Some Thoughts on A-Team and Knight and Day

I had the pleasure of watching Knight and Day and the A-Team back to back a couple of days ago. Over the past year I have not been too vocal about my growing dissatisfaction with summer blockbusters and I will admit that I’ve gone to more than a few out of obligation more than anything. For me the big summer blockbusters have been feeling like junk food. You eat it cause it is constantly thrown in you face and you are told that there is no way you can’t love it. This summer though, I have pretty much not gone out to any of the big dumb special effects action riddled movies. Two days ago during my Toronto wanderings (I’m hanging out with the movie bloggers and watching movies while waiting for Fantasia to start in Montreal later in the week) I found myself with an afternoon to kill. I was in the mood to just cool off and not think while watching a movie so I ended buying a ticket to Knight and Day. I had hear Matt talk about liking it on the Cinecast so I figured what the hell and I was pleasantly surprised. I won’t say the story was the most complex thought provoking piece that I watched but it did manage to tell a surprising well thought out tale. While, I was sure that Cruise’s character had to be the good guy I was still unsure more than a few times and I’m not going to say whether he does end up being the good guy or not. I also found myself wondering at a couple of points as to whether Diaz’s character knew more than she was letting on. Both actors perform their roles well and I found myself caring for their safety and whether or not they would actually end up together in the end.

The biggest fault I can find in Knight and Day is its reliance on using CGI in some of the action scenes. I am all for CGI when it is used well but I am completely against movies that use it during action scenes to have someone do something that they are afraid to actually film. One of the reasons why movies like Bullitt and The French Connection are loved is that when the actor (or stuntman) gets behind the wheel they are actually driving. For me seeing a motorcycle sneak between two CGI vehicles just makes me feel like I am being robbed of a real action scene. This brings me to A-Team.

A-Team is bigger and more outrageous than Knight and Day, although not by an extreme amount. Having a CGI tank firing at airplane drones while parachuting from an exploding airplane really didn’t bother me as it was complete silliness by that point. Unfortunately I did not feel the same way when it got to the final showdown with train cars falling off an exploding ship. I’m sure it would have costed billions of dollars to actually film this but it did feel like something I would have wanted to see done with practical effects. This final set piece really felt like a let down and has turned me a bit against the movie somewhat which is a bit of a shame because it actually is a pretty good action flick.

The story never felt as strong as Knight and Day‘s but it made up for it with a lot of fun humour. During each of the action scenes it is a joy to watch the reactions of B.A, Hannibal, Face and Murdoch and even the guys they are fighting with. There is a scene near the beginning with a helicopter chase where the bad guys are laughing and smiling at what the A-Team just did. The laughs and smiles of the A-Team while they are flying the tank really is infectious. The characters know that what they are doing is beyond belief and instead of trying to play it seriously they are laughing and enjoying themselves right along with the audience.

I am not going to say that either Knight and Day or A-Team are masterpieces but they are both fun and entertaining. You should notice that, I am not adding the qualifier of for a summer blockbuster. Knight and Day is the stronger movie for me but both movies kept me entertained and smiling the entire time. My only wish is that they would have relied a bit less on CGI for both movies when it came to the action scenes that could have been filmed using practical special effects.

Cinecast Episode 171 – Spiffed Up Stuffy Stuff

Waxing (on, and off) nostagic this week with glossy summer product. Two remakes from the heady cheese days of the 1980s dominated the multiplex last weekend: Will Smith Jr. in The Karate Kid and flying tanks in The A-Team. Contrary to what we say in the show it does not get very “spoilerific” at all; if you are over 30, these two films are more or less beyond that (your mileage may vary). Gamble has a quick take on the upcoming weekends behemoth Toy Story 3, from the perspective of someone (perhaps the only one) who didn’t like Toy Story 2. Kurt talks at length on The Duplass’ brother’s Cyrus which also opens this weekend in a few cities. Furthermore, in an ongoing behind-the-curve look at pop-cultural phenomenon LOST, Kurt continues to moan about the bad drama and stalling nature of the narrative, but does praise the heck out of the Season 2 closer and the Season 3 opener (there are *spoilers* ahoy in that conversation, be warned). Rounding out the show are DVD picks, a few other tangents – anyone up for Chinese cultural imperialism, or Communism vs. Fascism in 80s trash? How to parse TV awards shows? Ron Mann’s choice of having comic book authors read lengthy portions of their books on screen? Fashion Fan Boys? Oh, and another round of the piracy, file sharing, copyright debate ensues.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!

To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:

ALTERNATIVE (no music track):

Full show notes are under the seats…
Would you like to know more…?

Cinecast Episode 170 – There is Smelting

A lengthy show this week, mainly due to Kurt finally fulfilling his promise to Andrew to start watching TVs LOST. If you are bored to tears by Lost talk, skip the first half hour of the show. If you are a fan or aficionado, there is a newbies (Spoilerific) take on the first (and a bit of the second) Season. The main review, and a wonderful three-way discussion is had, is Vincenzo Natali’s Splice. There is lots of love for the Cronenbergian slash Frankenstein’s Monster type tale, but also some criticisms. Matt managed to catch up with Get Him To The Greek and offers his thoughts, wherein a Rose Byrne love-in ensues (who knew she was Aussie?) Kurt caught an advance screening of Sundance winner Winter’s Bone and agrees that it completely lives up to the hype (John Hawkes and Jennifer Lawrence are both revelations). Finally, Matt teases Andrew and Kurt with some thoughts on Mr. T and welding montages in the new A-Team movie. Andrew espouses on his theory why Pixar’s Up is a lot like Death Proof and there is some tangenting on Jackie Brown. DVD picks and much, much more.

As always, feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!

To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:

Full show notes are under the seats…
Would you like to know more…?

The A-Team movie before the A-Team movie.


Sure, there is now an A-Team movie moving into production (with a quite reasonable cast even.) But, really, after seeing Sly Stallone and and friends, namely this being his dream team of 80s and early 90s action stars (minus Van Damme and Segal, but plus the duo of Jason Statham and Jet Li), there is no doubt that The Expendables is what the A-Team movie should pretty much be. Remember how Hollywood blockbusters often come in pairs? Here is your 2010 pair-up. I’m betting both will be will be quite entertaining goofiness.

“Bring it, Happy Feet!”

Trailer is tucked under the seat.

Would you like to know more…?