REVIEW: Win Win

Win Win
Directed by: Tom McCarthy
Written by: Tom McCarthy (screenplay)
Starring: Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Alex Shaffer, and Melanie Lynskey

Tom McCarthy’s Win Win reminds you that even a genre labeled “independent” can succumb to endless cliches.  This is not because it is predictable, but because you are lead to believe that it will be from the beginning.

Armed with a mordant wit (what successful indie comedy filmmaker isn’t?) and a sly sense for what a movie with Paul Giamatti is supposed to be like, McCarthy dismantles the sports genre and the midlife crisis movie from the inside out.  We follow Mike Flaherty (Giamatti) a down-on-his luck New Jersey lawyer with a tough-but-loving wife (Amy Ryan, who else?) and two children.

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REVIEW: Green Zone

Image courtesy of Screen Rant

Green Zone
Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Written by: Brian Helgeland (screenplay), Rajiv Chandrasekaran (book)
Starring: Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Amy Ryan, and Brendan Gleeson

It’s too bad The Hurt Locker just cleaned up at the Academy Awards a week ago.  This film’s glaring conformity to the “Political war film” genre would be less obvious, and the suspense it does generate wouldn’t look so pathetic in comparison to Kathryn Bigelow’s mastery.

That being said, what is here isn’t terrible.  Paul Greengrass is one of the good action directors we have, and he films this with the breakneck pacing he did in the last two Bourne movies.  If that turned you off, stay clear of Green Zone.

Another thing aiding this conformist military drama is the ensemble cast.  Headed by Matt Damon as the soldier looking for answers and backed up by the excellent Greg Kinnear as a slimy government official, both actors score knockouts.  Brendan Gleeson also excels as the CIA agent butting heads with Kinnear.  It’s too bad the great Amy Ryan is reduced to the background in a role that is covered up the same way the Iraq invasion is in the film.

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