Movie Diary 7/30/2009

Public Enemies (Michael Mann, 2009). Spending the warmest part of the late afternoon/early evening in super-air-conditioned Pacific Place sounded like a good idea, so I went back to give this another look. On second viewing the film has more of a compulsive flow, and it really does kick into shape in the second half. But my original reservations still stand. All kinds of cool scenes and moments, and the hot-vid look of that whip-moving Wisconsin farm shootout is like nothing else. But I don’t know what the unifying idea of the movie is; I don’t know what it thinks about its main characters, except for the vague idea that maybe there shouldn’t be a federal Bureau of Investigation because J. Edgar Hoover was a public-relations twit. Also: Depp’s performance seems wrong – he goes low and smooth when the character’s high-flying, fast-living philosophy suggests a nervier personality (but James Cagney isn’t around anymore). Depp lays back instead of bringing the appetite.

Shrink (Jonas Pate, 2009). Crossing lives, in the Biz and out of it, with Kevin Spacey as a psychiatrist in L.A. It doesn’t really work, but a bunch of decent people are in it, providing a reminder that Dallas Roberts keeps threatening to break out and including a good role for Jack Huston, latest in the family dynasty that goes back to Walter. (full review 7/31)