Kapi-Mana News - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

When did Oliver Stone go from bold visionary to be­fud­dled hack? 2004’s Alexan­der would likely be the most pop­u­lar choice, but I’ve clearly been in de­nial.

I thought he may have had some juice left when I first saw the trailer for Sav­ages. This could be some­thing, I thought.

La­guna Beach cannabis grow­ers Ben ( Aaron John­son from Kick- Ass) and Chon ( Tay­lor Kitsch, John Carter) get in over their heads when a Mex­i­can car­tel wants a les­son on how to grow primo weed.

But Sav­ages is less than noth­ing, and I’m dumb­founded the same film-maker re­spon­si­ble for Pla­toon, JFK and Nat­u­ral Born Killers could serve up such a sloppy, slobby crime drama.

Ex­otic lo­cales, death- by­chain­saw, kid­nap­pings, a men­ac­ing Be­na­cio Del Toro – you’d think the man who wrote Scar­face could put this story to­gether in his sleep.

Per­haps he did, that may ex­plain the ex­cru­ci­at­ing voiceover and per­for­mance by Blake Lively ( The Town), who plays ‘ O’ (Ophe­lia), a Cal­i­for­nia sun-flake whose heart is hap­pily torn be­tween sen­si­tive botanist/gen­eral over- achiever Ben and hard­ened army man Chon.

Putting the ick­i­ness of love tri­an­gles aside for a mo­ment, let me be clear about how ba­nal and grat­ing O’s nar­ra­tion is.

‘‘Chon is like cold steel, Ben is warm wood,’’ she tells us over a pan of the trio fondling among bo­hemian bed­ding.

This is about as much in­sight as we get into any of the char­ac­ters. Ben’s bored with weed and wants to spend more time build­ing ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tems in third world coun­tries, Chon is liv­ing the dream and wants it to continue, and O?

She has a ‘ this is our life, it’s pretty cool, maybe I’m a slut for lov­ing two guys, who knows’ phi­los­o­phy go­ing on. It means a care­free ex­is­tence for her, but a bloody ir­ri­tat­ing time in the cinema for movie-go­ers, who will want the masked chain­saw-wield­ing, head­de­cap­i­tat­ing thugs from the pic­ture’s open­ing scene to hurry back and dis­pense more of their hand­i­work.

Af­ter all, O tells us just be­cause she’s do­ing the voice-over doesn’t mean she sur­vives the movie, ‘‘maybe I pre-recorded it?’’

Oh, don’t tease honey. If only we could be­lieve for a sec­ond that she – or any of the char­ac­ters – could show such fore­sight.

Ben and Chon do a run­ner from a deal with feared Mex­i­can drug baroness Elena (Selma Hayek). She in turn has O kid­napped.

The boys then de­cide to rip off one of her ship­ments and the pic­ture quickly de­scends into a vi­o­lent game of ‘who’s the dumbest drug dealer?’.

There are loose can­nons in play, Beni­cio Del Toro’s psy­chotic en­forcer for Elena, and John Tra­volta’s shady DEA agent, and both have fun with their char­ac­ters.

Be­ing an Oliver Stone pic­ture, the ac­tion is vis­ceral and very vi­o­lent, but where he once would have stud­ied the pro­tag­o­nists’ mas­culin­ity, greed, fears or moral cor­rup­tion, here he just con­nects the plot to its in­evitable desert stand-off.

Chon, Ben and O couldn’t be more bor­ing. Up-to-date list­ings for lo­cal events and shows. Want your event added? Email: ed­i­ For the full low­down: kapi­ On to­day TEN­U­OUS, Peter Trevelyan ex­plores geom­e­try, draw­ing and tri­an­gu­la­tion. At Pataka till Novem­ber 19.

PLIM­MER­TON – A COLOURFUL HIS­TORY, From Taupo Pa, ar­rival of the rail­way, week­end re­sort and beach baches, skele­tons and rusty pis­tols, Plim­mer­ton has had a fas­ci­nat­ing past. At Pataka till Novem­ber 11.

FILM NIGHT fundraiser for Pau­ata­hanui Pre-school is a screening of com­edy-drama Your Sis­ter’s Sis­ter, at Light House Pau­ata­hanui. Tick­ets $ 25 from the preschool of­fice. Screening at 7.30pm. Thurs­day, Septem­ber 20 BIG WILL’S Hyp­notic Hi­lar­ity Show, 7pm, Te Manawa, Aotea Col­lege. Fundraiser for col­lege trip to Viet­nam and Cam­bo­dia. Adults $20, students $15. Tick­ets: 237 3166. Satur­day, Septem­ber 22 MAR­KET, Tawa Community Cen­tre, Cam­bridge St, from 9.30am till 1.30pm. Sev­eral new stall­hold­ers and re­turn­ing favourites. A bar­be­cue will sup­port Tawa Swim­ming Club. Contact Toni for more de­tails on 04 2324370 or email in­ot_ynot­stoker Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 5 KIDS THE­ATRE, The Lit­tle Bark­ing Dog The­atre Com­pany stages The Lit­tle Kowhai Tree, St An­drew’s Hall, Plim­mer­ton. 10am, for ages 2 to 7. Tick­ets $7, ph 233 9781.

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