M. LaSalle on “Quantum of Solace”/ Self on “Max Payne”

Self is perusing capsule movie reviews in the Chronicle Datebook of last Sunday, when she encounters Mick LaSalle’s review of “Quantum of Solace”:

After the heights of “Casino Royale,” James Bond falls back into routine, with this pretty good thriller, filled with lots of action, a hard-to-follow story and an easy-to-be-around Bond atmosphere. Craig is still the coolest man in the universe, and that helps, though this will not go down as one of the franchise’s finest offerings.

Self heartily begs to disagree. Any Bond movie that Craig makes will continue to shore up the series’ excellence. And, by the way, self feels the atmosphere in this Bond (Siena, Italy; Austria; Haiti; and Bolivia) is way more interesting than the atmosphere in the previous, absence of Eva Green notwithstanding.

Now, on to what LaSalle feels about “Max Payne:”

The movie is based on a video game — surprise, surprise — and everything in it looks shadowy and cavernous. Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg) is a police detective who walks the night looking for the man who wrecked his life, but our respect for Max is instantly diminished by knowing inside five minutes who killed his wife and child. With its flat story, numbed-out protagonist and faux artistic lighting and set design, “Max Payne” seems a good half hour longer than its running time.

In self’s humble opinion, M. LaSalle is being way too kind. Does he have nothing to say about the absolutely ludicrous plot? Or the awful casting of Beau Bridges? Or the fact that the only interesting female gets offed within minutes of attempting to bed Max Payne? And that the best special effects — involving enormous winged creatures — turn out to be nothing more than hallucinations? Ugh. The only movie self disliked more this year was “Happy-go-Lucky.” Self still hasn’t decided whether it’s worth posting a rant about that one. Stay tuned.

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