Friday, August 24, 2012

PREMIUM RUSH: A Film About In A Hurry

     However uncommon Reviews of Reviews are, this review has a purpose, so to speak as The New York Times itself sits virtually, smack dab in the middle of commercial Manhattan between 40th and 41st Streets on Eighth Avenue, so quite possibly, if not now in the present digital world, then, but probably still, The Times is where certainly most bike couriers remember having gone the most.
     The film, Premium Rush, Opens Friday, Nationwide, Directed by David Koepp, from a script Written by John Kamps Director of Photography Mitchell Amundsen as Jill Savitt and Derek Ambrosi Edited. Music was by David Sardy and Production Design by Thérèse DePrez. Responsible for Costumes Luca Mosca, while Gavin Polone Produced this Columbia Pictures Release with a running time of 1 hour and 31 minutes.
     The Star, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays bike courier, Wilee, and Michael Shannon, nemesis, Bobby Monday. Dania Ramirez love interest, Vanessa and Jamie Chung is Nima, Wolé Parks – Manny, Aasif Mandvi – Raj, Henry O – Mr. Leung and a Bike Cop, Christopher Place. With a slew of assistance from bike couriers hired to advise and perform stunts.
     Conjecturing the film’s first mistake is only featuring one bike cop when, as in the world in general, it’s better police are in pairs. Where parts of this country are lapse with patrolman out alone. Right, sorry, I digress, nonetheless police have communication open to Command Central that, even with video, ISN’T THERE.
     So the co-chief film critic for The Times, MANOHLA DARGIS starts The New York Times Review with the catchy cliché – Pushing pedal to the mettle. Then projecting the stance of a critical reviewer she has printed – its breezily thin, goofy story to the breaking point, Premium Rush provides just about all the late summer air-conditioned relief you could hope for.
     So in one fell swoop basically it’s an entertaining fiction worth paying money for air-conditioning. Nor do the compliments let up, as if tabloid fluff, but this is The Times? Why else be complimentary unless the thrills on Manhattan’s streets are as fun for an audience as it could be for the plodding along, day-day working stiffs that kept New York City fast enough to have actually earned Financial Capital of the World and all the other accolades the unquestionably Behemoth city could label itself.
     Ms. Dargis writes – It’s buoyant dumb-fun, a ticking-clock thriller about a New York bicycle messenger who has to get from here to there without being taken out. Stuffed with zingers and zippy stunts, it comes with pretty young things of all hues and hair types. Gushing – Few prettier than its lead, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and start-to-finish clever special effects, none more clever or special than Michael Shannon. If you want to see a political undertow in its urban band of multicultural renegades, there’s that for the taking too.
     So there could be effective subtexts of culturally relevant appeal?
     The Times provides clips Premium-Rush Trailer
     TOM ROSTON’s August 16, 2012 Review in which the film was earlier plugged as excitement by a Times Reviewer.
     Now really, among couriers? It’s basic the two marginally-major Hollywood productions, Kevin Bacon’s Quicksilver film and television show, DOUBLE RUSH were slightly cheesy. Close but the cigar wasn’t completely lit in authenticity. But actually Quicksilver’s ending of congratulating friend, Paul Rodriguez for acquiring a Hot Dog Cart implied being a bike courier meant they couldn’t wait to get out of business into a real opportunity. And nothing of especial significance, since Quicksilver was released, has changed in that regard where new better opportunities are always best for the workingwoman and man. All messengering was till the kids came along in the 90s to give the subculture the attention to be appreciated as a type of art which all life is anyway, but.
     Bike messengering was an occupation you got into, careful, working hard, then got out because on a bike all day is real grunt work. To make money they didn’t used to stop. That’s how they made money. While now that the law, combined with curtailing bicycle lanes, has forced a slowed down system by riders in general in the city, will Manhattan’s commercial interests pay for the couriers’ time or gouge them compelled to ride very fast nonetheless? That’s cool, a lot of money has been spent on this bicycle lane project because mobile thrones can’t be trusted to drive polite. Time marches on with or without the working-poor labor class, huh?
     Oh yeah? The Review reveals some plot by knighting Mr. Shannon, playing Bobby Monday, as having grabbed the Crazy Man baton from Christopher Walken, though I’d have to see that plausibility to believe it. Anyway, to a degree, the wily nemesis pitted against The Star is the plot template struck from Quicksilver’s thriller core. Bacon’s feud with the drug dealer who killed one of his new best buds, Laurence Fishburne.
     A PREMIUM RUSH sarcastic Huntington Post Review simulates Q & A and included at the bottom of their page are more snippets of clips including blood gushing down The Star’s dinged forearm.
     The Times Review’s paragraph summary is of a bad, bad New York detective with a teeth gnashing, eyes bulging gambling addiction labeled by The Times Review a problem. The villain freely confesses he has issues with impulse control as a big-time loser deep in dangerous debt whose deliverance may come from a mysterious marker/chit that will lead to a payout that, in turn, involves a money-lending outfit, visiting student, Nima, and Jamie Chung with some mainland China connection and other easily forgotten particulars.
     Now there The Times goes dropping the guillotine. Exciting story without enough memorable details. As Ms. Dargis’ Review explains – None of these story bits matter much because it’s the telling and not the tale — along with Mr. Gordon-Levitt’s innate appeal, Mr. Shannon’s volatile menace and a certain je ne say what — that makes the movie pop.
     There it is, a picture of riveting STAR QUALITY because the Reviewer is compelled to tell more, giving away story, that theoretically, if you attend the film you’d have forgotten enough of the explanation the film isn’t infected by loss of freshness. So The Times describes the chit ending up in Mr. Gordon-Levitt-Wilee’s black professional messenger bag. And we’re off! He’s racing from uptown to down biking a gantlet of darting cars, buses, trucks, pedestrians and dodged Bobby Monday, among other obstacles. Such as the obligatory girl trouble, played by Dania Ramirez as Vanessa. So according to The Times, Wilee zigs, zags and rarely stops while filmed with the camera flying parallel or perched on his bars or by his feet.
     Then comes a cheap shot making fun of the Wile moniker from Wile E. Coyote. Then it’d that that Wilee rides a fixed. And if you’re curious about the fixed issue, The New York Times link above takes that issue on describing it as used to brand characters reckless. She links this to Director, David Koepp trying to mirror the DIY fixed-gear devotees daring for real danger as more realistic than digital stunt effects.
     The cameras work as many points of view as there are perspectives.
     The Times provides a rendering of a heavy day as pouring sweat, with a little social life that produces the lasting power in The Star to take the movie to its inevitable end. I kid you not. The dig of predictability stuck right in there with the drudgery. And then comes the hilarious portion of the Times Quicksilverish Review asking, – Why he doesn’t just hitch a ride on the subway is a mystery.
     Now that’s a keeper. Implying a train is faster. But there was a time, before bike lanes and measures to just slow everything down. When nothing was faster in this town, theoretically. In a sense, from what The Times has printed, this film coming at this time, pays homage to a time that really does deserve being seen as one of the truly glamorous grunt-work jobs. Then The Times plugs writer, director Mr. Koepp for a loose, casually funny script written with John Kamps.
     Ah, then adulation comes with a stake through the bike courier industry’s heart. – Mr. Koepp has found the right balance here between genre seriousness and un-self-seriousness to turn the disposable into the enjoyable.
     But at least The Times didn’t hold back in regard to Family Acceptable Entertainment.
“Premium Rush” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). Vehicular and gun violence.
     All in all, a fine review of a film in the great tradition of conditional regard for a vocation that really never harbored deadbeats. But even The Times must delineate what people understand, not what the notorious band represents as one of the world’s real working class.

PREMIUM RUSH: A Film About In A Hurry 
8/24/2012 concluded: All in all, a fine review of a film in the great tradition of conditional regard for a vocation that really never harbored deadbeats. But even The Times must delineate what people understand, not what the notorious band represents as one of the world’s real working class.

January 15  - ..., 2020

Today, March 31st, 2020. 
     Be Safe.
     Not at all funny that the last months, spent finishing the film that took thirty-three years to get to finish, included this year's Great Virus Tragedy. No, no cracks about other disappointments, as well, when this one's stood out above all others right now, even as too many failed to see the severity till becoming too severe. Still. If only the understanding numbers grew as exponentially as the virus' victim count? The film is 
Political Slog
(January - February and March 31st and April 1st)
  The constant disheveling bombardment of chaotic insinuations remained, and remains, unabated. A process of dissembling information undermined by not handling while totally succumbed to the decibels. Overloaded description overload. Bad money chasing good. Good money just bad, as full circulation stagnates. It was and remains politically tortuous what this country's gone, going, through. But not as if we've not been subjected to the same, similar, twisting of reality before. More sophisticated? Cynically shrewd, probably. Sophisticating ourselves right past confrontation to nice work if you can get it every which a way. Minions, sycophants and trailers. What's hard is deciphering for everyone's understanding.
     What's most disappointing is people liking the warped nonchalantness inherent to our president's principles. No. People aren't aren't generally admitting to diddly-squat either. 
     So we are left with a person that says, no doesn't say, but means, aren't those lawyers reprehensible all the while utilizing every twisted twist there is. Even had our president been convicted of conduct unbecoming a president, the game's positioned as a drop of mercury that actual righteousness may never place a finger on. The serious expressions hardly hide the real motives of wanting to get away whatever's to be gotten away with. Gloating. As if no shame's involved, at all. Pity the country's ALWAYS becoming greater, is over-ridden by clouded claims of sainthood. Nothing's been good about the perpetual brazenness from the start. Immune to criticism. What a façade. 
   January 15th was in no hurry anticipating a show that lived up to my expectations.
NEKTAR @ THE IRIDIUM, precisely 8:00 PM, 1/15/2020.

     Towards the end of last night's show, Derek Moore said “this is like playing in my living room” and it most certainly was a privilege being there bouncing in his seats. Only thing better would have been management offering sprawling out on the tables or floor.
     Like the pointiest of arrows, through my heart, Nektar began with RECYCLE. The pitch, tone, and intensity were so precise the music's elevating nature peaked, epitomizing live performance. Somehow when Mr. Moore changed guitars and said, "that was heavy," I wondered if he'd meant he now had a lighter guitar. Imagine saying exactly what I'd want to hear about RECYCLE and I'm left with two meanings.
     As rich as the records, tapes, digits, or whatever, sound, during REMEMBER THE FUTURE's last third the interlocking notes were different expanding the original themes. Wow. Wo. No one in the audience could have wanted out of that trance for hours.
     A real treat Nektar fans. Being there with them. After the show my wife egged me on and I took the four steps to the outside of the group Mr. Moore was talking with. Then after signing, what I think he said was an authentic 1976 or 74 Nektar shirt on a woman's back right shoulder he turned to me and, shaking hands, I said, "it was so beautiful starting with RECYCLE and, uh, it was, uh, so beautiful. And what you guys did towards the end of REMEMBER THE FUTURE was so good. I guess I was dazed because I probably repeated beautiful again.
     Anyway, it's nobody's real business to know how I tripped over myself conversationally. But the deeds were begun when, perhaps, while waiting, the excellent lead guitarist Ryche Chlanda walked away from the group and shook my hand as he went toward the merchandise table.
     Mr. Brockett was conversing as we passed to leave. I stopped waiting and after he said he had "to turn some things off," I stepped over to his station and said you blew my mind in 1975 and you guys are a part of what went into me that got me out of provincial Orlando. He said, "that's good, isn't it?" and I answered "yes," meekly, as perhaps a skeptical person would, and reached out my hand he shook and, you know, sometimes life itself really is living a dream. 
     I'll repeat. A real treat Nektar fans and tonight's their last Iridium shows ... this year. Giggle. 

P.S. Kendall Scott, Ronald Howden, drummer extraordinaire, Randy Dembo (who shared an isn't this cool passing eye contact with me as he looked for people in the line waiting outside), Maureen McIntyre & Maryann Castello and the Nektarines. Tour Dates 

Dear Rolling Stone, 
Might be nice feeling your roots as a music magazine and cover Nektar's American tour. Ahead of their time and still beyond ours, at New York's The Iridium their show more than satisfied my respect with a performance exemplifying why live has an edge over recorded music. Plus TRAILBLAZING light show, Nektar deserves honoring. And why ROLLING STONE probably wouldn't, goes to the core of commercialism's selling us out for generations. Denial may be popular, but it's still running from the truth. Off topic? No, this business of coordinating social relevance around entertainers was and remains a staple of business. While Nektar's RECYCLE and REMEMBER THE FUTURE are exemplars of look what they knew then and still shirked progress. There are types of music and people's ears become accustomed. But for fans of intense music, Nektar's North American show is startlingly brilliant.

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