At The Movies-Broken City

Crime drama keeps us watching

At the Movies

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“Broken City” is a tight, intriguing crime drama set in the seedy, sinful city with two names, New York, New York.

If we can believe the movies, New York is full of double-dealers, two facers and worst of all, those in high places who stoop so low as to murder. Money — filthy lucre — is the root of all evil and its lure is too strong for the characters in this film.

Russell Crowe, in his second-in-a-row role as the bad guy, plays the mayor of New York. He is so warm, so charming, such a classically a New York politician that I am sure I would not only have voted for him, but I would have worn his button on my shirt. He is such a smooth and adept liar that he could buy your vote with your own stolen wallet then return the wallet for a reward. Crowe is magnificent.

Mark Wahlberg, as the earnest young ex-cop who becomes His Honor’s unwitting dupe, backs him up with fine work. Wahlberg has the not-too-bright striver with a good heart down so well that I hope never to see it again. He has perfected that role, time to move on.

Catherine Zeta-Jones is also quite strong as the wife of the dirty mayor. She also has her secrets, as does the good-hearted ex-cop. The slow, pealing back of the layers of double-dealing and hidden agendas keep us watching.

In a rare, superior, first-time effort, writer Brian Tucker has turned in the best script in the very young new year. Hollywood producers do not often trust first-time scriptwriters with a major production and in the few times that they do, it is not often successful. Tucker combines believable dialog with plot twists to give us a genuine entertainment experience.

Mark Wahlberg and director Allen Hughes are the producers. While they have done a remarkable job of movie making, this one hasn’t found its audience. Wahlberg and Hughes are likely to take a financial drubbing on this fine three and a half-saw blade crime drama. Their $35 million investment has returned only some $18 million in three weeks. Hughes also directed the excellent “Book of Eli.”

“Broken City” is rated R for some very brief nudity and adult themes. It runs one hour and 49 minutes. Fans of well-done crime drama will like this one.

Fans of ’splosion movies will not. The trailers for “World War Z” and the new “Star Trek” look good. And there will be plenty of ’splosion movies too. “Fast and Furious 6” are coming down the highway before long. Duck.

The Impossible

Tragedy of tsunami graphic

Katie Schouten Teen reviewer

Many people have some recollection of when some far off natural disaster happened; maybe remembering where they were when they heard about it. But for others, it is reality.

“The Impossible” is the true story of one family who survived the tsunami that hit East Asia in the end of 2004. It begins several days before the tsunami, when the family goes to vacation on the shores of Thailand. This seems to be a fairly typical family vacation, airplane, hotel and beach. But when the tsunami hits, the family is thrown into a nightmare.

At first, survival is the first instinct. Then, the family begins the tremendous task of finding one another again.

Naomi Watts, who plays the mother, Maria, has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress. This nomination makes sense, as Watts does an excellent job at portraying a mother thrown into a very stressful situation.

Ewan McGregor, as the father, also plays a strong role, although he is not given as much screen time as Watts is.

Both actors really gave me respect for the people who had strength enough to survive an event like this.

A phrase I have heard to describe movies like “The Impossible” is, “The best movie I never want to see again.”

For me, a better phrase may have been, “The best movie I never want to see.” It was incredibly disturbing. I know that the director was trying to communicate the family’s trials, but I do not like graphic, gory movies. “The Impossible” creates its own category for the visually grotesque. I do not enjoy, and can’t think of anyone that does, seeing people’s mutilated limbs, or people vomiting blood. In this way, I believe that the movie should have been given a higher rating than PG-13.

As far as communicating how awful the tsunami was, the director hit the mark right on the head. However, as soon as the gore began, I found myself wanting the movie to end. It was not a pleasant experience, and upon leaving the theater, I had to go home to watch something happy.

Let it be known that “The Impossible” accomplished its purpose. Let it also be known that I will never watch it again. As such, I really can’t recommend it. Simply know that Watts earned her nomination when the Oscars come around.

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