Friday, December 5, 2014

The November Man

FOREWORD: It is December 5th of 2014 and nothing interesting came out that I can see right now. So, here's a review a I wrote back when this movie came out. The reason why I haven't posted it until now is because I wasn't entirely satisfied with how this review turned out, but it's a little better than nothing at this point. Enjoy!

So...not a lot has been coming out. At least, not a lot where I can conjure a whole essay on, but I guess that happens sometimes. So, here some quick bites of movies I saw recently.

Boyhood: I have pretty complicated feelings about this movie. There isn't a whole lot I can say that hasn't been said before. It features a very non-traditional story that shows the whole "in-between" moments of life. Ya know, all of the things that happen in-between our self-realizing big moments. Does it work? I'm not too sure. Is it worth watching to see a young, innocent boy grow up in front of your very eyes to be some sort of...philosophy...guy...type...guy? Eh...

Cantinflas: Hey! Remember that movie Saving Mr. Banks? Yeah, me neither.

Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For: Haven't seen it yet, heard it was okay.

Expendables 3: Haven't seen it yet, but, in spite of all of the hate that me and others have put on the first two movies, I've been hearing that it's actually pretty cool. So...sure, I'll take it. that we've gotten that out of the way...oh god, why did I choose to write about this movie?

To be honest, I was secretly rooting for this movie. That might only be because Pierce Brosnan is in it and...well, look, I actually like the guy. Sure, he was in some of the stupidest James Bond movies ever, but he was also in a really good one(Goldeneye). When I read up on this movie that he was wanting to get this movie off of the ground right after Die Another Day(ugh...), it sort of seemed to me that he wanted some more fast paced, hard hitting, spy action. So, seriously, why not? I like Pierce Brosnan and I want him to succeed in a cool spy thriller. We've all been reminded by Jack Ryan, played By Chris PineTree, on how boring and cynical a spy actioner can get when nobody really gives a damn on what they're making, so why not a movie that somebody actually wants to make?

Well, it turns out that it can churn out the same kind of boring movie that Jack Ryan was, except now it gets into some weird places that somehow makes it a little worse.

The toughest thing about spy movies is actually coming up with a story that anybody would give a damn about. If you just played it straight and just had it where two organizations were against each other, you'd just have a boring villain of the week superhero movie...except without the super heroes. This is why so many movies go with the Mission Impossible format. When you have a secret agent who gets betrayed by the very people he is working for, it sets up that connection with the main character pretty easily. After all, I thought a movie like Haywire did this really well. But where as that is there to show off some slick fight scenes from an actual fighter, The November Man doesn't really seem to know what it wants to do.

So, Pierce Brosnan plays a spy who doesn't even resemble any sort of James Bond character. So, maybe the movie is setting itself up for something interesting? How about a subversion on the character? People still have Pierce Brosnan fresh on the mind as James Bond, especially after being in the sillier movies. Having him come back as being older, more crass, and sometimes even coming across as a scumbag would seem to make for some interesting commentary on the whole spy genre.

Unfortunately, even with an R-rating, which would seem to help give it an edgier take than usual, the movie just doesn't really want to do anything much except give a straight spy story while stuffing women in refrigerators(no, not literally, women just get the really, really short end of the stick on how they're treated in this movie). So, Peter, played by Pierce Brosnan, is on a mission with a hot-head recruit who does assassinations. Peter gives the guy a direct order and he doesn't listen, which causes the death of a kid. Cut to the future and Peter is retired while the hot-head guy is still doing assassination work. Peter gets called in on an assignment to extract a fellow spy, who is Peter's wife, because using someone else that the bad guy knows would blow the mission. Due to a misunderstanding, the hot-head guy kills Peter's wife because he thought she was being captured and Peter gets mad and some other plot stuff happens and...other stuff...ummm...eventually, the hot-headed guy learns not to be such a hot-head and the good guys win.

To be fair, it's not too bad in terms of plotting and structure, it just sort of leaves your mind the instant you walk out of the theater. Unfortunately, the movie can't help to bring in female characters as plot-devices in order to give the characters motivation to drive the plot along, and they get pretty scummy with it as well. We already see Peter's wife get shot through the head by a sniper, but, later on, Peter comes in to get revenge on the hot-headed guy by sending his girlfriend to the hospital by cutting a major artery. And then there's a daughter that appears at the last minute, because...well, why not? Gee, thanks for giving us the wrong reasons to talk about your movie!

But, above all else, this movie is just boring. It's amazing how a movie can have an R-rating, give some pretty gory action, and actually try to be something with something to say while also just being so dull. There really isn't anything you've already seen that's been done better by even the weakest of the Daniel Craig Bond movies. It's unfortunate that the movie also has to bring in some pretty scummy things that can hardly be justified, especially in the 21st century.

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