Friday night I went out with Ray, John, and Jenny to see Poseidon at the Imax theater in the Pacific Science Center. To be clear, we knew it was going to suck. We had hoped that it might have that campy feel that made the original Poseidon Adventure entertaining, though granted the lack of Borgnine was a strike against it to start with. We also figured that if nothing else the FX would look good on the six story tall Imax screen. The nautical stuff did indeed look good. The rest was a black hole of suckitude though. The only actor who seemed to be having fun was Kevin Dillon. He played “Lucky” Larry and you knew by the way he kept emphasizing his nickname that he’d die early on in ironic circumstances. Once he was dead, the rest of the cast just played it straight and the film went from one crisis to the next until it was finally spent. It was a real shame to see an actor like Andre Braugher, who was so great in Homicide, just given nothing to work with. I hope he at least got a good paycheck.
I recently saw two much better movies on the small screen. First was Riding Giants, Stacy Peralta’s documentary about big wave surfing. Peralta, a professional skate boarder turned director, used similar techniques to his Dogtown and Z-Boys film, which documented the influential skate scene which he was a part of in his younger days. It is no surprise he would tackle surfing, since the Z-Boys skating style was derived from it. The film features some great footage of the original big wave surfers, a very small group of guys who flew to Hawaii in the 1950s to live on the beaches and inadvertently create surf culture. Peralta follows big wave surfing to the current day, where prodigy Laird Hamilton goes far offshotre and uses the tow-in technique to ride ocean waves 80 feet tall. That is some crazy shit and the footage is quite impressive.
The second movie was Munich, Steven Spielberg’s film about the massacre of Israeli Olympians in 1972 and a team of Mossad-sponsored agents who went to Europe to assassinate those behind it. I am not a big Spielberg fan, but I have to give him props for putting together a very good film. Its biggest accomplishment is that it actual attempts to treat terrorism as the complicated subject that it is and pulls it off. This is not a film of joyous revenge. As time goes by you can see the toll the mission takes on the agents. They begin to wonder if they have accomplished anything at all or just made the situation worse. You can also see the paranoia that living a life of secrets and lies fosters. Eric Bana gives an excellent performance, as does Ciaran Hinds (better known as Julius Caesar in HBO’s Rome). All in all, Munich was a surprisingly effective drama.