Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Perfect Getaway

I’ll be away from the blog somewhat (I'll respond to comments) during my last trip West before school begins. Ah, the inevitable approach of the end! I always feel like Jack Faustus nearing the time when he has to pay up big-time for his twenty-five years of ultimate power and earthly pleasures, pleading for yet another year, or day, or hour, or minute. Anyway, I can’t complain. This time it’s off to California with the family, first to San Mateo where I grew up, with visits to San Francisco to see sights and friends. Hopefully, I can see District 9 in San Mateo and post a quick review. Then it’s down to Carmel for a week for a reunion with my wife’s family in a rented villa near Point Lobos (above). After that we head on down 101 to Santa Monica, one of my favorite drives. We will spend some days in Anaheim for our traditional jaunt to Disneyland. Then I hope to cap the trip by seeing Inglourious Basterds at the Arclight in Hollywood.

As for A Perfect Getaway the movie, directed by David Twohy (Pitch Black), what we have here is a very tricky little suspense film about a newlyweds-murdering couple on the loose in the tropical backcountry of Kauai (evoked by means of beautiful cinematography and surrealistic CGI) that’s full of backpacking couples. Which is the murderous couple? That’s the nagging question as the film develops slowly toward a suspenseful conclusion.

One couple is made up of Cliff (Steve Zahn), a mild-mannered screenwriter who wants an adventure for his honeymoon but is uncomfortable outdoors, and his newlywed wife, Cydney (Milla Jovovich), who dreams of just being a mother and raising a beautiful family with five kids; but when things get crucial, she morphs into that gorgeously fierce slow-mo fighting machine from Resident Evil (one of the best movies ever made).

Another couple consists of Nick (Timothy Olyphant), a wacko ex-special-ops fighter who fought in Iraq where he got a head injury that was repaired with a steel plate. “He’s real hard to kill,” comments his significant other, Gina (Kiele Sanchez), a cheerfully gauche but sexy white-trash girl from South Carolina who has no trouble gutting a wild goat for supper and is devoted to her oddball soldier boy. As Nick fiddles with his knife and hunting bow and talks about the importance of survival instincts, Gina declares, “He’s a man’s man.” (See poster. Sanchez is in the upper left-hand corner. I love her! She looks like a younger Hilary Swank but without the severe overbite. Also, she plays the type of character Swank is good at playing.)

These two couples form a shaky, incompatible foursome during a rainstorm, while wandering on the periphery you have a third couple: Kale (Chris Hemsworth) and Cleo (Marley Shelton). Cleo is a blissful, zoned-out hippie girl, but her boyfriend, Kale, is a tattooed, muscle-bound asshole with a fuck-you attitude in his cold eyes.

One of these couples is the murderous pair who killed two newlyweds in Honolulu. Either you figure it out in the beginning, or you let yourself go and enjoy a big surprise. I love most any story of survival that takes place in the jungle. Jungle adventure – makes me think of Tarzan; I love it! Also, Jovovich is awesome. And I love the poster.

If I were doing B-Movie Awards or something, I would definitely award Olyphant Best Supporting Actor and, enthusiastically, Sanchez for Best Supporting Actress. She is amazingly invested in her part, and her golly-gee white trash talk and her allegiance to her Man are endearing, and as memorable as the shot of her lounging in the nude at the picturesque waterfall.

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