Friday, July 10, 2015

CATCH .44 (2011)

Written & Directed By: Aaron Harvey 
Cinematography By: Jeff Cutter 
Editor: Richard Byard 

Cast: Malin Ackerman, Deborah Ann Woll, Nikki Reed, Forest Whitaker, Bruce Willis, Brad Dourif, Michael Rosenbaum, Shea Whigham

For Tes and her two cohorts Kara and Dawn, the job sounded simple enough: intercept a double-cross drug shipment for their crime boss Mel at an isolated diner. But when an unstoppable chain of events unfolds, everyone soon realizes no one is who they seem and the job may be something other than eliminating the competition. What started as simple instructions has now turned into a deadly cat-and-mouse game - with large guns pointed at everyone.

The film is tough to follow at first. While it is obvious the film seeks to be a neo-noir. That has a sense of humor that wants the audience to be in on the joke. Even though it seems the joke is only appealing to the filmmakers or maybe to inside a joke to truly be funny.

Playing like a very late knock off of post Pulp fiction films that came along in the immediate amount of time following the release and popularity of that film. Which is what maybe attracted Bruce Willis or fooled the audience into thinking it will be like that film. The film even seems to have a sense of humor about Bruce Willis's 80's musical output. As in the scene when the girls are heading out in the car for the first time, Malin Ackerman's character is adamant that they play a tape from the '80s. The tape she chooses is "Return of Bruno" by Bruce Willis and a small sample of his cover of "Respect Yourself" is heard. Bruce Willis of course plays Mel, their boss, in the movie.

The film does rely on too many flashbacks and flash forwards to explain dramatic points. So that when scenes and characters are introduced we are kept in the dark and allows the film to be mysterious. Raising the stakes of scenes to be unpredictable.

If you were to rose out some of the more familiar cast members. Most wouldn't watch this film in the first place.

Though it is teased and shown earlier, are we supposed to be surprised or hustled with as we are lead to believe he is the star or at least a supporting role in the film and it is more a extended cameo where he is at the center of all that is happening. Though that leaves us to anticipate what his appearance means and how it fits into all of this.

As the movie goes along it's like a puzzle, trying to get us to put the pieces together. Having the audience try to figure it out and then tries to surprise us with twists, that unless you haven’t seen a movie. You can't see coming.

The only reason it might surprise the audience is negligence of evidence and diminishing leads.

The film induces boredom more than anything else. As it is so bland, you can't help but let your mind wander. If it is going to get interesting or at least fit together. Which is a shame with such a talented cast.

Maybe most of the budget went to getting recognizable stars to appear in the film. To attract an audience and then killing them off quickly, To not keep paying them to appear throughout. Like this was more a business decision then a passion project.

A scene set at a strip club, just to add some cheap thrills to the non-action. This film seems to brim with the promise of but barely provides.

It seems to answer any questions or problems with violence.

This film has a surprisingly good soundtrack

Bruce Willis used to be an appearance by him or any major star. Meant that either they believed in the project or was done as a favor. Either way or seemed like for a big star it was a gift of presence. As this practice has helped Willis in the past with impressive results with the film PULP FICTION.

Now it seems with the recession taking any job that comes along. As you might not know where your next job might come from next. So many can't be as picky, unless you have a brand which Bruce Willis does as he is always known. Then again he isn't known for his prestigious awards

He seems to give his all in the indie side projects he appears in. Though in his big budget studio films. At times more recently he seems to half ass it or is good enough. It would be a dire or if her as making and giving his A game in indies that were more important or needed him for budget and audience reasons or hair to get made. He seemed to be more generous In his career appearing in films like NOBODY'S FOOL and FAST FOOD NATION. Instead of always appearing in the same type of films. Only on smaller budgets and what seems to be other dumber projects. That are usually produced by foreign money and usually produced and co-starring Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson.

It is almost like he is over it and lost all of his passion for acting and performance, yet is stuck in the profession. It doesn’t seem to give him any excitement

For every film he appeared in such as, ASSASSINATION OF A HIGH SCHOOL PRESIDENT. That might be boosted by him being in the film and is there earnestly. There is a COLD LIGHT OF DAY, or VICE and this film.

Now he isn't the only star who does this. He is just one of the more noticeable.

Don't get me wrong I believe he is talented and in past was a big fan. Now more of a fan. He was part of my growing up. A fixture big screen hero as John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and Robert Mitchum were to other generations. He is iconic more as star and action hero, who is adept at comedy. Even misled decisions and outright bombs are noteworthy entertainment. Though projects like TEARS OF THE SUN and LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN are best left forgotten. He also seems to be the king of uncredited cameos in major releases in films like THE ASTRONAUT FARMER, PLANET TERROR, CHARLIE’S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE and even on television shows like THAT 70’S SHOW and FRIENDS. Though at least on the TV- shows he seems to be having fun and has a lot more energy.

Even for aging stars or actors of some stature are like working Wild West freelance in this film film free economy system.

Look at stars like Adrien Brody and Forrest Whitaker (who stars here) before the new millennium winning an Oscar usually meant PRESTIEGE and pay raises and more starring roles. Yet they still work and You at least know who they are. They seem to only get to play minor roles. I wish there were better films to them to be in. Or in projects that seem unworthy of their talents. Seem more like they are trying to hook up quick paychecks. And get into business with young up and coming directors. They want to play more open roles.

Like they get a lead over another flavor of the month actor. Other than respect, it doesn't seem like Oscar material is as lucrative as it used to be or just because you have an award can unite all audiences. To watch you or pay to see you, Then again with all these big budget action films comic books and sci-fi movies, Just look like they all have talent obviously or be another face in the crowd of characters or voice CGI ones. Tearing down the star system, look at any Chris Hemsworth films. Not Thor related. No money maker no matter how well reviewed. Like they are just fillers for audience. Like video game characters

Here even with his few appearances, Bruce Willis is still the most exhilarating part of the film. Which even with it’s structure that seems to favor jump cuts, Double crosses and flashbacks to both confuse and inform the audience. Still comes out as a confusing mess. It has recognizable faces and names that are quickly squandered.

The only other person who makes a mark isn’t actually The other lead Malin Ackerman or even any of the big names but Shea Whigham. Still none of them is good enough to save the film or make it watchable.

Grade: F

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