Archives for posts with tag: Bryan Cranston

As I watched “Isle of Dogs” (2018), I was reminded how much I used to enjoy “Samurai Jack.” There’s a zen-like inner calmness at the center of these two pieces of Japanese-flavored animation that I savored. This film is loaded with metaphors for all kinds of stuff I didn’t have time to try to discern (it’s a dark story about the potential for a doggie holocaust, and there’s heavy – perhaps too heavy – political symbolism). I was too busy either trying to make out the tiny writing on my normal-human-sized television or I was simply enjoying the calm, deliberate, confident storytelling.

I say it all the time, but I have to praise filmmakers who can pull suspense from a true story. I mean, you already know how it turns out. Take “Argo” (2012). You already know the Americans hiding in the Canadian embassy get out, yet you constantly worry that they won’t. Why? Ben Affleck creates a sympathetic character as a flawed CIA agent trying to rescue them. And John Goodman and Alan Arkin are a fantastic diversion as Hollywood players selling the fake movie that is Affleck’s cover story. I think it’s safe to say Affleck has recovered from Bennifer.

I don’t think anybody is going to mention the 2012 remake of “Total Recall” in the same breath with “Citizen Kane,” but that doesn’t make it any worse than the 1990 original. Both are satisfactory action films that used the latest high-tech filmmaking to augment a sci-fi political espionage plot that takes place just a little bit in the future. The remake also evokes “Blade Runner” with all the darkness, grime and rain (the weather always sucks in the future – damn greenhouse gases). Colin Farrell’s sad-eyed emoting abounds. Kate Beckinsale makes for an excellent villain. Most. Evil. Looking. Hair. Ever.