Friday, June 28, 2013

The Conjuring ~ Arranging the Pieces

The Conjuring ~ Arranging the Pieces | A Constantly Racing Mind

Now that we have the low down on James Wan's new horror film "The Conjuring,"  here are some more pieces of the puzzle. Like, what lurks in he darkness?

What can we learn from real life Ghost-Busters from the 1970's ?

The Conjuring - Lessons on Haunting | A Constantly Racing Mind

Infestation, Oppression, and Possession? Sounds like it came from the "The Handbook for the Living and the Dead."  OMG is that polyester? 

Playing up the "based on a true story" aspect of the story, the trailer has clips of interviews with the family members who allegedly lived through this paranormal events portrayed in "The Conjuring."

The Conjuring ~ What is your name Demon? | A Constantly Racing Mind
Here is a confrontation scene with Patrick Wilson as Ed Warren standing in the forefront. 

James Wan kicks up the tension in the latest trailer (above) with some creepy Poltergeist activity.  Following a similar plot line to "The Amityville Horror," which the Warrens also investigated, where a family moves in to a house with a history, bad things happen, paranormal investigators get the call to check out the place, a priest is summoned, things get scarier, family leaves home.  The challenge for director Wan, is to get the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up for longer than just a few minutes, give the audience something to talk about at the water cooler at work, and most importantly -- give the audience nightmares.

Movie Data

Genre: Horror, Thriller
Year: 2013
Staring: Joey King, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston
Director: James Wan
Producer(s): Rob Cowan, Tony DeRosa-Grund, Peter Safran
Writer: Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes
Rating: R
Running Time: 105 minutes
Release Date: 9/13/2013
All images are courtesy of Film District

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ender's Game ~ Propaganda Posters

In a world were imminent invasion is looming, from mankind's archenemies, the 'Buggers,' or more formally known as the Formics. The International Fleet propaganda machine churns out the message that all citizen's must remain vigilant. Here are three new posters to get that message out to all of mankind that we are 'Never Again!' going to take an invasion from the  Formics, or from anyone for that matter.

With the hash-tag #DiscoverTheTruth The poster depicts a World Trade Center like attack from mankind's mortal enemies, the first poster warns that another invasion is on the horizon and is a call to arms. 

Do your part: Get the message out says the poster above. Hash-tag #BeAHero 

The "Ender's Game" storyline follows a young Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, who is a military savant. Asa Butterfield plays Ender who is his early to mid-teens when this story starts, trains at the Battle School. Going through a series of games designed to teach Ender the martial arts War Tactics). After successfully completing a zero gravity war game, the instructors agree that Wiggan is a tactical genus..

Harrison Ford also stars as Colonel Hyrum Graff, who is in charge of Ender's education and training. Sir Ben Kingsley plays war hero Mazer Rackham, and Abigail Breslin ("The Call," "Zombieland") plays Ender's sister Valentine

Summit Entertainment has a scheduled arrival date of November 1st, 2013. "Ender's Game" is distributed in the US by Summit Entertainment.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Year:  2013
Staring: Ben Kingsley, Harrison Ford, Abigail Breslin, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis
Director: Gavin Hood
Producer(s): Orson Scott Card,Robert Chartoff, Lynn Hendee, Linda McDonough, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, 
Writer: Gavin Hood
Rating: Rated PG-13
Running Time: 114 minutes
Release Date:  11/1/2013

All images courtesy of  Summit Entertainment

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pacific Rim ~ Jaegers: Mech Warriors- Featurette

Pacific Rim Banner - 0003 | A Constantly Racing Mind

As we get to know more about Guillermo del Toro's "Pacific Rim," a homage to Japanese horror films from the 1950's and 60's we take a look at the giant robots called Jaegers that the Pan Pacific Defense Corps uses to fight these giant monsters. These Jaegers are piloted by a pilot and a co-pilot whose minds are linked neurally together so they act in unison. 

Warner Bros. official synopsis:

"When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes—a washed up former pilot and an untested trainee — who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse."

The pilot, Raleigh Becket, played by "The Sons of Anarchy's" Charlie Hunnam was a "washed up former pilot called back into to service". His co-pilot is  Mako Mori played by Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her work in the 2006 film, "Babel." 

Charlie Day, from FX's television series "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" plays  Dr. Newton Geizler. Day's job as Geizler is to study the Kaiju (big Godzilla type monster) and figure out what does this creature want. While adding to our knowledge of what a Kaiju is and what's its motivation, Geizler also provides some comic relief to this otherwise horror-action tale.

When you think of a person by the name of Hannibal Chau, your mind doesn't automatically conjure of the likes of actor Ron Perlman. Perlman is also Charlie Hunnam's co-star on the FX show "Sons of Anarchy." In Pacific Rim, Perlman's Hannibal Chau is an organ dealer. No, not a Hammond organ, but the organs of the Kaiju. Also, if you were not aware,, Ron Perlman and Guillermo del Toro have announced that "Hell Boy 3" will be in the works. Perlman and del Toro also worked together on the first two "Hellboy" films, "Cronos," and "Blade II," and with "Pacific Rim," that makes six films together for the two veterans. 

Expect to see "Pacific Rim" in US theaters on July 12, 2013 

Movie Data

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Year:  2013
Staring: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Ron Perlman, Charlie Day, Clifton Collins Jr.
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Producer(s): Jon Jashni, Mary Parent, Thomas Tull
Writer: Guillermo del Toro, Travis Beachamt
Rating: PG-13

The Conjuring ~ Getting Ready

The Conjuring - Poster  0001 | A Constantly Racing Mind
I am looking for a film that scares the living daylights out of me. Something that leaves me shaking after the lights come up, is "The Conjuring" the film that will do that for audiences. "Insidious" came close, but will director James Wan's second horror film with a paranormal theme be the one to do the trick? 

In this day and age, fans of the horror genre have come to find the concepts, the jump scares, the blood, the violence, the gore, and the scary creature/monster/villain, not so scary. Are we just jaded? The director of horror goes through great pains the set the mood, adjust the music just right to create the atmosphere of dread, and build the tension. What ends up as the climatic moment draws nigh, is that we end up with CGI creature that just doesn't quite cut it. What we are left with is a film with lots of great suspense but ultimately we are left wanting.

Here is the official synopsis of Warner Bros. new horror film "The Conjuring."

"Before there was Amityville, there was Harrisville. Based on a true story, "The Conjuring" tells the horrifying tale of how world renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren were called upon to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful demonic entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most terrifying case of their lives."
I have to warn you, this is another "based on a true story" but don't let that fool you. It doesn't matter if you believe that 

The first trailer sets up the film as a story about paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine  Warren enter the Perron's household in an attempt to seek out the entity or entities lurking within.

The film takes place int the 1970's and centers on the Perron family. Ron Livingstone ("The Odd Life of Timothy Green") and Lili Taylor ("The Haunting"), are Roger and Carolyn Perron, they have four girls; Cynthia, Christine, Nancy, April, and Andrea. All seems happy (as usual) as they move into their new farmhouse in this trailer below. With the Zombies playing in the background "Time of the Season" the joy of a mother (Taylor) playing hide and seek quickly dissolves as the presence makes itself known to the family. Check out the chilling trailer below.

Composer Joseph Bishara, creates the creepy, dread-filled atmospheric environment for  "The Conjuring" just as he has done for both 2010's "Insidious," and "Dark Skies," from earlier this year. Bishara, not only creates and tension riddled score, but also served as the evil spirit for both "Insidious," and "The Conjuring." Bathsheba (Bishara, a witch whose pact with the Devil has gone seriously awry hangs herself on a tree on the property long before the Perron family moved in...

In James Wan's new film horror veterans. Vera Farmiga from "The Orphan," "Joshua" and television's "Bates Motel," Patrick Wilson ("Insidious") take on the challenge of being paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren who are called in to investigate and help out the Perron family. Director James Wan, typically works with writer Leigh Whannell, who is responsible for the first three "Saw" films, and "Dead Silence," which was also directed by Wan, and of course, "Insidious." Whannell will be back for "Insidious: Chapter 2" as both writer and in the part of Specs.

Release date for "The Conjuring" is July 19th 2013 in the US


Movie Data

Genre: Horror, Thriller
Year:  2013
Staring: Joey King, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston
Director: James Wan
Producer(s): Rob Cowan, Tony DeRosa-Grund, Peter Safran
Writer: Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes
Rating: R
Running Time: 105 minutes
Release Date: 9/13/2013
All images are courtesy of Film District

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pacific Rim ~ Getting To Know The Story

Pacific Rim Banner - 0001 | A Constantly Racing Mind

Some things never die. Some things come back to haunt us. Some of those things are from our youth, and we can't just get them out of our heads. For Guillermo del Toro, and Travis Beacham, that thing is called a Kaiju. As you watch these trailers and you look at the creatures that have risen from the watery deep seem somewhat familiar, they should be. A Kaiju, or monster, is a creature similar to our old friend Godzilla. That prehistoric creature that destroyed Tokyo, and was usually had a couple of kids along with "Perry Mason's" Raymond Burr.

Warner Bros. official synopsis:

"When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes—a washed up former pilot and an untested trainee — who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse."

Unlike the old 1950's Japanese horror movies,where  the humans didn't really have a great way of fighting back. Now, Del Torro presents us with Jaegers  -- Giant robots controlled by two pilots, whose minds are locked together by a neural link. The pilot, Raleigh Becket, played by "The Sons of Anarchy's" Charlie Hunnam was a "washed up former pilot called back into to service". His co-pilot is  Mako Mori played by Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her work in the 2006 film, "Babel.

Idris Elba ("Prometheus") plays Stacker Pentecost, Beckett and Mori's the war against the creatures from the deep. 

Expect "Pacific Rim" in US theaters on July 12, 2013 

Movie Data

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Year:  2013
Staring: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Ron Perlman, Charlie Day, Clifton Collins Jr.
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Producer(s): Jon Jashni, Mary Parent, Thomas Tull
Writer: Guillermo del Toro, Travis Beachamt
Rating: PG-13

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Lone Ranger - Infographic And Featurette

The Lone Ranger - Infographic | A Constantly Racing Mind

Above is an interesting infographic that has been floating around the Internet. I thought it would make an interesting banner

Disney Pictures, in order to generate interest in their summer blockbuster, "The Lone Ranger" starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer have two featurettes. The first one is called the "The Craft," 

The second featurette features the Lone Ranger's iconic horse, Silver. It's called  "Hi Ho Silver!"

Look for the "The Lone Ranger" in theaters on  July 3rd 2013.


Movie Data

Genre:  Action, Adventure, Western
Year:  2013
Staring: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Helena Bonham Carter
Director: Gore Verbinski
Producer(s): Jerry Bruckheimer, Gore Verbinski
Writer: Justin Haythe, Ted Elliott
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 149 minutes
Release Date: 7/23/2013

Thursday, June 20, 2013

World War Z ~ A Two Hour Adventure Tale

World War Z Banner - 2 | A Constantly Racing Mind

If you are looking for Max Brooks's story in the film version of Brad Pitt and Marc Forster's "World War Z," you will be genuinely disappointed.  However, if you are into blockbuster action flicks, then “World War Z” is the film for you.  Produced by Pitt's Plan B production company and directed by Marc Forster.  whose films include, but not limited to "Finding Neverland," the Halle Berry -- Billy Bob Thornton character study "Monster's Ball," "The Kite Runner," the so-so Bond film "Quantum of Solace." and a look into the violence of Central Africa with "Machine Gun Preacher," starring Gerard Butler in the title role.  

Unlike the book, this film is told in a traditional narrative, several writers have worked on the script for "World War Z.”  J. Michael Straczynski, writer of the TV Series "Babylon 5," "Thor," and “Underworld: Awakening” took first shot at it and did the initial work of turning this book about many first-hand accounts of a historical event into a mostly single narrative.  Matthew Michael Carnahan whose films like "The Kingdom," "Lions for Lambs," and "State of Play" have political undertones to them took over the script next.  Drew Goddard ("The Cabin in the Woods,") Was brought in for a rewrite, and "Lost" alumnus Damon Lindelof came in for some refining of the script.  It's all very messy and contributed to a release date that just kept being rescheduled.  With all these rewrites, what emerges in an intense action flick suited exactly for Brad Pitt.  Pitt plays the character Gerry Lane, who is a former United Nations employee who is experienced in being in dangerous places, is sent to find the source of a plague that is infecting the world.  "World War Z" is just under two hours and is rated PG-13

World War Z Poster- 1 | A Constantly Racing MindIn the cliched storyline of the retired expert called back into service because apparently, he is the only one who can save the day, Lane gets this high action Zombie on steroid picture moving.  Setting the scene of daddy at home with the wife and kids, Forster sets up the stage quickly and moves on.  Gerry's wife played by "The Killing's" Mireille Enos and is just a mere set piece in this whirlwind tour around the world, searching for the elusive patient zero.  The children Connie (Sterling Jerins) and Rachel (Abigail Hargrove) is added to the mix to give our hero Gerry a reason to complete his quest.  

Shortly after breakfast, the family takes a jaunt into the city, where trapped in traffic, panic, and pandemonium broke out, leaving the family seeking medicine, supplies, and refuge for most of the first act.  Some initial clues to the Zombie outbreak are given, and as we see most of the film from Gerry's perspective, we too can share in these clues.  11 seconds from bite to infection, however, not everybody is infected, and not everybody knows the first rule of the Zombie Apocalypse, "cardio!"  

The film moves quickly, to the point where once he and his family are safely onboard a US warship 200 miles off the coast of New York.  With reports of cities across the world "going dark," the United States government in shambles. Gerry asks his old boss, the U.N. Secretary-General, and the man who requested his help, Thierry Umutoni (Fana Mokoena) “Is anyone doing better than we are?”  At this point, Gerry is given the choice of escorting a virus expert to South Korea, or he and his family get off the boat and take their chance in a refugee camp.  Easy choice, huh?  So, Gerry and Harvard Professor and viral expert, Andrew Fassbach (Elyes Gabel) embark on a cargo transport plane and is off to save the world. 

Brooks’s novel of the same title was inspired by Pulitzer Prize winner, Studs Terkel's 1984 book “The Good War: An Oral History of World War Two,”  Instead of gathering the memories of the soldiers, doctors, drug traffickers, and other miscellaneous survivors, Forster's version of this Zombie story, I say a version, and not an adaptation, as this is nothing like the book, and abandons the themes that made the book compelling, and intellectually engaging is just pure action.  What is left is a film on the same level as the "Resident Evil" franchise.  Gone is the social and political commentary that ran as the undercurrent throughout the novel.  The multitude of screenwriters eliminated the concept that the book cultivates, which is humanity surviving in the times of plague, in exchange for the sake of action.  Now, don't get me wrong, if you like action, incredible scenes of Zekes (zombies) sprinting off the tops of roofs, or bringing down a Black Hawk helicopter, or even the excellent view of the Zombie Ladder into the walled city of Jerusalem, then  "World War Z" is for you.

The hardest part for me was the third act, as the film begins to draw to a close. The pace slows down, and some of Gerry's observations are bandies about at a World Health Organization (WHO) center in Whales.  At this point, Forster replaces action with suspense and a little bit of humor to keep the story moving.  The conclusion seems a bit contrived to end this film on a somewhat positive note.  The thought of a Zombie pandemic should bring a certain amount of fear and dread, which leads to another question, in this day and age, why would you want to make a horror film and have it rated only PG-13?  Although the film is violent, it is not bloody, nor does it strike fear in the heart of the audience.  The issue with Zombie films of this nature, the question becomes, is, what is motivating these creatures to go on a rampage?  Is it to infect others?  Does the virus cause a hive mentality?  If they are dead, why would they need to consume flesh?  It is best not to think about these things too much if you wish to enjoy "World War Z."

World War Z Panic and Pandemonium| A Constantly Racing Mind

As far as production values, although the dialog was somewhat thin, I think that Pitt was convincing, as is his one-handed Israeli sidekick Segen, played by the shaven head, Daniella Kertesz.  The other Lane family members acted like a young family should, whiney and useless.  The story really has not much for them to do, but be Gerry's goal and a reason to do his job and return.  The special effects were more than adequate and at times, impressive.  Musically, Marco Beltrami's score is effective, with the heavy brass and the somber tones heard throughout the film.  Beltrami is, to some degree, a horror veteran.  With ratings for "Warm Bodies,”  "The Woman in Black," and 2011's "The Thing," under his belt, I can honestly say, his score set the mood.

What we have here is an entertaining film, but not as epic and apocalyptic as the title proclaims.  I think a good comparison would be trying to tell the story of World War II as a straight narrative, in the space of two hours.  “World War Z” has a lot of action, no time for blood, no time for the human interest story, and definitely no time for character development.  "World War Z" is not much more of an action film that is in the same vein of what the "Resident Evil,” and "Underworld" franchises have devolved into, mindless action, thin plot, and a beautiful hero.

"World War Z" is in U.S. theaters now, starting on June 21, 2013 


Movie Data

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Year: 2013
Starring: Brad Pitt, James Badge Dale, Matthew Fox, David Morse, Mireille Enos
Director: Marc Forster
Producer(s): Ian Bryce, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Brad Pitt
Writer(s): J. Michael Straczynski,  Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, Damon Lindelof, Max Brooks
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 123 minutes
Release Date: 6/21/2013

Reviewing the Film and the Philosophy of The Adjustment Bureau

"All I Have Are the Choices I Make, and I Choose Her." 

Make no mistake, The Adjustment Bureau, starring Matt Damon, and Emily Blunt, is a love story. That being said, the Science Fiction element adds an interesting layer of fantasy to this tragic romance between two lovers, who, while fated to be together, destiny interferes to keep them apart. Mad Men's John Slattery and Terrence Stamp also star in this twisted tale of love, humor, fate, destiny, and freewill. A pleasant surprise is the portrayal of Adjustment Bureau Team member 'Harry' as portrayed by Anthony Mackie (Notorious). Mackie gives a human feeling to the film and acts not only as a guide for David Norris in navigating this world, but also acts as a conscience for this familiar but altered world. The Adjustment Bureau is a fast paced, but thoughtful film, and full of plot holes if you think about them too hard, so don't. Writer and Director George Nolfi really had to work hard to take the 1954 original short story by Phillip K. Dick (Blade Runner, Minority Report) and turn it into a story and film that would have some relevance to a modern 21st century audience. The Adjustment Bureau is PG-13 and makes for a great matinee movie with a dinner afterwards allowing the two of you a chance to discuss all the 'what ifs' in your own lives.

The concept taken from the original Philip K. Dick story is simple and straight forward. A bureau or team 'adjusts' situations to control the lives and destinies of people. This manipulation affects others who in turn affect others causing a ripple effect in humanity's direction away from doomsday. The team or bureau operates literally below the surface, from the sewers and behind magical doors that if turned clockwise opens onto various places within the confines of New York City. The film starts out in the last days of Congressman David Norris's (Damon) campaign for a New York Senate seat. Portrayed as a Young Turk, a man of the people, a younger more in touch candidate, Norris is impulsive and prone to lack good judgment where some of his actions during the campaign are concerned. After mooning some folks during his high school reunion, Norris's lead in the polls slips badly, costing him the Senate race. On the eve of his defeat, supposedly alone in the bathroom of his campaign headquarters, Norris writes his concession speech aloud. Out of one of the stalls steps the beautiful and lithe Elise (Blunt), who, after crashing a wedding, is hiding out from hotel security. The chemistry ignites and the two hit it off and their encounter ends with a passionate kiss before they go their separate ways. While giving the intended speech to his followers, Norris deviates from it and with thoughts of Elise still on his mind, he is inspired to give a different, more heartfelt and captivating speech that ensures a solid framework for his next attempt to seek a seat in the Senate.

We meet the 'Adjustment Team,' a throwback to the days of film noir, men in suits, ties and fedoras, who watch the developments of certain key players in the world. Instead of using a stylized GPS that tracks a person's predestined actions and events in their life, the team, instead, have ordinary looking books that show the planned path of an individual and the deviated path as well. Questions abound as to the origin of the Adjustment Bureau, and what kind of creatures they are. They look human, and seem fallible, as we see presently, when a team member is supposed to cause Norris to spill his coffee while crossing by the Central Park on the way to catch a bus. Norris's weary handler, Harry (Mackie), falls asleep and misses his opportunity to cause the coffee spill and instead Norris makes the bus and indeed runs into Elise again. The two resume where they left off with casual flirting and Norris taking advantage of a delayed coffee spill, to ask Elise for her phone number. Harry reports his inability to keep the two from meeting again which allows the two to form a slightly deeper bond with each other. The team assigned to watch over David Norris is led by a dapper character by the name of Richardson, who is played by John Slattery of Mad Men fame. Arriving at his new job, Norris catches the Adjustment Team pulling a Men in Black like mind adjustment on his associate and campaign manager Charlie Traynor (Michael Kelly). As Norris runs around the office building in an attempt to escape from the adjustment team members, scenes from the Matrix come to mind. Eventually Norris is captured and taken to what looks to be a deserted underground parking lot where Richardson decides what to do with our errant Congressman. Realizing the deep psychological drive that Norris has for seeking the truth, Richardson decides on leveling with him and telling him who they are and what their purpose is, and warning him not to be with Elise ever again, and not to divulge who they are. Richardson burns Elise's phone number and that they say, is the end of that.

Obviously that is not the end. David Norris is in fact a passionate, obsessive character, while Elise also is as passionate about her dreams; however she is spontaneous, witty, and fun. What the audience finds is that The Adjustment Bureau has the makings of a good tragic love story where the main characters, should be together, are pulled apart by what usually is called bad luck, or bad timing, is in fact The Adjustment Bureau. Although Damon and Blunt are convincing in their portrayal of their characters, and the chemistry between them as leading romantic characters is excellent, there is something missing that lowers the intensity of their love for each other that falls short of the kind that would remind one of Dom and Mal or Jack and Rose of Inception and Titanic, respectively. This one thing keeps The Adjustment Bureau from being a truly great film.

Philosophically, the film questions the concept of 'Free Will,' and as Terrance Stamp says in the film, 'we humans have the 'illusion of free will.' Free will was a good idea that the bureau allowed humanity to try on a few occasions, however, after the Dark Ages and bringing to world to the brink of destruction during the Cuban Missile crisis, the Bureau felt it was better for them to help humans align their fate better. Another concept that writer/director Nolfi deals with is, that love conquers all. In real life it doesn't, but this is the movies. An obvious flaw in the story is the nature of the Bureau, are they supernatural? Can anyone join the Bureau? We do know that they need to sleep. Harry falls asleep, missing his chance to distract Norris with the spilt coffee. They swear and act frustrated when plans fall apart. Are they aliens? The bureau members sport some nifty memory adjustor gadgets. They can be duplicitous, as we see how Harry lends aide to the Damon and Blunt when the chips are down. They claim to read minds, but in fact can and will lie if the need arises. Another question that comes to mind is the infallibility of a higher being. If this higher order being is fallible then they are not god, then are they aliens? Overall, if mankind needs adjusting, are these truly the beings that should be doing the adjusting. Just remember, it is just a movie.

Nolfi and Editor Jay Rabinowitz keep The Adjustment Bureau moving along with even cutting and smooth camera shots. No 'Bourne Identity' docu-style filmmaking here. No car chases worth mentioning however, there are quite a few scenes of Matt Damon running around New York City while being chased by agents in motorcycle helmets. Musically, the soundtrack is not memorable, but does keep the film flowing. Ali Dee, who worked on the 'Speed Racer' soundtrack and Thomas Newman who worked on Jarhead and the Wall-E soundtracks contribute to The Adjustment Bureau, with songs and music that blend effortlessly with the action and dialog. Also included is a track by Sarah Vaughan with a remixed version of her song Fever. Richard Ashcroft's Are You Ready, rounds out a soundtrack that, although grooves and adds to the film, doesn't strike any emotional chords with the audience, which in turn would move The Adjustment Bureau, to a higher level of art.

The chemistry between Damon and Blunt works well on screen. Matt Damon portrays a young (early forties), politician who is on the fast track to the White House. Blunt plays the ballerina on the verge of fame well -- without the weirdness that Natalie Portman's 'Black Swan' character portrays while pursuing her craft obsessively. What is intriguing about these two, and subsequently to the storyline, is that if David and Elise are happy with each other to the point that they settle for mediocrity, why is that wrong? We pursue our dreams in search of something to fill a void in our lives, and to do so successfully, especially the lofty goals and desires, one needs to do so without distraction and with a great compulsion. However, if instead you find that happiness by being with that certain someone, and for that reason you trade lofty ideas for happiness, is that wrong too? Does The Adjustment Bureau take the easy way out and settle for a feel good film, rather than go for the loftier goal of creating a film that should be considered a genuine piece of art? The final message that Director George Nolfi wants to leave us with is: Life is too short to not be with the one you truly love and who makes you happy.

Movie Data

Genre: Romance, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Year: 2011
Staring: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Michael Kelly, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery
Director: George Nolfi
Producer(s): Bill Carraro, Michael Hackett, Chris Moore, George Nolfi
Writer: George Nolfi, Philip K. Dick
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 106 minutes
Release Date: 3/4/2011

Originally published 3/6/2011 on Yahoo! Voices