Get the Gringo (2012)
Directed by Adrian Grunberg
Has Mel Gibson made a comeback? “The Beaver” showed signs of promise for the Aussie, but “Get the Gringo” (gringo, for those curious parties, is an often-offensive Spanish slang term referring to a foreigner) assures me that Gibson might be back for good! From director Adrian Grunberg (whose credits list “Traffic” and “Man on Fire,” where he directed scenes shot in Mexico), “Get the Gringo” details life in a Mexican prison, where Driver (Gibson), an American whose heist led him into Mexico (with scenes shot in Veracruz) learns what it takes to survive south of the border. With the help of a kid (Kevin Hernandez), his mother (Dolores Heredia), and the skill-set of a professional con man, Driver kills and buys his way to survival.
A brilliant performance by Hernandez (“The Sitter”) overshadows even Gibson’s commendable work. The pair is a natural team! And the foes in this good vs. evil story of crime, corruption, and intrigue are just as spectacular. “Get the Gringo” asks if crime pays, and eventually answers in the affirmative.
With so much of the film relying on English subtitles, somewhat larger, darker and bolder words would have been nice when seeing the film on the small screen. I missed much of the Spanish dialogue because of the tiny print (which may seem like a minor detail, but it really wasn’t). Fortunately, Gibson’s sarcastic, clever narration (written partly by Gibson himself, who got his hand in the screenplay) details his thoughts like a diary in a fresh, engaging way.
But where has this movie been? After premiering this March in Israel, “Get the Gringo” came to America in early May…to video on demand. It’s a diamond in the rough, that’s for certain. And lo siento for the brevity – seeing these movies a few days ago makes reviewing a bit tedious!
Directed by Heiter Dhalia
From the screenwriter of “Untraceable” comes “Gone,” Amanda Seyfried’s worst movie since her last (which, believe me, is saying more about Seyfried’s career than this movie). It’s often the little things that kill a movie, whether it’s a miscast short-order cook or an implausible situation, and in this case the movie is an absolute “goner.” Predictability killed this thriller until the very end, but nothing could make up for the shabby first hour.
Jill (Seyfried) was supposedly abducted years ago, crediting her release to some ingenuity and fast legs. Years later, when her sister disappears without a trace, she’s convinced it’s the same man. But no one believed her years ago (citing a sheer lack of evidence) and no one believes her now (for the same reason). So Jill, who stops taking her medications, takes the law into her own hands to hunt down the man who has her sister (in beautiful Oregon scenery beckoning “Twilight”). Is she right, is she crazy…is she both?
I would love to give Seyfried props for taking on such dramatic (melodramatic) roles, but I can’t. In her best roles (“Mean Girls” in 2004, “Mamma Mia!” in 2008, and “Jennifer’s Body” in 2009), Seyfried keeps things light, funny, or at least sarcastic. In her more recent roles, Seyfried fails to focus her emotions into a believable performance, seeming instead rather forced and melodramatic (what a terrible word!). This thriller receives reactions of “haha!” rather than “aha!” or “ahh!” like most thrillers should. Any suspense comes in the film’s final minutes, which actually ends in a surprisingly surprising revelatory shock! Regardless (and I’ll accompany this with an apology to my girlfriend, who may disagree), “Gone” is a pointless and anti-climactic attempt at Hitchcock-style suspense that ends in an unfortunate flop.