does get 500 words instead of the usual 250.

Idris Elba is fantastic throughout–like Short and Evans–but Elba gets the most screen time of the three actors. He doesn’t get the best material (Evans does) but he’s so good, even when the script fails on him.

Because, really, The Losers ought to be about him and Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s relationship. It’s more than a friendship, more than a partnership, it’s about men working together and relying on each other. But The Losers isn’t about any of that thoughtful nonsense. Instead, it’s a modified adaptation of a really mediocre comic book.

The comic has really good art and really paltry writing, until the writing gets plain stupid. The film doesn’t go as stupid as the comic, but it gets pretty bad. The comic, however, never thought of having Zoe Saldana’s mercenary be a complete joke. Saldana’s performance probably knocks The Losers down a full star. Between her and Morgan (he’s too passive as the ostensible lead), there’s just no way for the film to recover.

Though having nineties guy Holt McCallany is nice; he plays Otis to Jason Patric’s Lex Luthor. Imagine if Gene Hackman had played Lex Luthor with total derision and visible loathing for the role and you’re about a tenth of the way to how awful Patric’s performance gets. He’s clearly upset he’s in this film. I hope he put in a nice pool.

White’s a mediocre director. He’s unimaginative and shoots an action movie like Tony Scott would. Terrible lighting from Scott Kevan (probably White’s fault). Okay music from Ottman.

But greatest ending ever. Don’t stop believing.

1/4

CREDITS

Directed by Sylvain White; screenplay by Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt, based on the comic book by Andy Diggle and Jock; director of photography, Scott Kevan; edited by David Checel; music by John Ottman; production designer, Aaron Osborne; produced by Joel Silver, Akiva Goldsman and Kerry Foster; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Clay), Zoe Saldana (Aisha), Chris Evans (Jensen), Idris Elba (Roque), Columbus Short (Pooch), Óscar Jaenada (Cougar), Holt McCallany (Wade) and Jason Patric (Max).


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Watchmen (2009, Zack Snyder), the director’s cut

This response will be double length. Well, double length minus ten words. Wait, twelve. No, fifteen. Well, you get the idea.

Watchmen doesn’t get a double post because it’s good. It gets a double post because it is, as far as I can tell, the first utterly pretentious film from a filmmaker–Zack Snyder–who seems to think an episode of “Gobots” is better than an episode of “Hill Street Blues.” I’m not sure even the premiere purveyor of crap–Stephen Sommers–would go so far. (This “Gobots” reference is made up, but it seems about right).

But Watchmen isn’t terrible in some ways. A friend of mine said it was a good case in point for the potential of superhero movies. Except, in this new wave of superhero movies, it doesn’t have a place. The comic book was a comment on the comic book industry–not to mention certain comic book creators’ political views (it’s not like Snyder’s commenting on Jon Favreau apparently being a rabidly anti-French dimwit)–and the film can’t possibly comment on any of the current wave of comic book films, because it’s an adaptation of the comic book. I read Snyder claim the film was his response, as the comic had been to comic books, to superhero movies. But it’s the stupidest thing I think I’ve heard since Walter Hill said he was going to improve on Kurosawa.

Watchmen has some good acting. Patrick Wilson is good, Jackie Earle Haley is good, Billy Crudup’s voice acting is decent, Jeffrey Dean Morgan isn’t terrible. With Haley and Wilson the ostensible leads, it works out all right. And the whole thing is such a spectacle, even the awful acting doesn’t ruin it. Matthew Goode is lousy. Carla Gugino’s performance as a sixty-seven year-old woman is hilariously awful and I probably would have been ejected from the theater for laughing at her hysterically. Malin Akerman gives one of the worst performances I can think of in a major studio film in the last twenty years. I have no evidence and I’m just guessing, but I think she got cast because she was willing to take her clothes off. Because it sure wasn’t because she had any acting ability. Her scenes with Wilson are awful.

The special effects aren’t terrible but the digital sets are lousy. The Vietnam scenes are without horizon lines, sort of pre-Renaissance. The soundtrack is atrocious. It might be the worst thing about Watchmen, besides Snyder’s slow motion effects and Ackerman’s non-acting. Snyder cheapens his scenes. It isn’t about how he adapted the comic book, it’s about how he turned it into an episode of the “Wonder Years” or something.

Worst might be how Snyder keeps showing the World Trade Center. It isn’t part of the 1985 New York cityscape, it’s an object he repeatedly focuses attention on. It’s pornographic. Especially in a story supposedly about a large number of people senselessly dying.

And it doesn’t feel like three hours.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Zack Snyder; screenplay by David Hayter and Alex Tse, based on the comic book by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons; director of photography, Larry Fong; edited by William Hoy; music by Tyler Bates; production designer, Alex McDowell; produced by Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin and Deborah Snyder; released by Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures.

Starring Malin Akerman (Laurie Jupiter / Silk Spectre II), Billy Crudup (Jon Osterman / Dr. Manhattan), Matthew Goode (Adrian Veidt / Ozymandias), Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach / Walter Kovacs), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Edward Blake / The Comedian), Patrick Wilson (Dan Dreiberg / Nite Owl II), Carla Gugino (Sally Jupiter / Silk Spectre), Matt Frewer (Edgar Jacobi / Moloch), Stephen McHattie (Hollis Mason / Old Nite Owl), Laura Mennell (Janey Slater) and Rob LaBelle (Wally Weaver).


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