is going to be a great year for movies. I’m confident of this. Since
we’re in this ride together I figured we’d get ready for the year in a
fun and exciting new way. First, over the course of the next fifteen
weekdays we’re going to highlight one mainstream film a day. Some of
them are slam dunks, some of them have a cloud of trouble floating
above them, but all represent a great way to spend a Friday night at
the movie theater even if it results in you ripping its ass thereafter.

of the things this site is built on is a love of movies. Some folks
think we’ve let some of that go by the wayside. I disagree, but
regardless, I want 2010 to be a year where this site restores some of
that wonder. Though the glass can never truly be half-full in a
business so driven by rehashes and hollow entertainment, we’re going to
have fun with it and prepare you guys with as many tools as possible to
make the moviegoing experience worth it. Especially as the internet
gets more and more bogged down with people who have no right serving as
an authority of film blabbering all over blogs and Twitter and beyond.

There’s a reason you come here.

Day Fifteen

Green Zone
Directed by Paul Greengrass
Written by Brian Helgeland, based on the book by Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Matt Damon, Jason Issacs, Greg Kinnear, Amy Ryan, Brendan Gleeson

The Gist
There may not have been Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. Did you know that? The book and now feature film aims to tell the fictional story of one man’s against all odds quest to find the WMDs amidst enemies in every direction.

Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon reunite [with CHUD friend and uncannily great gentleman, producer Lloyd Levin] and apply their now-patented thriller techniques to a more somber and serious aspect of covert military operations. It’s a film about that treacherous time when soldiers were fighting for our lives and still trying to figure out exactly why.

There was a lot of modification done to the story as it evolved from book to film, and this is very much a work of two collaborators with a lot to say and a lot of ability. But it will be divisive.

Participants to Watch
Jason Issacs is excellent and sadly mostly known for his horror-haired work in the Harry Potter flicks, but it’s in films like this where he shines. He’ll never be an outright leading man, but there’s no reason he couldn’t be a go-to guy like Mark Strong or Ralph Fiennes. OK, well at least Mark Strong.

Paul Greengrass gets mentioned incessantly for his ‘shaky cam’ stuff and it pisses me off, because though his signature style can be jarring, he knows the geography of an action scene and his footage is fantastic. He’s not numbing you or using sleight of hand to mask bad filmmaking. He’s a storyteller as much as the next guy. This film is probably the last he’ll do in this style and we’ll hear critics and web journalists say that he’s grown up as a filmmaker. Nope, he’s amazing already.

Amy Ryan is a better actress than many of her contemporaries but she doesn’t do romantic comedies or shitty sitcoms. So she’s still one of those “I know her from somewhere” people. This movie won’t change that, but something needs to click soon.

The Buzz
The buzz is oddly negative. This story exists in a time capsule in people’s minds and it’s not a fun time to revisit. It’s also being heavily marketed like an unofficial Bourne movie, which will of course create differing expectations.

Best Case
The film enjoys a little Hurt Locker momentum and it makes its studio and backers glad they embraced a difficult film from very talented filmmakers who aspire to do more than just dish out filler.

Worst Case
It gets manhandled by the awful Alice in Wonderland, a thinly veiled 9/11 dramedy with Robert Pattinson, and the new film from cinema powerhouse [who I love, don’t get me wrong] Jay Baruchel.

CHUD’s Prognosis
It’ll do decent but nowhere near blockbuster numbers. This is an August movie. Or a November movie. Not the light and fluffy beginning of the blockbuster season.

Useful links
Official Site
Devin’s interview with Paul Greengrass

Not Such a Useful Link

Discuss this column here.