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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Tag Archives: Linus Roache

12 and Holding (2005)

Small towns are way too weird.

Jacob and Rudy (Conor Donovan) are identical twins, in terms of the way they look and sound (sort of), but they are different in their own ways. Rudy is far more outgoing and considered “the golden child”, whereas Jacob, mostly due to a birthmark covering a large portion of his face, is forced to mostly stay indoors and keep to himself. However, they both get along well enough to where they spend as much time together and even build a tree-house, for them and all their friends to hang. But disaster strikes one night when, after messing with some bullies, the tree-house is lit on fire, with Rudy inside, trapping him and, as a result, killing him. Now, it’s up to Jacob to take most of the attention from his brother and he uses that attention to make a name for himself. Meanwhile, Leonard (Jesse Camacho), another friend, is overweight and trying to lose it all, while Malee (Zoe Weizenbaum) tries to befriend an adult named Gus (Jeremy Renner), who is in town and doesn’t quite know what to make of this new friendship, as inappropriate as it may be.

Uh, like step away?

12 and Holding is another odd movie from the likes of writer/director Michael Cuesta and I mean that in the best way possible. Granted, compared to his debut, L.I.E., 12 and Holding doesn’t quite hit the same emotional notes, but it’s still interesting in that it focuses on a small, core group of people, gives them some development, a sense of conflict, and allows their stories to just be told to us. Sure, the stories don’t always work, but at least Cuesta’s trying something, right?

Well, yes. And no. Sort of.

See, one of the issues with 12 and Holding is that it tries a lot harder to be an outright comedy this go around, unlike L.I.E., that was far more serious and disturbing. There’s still that sense of dirt and grit here, but not nearly as in-your-face as it was with Cuesta’s debut; this time around, the disturbing-features are played up more for cringe-inducing and awkward laughs. Occasionally, Cuesta will hit a high spot for comedy, but often times, it can feel as if he’s maybe trying a tad too hard, as if the material itself wasn’t, on the surface, funny enough.

Which is odd to say, I know, considering that in the first 15 minutes, a kid literally gets burned-to-death, but still, you can tell Cuesta is going for the darker-laughs this time around and he doesn’t always hit his mark. He does develop these characters and give them enough to work with, however, he also can’t help but give us the occasional quirk, too. It would have helped if these quirks were, at some point, funny, but they aren’t and because of that, it can feel straining.

“So, how’s the food?”

That said, the drama still works and had the movie just been with that, then yeah, it probably would have been a slam-dunk.

If there’s one thing that Cuesta gets right, is the small-town, suburban malaise that, in a way, American Beauty dealt with. Sure, that movie did it a whole lot better and effortlessly, but 12 and Holding does something interesting in that it shows how grief messes with each and everyone of us, regardless of if we are willing to accept it or not. Cuesta shows that we all deal with it on our own terms and because of that, we act out in somewhat rather outlandish and insane ways; we can’t really diagnose it, or even excuse it, as it’s just in our human nature.

If anything, 12 and Holding is much more sad and depressing than anything, and had the movie focused on this much more, it would have been better. However, it didn’t and it dealt with comedy a tad too much. Still, the ensemble is pretty great with nearly all of the child and adult-performers putting in solid work. Perhaps the most shining star in the whole thing is Zoe Weizenbaum as Malee, the incredibly curious and sexually vivacious teen that makes a good half of this movie pretty uncomfortable. However, she’s so charming and lovely to watch, with Renner’s Gus helping out, too, that it makes these scenes go down a lot easier.

Not like L.I.E., of course, Nothing can quite be as disturbing and as off-putting as that.

Consensus: Uneven to a fault, 12 and Holding tries to be way too funny, when it probably didn’t need to, but still works as a small, sad and thought-provoking indie about small-towns and grief.

6 / 10

Gonna grow up to be some awfully weird adults. Just like the rest of us.

Photos Courtesy of: IFC Films

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Non-Stop (2014)

If only they gave Liam Neeson a line like this, then we would have had a masterpiece on our hands, folks.

Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) is a burned-out Air Marshall who has about had it with whatever it is that he does. He drinks, he smokes, he’s not a pleasant guy to be around and always stares at a picture of his daughter. So yeah, you kind of get the idea that the dude’s not fully on-point, but he’s at least smart and determined enough to know that when there is danger in his path, he will not stop until it is gone. That’s why when he gets a series of odd text-messages from a number he doesn’t recognize, inside of his secure-network no less, Bill can’t help but feel like he has to get to the bottom of this. To make matters worse, the texts from this unknown person, are telling him to transfer a large amount of money, to a certain account number that, when checked-on, just so happens to be Bill’s. Something is definitely going awry aboard this plane and Bill is going to find out what exactly is causing it, although his tactics aren’t always supported by those around him.

Another year, which also means, another Liam Neeson-starer. To be honest though, I don’t mean to say that in a disappointed-tone, because I actually like Liam Neeson and even the movies he’s been choosing to do. Sure, most of the movies rely on him being a tall, angry bad-ass that, at one point, eventually picks up a gun and shoots it, but overall, his movies aren’t always so bad to watch to where I feel like I’ve seen the same formula done over and over again, until it’s practically rinse, recycled and repeat.

That’s why, somehow, I was actually looking forward to Non-Stop, because not only does it feature Liam Neeson in, yet again, a starring-role where he plays a tall, angry bad-ass that picks up a gun at some point, but also doesn’t seem like your traditional-thriller. Sure, it’s got the whole “who is the secret person texting me these bad things”-angle going for it, but the way in which the story gets twisted, turned and skewered around to make it look like Liam Neeson is the baddie after all this time, really intrigued me. Even then though, I wasn’t too sure who was going to be the baddie by the end of this, which, just by judging a trailer from the year 2014, means a whole heck of a lot.

"Are you the guy with his phone up to his ear? Oh wait, dumb question! Never mind!"

“Can you hear me now? ‘Kay, cool.”

But like I was saying, what was key to this movie’s suspense and excitement was that we have absolutely no clue whatsoever who the baddie is, why that person is doing it and how exactly are we going to find out. It’s all what keeps us in the dark just enough to ensure us that the long-winding, suspenseful-wait for the big reveal at the end, will be ultimately rewarding and worth it. And even if it totally isn’t, at least we were thrown on a wild ride, right?

And honestly, I think that’s all this movie seemed to be going for. Jaume Collet-Serra definitely knows how to wrack-up tension here, but to do so in the right way that doesn’t feel manipulative. Maybe there were a bit too many red herrings thrown in our direction for good measure, but it all felt necessary after awhile, if only because it made the story all the more twisty and surprising. A thriller like this doesn’t have to be a game-changer, all it has to do is keep us guessing, again and again, even if the story itself does continue to get even more and more implausible; which, sadly to say, actually does happen here.

Yes, Jaume Collet-Serra does begin to lose it quite a bit by the end when all hell truly begins to break loose and the person(s) we get revealed as the baddies, not only have a crummy reason but sort of seemed obvious all along. Actually, that’s a lie. No it didn’t, but the movie made it seem so, just by the sheer-fact that the reasoning why wasn’t quite well-written or even all that believable. Not even a lot of the stuff that Bill is somehow able to do in such a small time-frame mostly doesn’t even seem all that logical, but when you have a thriller done in a tense, assured way like this, you can’t help but forget about all of the plot’s shortcomings and enjoy the ride for as long as you can.

Also, another quick note to make a point of is how some may feel a bit uncomfortable seeing a movie that has to do with a jacked-airplane, post-9/11 America. There are a few occasions where the movie indirectly makes a note of that event occurring and it actually made me feel a bit better. Not just because it showed that the creators at least took into consideration that that event would be exactly the first thing to come to these people’s minds, but that they aren’t too afraid to say it either. There’s also a couple of snarky-comments made towards the Muslim in the story who, just by his appearance, is already looked at in a suspicious-manner by just about everyone around him – and even moreso once things start getting racy up in the air. But like I said, it’s strange that a movie made in the 21st Century can be about an airplane being taken over by terrorists, and not just make reference to 9/11, but also how it still affects our psyche today, even just when it comes to taking a step on an actual aircraft. Maybe a bit too deep for a movie so thin, but hey, whatever.

Anyway, back to the movie on hand here.

Like I alluded to before, the reason why most of these movies do work is because of Liam Neeson’s presence, one that’s always been acknowledged, yet, never fully utilized in a role that had him command our attention, at every single second. Nowadays though, that seems to be all that Neeson gets, and we’re better as a society for it, because he absolutely runs wild with his role as Bill Marks. You already get the sense, early on, that Bill Marks is a pretty disturbed-dude, but Neeson actually takes that one step further and shows you how exactly that can affect not only his thought-process, but the whole situation he, as well as everybody else is in, in general. You want to feel bad for him since nobody seems to fully believe all that he’s saying and passing as “truth”, nor do you really get on his side either, since there’s always a shred of doubt in your mind as to what is really going on with this guy. Still though, in every step of the way, Neeson makes Bill Marks a compelling-figure that deserves to be picked-apart, if only because he’s played by somebody as commandeering and interesting as Neeson. Maybe one of these days, Neeson will shake the movie-world up again and show us that he’s got room on his shelf for an Oscar, but until then, I guess we have plenty of shots of him just holding-up guns and looking like a big, bad mofo.

Redheads are always deceiving.

Redheads are always so deceiving.

Can’t say that there’s much wrong with that though, as he’s definitely the right guy for the job.

But of course, Neeson isn’t the only one working his butt off here, as there’s plenty others in this capable-cast worth taking note of. Julianne Moore is charming as the passenger who takes a seat right next to Bill and cozies on up with him pretty quickly; Corey Stoll plays a NYPD cop and reminds me why I miss his ass so much on House of Cards; Scoot McNairy plays a passenger who tells a little white lie about where he’s actually going, only to find out that he’s made the biggest mistake of his life by doing so; Nate Parker plays a computer programmer and shows us that not all black people who are good with electronics have to look like Jaleel White; Omar Metwally plays the Muslim I made a mention of earlier and also happens to be a doctor; and even Lupita Nyong’o shows up here, in what seems to be a role she took, way before she even had a clue that 12 Years a Slave was going to make her a huge name. There’s plenty of more recognizable and notable faces that get paid attention quite an awful lot here, but what makes them all so worthy of our attention is that each and every one of them have enough positive-qualities to where you can believe their innocence, but just enough shadiness as well, to where if they were to turn that other cheek and be the ultimate baddie, then you wouldn’t be all that surprised either.

Basically, it’s a free-for-all where nobody is who they say they are, all up until they are finally found-out and taught their lessons. Sort of like my high school relationships.

Consensus: Kind of dumb, yet, also very tense, exciting and fun that allows Non-Stop to be another winner for Liam Neeson and his love of releasing a winter movie, just about each and every year. Good for him, but even better for us since we get to watch these movies and be entertained by them!

7 / 10 = Rental!!

"Hate it when they all know the answer."

“Hate it when they all know the answer.”

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)

That Riddick, when he isn’t busy sacrificing fellow humans or gripping the throats of alien-monsters, he sure is cool.

It’s been 4 years since the last time we saw bad-ass, anti-hero Riddick (Vin Diesel) kicking booty, finding any way out of custody, and being sneaky, and it’s nice to see that not much has changed in those past 4 years. Yes, Riddick is still up to his same old tricks and games, yet, he finds himself caught in a bit of a rut when he’s taken into custody by a religious group called the Necromongers. They are lead by the nefarious Lord Marshal (Colm Feore), who wants to either convert or kill any existing race out there, in hopes that he will be reigning-supreme ruler throughout the universe. However, once Riddick gets a blast from the past in the form of an older, much wiser friend of his Kyra (Alexa Davalos), who may be in a bit of trouble herself, as she’s stuck on a whole other planet and needs to be let out of custody. Or something of that nature.

Even though Pitch Black was nowhere near being a science-fiction masterpiece, it was still a fun flick if you took it in for what it was: A really dumb, really cheesy, B-movie. If you saw it as that, and nothing else, then you might have actually enjoyed yourself with it, as I did so myself. Hence why I was looking forward to this a bit, knowing that Riddick would still be cool, still be laying down the whoopin’ on whomever came around his way, and that there would be plenty more planets, creatures, and all sorts of of other sci-fi gadgets and doo-hickies to be seen, but I was surprised by how little of any of those features I saw. Thankfully, I got a chance to see Riddick lay down the law (or the exact opposite, since he is considered a “criminal”), but that was about it, and it’s a damn shame too!

The excitement they felt working together must have been contagious. Just look at them!

The excitement they felt working together must have been contagious. Just look at them!

I think where writer/director David Twohy messed up with this movie is that he gets too ambitious. Granted, that’s not necessarily something that should be frowned upon, especially when you’re making a sequel to a movie that almost nobody saw, but here, it takes away from the novelty of that first one, and what made it fun and entertaining to watch. Everything in that movie was yes, corny and terribly-written; however, it was shown on a smaller-scale, with a punchier run-time, where we knew everybody was on-the-clock, and they each had to move it, or else it was going to be their ass getting chewed-up by those alien-like creatures. That idea taken into consideration made the movie exciting and fun, while also making it easier for us to get past some of the more crappy-aspects of it like the half-assed acting, the badly-written script, and the non-stop plot-holes that would show up whenever Twohy forgot what page he was typing on.

Here, with what seems to be a way, WAY bigger budget and more on his plate than he could have probably handled, Twohy loses his grip a bit and makes it a big, loud, long, and overly-dramatic space opera of a sort. The same type of space opera where we get development for characters that aren’t all that interesting to begin with; a slower-pace where we actually have to pay attention to the story/script (therefore, making it harder for us to ignore it all of the dumb aspects behind it); and even more lines that are corny and terribly-written, yet, roll off the tongue of some of these people, as if they weren’t even trying. The movie’s close to being 2 hours, and while some may think that’s enough time to build an atmosphere for this universe Riddick is placed in, it surprisingly isn’t, considering how less time is spent on the way the universe itself works, and more about how these planets don’t like one another, and are all run by religions, sometimes very deadly ones.

With that being said, it’s a pretty nifty idea that Twohy seems to take pride in exploring, however, it’s not given as much attention as most of the dumber aspects of the movie are, like, say the action, the cheesy one-liners, and the whole dilemma we’re supposed to care about. And trust me, it’s not because I’m not a huge fan of sci-fi is the reason why I wasn’t all that interested; it’s mainly just because the movie takes itself so self-serious and dramatic all the time (even going so far as to touch Shakespeare material at times), is why I was turned-off by it all as a whole. Twohy handles the action and the special-effects very well, and actually had me excited for a little while, but the story itself is just a bore. Which, in all honesty, it didn’t need to be because the first movie was nothing more than a small, stupid, but effectively-done sci-fi thriller; here, it’s a drama about planets facing off against one another, nearly disguised as that small, stupid, and effectively-done sci-fi thriller we all knew worked, and really liked.

Karl Urban, in what seemed to be his 20th role in a bland, big-budget sci-fi flick that only 10 or so people would bother to see.

Karl Urban, in what seemed to be his 20th role in a bland, big-budget sci-fi flick that only 10 or so people would bother to see.

In this case: Going bigger was not the way to go at all. Sorry.

However, I think the root of this movie’s problem really lies within the fact that Vin Diesel was one of the main producers on this. Knowing that valuable piece of information afterwards, allows for this whole movie’s sake of existing make perfect sense: Diesel felt like his popularity was starting to wane, so decided to go for a mainstream blockbuster that wasn’t XXX, or apart of the Fast & Furious franchise, and see if people would latch on like they sort of did before, way long before he was that big star, back in that small-window during the early 21st century. Maybe that’s just all me thinking into it too much, but it makes a lot more sense why this movie was made, and why it’s so over-blown in a way to confuse itself with being “epic”. Diesel wanted to make this movie, just strictly so he could get more money, see if he was still a big star, and destroy the nice legacy that the first one would have probably been left with, had he not decided to come around and manipulate the use of his star-power.

All of that conspiracy talk aside, Diesel is still pretty solid as that huge hunk of meat we all know as Riddick, even if we can’t understand a single thing he says. However, with a character as simple as Riddick, we don’t need to know what he’s saying, we just need to see him kick some fine ass, which is what he does, and very well too, may I add. But it’s strange though because despite Diesel not being the best actor in any circle, he’s somehow the only one who feels right for the material, among many, “better” actors. Thandie Newton does her Lady Macbeth thing; Karl Urban just stands there, tries to look tough, and ends up looking like a total dweeb; Colm Feore goes on and on about some prophecy he has in his mind; and Judi Dench takes any type of energy or steam out of the movie, whenever she shows up here as this odd, ghost-like figure, who’s only purpose in the whole movie is just to whisper exposition into Riddick’s ear, giving him hope and inspiration, even though it doesn’t seem like he’d need it. It’s weird to see such a good cast as this go to waste here, but then again, I feel like they just had to know what they were getting themselves into signing up for “the sequel to Pitch Black“, so I guess not much sympathy is going to be going to their way from my end. Sorry, guys. You can’t win ’em all.

Consensus: While it’s busy disowning any sense of tightness or moody atmosphere that the first movie had, The Chronicles of Riddick also ends up becoming a duller, longer, and boring continuation of the story of Riddick, the same type of story that nobody really cared to see on the screen again, except for maybe Vin Diesel himself, and it shows.

5 / 10 = Rental!!

I wonder how many credit cards Vin maxed-out just for this one scene alone!

I wonder how many credit cards Vin maxed-out just for this one scene alone?

Photos Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

P.S.: Never thought that I’d be reviewing this on my birthday, but so be it! Cheers!

Hart’s War (2002)

Yippie Kay Yay Nazi!

Lieutenant Tommy Hart (Colin Farrell) is a second year law student who is enlisted as an officer’s aide in World War II due to his father’s political pull. When he is captured and thrown into a German prisoner of war camp, top ranking Colonel William McNamara (Bruce Willis) assigns him to defend Lieutenant Lincoln Scott (Terrence Howard), an African-American POW accused of murdering a fellow white prisoner.

Everything from the poster, to the trailers, and even to the title may have you think that this is a slam-bang action, war flick filled with none other than John McClane at the fore-front. Problem is, it’s more like 12 Angry Men filled with Nazis. Don’t get too hyped up though, not as cool as it sounds.

What this film does and does will is that it has three different parts to it: it’s war movie, it’s a courtroom drama, and it’s also a racism-movie as well. All that may sound like a little bit too much of a jumble right there but surprisingly, the film doesn’t loose itself too much that’s worth crying about. The first 15 minutes starts out where Farrell is getting interrogated and held captive for questioning, then it turns into this “prisoner of war” movie where it almost seems like a “jail house” flick, with all of your random assortments of characters here and there scattered throughout the camp. Then the racism card comes out, as soon as the murder goes down and that’s where the courtroom ish starts to take place but there is still some stuff brewing underneath it all which always kept my interest.

As much as this film would have liked to focus on one subject and one plot only, it still finds its way to get all of these other stories going and place them in this film somehow which made my interest seem to never wan. Beneath the courtroom drama you have a racism issue, beneath the racism issue you have a Lt. who wants to prove himself, beneath the Lt. who wants to prove himself you have the superior officer who wants to come out on top, and beneath the superior officer who wants to come out on top you have WWII and everything else that came with it. Sounds like a real combustion of things going on here, which it is, but it still kept my interest as this story started to develop more and I realized more about these characters and just what all of their intentions were.

Problem with a lot of this film though was that I felt like the screenplay really lead it down in so many damn ways that bummed me out. It really did. The racial issue is a very important one to be brought up and is actually talked about in a very sensitive way here (even though the “N” word does get splashed around quite a lot) but sometimes it could get so heavy-handed with what it was trying to say, I felt like I was talking to Reverend Al Sharpton or something. The black man they are accusing here is practically in the film, just to give off speeches and montages about his race, what he’s going to do with his life, and all that yadda yadda yadda. I don’t mind when a film wants to throw me some racial themes and issues out there to further enhance the story and make it more important than it has any right to be, but maybe there was too much of that and less of something else that may have made some importance as well. Can’t say what it is, but it’s there.

As much as I’m able to let loose of some logic just for the sake of being entertained by a flick, there are times when there’s just too much logic to let loose. First of all, since these soldiers were all in a POW camp, why the hell were they allowed their on theater, let alone, allowed to even hold a court session on the campgrounds. I’m an American so it’s obvious who I’m rooting for in the end, but don’t you think that if I was a German Commander that I would at least try to punish the enemy that I was facing? Maybe if I was a ruthless German Commander from a WWII movie I would, but I guess that’s just the logic I have when it comes to stuff like this.

Also, why the hell would a German Commander get so lovely and overly nice to his prisoners? I could understand if you wanted to humor the prisoners from time-to-time and have a little piece of shits and gigs here and there but inviting them in for drinks to shit the shit is sort of pushing it and a little too far fetched for my taste. Then again, Hans Landa was pretty nice and look what happened to him….oh wait! Nevermind!

The film is high-lighted as a Bruce Willis vehicle and even though he is a big character in this flick, he definitely isn’t the main center of it. That honor is actually given to Colin Farrell as Tommy Hart, who gives a very rich and mature performance from a dude that, at the time, was really starting to grow up and realize what dramatic skills he really had behind all of those bad-boy looks. The role that Willis does play in this film is definitely not one of his best because I honestly think that he is terribly miscast here as William McNamara. Yeah, Willis can play tough and rigid like no otha motha and he has his moments here as well, but his stiff demeanor and limited vocal range doesn’t fit this overly ambiguous character that seemed to always be up to something, even though we never really find out. Somebody else could have definitely fit this role a lot better than Willis, but I think the film just needed him so they could use his name for advertisement. Understandable.

Terrence Howard gives off a very good performance here as the soldier on trial, William McNamara, and gives one speech by the end of the flick that feels very genuine and also shows why Howard is one of the better African-American actors working today. There’s so many emotions in this guy’s system as he’s telling this speech that it actually makes you think twice about what you’re seeing and hearing. Howard definitely bumps this flick up but once again, it was the screenplay that kind of brought him down.

Consensus: Hart’s War has good performances from it’s cast, features some rich stories dealing with a lot of different issues, and is an entertaining enough of a war flick to hold you over, but with it’s heavy-handed approach and unbelievable writing, the film sort of feels like a fable made for inspiration, rather than an actual story that could have possibly taken place.

6/10=Rental!!

Batman Begins (2005)

Fear the Batman and his raspy voice!

As a boy a young Bruce Wayne watched in horror as his millionaire parents were slain in front of his eyes, a trauma which led him to become obsessed with revenge but his chance is cruelly taken away from him by fate. The discovery of a cave under his mansion, and a prototype armoured suit leads him to take on a new persona, one which will strike fear into the hearts of men who do wrong, he becomes Batman (Christian Bale).

Since everybody and their mothers have been hyping up the release of the epic conclusion of the Christopher Nolan Batman Saga, I thought it would be a good time to go back and check out what these other two did to have all of this excitement. However, it only got me more and more excited for what’s bound to come July 20th.

What Nolan does here with this Batman flick is give it a whole new look, edge, and feel to it. Instead of going for the slap-happy, goofy type of Batman we usually see from Adam West and the terrible Joel Schumacher, we get a real serious Batman that works a lot better. That’s right, no Prince jams, no Bat nipples, and no hammy villains: everything is played straight to the core and that is one of the main things that Nolan does here perfectly. Nolan actually gets into the character of Bruce Wayne more and find out how, why, and for what reasons he goes off from being this million dollhair playboy, to all of a sudden becoming a kick-ass dude dressed in a Bat suit.  Of course being dressed as a Bat when you’re laying down the law on somebody is a little kooky in its own right, but they actually bring that up amongst other topics, and it all comes together perfectly.

Nolan also knows how to make this film look great with some perfect shots coming from the cinematography, but also with the sleek and dark look this film had the whole time, especially when it came to Gotham City itself. Gotham City here, actually looked like a metropolis rather than just a set with some fancy designs on it and it got me into this setting where every one and everything is just dirty as hell, everybody and their mothers are all corrupted, and there is no law being brought down on anything bad happening. Gotham City has never looked better and it only gets cooler and cooler to look at once Nolan begins to bring in some of Batman’s cool gadgets and whatnot, all of which, are going to make you want to head on back down to the local Toys R Us and play around a little bit. I’m probably alone on that one but it’s just another excuse to go and play with my toys.

There was plenty of action that worked, especially the finale which kept the energy flowing, but it start to bother me after awhile. Yeah, Nolan gives us the action we want but whenever he does, the camera is constantly up each person’s asses and you can’t see anything else other than a couple of figures throwing punches and kicks at one another. With all of these “hand to hand” combat fight sequences being edited so tightly, it was really hard for me to even get a feel for who was hitting who and who was doing what to whom, and I guess I just also wanted that “awww shittt he just broke that bulls….” moment that I usually get whenever I watch a superhero/action movie. Instead, I just guessed who was winning and who ended up winning and 9 times out of 10, I was right.

Christian Bale was a great choice for Bruce Wayne/Batman because the guy can look and act the part no matter what it is that he does, and he is no different here. I like how Bale gave off this dark but cocky attitude about him that made his character seem more like Patrick Bateman, which isn’t such a bad thing considering that is by-far one of his best performances of all-time and it’s definitely a lot easier to cheer on this guy when it comes to the beat-downs. Katie Holmes was pretty damn flat as Rachel and I think that’s mainly because the writing didn’t give her much to do, other than constantly bitch at every one around her, especially at Bruce and then act like they’re in love at the end. Yeah, didn’t really believe that after all of the hissy-fighting but maybe she was just tense. Then again, that’s always an excuse for ladies.

As for the villain(s) of this flick, each and every single one of them do fine-ass jobs and give a lot more to this story, even if it is without any real iconic villain that we all know and love from the Batman series. Liam Neeson is sinister as Henri and seems like the type of dude you really don’t want to mess with, even if it is Oskar Schindler; Tom Wilkinson was freakin’ funny (in a good way) as the last mobster in Gotham City; and Cillian Murphy does a great job playing up that whole crazy-persona here as Dr. Crane, and thankfully, he doesn’t overdo it one bit. Oh yeah, another surprise is that The Scarecrow is actually scary this time around. Never going into the corn fields ever again.

Consensus: Batman Begins is not perfect but it’s a very dark, bleak, and serious type of superhero film that works due to it’s inspired direction from Christopher Nolan, and some awesome performances that all of the cast gives out, with the exception of Katie Holmes which was pretty predictable.

8.5/10=Matinee!!

Find Me Guilty (2006)

Whoever thought that Dominic Toretto could actually act.

Training his lens on infamous mobster “Fat” Jack DiNorscio (Vin Diesel) — a man who decided to defend himself in court rather than rat out his cohorts –director Sidney Lumet recounts the longest Mafia trial in U.S. history.

The one thing about this courtroom film that separates it from plenty others, is the fact that draws its dialogue from actual courtroom transcripts that happened. This was really cool because we never felt that biased, misunderstanding of the law when this case is all said and done. I also liked how well the script was written because there are many comedic moments, but then there are actual deeply strong, emotional moments that happen as well but it never feels too cheesy. Sidney Lumet knows how to tell a story, and make it entertaining, despite the story not all being that thrilling.

However, the problem with this film is that it does run on too long. This film is about 2 hours long, and they cram the whole court case into that time limit, which was kind of a long stretch considering that sometimes this film can show a lot of problems within the American judicial system.

The film also does have us rooting for these actual criminals in the end, and this to me all seemed weird. These guys all committed crimes, killed people, dealt drugs, and have basically gotten caught doing it all, but now, we are supposed to root for them in a case that shows these criminals for what they are. There is a lot of evidence in this film that will have you kind of shake your head at the American judicial system, but this is all real stuff here, so I can’t really hold that much against this film.

Vin Diesel proves that he actually can act here as Jack DiNorscio, and knocks his performance out-of-the-park. Diesel has the incredible likability, to match his huge muscles, that makes us love Jackie and root for him as this film goes on. Although this is a bad guy, who has done many bad things, we kind of see him as a human being, that wants nothing more than for his friends to be free and safe, and not rat them out at all. Peter Dinklage is also awesome in his role as Ben Klandis, Linus Roache is pretty good as the evil lawyer Sean Kierney, Ron Silver does what he does as Judge Finestein, and Annabella Sciorra shows up randomly but owns her scene. Let’s not also forget Alex Rocco here as Nick Calabrese, who everybody probably remembers as Moe Greene.

Consensus: Sidney Lumet’s Find Me Guilty won’t have you thrilled, or inspired at all by the American judicial system, but with impressive performances from the cast, mainly Diesel, and a nice pace, you won’t be bored.

6.5/10=Rental!!