Blake Crane reviews “Free Fire,” “The Promise,” “The Fate of the Furious” and “Queen of the Desert” for Film Racket

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 3.39.54 PM

FREE FIRE

Two groups of unscrupulous characters convene in an abandoned factory for an arms deal. What could possibly go wrong? A lot, and in Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire it does. Entertainingly so. The ‘70s styles are broad, the gunfire is loud, and the quips are sharp. The consequences for immoral operations are also gruesomely real, and the subtext underneath the reckless abandon communicates the futility of living by the gun (deal).

THE PROMISE

Maybe there needs to be some promises made before filming well-intentioned dramatizations of historic atrocities. Like not filling the screenplay with a string of significant events containing the depth of Wikipedia bullet points. Or not using characters as empty ciphers purely to get from one development to the next. These, and several other, formulaic devices have turned sweeping silver screen epics into “very special” basic cable movies of the week.

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS

The questionable logic of the Fast and Furious franchise has been imbued with a silliness, intentional or not, that’s made the movies at least somewhat endearing. When there’s fun with the ridiculousness, like in Fast Five, the formula works like gangbusters. When there’s a lack of good humor and too much earnestness in the warbling about familial bonds, like in Fast & Furious, the series stalls.

QUEEN OF THE DESERT

Queen of the Desert is a biopic that includes a serious line of dialogue incorporating the film’s title, in reference to its central subject, who then turns slowly to the camera with a somber look. This occurs just before the pre-credits wrap-up text gives us the CliffsNotes version of the rest of her life. Inanity rules this wasteland.

CLICK ON THE TITLES TO READ BLAKE’S FULL REVIEWS!

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s