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Kathryn Bigelow's THE HURT LOCKER


brianmcquery
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I'm a member of FILM INDEPENDENT (FIND), the organization responsible for the Independent Spirit Awards and right now in New York and L.A., they're holding free screenings for their members of every nominated film. For me, the most anticipated film was Kathryn Bigelow's THE HURT LOCKER, not only because it's her first film in years and has great buzz, but also because it hasn't been released yet.

 

So last night I arrived early for the screening and was sad to see that there wasn't much of a crowd for the flick. FIND holds a couple of screenings per month for its members, usually of upcoming films followed by a Q & A with the filmmakers and they are almost always capacity crowds. I was really hoping to see that for THE HURT LOCKER. But I don't know if there were even 100 people in the audience. Then while I was waiting, my friend asked the volunteers and found out that Kathryn Bigelow would be there to do a Q & A! She's one of my favorite directors, so that was a thrill. 10 minutes later, there she was in the lobby talking to the volunteers. I immediately texted Tim to make him jealous. His reply, "Lucky Dog!" (For the record, I offered my +1 to Tim, but he was unable to make the journey from San Diego for the screening.)

 

The movie stars Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie, both of whom are nominated for much deserved acting awards. I can't say I was ever really a fan of either actor. I've seen them both do good work, but this movie changes that. These are actors to watch. The movie also has some really well handled cameos by well known actors.

 

THE HURT LOCKER is Kathryn Bigelow back to form. WEIGHT OF WATER and K-19 while watchable were just not up to the level of her best work. This movie is episodic and very much a character piece, but it has several amazing, tense, edge of your seat suspense sequences and some solid action. It's about a team of soldiers who defuse bombs in Iraq during the war. And things do not always go as you expect them to. It's a solid film deserving of a wide audience.

 

Sadly, I think it will suffer from the lack of interest in Iraq War movies. I've read some things saying that this is not an Iraq War movie, but it's about U.S. soldiers defusing bombs during the war in Iraq, thus it's an Iraq War movie. There's no hiding it. And there have been plenty of good ones in the last few years, but audiences are just not supporting them.

 

Kathryn and writer/producer Mark Boal did a Q & A afterwards that was interesting, although the moderator kept cutting them off to add her stupid comments. The movie has distribution, but no date, though they are planning a late August or September release. Kathryn said that the distributor is really behind the film.

 

I got to have my geek moment and meet her after the screening. I professed my love for her films, congratulated her on the flick and encouraged her to make more movies. She said, "Yeah, it's been a while, huh? It's just really hard if you want to make movies of this scale." She was very approachable and friendly. Other audience members came up and she spent time talking with them.

 

I think she's one of the best action directors out there. The foot chase in POINT BREAK has yet to be topped. While her movies have not been smash hits at the box office, I think they've all done relatively well. It's very sad to me that hacks like Stephen Sommers, Paul W.S. Anderson, Rob Cohen, and Brett Ratner can crank out terrible action movies and never have trouble getting their next film, but Kathryn Bigelow is struggling to get projects off of the ground.

 

It's eight months away, so mark your calendar and support THE HURT LOCKER next summer! If you liked THE KINGDOM and TRAITOR, you'll like this flick too.

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I think she's one of the best action directors out there. The foot chase in POINT BREAK has yet to be topped.

 

Thanks for that, Brian! So glad you got to speak to / with her!

 

I love Kathryn Bigelow ... I mean, come on!

 

Near Dark, Blue Steel, Point Break, and Strange Days

 

For me, enough said. B)

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And let's not forget the darkly alluring, The Loveless, the film that launched Willem Dafoe's career!

 

Awesome Brian. I am indeed jealous. You know how long I've been singing about Bigelow.

Wish I could have made it. Curses!

Anticipating the film too.

As you indicate, the studio likely won't put too much $ into promotion so we'll have to see it while we can.

 

- TB

 

 

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Guest AdminGuyX

Damn. These are the moment I regret not living in LA. I'd of LOVED to attend this.

 

Near Dark, Point Break, and Blue Steel are 3 of my all time favorite films.

 

I am very happy to hear she's back in form!

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And let's not forget the darkly alluring, The Loveless, the film that launched Willem Dafoe's career!

 

Thanks for that, Tim ... I have missed that one ... :(

 

And Brian thanks for posting today's screening - hopefully the San Diegan (Tim!) or the Angelenos around the forum got to make it ...

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Well I went to see THE HURT LOCKER again and brought a DP friend. Sadly, Tim couldn't make it this time either. My friend loved it and the cool thing for me was that the Q & A was totally different than the previous one. And the movie is just as engaging the second time.

 

Kathryn Bigelow said that she held out for her three main actors, Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, and Brian Geraghty and even went with a lower budget so that she could go with them. All three of them are really good and Renner and Mackie received Spirits Awards nominations. She said that she was blown away by their work: Renner in DAHMER; Mackie in HALF NELSON; and Geraghty in JARHEAD. She wouldn't say what the budget was, but it sounds like it was a shoestring for this kind of movie.

 

I also got to talk with Kathryn Bigelow briefly again after the screening. I asked if she had anything in the works and she said she is fast and furiously trying to get something off of the ground. Let's hope that happens!

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Brian! I am so glad there was a Q & A again - an even better one than the first, it sounds like (perhaps a different moderator? ;)) and that Ms. Bigelow was there again as well. So cool! I hope the positive feedback and interaction encouraged her even more toward whatever project she is trying to get off the ground - her audience happily awaits!

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  • 5 months later...

There's a glowing review at The New York Times, and I just love this line from it:

 

"If "The Hurt Locker" is not the best action movie of the summer, I'll blow up my car". :P

 

The reviewer goes on to add some explanation and gravity to his statement, like how action scenes and explosions don't have to be all about "empty spectacle and mindless noise", and that action imagery and abstract ideas can merge to form a film.

 

Can't wait to see this one...

 

http://movies.nytimes.com/2009/06/26/movie...mu&emc=mua1

 

 

Jen

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  • 1 month later...

I just got back from seeing this. WOW! If it's anywhere near you, see it. Like all the ads have been saying, near perfect. Jermey Renner's was great. It was nice to get a peek into his character's life, because I have a cousin who is just like this guy, so it gave me a bit of insite on why he does the things he does.

 

It's been a long time since I've sat in a seat, plams sweating, ass hanging off the egde the entire time. This one did it for me. I just might have to see it again. Kathryn proves once again the same thing my mother has told me since I can remember : Sometimes it takes a woman to do a man's job. Take note Hollywood, give her more work.

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I might be seeing this tomorrow, and speaking of Renner apparently he's the front runner for the new Mad Max movie.

 

That's what I heard. I could see him in the part, but I still want only Mel playing Max. As for Hurt Locker, see it. Don't hesitate. One of my favorite scenes is when he goes back to civilian life after all the intense, complex, and life threating stuff he goes through, yet picking out a box of cereal is almost too complicated for him. I think it says a lot about what guys in situations like that really go through.

 

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