Stone (2011) presents an interesting examination of morality and ethics. I took a look at the film to watch Norton and DeNiro, and came away only impressed with the former. Norton's performance as Stoney, a criminal who killed his grandparents in a drug-addled haze, is compelling. Norton mumbles his way through a performance in which his character undergoes what appears to be an authentic transformation. Seeking parole, and needing DeNiro's Jack Mabry to rubber stamp it, Stoney turns to pseudo-religion.
Only for him, it seems to take. He becomes docile and subservient, ultimately gaining a measure of peace with himself.
The early give-and-take between these two is good, vulgar fun. They can both cuss with the best of them.
Mabry is a church-going, bourbon-swilling sinner with a golf fixation. He's about to retire, and he seems at a moral crossroads of his own. You see, this guy is a turd--a jerk who threatened to kill his own child when his wife attempts to leave him. He is a controlling right-wing gun nut that listens to talk radio all day while judging others, only to become a drunken lecher when propositioned by Stoney's wife.
Stoney's marriage to Milla Jovovich's Lucetta is an odd one. Jovovic is okay in her turn here--bouncing around with flirtatious angst while trying to expedite her husband's release from prison.
It's a simple story that becomes convoluted in the third act. The resolution isn't satisfying, and the only one I felt sorry for was Mabry's poor wife. She gets a little revenge late in the film, and more power to her, but it's too little and too late for my liking. There are too many Jack Mabry's in the world, and most of them never experience anything like a real form of punishment.
Worth a look (B-)...
Source Code (2011) has a few good moments as an interesting little "time replacement" sci-fi thriller. My wife liked it a bit more than I did (I'd say a C+). Jake Gyllenhall is okay, and I liked his chemistry with Michelle Monaghan's Christina Warren. Unfortunately, that chemistry is also the thing that kind of sinks the film for me.
Gyllenhall's Colter Stevens is able to transport his consciousness back into the body of a school teacher named Sean Fentress. He's doing it to stop a terror attack on a Chicago train, and he gets a dozen shots at it. It does, in the first act, feel a bit like Groundhog Day, and that's a shame for the pacing.
My problem, though, is with the storyline. Stevens saves the day, of course, but decides to take over Fentress's body! What happened to the poor school teacher? He's just collateral damage? Pish tosh!
Interesting movie that kind of ticked me off...
The Eagle (2011) is better than watching that infomercial for the shark vacuum. Channing Tatum runs around with Jamie Bell. They fight those seal people above. They have some adventures. Tatum makes one face for the whole film. He gets hurt and has a miraculous recovery. He gets the eagle back--because everyone knows that imperialists need to celebrate their victories with important ornaments. I'd give it a C and advise you to instead watch Master Chef if you have it on DVR...