Thursday, January 29, 2015

Film Pairings — Two More You Might Have Missed

Unless you are of a certain age, you may not remember the times, but I do.  In the ‘50s, you would go to a major movie theater to see a popular new movie, maybe the Guns of Navarone starring Gregory Peck and David Niven. If you cared to stick around, you could watch a second film free.  It would probably be in black and white and star someone like Dennis O’Keefe or Richard Denning, not that there’s anything wrong with them.  I usually enjoyed these lower-budget second films.  Then again I wasn’t that particular.  All movies were magic.  The two films paired today are both second features.  They are not in black and white, but they are movies that either weren’t intended to be box office bonanzas or simply didn’t fully succeed.  Even so, they provide an evening more interesting than back-to-back episodes of “Mike and Molly.”

Paranoia —It’s an interesting, but not novel set up, pitting two aging, empire-building  computer mega execs against each other. It would be like watching Larry Ellison and Bill Gates at each other’s throats.  In this case, Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman are the dueling corporate heads and Liam Lambert is the hunky, supposedly brilliant pawn they maneuver to achieve their evil ends.  The film was directed by Robert Luketic and was based on the book of the same name by Joseph Finder. It’s always great to see Ford and Oldman, as well as Richard Dreyfuss who is also featured in this film you’ve seen before. Even so, this is a pleasant if somewhat mindless diversion.

Good People — Just a touch of greed. The tenant in a run-down home of a struggling young couple (James Franco and Kate Hudson) dies, leaving behind a pile of dangerous dough, residue from a double double-crossed dope deal.  The criminal doesn’t appear to have a next of kin and the cops have cleared his abode without discovering the stash. After a brief wait, the couple, (nice kids) decide to keep the money.  After all, what cold possibly go wrong? As it turns out there are two gangs who had been screwed over, and the police have more than a professional interest. There’s really no way they can do the right thing once things get going. Again, the plot is not exactly new.  Most plots aren’t. What we’re interested in here is how can two ordinary people deal with all the powerful and evil forces mounted against them and each other.   There is a certain amount of suspense.  However I kept thinking about Home Alone and how much more effective Macaulay Culkin was in his dealings against his home invaders.  Tom Wilkinson adds a more realistic dimension to the action, but this film, like Paranoia, wasn’t really ready for the big screen.  But again, while you will not be forced into hours of distressed thought about the meaning of life, the goodness or badness of humanity, there are entertaining moments. Good People was directed by Henrik Ruben Genz and based on a book by the same name, written by Marcus Sakey.

Both films were released in 2013 without fanfare and not much in the way of box office receipts.  As an accompaniment, maybe a Kalua and coffee or just coffee to provide that extra boost of energy.

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