MOVIE PREVIEW: “BLITZ” STARRING JASON STATHAM

By Malice Intended of Planet Ill

Every actor fears being typecast. No matter how great the fame or how big the payday, no one wants to be known as a one trick pony. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. When an actor establishes himself as one thing, audiences sometimes have a problem accepting them as anything else. If you really want your fans to follow you into uncharted territory, you have to honor their trust by making your transition gradual and choosing roles that do not completely betray what they have come to expect from you, at least not at first.

Blitz, the first production from Lionsgate UK, is a serial killer thriller with a brutally novel twist. Jason Statham plays Brant, a hardnosed London police officer on the trail of “Blitz.” Blitz, as he has been dubbed by the media, is a serial killer that targets police officers instead of hapless civilians. Things become complicated when the homophobic Brant is teamed up with a homosexual partner (Paddy Considine) while on the case. As they work out their differences, Blitz continues his vicious rampage.

The film is based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Irish author Ken Bruen, who co-wrote the screenplay with Nathan Parker. Though it takes place in London, the trailer has a decidedly American feel. The editing seems timed to the pulsating electronic music that underscores the slick visuals. While Statham is indeed sporting the same British tough guy persona that is by now quite familiar to audiences, those really paying attention will notice the context is somewhat different. The attitude is the same, but this time he’s not some highly trained superhero. Brant is clearly flawed. How much these flaws will be explored in the film is anyone’s guess, but it does show a bit of ambition on Statham’s part.

It is clear that Statham realizes that audiences will soon tire of the unreality displayed in the Transporter and Crank films, regardless of how tongue-and-cheek the presentation is. Action heroes who lack any real acting chops find themselves in an untenable position when age catches up with them and/or their audience outgrows them. Statham sees the writing on the wall and he is at least attempting to make the necessary adjustments. Blitz is not a complete 180 degree turn for him, but it shows that he is learning how to apply his skillset differently. Blitz looks as though it moves just as fast as any of his action vehicles, but offers something more in the way of characterization and story. If Statham can make it work, his career may indeed have a second act.

STATE OF THE ART: STUNTKID














Jason Levesque, known better by the online moniker “Stuntkid”, is a self taught artist living in Norfolk, VA. His work borrows from his fascination with biology and the earth sciences. Stuntkid’s illustrations have been commissioned for use in comics, magazines and periodicals worldwide, from playstation magazine to german latex fetish magazines.

http://stuntkid.com/

MOVIE REVIEW: 13 (THIRTEEN)

By Malice Intended of Planet Ill

Desperate for cash, Vince (Sam Riley) rushes headlong into a situation that proves to be much more than he bargained for. While working as an electrician, he stumbles upon a money making opportunity that requires him to take on the identity of a recently deceased client. After following a simple set of instructions, he finds himself being forced to participate in what can only be described as the ultimate game of Russian roulette. Other contestants, such as Ronald (Sam Winstone) and Jesse James Jefferson (Mickey Rourke), have entered the contest under equally dubious circumstances. Jasper (Jason Statham) and Jimmy (50 Cent) assure that certain participants honor their obligations. With each round of the games, the pool of contestants shrinks until a single winner emerges.

13 was written and directed by Géla Babluani. It is a remake of his French thriller 13 Tzameti. While not gratuitously violent, its dark and unrelenting tone will make it an endurance test for squeamish viewers. Though Babluani clearly hopes to establish himself in the American marketplace, 13 makes it obvious that he means to do so on his own terms. The movie is a brutal thriller that flaunts shocking twists and violent surprises, none of which are delivered in a conventional or pandering way.

While American films use camerawork and editing to add drama to mundane situations, 13 takes a more restrained and sparing approach. For the most part the camera remains in a relatively fixed position. Though the film was shot on location in New York, it takes very little advantage of the big city ambience, removing the normal visual, aesthetic distractions from the main story. The color palette is drab and stale, suggesting a certain emptiness and moral ambiguity. The sky remains perpetually grey and overcast. It’s a wonder that any plants or trees could grow or thrive in the world shown in 13. That mood translates to that of the characters and the performances as well.

Unfortunately, 50 Cent is featured in a role that requires much stoicism. His character is devoid of any personality or color, with little to no effect on the film itself. Mickey Rourke once again adopts the burned out loser persona that he perfected in The Wrestler. While Jesse James Jefferson is nowhere near as layered or as memorable as that character, the performance is an example of how Rourke manages to be thoroughly fascinating even when he doesn’t appear to be exerting himself much. Jason Statham, sans martial artistry and weaponry, plays an actual human being for a change. He is surprisingly effective at it. Sam Riley’s transition from callow youth to hardened, desperate survivor is believable.

13 is in the grand tradition of tense thrillers that test the audience’s taste for violence by showing the toll it takes on those involved. While it isn’t in the same class as genre classics like Se7en, it demonstrates that Géla Babluani knows how to command an audience’s attention even as he instills it with fear and revulsion. Had he managed to flesh out some of the supporting characters, 13 could have been a true masterpiece of tension building. As it stands, the film feels like something of a technical exercise, albeit a skillful and admirable one. 3.5 out of 5

STATE OF THE ART: PERICLES JUNIOR









“I am in business as an art director, illustrator and comics book artist, and during this time I absorbed characteristics that keep helping me to improve even more as a professional, because in this business, we can’t count on talent only. As a comic book artist and storyboard illustrator, I learned about the secrets of angles, expressions, and how to transform in reality what existed only in the imaginary, in dreams. Now I apply all this information, transforming it in professionalism. Today I am making dreams come true. To be able to illustrate characters that once were my heroes and surrounded my imaginary, to a certain point, used to be a very distant reality to me. I still have a lot to go. Does it frightens me ? In a certain manner, yes. but at the same time, I encourage myself to face the road and see what lies behind the mountain.”-Pericles Junior

http://pjarts.wordpress.com