peteg's blog

Blackhat

/noise/movies | Link

4.20pm, $10.29 + $1.23 (inflated freedom) tax = $11.52, at the AMC Loews 600. three rows from the front (and still a little too close). I really liked Michael Mann's Thief, and I vaguely recall Heat being some chop. Well, this movie was unsound.

The opening is pure Fight Club, subbing silicon for biology, and before too long we get beefcake with a side of beef Hemsworth/Thor as a not credible arch computer geek. He has no quirk. He is not weird. He is no geek. It is like Rooney Mara never happened. He is unmentionable next to Mann's previous leading men (de Niro, Pacino, James Caan). His facility with violence comes from where exactly? I know violent geeks but they are not beefcakes. True to form he does wield a hammer/axe at the Chinese reactor. Let's not stop to think what the radiation does to that delicate, semi-unique brain of his. The truly funny scene in The Matrix where to-be alpha guy Neo chokes in the face of imminent arrest by the agents is totally, absolutely, resolutely, irrevocably beyond the scope of Thor. Thor pumps iron, not irony. Fire the casting agent.

Mann really blows it in Asia, passing up the opportunity to make Hong Kong, Macau or Indonesia look as awesome as Wong Kar-Wai does. Why go there if you're not even going to try? There is some nice camerawork evoking Heat back home in America, and also a retread of the climactic container scene. The vibe seems to be that we can fix this new cybercrime/war with old school violence, presumably in the maximalist tradition. The politics could have been more interesting than the hacking, or at least something could have been decent. I was glad to see John Ortiz's pained dial in some scenes (literally phoning it in). Wei Tang struggles a bit in English, or with beefcake. Last time I saw her she was getting it on with Tony Leung, so I can understand her diffidence.

This may well be one of the last computer-centric movies made by someone who clearly does not understand them, or how Gen Y understands them.

Manohla Dargis may have talked me into it. I wish I'd seen what she saw.

William Gibson: Distrust That Particular Flavor

/noise/books | Link

This is a mostly-drecky collection of offcuts. The author himself more-or-less admits this in the afterwords that follow each piece. Somewhere in the middle is a pleasant but abridged history of Japan and its entanglement with the U.S.A., which may have been the cause of the suggestion from somewhere that this book was not quite so drecky as it is.