Sunday, March 26, 2006 

O & U #5

Apologies for not updating in a while, I'm kind of getting lethargic.

Swimming With Sharks, 1994, dir: George Huang

Plot: Guy (Frank Whaley - he got to say "What?!" a lot in Pulp Fiction) is an intrepid but woefully naive and newly-recruited Hollywood studio assistant for Buddy Ackerman (Kevin Spacey). In a business this cut-throat, and with constant squirrelly torment from Buddy, Guy finally snaps and attempts to serve his own kind of justice on his employer.

Why I like it: I like movies that are about movies. Steve Martin's last respectable foray before Shopgirl was Bowfinger -an unabashed stab at Hollywood's 'You either got it or you don't' mentality- Sunset Blvd. is consistently placed highly in the greatest movies of all time, and even David Lynch took to transposing his nightmarishly potent studio system interludes in the great Mulholland Dr. Which brings us to Swimming With Sharks or 'The Buddy Factor', a film seeking to emulate these notions in a much more literal manner.

In case we hadn't guessed from the name, Guy characterises the straightforward and eager-to-please, easy-to-corrupt suckers; if Huang will have us believe anything. Thankfully though Sharks aptly steers away from the usual familiar chit-chat, choosing instead to cross-cut between our three protagonists with a surprisingly confident hand. Certainly it's moulded somewhat from a chic 90's sensibility (although it's far from postmodern), but this is not shunned in favour of accessibility. Indeed one of the strengths of the movie -along with fine turns from Kevin Spacey and the eternally underused Michelle Forbes- is that it takes a grudingly simple, even repetitive story, and rolls with it in unexpected ways. Chiefly this is festooned within Buddy Ackerman, a man who'll explode if you give him the wrong kind of sweetner.

Riddled with quotable dialogue ("My bathmat means more to me than you do!"), Swimming With Sharks sets about to be a Tinseltown revenge story interspersed with black comedy, and that's exactly what it achieves. Scratch the gimmicky ending and you've got an intelligent, demanding, but most importantly personable movie, and one that manages to fulfill an impressive scope of emotion. Worthy of your attention.

See if you like: Glengarry Glen Ross, Sunset Blvd., Grosse Pointe Blank

Thursday, March 02, 2006 

Hot Fuzz news.

I direct you here. It's about bloody time the Spaced boys got back to work.

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