Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Southland Tales: Bring It, Richard Kelly

Now here's an upcoming release that looks interesting: Southland Tales. It's a surreal-looking film directed by Richard Kelly, director of nineties teenager cult flick Donnie Darko. That connection would have been enough to attract my attention, but there's more to this movie that makes it interesting. Let's take a look.

Before my fanboyism sets in, I can tell you: the (various) premises of the movie are worth checking out. From my understanding, it follows at least three people -- an amnesiac action movie star, an enterprising porn actress, and a paranoid cop -- through various narratives and adventures. It hints at its own complications: I can speculate that the action movie star gets his true identity mixed up with the identity of a part he's supposed to be acting (a la The Long Kiss Goodnight, which was, by the way, an amazing movie). I can also sense, from the trailer's apocalyptic opening, that the cop's insight into a global conspiracy walks the line between absurd paranoid fantasy and terrifying truth.

These are interesting ideas individually. They're not brand new, but they're also not beaten into the ground yet, and if they're woven skillfully, they could make a truly bold narrative structure.

Appealing to my unique preferences, though, are the personalities that are showcased in this avant-garde movie. It stars The Rock and Seann William Scott, and the last movie they did together (The Rundown) was not only one of my favorite movies EVER, but it was also the coolest movie the Rock has done, in my overstimulated opinion. If they still have that original chemistry, they could bring something intense and appealing to this movie, which is in danger of being slightly pretentious (The Fountain syndrome, maybe).

The Rock needs a movie like this right now. He has an amazing screen presence... he's part of a new generation of action stars who can be inspiring in a choreographed action scene, on par with the Schwarzeneggers and the Stallones, and at the same time, he can muster up some class that the previous generation never managed. He's on par with Vin Diesel and Jason Statham in that regard, and it's tragic that right now, he's in danger of following the former into oblivion. Movies like The Game Plan spell the beginning of the end of a blossoming action career.

Hopefully a movie like Southland Tales will help pull it out of the crapper. Hopefully enough people notice it. Hopefully Dwayne Johnson is able to fulfill his muscley promise.

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