TVA Films' February '08 Releases
Blue State (March 2/08)
Blue State casts Breckin Meyer as John, a disgruntled Democrat who brazenly (and drunkenly) announces that he'll relocate to Canada if George W. Bush wins the '04 campaign. After Bush is inevitably re-elected, John - along with Anna Paquin's mysterious Chloe - embarks on a road trip to the Great White North. Though infused with a low-key, unapologetically laid-back sensibility, Blue State initially comes off as an entertainingly uneventful little comedy that benefits substantially from Meyer's surprisingly effective work as the main character. There does reach a point, however, at which writer/director Marshall Lewy's political agenda becomes awfully difficult to stomach, as the filmmaker infuses the proceedings with a less-than-subtle sensibility that's generally nothing short of infuriating. The sporadically inexplicable behavior of the two central figures only cements their status as mouthpieces for Lewy's increasingly heavy-handed views, with the inclusion of several desperate plot developments towards the end only exacerbating matters (ie a wacky old lady hits on John, John and Chloe wind up in a log cabin with a '60s war deserter, etc, etc). In the end, Blue State fails miserably as both a film and as an anti-Bush diatribe, and it does seem entirely likely that the whole thing will seem hopelessly out-of-date and downright irrelevent within just a few years.
Chaos (March 6/08)
There's little doubt that Chaos benefits substantially from the inclusion of several admittedly thrilling action sequences, as the film has been otherwise bogged down with an overwrought and overplayed sensibility that proves disastrous. Jason Statham stars as Quentin Conners, a disgraced cop who finds a shot at redemption after a cunning bank robber (Wesley Snipes' Lorenz) asks for him by name during a daring heist. Along with his new partner (Ryan Phillippe's Shane Dekker), Quentin sets out to stop Lorenz at all costs - even if that means bending a few rules along the way. Written and directed by Tony Giglio, Chaos has been infused with some seriously hoary story developments and bits of dialogue (ie one character actually laments Quentin's "cowboy antics") and it subsequently becomes increasingly difficult to overlook the film's pervading lack of authenticity (or even originality). It's only with the high-octane action interludes - ie the electrifying bank robbery that opens the movie - that Chaos intermittently comes alive, as Giglio generally does an effective job of imbuing such moments with an appreciatively old-school sense of style (ie no quick cuts, shaky camerawork, etc). The equally impressive performances ensure that boredom never entirely sets in, though it's awfully difficult to look past the almost laughably inept instances of plotting within Giglio's screenplay (ie that twist ending isn't even remotely as clever as the filmmaker clearly believes it to be).