73: Black Hawk Down

Black Hawk Down – January 18, 2002
Starring: Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Jason Isaacs, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana
Written by: Ken Nolan
Directed by: Ridley Scott

The plot: “123 elite U.S. soldiers drop into Somalia to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis.” – IMDB

My thoughts: You might be thinking, “Kaitie, how did it take you over a decade to see Black Hawk Down?” and the only conclusive answer is “I don’t know.” I have no idea how it took me so long to see such a well-known film, by such a prominent director, and starring…everyone.

It was depressing and gory and I would have to imagine quite realistic. I have not been involved in war nor do I really know anyone who has served in the military, but still, it seemed believable to me.

The film was based on a book which was based on a true story about the U.S.’s raid on Somalia to capture warlord Aidid and because of this, the characters are “real”. I would have to assume that some – if not a lot of – liberties were taken in putting these characters on screen. At the same time, they all seemed so genuine and for lack of better word, normal. There was no hyperbolic, speech-y captain nor was there an underdog that saved the whole day. It was just all of these guys trying to stay alive and complete their mission.

The film was chaotic with a few moments of tense calm (that’s a total oxymoron but I’m not sure how else to describe it) as I would assume war is. It seems like in a lot of action movies it’s just non-stop firing and blowing shit up for 15 minutes and then a retreat followed by one big attack. In Black Hawk Down, the teams split up and went off on other little missions (rescuing the black hawk pilots). There was a lot of waiting around and regrouping.

For as many characters as there were, they did a pretty impeccable job of giving them all personality and a chance for us to get to know them just a little bit. There isn’t really a “main character” per se. Everyone is pretty equal despite their ranks.

I really enjoyed Black Hawk Down as most people did 10 years ago. It was honest and gruesome and yeah, I might have gotten a little teary at the end. I honestly can’t even think of any drawbacks. Maybe just don’t watch it if you’re in a depressed mood. It probably won’t be an effective “pick-me-up.”

Stars: 5/5

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68: CQ

CQ – May 24, 2002
Starring: Jeremy Davies, Angela Lindvall, Elodie Bouchez
Written and directed by: Roman Coppola

The plot: “A young filmmaker in 1960s Paris juggles directing a cheesy sci-fi debacle, directing his own personal art film, coping with his crumbling relationship with his girlfriend, and a new-found infatuation with the sci-fi film’s starlet.” – IMDB

My thoughts: CQ is a weird little film, but as a Jason Schwartzman fan – nay, a Jason Schwartzman obsessed freak – I couldn’t not see it. Unfortunately, he’s only in it for a few scenes, but even then, he is truly glorious.

In all honesty, I’d been hoping for a bit more comedy and a bit less drama/existential pontificating. I found myself much more interested in the 60s sci-fi movie almost to the point that I would have rather watched the actual fake film. That part was over the top and completely hilarious – I mean, Billy Zane playing a revolutionary leader (who looks more than a little like Che Guevara) based on the “far-out” side of the moon. Too good, it’s just too good.

Jeremy Davies (known to “Lost” fans as Daniel Faraday) plays the aspiring filmmaker who is simultaneously trying to make the film and maintain his relationship with his girlfriend while falling in love with the lead actress.

It wasn’t quite what I had expected and was pretty heavy on being lost and trying to find yourself/someone you love – I mean, ‘CQ’ ended up standing for “Seek you.” I thought it was going to be fun, a real romp, and for about half of the film it was, but then it got to be a bit too serious. It got all “feely.” I wanted camp, outrageous over the top top fun.

Stars: 2.5/5

63: Phone Booth

Phone Booth – April 4, 2003
Starring: Colin Farrell, Kiefer Sutherland‘s voice, Forest Whitaker
Written by: Larry Cohen
Directed by: Joel Schumacher

The plot: “Stuart Shepard finds himself trapped in a phone booth, pinned down by an extortionist’s sniper rifle.” – IMDB

My thoughts: Did this movie really come out in 2002? Why does it feel like it just came out a year or two ago? Well, I’m a little bit ashamed that I watched this movie on purpose, but I did it all the same and I won’t deny it.

So basically, the real plot of this is that Colin Farrell is a fucking asshole. He’s some PR guy with a wife and a woman he’s having some kind of emotional affair with (Katie Holmes in the role of a life time.) He calls her from a phone booth regularly (he tells her it’s because it’s quiet and she believes it. Come on girl, get with it!) and one day, after he hangs up with her…THE PHONE RINGS!

And who should be on the other end but one Mr. Jack Bauer Kiefer Sutherland? I couldn’t help but think of Scream with his very threatening, horrifyingly playful voice. Anyway, Kiefer’s goal is to make Colin realize and admit what a dick he’s been and if he doesn’t he/other people will die? “How?” you ask. Easy – Kiefer’s got a sniper rifle and he’s watching the whole thing!

So, it’s some socio-psychological-philosophical movie veiled as a thriller/crime movie. And yeah, it’s either supposed to teach the audience to not be such a dick and to treat other’s with respect because karma will get you or if you’re not nice, some lunatic sniper will stalk you, force you to stay in a phone booth and help you work through your problems with a gun to your head. I don’t know which. But let’s get to the good stuff, because we all know Colin Farrell played a great asshole and Forest Whitaker was the well-intentioned, logical cop.

Kiefer. Kiefer, Kiefer, Kiefer. The man can deliver a line whether it’s on screen or from a sound booth. He was simultaneously creepy and utterly hilarious. Some favorite lines, always occurring over the telephone:

Kiefer: Think about it. Why would a man with a cell phone call a woman every day from a phone booth?
Katie Holmes (in a baby voice): He said it was quiet.
Kiefer: Pam, that’s just stupid.

Hooker: God dammit, man! You gone made me hurt my dick hand!
Colin: Oooh! I’m sure you’re just as good with the other hand.
[Kiefer laughs]
Colin: Go away!
Hooker: I’ll be back bitch.
Caller: I was worried for you there, Stu. I thought she was going to poke an eye out with that…that hand.

[Colin giving Kiefer the silent treatment]
Kiefer: Stu, don’t do this. Please, come on. My sainted mother used to do this. She used to dish this out…Stu, please don’t do this. Stu, you’re bringing back my unhappy childhood. Stu, talk to me, please! Talk to me! I can’t take it Stu…Ahhhh!
[Kiefer cackles]
Kiefer: I’m kidding. I had a very happy childhood.

And there it is. Phone Booth. Predictable, obvious, overdone. Hilarious, entertaining, and surprisingly (maybe not surprisingly, I don’t know) acting.

Stars: 4/5