No Country For Old Men:
The Coens are most definitely back to their absolute best. NCFOM is a reserved, considered and intelligent film of nothing but pure talent. Chigurh is now one of cinema's most iconic bad guys, who walks through the measured tension of this thoughtful journey, much like the flashes of vibrant violence which pierce the story suddenly and sharply - with gripping intensity.
Brolin and Jones are nothing less than compelling. The execution of the cinematography and the editing leave nothing to be desired. It is quite simply a superb piece of filmmaking which deserves all the recognition it no doubt has coming to it. Nuff said.
Videogame to movie adaptations ... it's a surefire way to get a fairly ropey film most of the time, certainly if a particularly barmy German has anything to do with a chosen franchise. I'd have to say that Silent Hill is probably the best videogame to movie adap there has been, but it wasn't stellar. This brings me to Hitman - a franchise which I've actually played (unlike Silent Hill), paying particular attention to the last two games "Contracts" and "Blood Money" as my favourites - because I was expecting garbage (after short lived, initial excitement), the film isn't a complete travesty.
Olyphant doesn't look anywhere near as ridiculous as he did in the trailers, but I'm still not all that convinced by the choice to be honest. But if it was a toss up between him and Vin Diesel, I'd stick with who ended up on screen. The violence is at times quite entertaining, with some sufficiently gloopy blood gushers scattered as liberally around the film as the bullets are.
This of course brings me to that particular aspect - all guns blazing. So much for Agent 47's sub-title of "Silent Assassin", save for one scene (which feels ripped off from True Lies) which is just too daft. So in terms of assassinating, he's far from silent - and indeed in terms of chit-chat, he's not exactly shy. I'd dread to think how much waffle was in the script before Olyphant and the director pared it down, because Agent 47 doesn't half chat up a storm, which unfortunately makes the character far less threatening and indeed convincing.
The trailers initially made the inclusion of the token Russian boob flasher look more franchise savaging than it ultimately was, at least they kept 47's ding-ding locked up - and yet he still hangs around the boob flasher far too much, this shouldn't be a buddy road movie. Save for a pet budgie, 47 is a loner - and even then he's not bothered about snapping its neck to achieve silence (as in "Blood Money"). 47 doesn't have friendships or relationships, he cannot be seduced or softened ... and he doesn't buy women vineyards!
The plot is, of course, ridiculous and cobbled together as quickly as possible. It isn't a complete write-off, but it doesn't exactly keep you bothered enough to care, and once more, it undermines the eponymous anti-hero.
I've seen worse adaptations and I've seen worse movies, but it's a real shame considering the jumping off point of the videogames themselves.
Agent 47 is a lone wolf. He is contracted to kill tycoons, criminals, terrorists, kidnappers, dodgy dealers and the like. He is paid to keep it quiet, to make his work appear as an accident preferably. He doesn't tolerate taggers on, he is never caught and is - to all intents and purposes - a ghost. His methods of execution are improvisational, his guns silenced and his fibre wires employed as frequently as possible.
What we get in the film however, is one brief (and pointless) use of his trademark weapon, is for his guns to mostly be non-silenced and his methods to be far from devilishly improvised. This film could have worked well, brilliantly even, but the script lacks the franchise knowledge, intelligence and balls to roam free away from the inside of Hollywood's box. It's not complete gash and is passable to a point, but sadly (although not surprisingly) it's all a bit meh.