Saturday, August 13, 2011

Angelina Jolie is cool.

Some actresses can make even a bad movie look good, and make a good movie great.  That's how I feel about Angelina Jolie. 

Her most recent movie, The Tourist (well, her most recent live-action movie. She did have a role in this year's Kung Fu Panda 2.)  She plays Elise, charming, seductive, beautiful, rich, and on the run. She's under surveillance by the police because her lover is wanted for tax evasion.  Her lover, a mysterious financier whose identity is unknown, bilked a gangster for billions, so is on the run from the gangster and from the police.  Elise randomly selects Frank, an American schoolteacher played by Johnny Depp, pretending like he is her lover, in an attempt to fool the police, but that gets Frank into trouble.  Much chasing and shooting and capturing and escaping ensues.
She looks great, even after being shot at and driving a boat in a daring escape.
The Tourist, a hodgepodge of genres, plays out sort of like Hitchcockian slapstick.  The beautiful, mysterious stranger, the bumbling but likable tourist, the easily outwitted cops and beefy bad guys, all come together in story of deception and daring with some well-placed twists.  It ain't Shakespeare, but we know it's not supposed to be.  Jolie and Depp play the whole thing with a smirk (it seems).  They probably had fun with this movie, and you will, too.

On a bit darker note, Jolie plays CIA agent Evelyn Salt in Salt.  When a Russian defector claims he has information on planned assassination attempts on the presidents of Russia and the U.S.  He even names the assassin: Evelyn Salt. Suddenly under suspicion, she goes on the run.  But is she running to prove her innocence or running to accomplish the assassination?  It's a fun ride, with plenty of unbelievable action sequences, wildly convoluted conspiracies, and impossibly duplicitous characters.  I am a firm believer that some of the most enjoyable movies are also some of the most outrageous.  The good news: Salt 2 may be in the works!
You don't want to mess with Salt!
Speaking of unbelievable, how about the gun action in Wanted?  Jolie is part of the Fraternity, a secret society of assassins who have mastered a technique of controlling the trajectory of a bullet after it is fired.  Far-fetched?  Of course it is!  As is most of the action and story!  What did I just say about outrageous movies?  The action sequences are sometimes cartoonish, true to Wanted's comic book roots.  Jolie has had larger roles, but the number of her tattoos we see is larger than ever.  Wanted is a bit strange, but fun to watch with the crazy, over-the-top action sequences.  (By the way, she also plays an assassin in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, but that movie falls more into the romantic/ action/ comedy genre of The Tourist.)
I don't think these are movie make-up tattoos.
I won't say I'll watch anything Angelina Jolie is in, but my perspective is that she's in some great movies, and she makes every movie she's in much better.  She's not always an action hero like she is in these movies.  Her early role in the not so great Hackers (my review here) certainly made that movie more bearable.  More recently, she played a detective in the otherwise mediocre Taking Lives (my review here), to which she added some spice, so to speak.  So action, drama, whatever, I'm always interested in what she's working on next.


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