Rexxbitz: Streets of Blood

BITE SIZE DVD REVIEWS

By Rexx T. Wunderdawg B.A. (Bachelor of Action, Chuck Morris University)

STREETS OF BLOOD is the movie that asks the question: WTF?

As in, what the (bleep) is going on here?

Near as I can figure it’s about dirty cops taking advantage of the chaos created after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.

The acting talents of a valiant cast (including Val Kilmer as a New Orleans narcotics cop and Sharon Stone as a police department psychologist) are wasted in this wannabe thriller (or maybe they are just wasted, period. That would explain the performances.)

As for rapper 50 Cent (cast in the role of Kilmer’s cop partner) he acts about as well as he raps (draw your own conclusions.)

I’m gonna be charitable here and assume director Charles Winkler (The Net 2.0) is using murky cinematography, mumbled dialogue and an incoherent storyline to mirror the chaos and confusion in post Katrina New Orleans.

But then again maybe he is just sloppy and/or short of time and money. Or maybe the studio suits bullied their way into the editing room and butchered the movie in post production.

The problem with studying for a Bachelor of Arts degree in English is that we were trained to look for metaphors in everything (especially scary at tax time.)

Zen and the Art of Motormouth Maintenance

“She had the idea that she must somehow restrain this person from making a fool of himself. He was looking into the candlelight with a Zenlike concentration, and Ann knew how, after a certain amount of wine, Zen talk leads straight to embarassment.”

CAROL SHIELDS “Eros” from her 2000 short story collection Dressing Up for the Carnival

Hmmm … if I didn’t know better I’d swear the late great Ms. Shields wrote this story during a visit to the West Coast. (She and her husband Don moved to Victoria in 2000.)

Media Watch: Newspapers Get Down with Digital

(Newspapers) have always been the content creators,” proclaims PAUL GODFREY, newly minted chief exec of  Postmedia Network, (which has gobbled up newspaper and online assets formerly owned by now defunct Canwest Global Communications Corp.)

But … “I would expect most reporters are going to carry video recorders so they can put their stories on the Web immediately, to cells, iPhones and social networks.”

” … if Postmedia wants to fulfill its core mission of journalism, it’s going to have to give people the information they want on the platforms they want ….”

(Excepted from Campbell River Courier Islander as reprinted in Business Vancouver Island (August 2010)

Keeping Abreast of the Situation:

Male breast reduction is a growing part of the plastic surgery business,  according to  Dr. Frank Lista of The Plastic Surgery Clinic in Mississauga, Ontario who says he  went from doing one to two a year to between 200 and 300 cases last year alone.

“A woman wants her breasts to look better with her clothes on,” says the doc. “A man wants his chest to look better with his clothes off.”

Male breast reduction is not covered by provincial health insurance; the average cost is between $4,000 and $8,000

A Date Night with Pizza and Beer

Let’s face it. Any marriage can become safe and boring if you stay together long enough. Take Phil (Steve Carell) and Claire Foster (Tina Fey) in DATE NIGHT (88 mins. PG-13)

He’s a tax lawyer. She’s a real estate agent. The couple have two bratty youngsters and a nice home in the suburbs of New Jersey.

Once a week they escape to their favourite restaurant for a date night. They always order the same dishes (potato skins and salmon) and talk about the kids.

Even sex seems like an effort. (Phil: “It’s totally cool if we don’t. “  CLAIRE: “Are you sure? Because those potato skins made me feel kind of gassy.”)

Sure, they love each other. But they are not “in love” anymore.

Where’s the passion? Where’s the spontaneity?

The Fosters are not the only couple who feel that there is something missing in the marital bond.

“We are stuck in these roles together and we can’t break out of them,” Brad (Mark Ruffalo) confides to Phil while his wife, Haley (Kristen Wiig) tells Claire “I feel like we know each other too well. It’s always the same conversations, the same schedule.”

What’s the solution? Brad and Haley are getting a divorce. Phil decides to take his wife to New York for dinner.

Talk about spontaneity. The Fosters get plenty of it when they are mistaken for a con artist couple who have stolen something valuable from a Bad Apple gangster (Ray Liotta) and are chased all over Manhattan by a couple of crooked cops (rapper/actor Common, Jimmi Simpson).

Both Fey and Carell demonstrate deft comedy chops in their respective TV hits (she’s the creator/star of 30 Rock; he’s the heart and soul of The Office). I wish they could have brought the writers from those shows with them because most of this movie plays like one of those unfunny Saturday Night Live skits.

Director Shawn Levy knows how to orchestrate a good car chase but seems to leave the funny stuff up to the cast.

To be honest I didn’t laugh out loud once during the film’s mercifully brief running time.

But then I’m a crusty old English major soberly scribbling down notes while watching the movie alone in a darkened room on a weekday afternoon.

This movie probably plays better if you invite some friends on a Friday night and serve tons of pizza and beer.

Fey and Carell strive mightily to inject some color into Josh Klausner’s paint-by-numbers script and they are so darn likeable in the role they almost succeed.

There is a little romance, a lot of chase scenes and a great cast, even in the small roles. (Mark Wahlberg plays a shirtless security expert in a sly spoof of his action hero image. James Franco and Mila Kunis have cameos as the real con artist couple.)

And I’m betting more than a few housewives will nod in weary recognition when Claire tells her hubby “sometimes I just wanna have one day that doesn’t depend on how everybody else’s day goes.”

Y’know, I would probably like the Fosters if I met them in real life. I might even feel comfortable enough with them to enjoy a movie that is kinda lame but gets by on enormous personal charm.

PIZZA AND BEER RATING: 3 Slices out of Five