Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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Tag Archives: Katheryn Winnick

The Dark Tower (2017)

Yeah. I don’t know, either.

Jake (Tom Taylor) is a lot like any other young kid. He dreams a lot, has certain issues with growing up, and doesn’t quite understand the world around him, just yet. But unlike most other kids his age, he’s been having constant dreams of sinister, almost evil happenings in the near-future that may or may not be real. Of course, he seeks help for these dreams, but he also doesn’t know if he can trust anyone, making him probably the most paranoid 13-year-old in the world. But eventually, his dreams do come true, and for the worst, when Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), the last Gunslinger, is locked in an eternal battle with the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), who has been using children’s minds to make his evil forces even more powerful than ever. Now, it’s up to Jake and the Gunslinger to prevent the Man in Black from toppling the Dark Tower, the key that holds the universe together, creating an even more powerful battle of good and evil.


The Dark Tower feels like the end-product of at least five or six studio-executives duking it out in a last man standing match. No one really knows who’s going to win, or at the end of the day, what’s going to be accomplished, but they know they want to get their own little two cents in and see what happens with the end result. In other words, there’s so much going on in the Dark Tower, without any rhyme, reason, build-up, cohesion, or hell, explanation, that it is nothing more than a huge mess.

And one of the worst kinds, too.

Cause see, while there are unabashed messes like, I don’t know, say Suicide Squad that may be all crazy and over-the-place, they still find ways to entertain, in even the most warped ways imaginable. Dark Tower is the opposite of Suicide Squad in that sense, where it’s so mashed-together, rushed, and ill-conceived, that it’s downright boring. And for a movie that’s about 90-minutes long, that’s a problem. Sure, it helps that movies of this awful magnitude not be two-hour long opus that make you feel as if your day has totally been wasted, but it also helps even more when these movies, as quick as they may be, at least bring a little something to the interest-table.

And perhaps the only solid factor Dark Tower has going for it is Idris Elba who, in all honesty, seems bored. But because his material at least has a solid wink-and-a-nod to the audience, it works; everybody else here, seems like they’re way too serious and not really taking advantage of their pulpy surroundings. McConaughey, for instance, feels like he’s channeling his car commercials, but isn’t, in any way, shape, or form, having any bit of fun. Sure, it doesn’t help that more than half of his dialogue is dubbed in that awfully noticeable way, but it also doesn’t help that he seems to be putting in no effort whatsoever.

…versus evil.

Basically, these are two of the most charismatic actors we have working today and not even they can save this trainwreck.

And that’s exactly what the Dark Tower is: A trainwreck. People out there may try and stick up for it, saying that it’s fine enough and short as is, but that doesn’t matter, because the movie just doesn’t know what it’s doing in the slightest. If there were no prior reports about issues in the production process, it would be easy to forgive and understand the movie, but considering that there seemed to be so many problems, it’s not a shocker at all. Everything here feels odd and out-of-place, with certain strands of plot literally dangling in the air when all is said and done. Clearly, it’s meant to be explored more in the sequels, but do we really need one?

Probably not.

Wait. No. Absolutely not.

Consensus: Uneven, poorly-written, directed, shot, acted, and well, everything else, the Dark Tower is a major misfire for all parties involved and seems like a waste of solid source material, courtesy of one Stephen King.

2.5 / 10

But uh, yeah, who cares?

Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire


Cold Souls (2009)

Just take my soul already!

Paul Giamatti stars as a fictionalized version of himself, who is an anxious, overwhelmed actor who decides to enlist the service of a company to deep freeze his soul. Complications ensue when he wants his soul back, but mysteriously, his soul gets lost in a soul trafficking scheme which has taken his soul to St. Petersburg, making Paul have to venture all the way out there to see just what the hell is even going on in the first place.

What you see in the title, is exactly what you get in the movie’s tone. Seriously, don’t come expecting some minor laughs here and there, because the film really just doesn’t seem all that concerned with that aspect at all. It’s more about being dark, moody, bleak, and overall, pretty frigid in its portrayal of where our society may be turning towards. Actually, it’s a pretty far-fetched idea, but I could definitely imagine, just waking up one day, and wanting to be and have Brad Pitt’s soul.

Damn, now that I think about it, I hope this future does come to existence!

Here's a shot of Paul Giamatti being sad.

Here’s a shot of Paul Giamatti being sad.

This is the debut flick of Sophie Barthes who not only directs, but writes this flick as well and the information I was looking up for this said that apparently she had this idea in her dream. Now, I could only wish that any of my dreams had anything as ambitious lingering around in them, as apparently the ideas she has swimming in her brain when it’s sleepy-time, but considering that she’s working off of an idea that was probably no less than two minutes, I have to give the gal some credit because it’s pretty intriguing what she comes up with here. Even if the results don’t fully match the ambitions, you have to at least give her credit where credit’s due, because it’s sure as hell not easy to make a movie in today’s day and age – let alone one with as kooky of an idea as Cold Souls.

Barthes doesn’t paint a portrait of a future that’s groomed for doom, where people are in desperate need to be others, have different lives, and basically just erase or escape any type of life they have and don’t like. It’s sort of like the same ideas that went through mind-benders like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Being John Malkovich, and although this one doesn’t really stack up anywhere near those masterpieces, Barthes at least tries to capture that Charlie Kaufman-esque nature of her material without really going overboard. There’s a lot of weird, sci-fi stuff going on here that’s definitely thoughtful, but it’s also grounded in a reality to where you feel like something could happen like this, had somebody gotten a more well thought-out plan. Barthes definitely deserves style-points on this one in terms of his screenplay, but damn, did we really need to be so sad the whole time?

The answer is no, but most people will probably disagree with me.

Even though the premise definitely promises a bunch of weird, wacky fun in the same light as a Kaufman flick, that promise never gets fulfilled. Instead, Barthes seems like she’s content with just focusing on the sad aspect of this story with long, gloomy shots of a snowy Russia, and an even more horrid-looking New York City that looks as if it hasn’t seen the sun in a decade. All of the colors in this movie feel like a mixture of soft blues and muddle grays, and as much as that may make this flick seem more depressing and sad, do we really want to feel like we, as well as the characters were watching, should just go kill themselves and get it all over with? I don’t think so, because even while you may have an interesting premise to work with, to just constantly hammer us over the head with your inherent seriousness about it can get pretty old.

And another, even despite the fact he's in the same bed as Emily Watson.

And another, even despite the fact he’s in the same bed as Emily Watson.

But even despite the actual lack of fun in this movie, probably the most disappointing aspect of this whole flick is that it brings up all of these questions, ideas, and messages about life and exactly where we are headed as a society, but loses them about half-way through once the last act kicks into high-gear; and then, it ends, just leaving everything up in the air. Listen, I’m totally game for any type of film that wants to bring up a lot of food-for-thought, have me doing thinking about what’s it trying to say, and eventually allowing me to go out with some people afterwards and talk it up, but this movie doesn’t even seem like it wants to give me that privilege. Even when that last act comes around and the movie oddly changes from this existential drama, into this mystery/romance/off-kilter comedy that now all of a sudden wants to please us, rather than having us contemplate jumping off the San Francisco bridge. It was a change in tone that not only felt phony, but showed that Barthes maybe backed-out on an ending, that could have answered a whole lot, and even left some more up for thought and discussion.

But nope, she didn’t even give us that.

What’s even more surprising than this change in tone, was how Paul Giamatti seemed to be a bit boring to watch as well. Granted, the guy isn’t given all that much to work with, other than a slew of shots of him just staring off into the space, looking all mopey and sad all of the time, but when the guy does need to liven things up, he does with that charm and wit we all know and love the guy for. His character (which is pretty much him, just not nearly as famous), is a downer and that’s why it’s pretty fun to see what happens to him when he switches souls, gets a little bit more energetic, and a bit more inspiration with how he lives his life and it’s one of the very rare moments in this flick where not only he comes alive, but the movie as well. Sadly, Barthes knocks his character back down to reality, and he becomes the same old, sad sap we started out with in the first place and it’s a bummer, because Giamatti’s always good and entertaining to watch. You just got to give him the right material that allows him to have some fun every once and awhile.

Consensus: Cold Souls deals with a very interesting idea about the current landscape of our society, but is too dour to really bring anybody into the world it’s trying to portray, nor does it really follow through on any of the rules it sets up to begin with.

5.5 / 10

And, yet again, another. But with snow!

And, yet again, another. But with snow!

Photo’s Credit to: IMDB, AceShowbiz

Stand Up Guys (2013)

It’s like Amour, but with more guns and boners.

A couple of aged con men (Alan Arkin, Al Pacino, Christopher Walken) are back to their old ways by getting the gang back together, having fun, and causing a bunch of havoc like they all used to. However, one has a new assignment another and bears some not-so good news for that person, as well as the gang. If this sounds vague, just watch the damn trailer. You’ll know what I’m talking about.

Even though you may not know this because you’ve been so distracted by the work they’ve been putting-out over the years, but Alan Arkin, Al Pacino, and Christopher Walken are all getting older and the days where big, money-making roles coming their way, are getting dimmer and dimmer. It’s a sad thought to have in your head when you think about the material these guys have given over the years and why you think vets like these will automatically, always be around no matter what life brings them. However, the fact still remains: these guys are getting older, and their choices for roles are starting to get lousier.

I remember when I first heard about this movie, who it had, and what the central-premise was, my mind went straight to comedy, but after the trailer: I realized that it was far from that. The trailer gave-off a darker-vibe, that did have a comedic-elements to it, but wasn’t all about a bunch of old dudes having a crazy old time, like the golden days, and never letting-up for a second. That intrigued me about this flick but sadly: that was the trailer, and THIS, is the movie.

Wow, you can totally tell Fisher Stevens really connects with his actors.

Wow, you can totally tell Fisher Stevens really connects with his actors.

Director Fisher Stevens gives this flick the look and feel of it’s main characters: slower and worn-out. Instead of making this flick all about the bang-bang, the action, and the wildness of the night, the film is more relaxed and calm in how it shows these guys going about their one, glorious day, talking about their lives, where it’s taken them, and how much they miss the old days of just being wild and free. It’s alright to see a movie about a bunch of old men reminiscing on the golden years, but here, Stevens plays it out in a way that’s so obvious and so conventional, that it almost doesn’t feel genuine. Instead, it feels like these guys are just sapping on-and-on about their lives, because the script needs them to and there’s no real emotion to it. That’s a shocker of a statement, considering you have Oscar-winners in the lead roles!

Speaking of the Oscar-winners, all of them are fine, except that the script that they are working with just blows. Al Pacino is playing his usual, fun-loving spirit of an old man that can’t get enough of life because he’s out of the clink, and as fun as it may be to see Pacino rolling around the screen, having a fun-time, it does get a bit old by about, I don’t know, say the fourth or fifth boner joke. Oh yeah, need I forget to tell you, this is one of those flicks that’s less concerned about what these guys have been up to over the past years, and more concerned with the pills they take to get their boners up-and-running, and just how much a fire-ball they can be in the sack. That seems like material that’s meant strictly for a Farrelly Brothers movie, not one that features Oscar-winners of this nature. Pacino can be okay in this movie, but just like the film’s nature and characters: he feels worn-out.

I can’t say the same thing about Christopher Walken, but yet, I can’t totally back the guy up all that much, either. Walken has that quirky look in his eyes and deliver in his voice, but there’s nothing much here that really has you rooting for the guy, hoping that he ends-up going the good way, as opposed to the bad way. There is this small, but over-bearing subplot about him and his “possible” granddaughter that’s as obvious as a gay man in a strip-club. What I mean by that is, is that you can point it out, right away, and as soon as it shows up, so it only gets worse when the film constantly continues to shove it down our throats by saying, “BTW!! THAT’S HIS GRANDDAUGHTER!!!”. It didn’t make me feel anything more for the guy, nor did it give me anymore sympathy or care for these characters; it was just there to give these guys material to work with.

However, what I said about Pacino and Walken, could not be said about Alan Arkin who seems to really be having the most fun out of three as the fella they break-out of the old person’s home. Arkin always has that wacky deliver that makes his character stand-out the most and it’s no surprise that he not only gets the best-lines, but is also allowed to stretch-out more of his dramatic-lungs as well. I don’t know where those dramatic-lungs where at in his Oscar-nominated role in Argo (still “wtfing” about that), but regardless, the guy is still fun and brings a lot of much needed excitement and joy to the screen when it seems like Walken and Pacino may be taking naps, here and there.

"Seriously, somebody help me up."

“Seriously, somebody help me up.”

You would think that with these three dudes in roles where they just practically play themselves, that almost nothing can go wrong, but that’s where the movie comes in and shows you otherwise. Instead of making their one, glorious night one chock-full of spills,  thrills, bangs (there are some of them, but not coming from the barrel of a gun like I wanted), booms, fun, and excitement, it’s more of a night where they just slowly move around, from one spot to another, without any real moments of delight to keep us awake. Even at an hour-and-a-half time-limit, the film does still feel stretched beyond it’s limits and as each and every situation goes by with a total and complete whimper, you’re pretty much expecting the film to end (or probably die) at any second.

Thankfully, when it does end, it ends to the tune of Gary Clark Jr.’s “Bright Lights”, which is pretty cool because it’s the only type of energy the film has had up until that point, but stops being cool, once you realize how damn anti-climactic and silly it’s ending actually is. I don’t want to give anything away to you peeps out there who may be clamoring the trip to go out and see this piece of old-geezer’s sap-fest, but trust me, the ending is stupid and will probably have you feel more pissed-off that you bothered even seeing this, let alone remembering these three stars for all that they used to be. Now, they are just old guys, who’s best days are probably behind them. I think I’m tearing up now just thinking about it.

Consensus: Walken, Pacino, and especially Arkin, all seem like they are having fun in Stand Up Guys, but it’s not enough to save this terrible-material from being nothing more than just a lame-excuse to get a bunch of Oscar-winners, to sit-around, chit-chat about the old days, do “old people”-like things, and suffer excruciatingly long boners. Hey, what do you think the “Stand Up” stood for?

3.5 / 10 = Crapola!!

Just give us the shot, so we can hopefully forget about this.

Just take the damn shot, so we can hopefully forget about this.