Random Factoid #31

28 08 2009

I have always been a fan of reading a book from which a movie is adapted before going to see the film.  Usually, I like the book better.  But, in my opinion, whichever you experience first makes indelible impression on you, making it hard to enjoy the other one without making judgement based on the other.

My book choices are often based around movies, often slaving myself to finish books before they are released on the big screen.  I finished “Flags of our Fathers” literally minutes before walking into theater.  However, my habits will change soon.  I want to see all the adapted movies considered to be Oscar contenders this year without having my experience tainted by prior knowledge.  Nothing is more painful than sitting in a movie saying, “That wasn’t in the book,” or “Why did they leave that part out?”  (Cough, “Public Enemies.”)

REVIEW: Public Enemies

9 08 2009

Everything was in place for “Public Enemies” to become a sensational achievement in film.  It had great actors such as Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard (Oscar winner for “La Vie en Rose”), and Johnny Depp.  It had a highly respected director, Michael Mann, who directed such memorable flicks as “The Last of the Mohicans,” “Heat,” and “The Insider.”  It had unbelievable source material from Bryan Burrough’s fascinating volume of the 1933-34 War on Crime “Public Enemies.”  However, even with all these things in place, the movie manages to underwhelm.  My main quarrel with it was the script, which is less historically accurate than “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.”  It takes everything that made Burroughs’ book so engrossing and discards it completely.  Even captivating performances by Depp and Cotillard cannot save the muddled mess of a movie.

John Dillinger (Depp) is the FBI’s Public Enemy #1.  He was a bank robber, but he was also a celebrity.  In the most difficult of times in America, Dillinger became a legend for stealing from the bankers who caused the crisis.  He became popular for only stealing from the vaults, saying that he didn’t want to steal money from the hard-working American people.  While avoiding his captors and holding up numerous banks, Dillinger falls in love with Billie Frechette (Cotillard).  She knows the risk of being with Dillinger, but she is attracted to something about him and becomes part of the gang anyways.  The movie also shows the story of Melvin Purvis (Bale), the man that FBI head honcho J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup, “Watchmen”) has chosen to hunt Dillinger down.  But in the 1930’s, the FBI didn’t have the power that it has today.  Purvis and his inexperienced agents are bumbling idiots, messing up even the most simple of tasks. Read the rest of this entry »