Sunday, September 30, 2007

What I'm Watching -- The Kingdom

I don't watch a lot of movies in the theater. DVDs, sure. But, even movies I see previews for, and think "Hey, that would be fun to go watch" I usually don't, for whatever reason. But, when I first heard the premise for The Kingdom, about a group of FBI agents investigating a terrorist bombing in Saudi Arabia, I knew I wanted to see it in theater. Maybe it was Jennifer Garner. Probably. Closest to Syndey Bristow she's played in the movies, and The Kingdom was directed by Peter Berg, who coincidentally guest starred on Garner's television show, Alias. Berg put a lot of people he knew and worked with before into the movie. Early on, I was struck by how attractive a school-teacher was in an early scene with Jamie Foxx's character, I was later unsurprised to find out she was played by Minka Kelly, who plays a cheerleader on the television show Friday Night Lights, which Berg helped bring to the small-screen after he directed the feature film version. Berg's real-life agent is Ari Emanuel, who is the inspiration behind Jeremy Piven's character on Entourage. Piven appears in the movie in a great role as a slimy State Department official. Even Kyle Chandler stops by for a cameo (Chandler plays the head coach on Friday Night Lights).

Seeing Jamie Foxx in a movie set in the Middle East though, that gave me pause. I saw Jarhead in the theater was was bored out of my mind. I also saw Syriana, and thought it was just fair. So, my history with movies set in the present-day Middle East, not so good. But, despite that history, and despite mediocre reviews, I thought The Kingdom was great, and I would highly recommend it.

The cast is top notch. Garner and Foxx are joined by the underrated and always solid Chris Cooper (who was phenomenal in Breach, a movie I always wanted to see and just saw a few weeks back), Jason Bateman, and Jeremy Piven. I tend to like Berg's movies (Friday Night Lights and The Rundown to name two) and I thought The Kingdom was the best of the three. It was powerful, suspenseful, had some great action, and the light-comedy contained in the movie was well placed and provided a breather in between bombings and shootouts. The acting was great, as was the overall story, and I really don't understand the negative reviews. The last scene, especially, was almost chilling. This is a great film, one of the best I have seen in a while.

Add To: Digg! Reddit Del.Icio.Us Stumble



© New Blogger Templates | Webtalks