Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cop Out

When you hear Kevin Smith is making a film you tend to know what you are going to get. It’ll be a comedy with a heart, but there will be witty writing, biting dialogue and lots of sex and drug jokes – it’s almost his signature. You don’t expect a lot of visual flair, but it will be a well shot movie with actors you enjoy watching and if you are not a person easily offended by language you will walk out of the theatre having enjoyed what you just saw.

It’s for these reasons that I had no idea what to expect out of Cop Out. Every single film Kevin Smith has ever released has been written and directed by Smith, that’s how you can tell it’s a Kevin Smith film – it feels like him on every level. Cop Out is completely different; it’s scripted by Robb & Mark Cullen and only directed by Smith - Cop Out doesn’t look or sound like a Kevin Smith film. I was excited to see the film but I wasn’t sure what any of this would mean…I was surprised. I really liked Cop Out.

Cop Out is not my favorite Kevin Smith film, I have a feeling Mallrats will always be that film for me, but not only did I enjoy Cop Out as a comedy I enjoyed it for its visual style.

The thing about Kevin Smith films is that he tends to be so much about the writing that while his films look good, the camera just tends to stay in one location and let the actors move around it. His writing has consistently gotten stronger and matured with every film he’s put out but the only difference in his visuals seemed to be his budget…and then Clerks II came out. For the first time ever I saw a camera move in one of his films and let me tell you I adore that shot, not because it’s “Kevin’s first dolly move” but because I think it was a spectacular looking shot that was well placed, used perfectly and was vibrant. I have yet to see Zach & Miri to see if he kept up his visual evolution there, but it’s all over Cop Out.

The camera work and cinematography was one of my favorite parts of Cop Out; while Smith may not have made a film quite like Hot Fuzz or Shawn of the Dead, Cop Out is a loving homage to the police action film and Smith uses direct shot styles from films like Bad Boys to get that across on screen. It was subtle and wonderful to watch.

I had so much fun watching Smith try something new and the chemistry between Tracy Morgan and Bruce Willis there wasn’t any way I could walk out of this movie unhappy. I commend Kevin Smith for making this and I can’t wait to see what he tries next!

Director: Kevin Smith
Writers: Robb Cullen & Mark Cullen
Jimmy Monroe: Bruce Willis
Paul Hodges: Tracy Morgan
Raul: Juan Carlos Hernandez
Hunsaker: Kevin Pollak
Barry Mangold: Adam Brody
Ava: Michelle Trachtenberg
Roy: Jason Lee
Debbie: Rashida Jones
Dave: Seann William Scott

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