Saw Warrior last night, a story about two brothers who end up fighting each other in a mixed martial arts tournament. It’s almost insultingly formulaic, but the acting (especially Hardy and Nolte) is first rate. And once the final tournament begins, just try not to watch; just try. But as emotional as it is, the writers painted themselves into a corner and they didn’t really have a satisfactory exit strategy, though the director and actors works very hard to make you not notice.
The Mysteries of Pittsburg is one of those formulaic movies in which a central character goes on a journey and has a character arc change by the end of act three; the gimmick the author uses this time round is bi-sexuality. The movie has some nice things about it, especially in the performance of Nick Nolte (always good to have around) and Peter Sarsgaard (ditto), but it’s also one of those movies where one knows instantly when it all starts going wrong. In this film it’s when the hero (played by Jon Foster) and Sarsgaard take a trip to a house in the country. They can’t get in the house and there doesn’t seem to be any reason why they went in the first place. The movie might have recovered from that, but then the plot makes it’s really fatal error: it starts raining and it looks like Foster and Sarsgaard are going to, you know…do it—but they are interrupted. Because of this, the author no longer has enough time to develop this relationship so that the ending lacks the emotional resonance it needs to work (for someone using bi-sexuality as a gimmick, the author feels rather ashamed of it). Mena Suvari and Sienna Miller play the obligator women in the hero’s lives. Suvari (in a poorly written role) is dark haired which means she’s only good to fuck. Miller plays the blonde, which means the hero is compelled to fall in love with her (see also Two Lovers and The Heartbreak Kid). Written by Rawson Marshall Thurber (who also directed) based on the book by Michael Chabon.