Dubby’s dvdiscussion: Shooting and talking
What do you do when you seemingly run out of violence? Actually you never do as the new Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti movie directed by Michael Davis shows us. You add a number of new permutations and lots of blood.
Shoot Em Up has one surprise - Paul Giamatti whom we’ve seen in Sideways and The Illusionist acting as a villain. And I do mean acting the man is a consummate actor. His character is nerdy and flashes a rather alarming smile.
Says critic Kit Bowen, “From the opening sequence, in which Mr Smith (Clive Owen) inadvertently helps an ultimately doomed woman deliver her baby amid a hail of bullets and then severs the umbilical chord by shooting it, you get a pretty clear picture of what you’re in for here. Smith may be the ‘angriest man in the world’, but he’s also a fairly chivalrous one. Once he has the little tyke in his possession, he has no other choice but to protect it from an endless stream of assailants - led by the sadistic Hertz (Paul Giamatti) - engaging in every conceivable permutation of gunfight. Smith even teams up with a prostitute (Monica Bellucci) whose specialty is catering to those men with a fetish for suckling on lactating breasts. She proves very useful in this scenario. Question is, why does everyone want this baby dead? Trust me, the explanation is stupid and superfluous; it’s the 80-minute shooting gallery that makes this actioner fly.”
It is amazing how much influence Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantinos had on Michael Davis.
And now for our 350th — a biopic. Hollywood seems to be dredging up one true life story after another sometimes with great effect.
Talk To Me is the true story of Petey Greene (Don Cheadle) a released convict who goes on to become a DJ with Dewey Hughes (Chiwetel Ejiofor) playing a radio manager and Petey’s friend. The first time Petey goes on air, he becomes controversial and saleable and when his show on Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination calms down a rioting public, station boss (Martin Sheen) finds he has a treasure.
Fred Topel is of the opinion that, “For all its superiority, Talk to Me still manages to wring out some Oscar-worthy performances. There is no shortage of juicy characters for acclaimed thespians to exercise their muscles. As is his modus operandi, Don Cheadle transforms into Petey Greene as much as he did as Hotel Rwanda’s Paul Rusesabagina. You’d never imagine he had a better vocabulary to use, he is that much of a foul mouthed low life. Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men) is also phenomenal. His good guy Dewey is the less showy part, but he projects so much power. Dewey deserves the success Petey wastes. Taraji P Henson plays Petey’s girlfriend, a composite of all the women the real-life Greene must have screwed over. She’s devastatingly sexy, flaunting her wares to attract more attention to Petey, yet still heartbreaking when Greene does the inevitable. Martin Sheen never plays the ‘white boss’. He’s just a human being with practical worries, but he still puts his neck on the line to support social change. Cedric the Entertainer plays a more established DJ at the station. It’s a very small role with only a few scenes, but he puts that deep voice to good use on the airwaves.
But by mostly containing the film’s world to a radio station, Talk to Me seems more like a melodrama between a producer and a star than a biopic about a man who propagated social change.