Thursday, May 15, 2014

"Privacy. Absolute myth. There's no such thing."

**update - I won the 5 minute fiction contest this week.  Seriously, you should try it.  It's fun and it's free and there are prizes.

It turns out that our local meteorologist doesn’t have schizophrenia.  (I spelled it right on my first try.)  His forecast was accurate.  I can’t imagine being an actual productive member of society and being outside through all of these changes to grow food or construct buildings.  Nothing like a good office job to keep you safe.

Unless you are Liam Hemsworth and you work for Gary Oldman (or Harrison Ford) in the film, Paranoia.  It was not a bad movie.  Much like Abduction wasn’t a bad movie.  But as any parent or teacher can tell you, not being bad is very different than being good.  Paranoia wanted to be a better film and I think that if it had been envisioned as a film from the start it would have been but it was based on a bestselling novel.

The overall story was pretty good and it did have some exciting moments to string us along between scenes of Liam Hemsworth not wearing a shirt.  There were two “music videos” that stretched just a little bit past infinity.  Maybe there was supposed to be some deep emotional message being conveyed but I missed it.  I just listened to a long song while two people did stuff in slow motion on screen.  Not bionic man cool stuff.  Just stuff.

Which brings us to emotional content.  The love story was rough, even by MTV standards.  It was either lazy writing or blatant chauvinism.  For a film that wanted to be Bourne Identity, they didn’t do their homework on how to write female characters.  If your characters don’t have a realistic response – even to unrealistic situations – they lose credibility and the audience falls out of the picture and back onto their couch.  Period.

Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman were good – I’m thinking they’ve not been together since Air Force One but I could be mistaken.  Liam Hemsworth did a good job too.  The three characters were distinct and fairly believable.  The surprise for me was Richard Dryfuess who brought incredible life to a fairly small role and turned a plot device into the only decent person in the film.  The take-away?  If you’re going to write cliché, get a really good actor who will make it look fresh.

I don’t want to be too down on Paranoia, it really wasn’t bad.  But the genre has seen better.  I don’t know if the problem is corporate espionage (remember that Julia Roberts fiasco?) or a studio system that’s afraid to film anything that hasn’t already been successful in another media format.

At the end of the day, would I recommend it?  If you enjoy flashy spy v. gritty spy, go for it.  If you like Liam Hemswoth without a shirt, go for it.  If club mix dub step fills you iPod, go for it.  If you thought The English Patient was the greatest film of the 20th century, why are you reading my blog instead of plotting your escape from the asylum?  It’s worth streaming on Netflix.  Not $9.99 in Wal-Mart’s blue-ray bin of bargains even with Harrison Ford’s head shaved.

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