Review: INSIDE MAN

I saw Inside Man with a buddy of mine who figured out The Sixth Sense about ten minutes into it. He’s good at figuring out twist endings and ruining movies for himself. Fortunately for him, Inside Man doesn’t have a twist ending.

The thing about twist endings is that you’re not supposed to see them coming. You think you’re watching one movie, then suddenly you realize that you’ve been watching something completely different. When it’s done well, you don’t mind and you even get a thrill from it. When it’s not, you’ve got two hours of eye-rolling ahead of you.

Mysteries don’t count as twist endings. Everyone knows that there’s a secret and that it’s something we’re all supposed to be figuring out. The mystery succeeds or fails on how well it conceals the solution while still playing fair with the audience. Inside Man succeeds by giving more than enough clues to its solution, but moving at so fast a pace that you don’t have time to put them all together until the end when you’re supposed to. It also keeps you good and distracted with great dialogue that’s both funny and insightful.

The performances are also helpful in giving you something else to think about. They’re all as excellent as you’d expect from Denzel Washington, Clive Own, Jodie Foster, Willem Dafoe, and Christopher Plummer. And they’re better than you’d expect from a typical supporting cast.

And the music… I’m don’t buy a lot of movie soundtracks, but I’ll be getting this one. Mostly for the theme song “Chaiyya Chaiyya Bollywood Joint” by Sukhwinder Singh, Sapna Awasthi, and Panjabi MC.

I do have a couple of criticisms of the movie, but they’re minor. The solution to the mystery is revealed to the audience before Denzel figures it out and the movie slows way down at the end as he puts it all together, but it’s worth sticking with to get to his reaction when he figures it out.

My other minor criticism is with Jodie Foster’s character, but not with the way she’s written. On the contrary, she’s one of the most interesting characters in the movie. She’s unlikeable, but not completely so. For example, there’s a scene where someone calls her the C-word and you can see brief shock on her face before she smiles and decides to take it as a compliment. We completely believe her when she tells Denzel later in the movie that her bite is much worse than her bark (there’s never a moment that she’s not being almost obnoxiously pleasant), but in that one, brief moment with the C-word, we also see that she’s human. I’d never want to spend any time with her, but I liked the character a lot.

What makes her frustrating is that she’s so intriguing, but her purpose in the story is purely to serve as a device through which we learn certain behind-the-scenes information. She doesn’t impact the story in any real way. But, like the dialogue, she’s an awful lot of fun to be misdirected by.

The Cownt 3.0

If you’re new to this blog, you may not know that I’m writing a comic about a vampire-cow called the Cownt. If you’ve been reading it for a while, you’re sick of hearing about it.

Either way, I’m excited about this new look that my cohort Gavin Spence came up with to reflect the new direction we’re taking the character. I’m trying to strike a delicate balance between creepy and funny and I think this look serves that very well.

Battlestar Galactica: The Comic Book

Wanna see some art from the upcoming Battlestar Galactica comic? I thought you would.

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any of the interior art yet, but at least we know that the covers are going to be pretty. This is by cover artist Steve McNiven. The interior stuff will be by a guy named Nigel Raynor.

The series will be written by Greg Pak, and if you’re curious about his take on the show, there’s a good interview with him at Comic Book Resources. The first story will be set in between the first and second seasons: after the return from Kobol and before the return of the Pegasus. According to Pak: “In our first issue… the Galactica discovers a group of human survivors in a small Medivac ship under attack by Cylons. Adama suspects a Cylon plot. But Roslin points to the Sacred Scrolls, which contain an ancient prophecy: ‘The dead shall return in an ark of fire.’ Who are the ‘Returners?’ Will they unite or divide the fleet — and heal or break the heart of Commander Adama?”

My experience with comics based on TV shows is that they’re often not very exciting. They’re usually not allowed to change the show’s status quo, so that robs them of all their drama. I’d think this would be especially true of a show like Battlestar Galactica, which is so daring in its willingness to take risks, screw around with its characters, and resist getting itself into a rut. I’m gonna try it out though. Pak is a respected writer and he says he’s got good things in store, especially for Dualla and Gaeta in particular. Keeping an open mind.

Who Spin-Off?

I’ve got a longer post in me about Doctor Who this weekend and about science fiction in general thanks to some whining I did over on my LiveJournal and some helpful insights that I got in return, but while that ferments, here’s some Who gossip for ya.

The Sun is reporting that there’s a Doctor Who spin-off for children in the works featuring former Who Companions Sarah Jane Smith (Elizabeth Sladen) and K-9. The characters are from the legendary and beloved Tom Baker (the guy with the scarf) era of the show and are rumored to appear in an upcoming episode of the new series.

I’m pretty sure that this rumor has been around for a very long time, and the BBC isn’t confirming anything about it. But no one’s outright denying it either, so who knows? Something to watch.