Just last night I was enjoying an IM conversation with Patricia from Moviefone and she asked me what movie I'd seen earlier in the night. When I said "The Kingdom," I was told that the film had already received a seal of approval from some of the MF staff. And I definitely concur. I offered that opinion that "It's pretty damn good. Peter Berg has become like a less pretentious Michael Mann." And then for the rest of the evening, the movie really stuck with me. It's a smart, slick and very topical action thriller about a team of FBI agents who travel to Saudi Arabia (hence "The Kingdom") to investigate a horrific explosion that left over 100 people dead.

And although I didn't know it at the time, while I was enjoying my screening of the movie in Philadelphia ... hundreds of attendees at the Edinburgh Film Festival were enjoying their own "surprise" screening of The Kingdom. Empire's Alan Morrison and I share several opinions on the film: "The film is anti-fundamentalist, but in no way anti-Muslim. The two bravest characters in the film are Saudi police officers. In fact, let's start a campaign now to win a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Ashraf Barhoum, who plays the dedicated Colonel Al-Ghazi." And this part made me chuckle: "The Kingdom looks, sounds and feels like a Michael Mann movie."

Then again, Mr. Mann is listed as a producer on The Kingdom, so maybe he stopped by to share a few pointers with director Peter Berg. And speaking of actor-turned-director, The Kingdom counts as his fourth feature film -- and he has yet to make one I dislike. (For the record: Very Bad Things, The Rundown and Friday Night Lights.) Anyway, the film's subject matter is sure to inspire a few newspaper editorials across the country, and I'm very curious to see how critics and moviegoers react to The Kingdom. The film, which stars Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Chris Cooper and Jason Bateman, opens on September 28.
categories Cinematical