American Ultra

Bureau chief of a block and a half radius somewhere in Moorpark

Botched. That's the word.
Reported on 22nd of August, 2015

Saw American Ultra because I knew nothing about it. Well, I knew a little bit. I did see a very tired bit about how extremely overpaid women are asked different questions than extremely overpaid men on I’m aware that’s, but I think you get the idea.

The movie was about as entertaining as the bit. There’s a nice moment at the beginning of the film, where Mr. Jesse Eisenberg relates the story of the tree and the Porsche that smashed into it. It works because we expect him to side with the tree, but he picks the Porsche, which is always moving, and how dare the tree stop it.

American Ultra

19 August 2015 @ The Gaumont Rennes

-$2.00 or, if one must be jejune, and one must... 
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


And finally, the Rennes Gaumont has started advertising the existence of cinema itself. We're already here.

And finally, the Rennes Gaumont has started advertising the existence of cinema itself. We’re already here.

Unfortunately this is the only interesting part of film, which is replete with bits of out of place ultra-violence, unmotivated situations, non-surprises and tropes from much better re-activated super-soldier films. The film seems to know this, as it constantly refers back to this tree/car moment, not unlike the way that Ted 2 retells a joke. Given the quality of the rest of the dialog and ideas contained within, I strongly suspect that the fable of the tree and the Porsche was pilfered from some online exchange, then expanded to a film that never finds its tone.

True Romance this ain’t, and so what, but I bring it up now as we can at least recognize the attention to plot that film had. What American Ultra does, like many of its ilk, is come to a problem and force a solution. Why, for example, would The Sympathetic Agent find out about her asset (Mr. Eisenberg) being under threat. The answer? She gets a phone call. ‘You’re being informed as a courtesy. Before we kill him.’ ‘Not after? You sure you don’t want to call me after?’ ‘Hmm. Let me think about that.’ ‘Will call you me before you decide?’

Largely because I still have it.

Largely because I still have it.

True Romance is better written, he said for the purposes of the undersell, and honestly that would be enough. But let us take a moment to appreciate how much better plotted it was. What early Tarantino had was a love of a challenge. Instead of rushing through how do I get A to B, the film sees them as fun, as when Mr. Walken finds Mr. Slater’s address on the refrigerator, or when Mr. Brad Pitt does the same while simply being stoned.

It’s sad because the film has potential, with the centrality of a stoner/CIA agent, botched here as neither one or t’other. It’s not fair to ask why I see movies, since I will see anything. But I might be able to make some sense of my choices, like we all do, after the fact. If everything happens for a reason (that reason being so we can create reasons), I must have seen American Ultra to keep abreast of what’s happening in indie genre cinema. From the extremely shallow trenches, I can report back, not so much.

The Take


The one bit. I already said.
Total Profits
3 days earlier. What makes this particular flash-forward especially egregious is that they actually show the ending. It’s like a Touchtone trailer in the film itself.
‘I’m going to do something very bad.’ ‘Is it try to kill me in a way I can most certainly escape?’
Panic attacks as a dramatic motivation have as much heft as making a character a writer.
He’s also a writer.
Total Losses


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