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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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

Tag Archives: Pierce Brosnan

The Foreigner (2017)

Who needs a green card when you can kick every citizen’s ass?

Quan (Jackie Chan) is a humble and quiet British citizen who keeps to himself. Mostly it’s due to the fact that he’s lived such a hard life already, he wants to live out his remaining years in total peace and harmony. That all changes, however, when his daughter is killed in a near-by explosion, supposedly set-up as a terrorist attack that wasn’t meant to be as devastating as it was. Quan’s not happy about this, obviously, so he decides to set out and find answers anyway and anywhere that he can, by any means necessary. His trail of tears leads him to Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan), a former IRA member turned politician who claims that he no longer has ties to the terrorist organization. But Quan knows better and doesn’t believe this for one second and decides to take matters into his own hands.

“Do I hear Beach Boys?”

The Foreigner is a whole bunch of thrillers, rolled-up and spat out into one. It’s a Hong-Kong action-thriller; it’s a conspiracy thriller; it’s a dramatic thriller about loss, regret, and family; it’s a small bit of an espionage thriller; and oh yeah, it’s a bit of a pulpy, rather over-the-top thriller, too. All of them are fine, no doubt, but put together, it’s a tad bit of a mess.

But coming from director Martin Campbell, it’s a fine, fun, and old-school mess that feels like it was made with class and precision, even though it never plays out that way. Campbell knows a thing or two about these kinds of thrillers, and while there’s maybe one too many strands of plot to fully work as one, cohesive whole, Campbell himself never seems to want to be bored. He keeps everything moving and at a somewhat lively pace, that even when it seems like we’re harping on one plot for too long, he moves right on to the next one, in hopes that we don’t take notice of how it doesn’t really fit together all that well.

Like a true pro, that Martin Campbell.

But what’s perhaps most interesting about the Foreigner is how it takes two of the world’s most recognizable action-stars of yesteryear, and puts them in roles that you don’t least expect to see them in. Pierce Brosnan, in what seems like forever, is playing an all-out, full-on bad guy and it’s a great sight; he’s angry, sporting an Irish-accent, and constantly seeming like his eyes are going to bulge out of his skull. It’s the kind of hammy and over-the-top role that would normally kill any actor, but Brosnan is such a class-act, he seems like he’s just genuinely having a ball and not caring who knows it.

“008, out.”

Same goes for Chan, although, it’s fair to say that if you’ve ever tracked down any of his Hong-Kong martial-arts films that don’t star Owen Wilson, or Chris Tucker, then you know he’s capable of playing these darker characters, with shadier morals than we expect. But as usual, Chan’s good in the role, because it’s less about him jumping, diving, and ass-kicking (which he can still sort of do, even at 65), but more about the sadness deep inside of the eyes. And you can see it all and it’s a sign that even though he may not be able to do the stunts anymore, Chan still has some acting-muscles to stretch and work-out with.

But really, nostalgia is the real reason why the Foreigner works as well as it does.

The action, the twists, and the turns are all fine and make this movie a lot better than it has to be, but watching Chan and Brosnan up on the screen, shouting at one another without having to resort to fist-a-cuffs, feels like a nice diversion from everything else in the world. With so many thrillers turning into crazy, over-bloated messes, it’s nice to get one that’s lean, mean, and a little nasty.

It’s still a mess, but hey, they can’t all be winners.

Consensus: With an old-hat direction from Martin Campbell, the Foreigner feels like a solid throwback to the thrillers of yesteryear, with Brosnan and Chan putting in great work, and measuring up and beyond the rather convoluted and silly script.

6 / 10

Every early-to-mid-90’s fanboy’s dream, 20 years later.

Photos Courtesy of: STX Films

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The Only Living Boy in New York (2017)

We all long for the New York City of the 50’s!

After graduating from college and moving into an apartment, young Thomas Webb (Callum Turner) doesn’t quite know what he wants to do just yet with his life. He’s at that age where he’s stuck, but also inspired and full of ambition, yet, at the same time, still left sitting down and wondering, “What’s the point?” With the help of his alcoholic neighbor (Jeff Bridges), he hopes to find out what his purpose in life is next, even if that means sleeping with his father’s mistress (Kate Beckinsale). Wait, what? Yep. For some reason, Thomas finds out that his father (Pierce Brosnan) isn’t just sleeping around, but sleeping around on his mother (Cynthia Nixon), who is sick and doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Thomas is sad and confused, but mostly, he just wants to grow-up, even if that means taking up after his dad.

Yeah. Neither of these two are attractive. Like at all.

The good thing about the Only Living Boy in New York is that it’s just a tad bit over 85 minutes, making it a swift, quick, and meaningless little race of punishment. That said, the bad thing about the Only Living Boy is that it’s still painful to get through, regardless of how long or short it is, because as we all know with bad movies, it doesn’t matter how short they actually are, they always seem to go on forever. And ever.

And ever.

And that’s the problem with the Only Living Boy, it just never works. Director Marc Webb and writer Allan Loeb seem to be working on two different platforms in terms of how they want this story to play-out, or even what the hell it is. Webb’s a lot more grounded and subtle, whereas Loeb’s writing, when not overly-talky and silly, feels like a crazy piece of melodrama that loves long-winded monologues about the good old days of New York, love, marriage, and fine pieces of literature. The movie just never comes together in a seamless way and it’s a shame, because although Loeb has proven himself to be an awful writer, Webb’s better than this, as we saw not too long ago with Gifted.

That said, there’s no saving this sort of script. People go on and on, without making any sense, there’s barely any drama, and the characters, as thinly-written as they may be, don’t really register as actual characters, but as types. Callum Turner’s Thomas is a typical frustrated and confused young adult who, underneath the glasses and shaggy hair, is just another male model waiting to crawl out. Jeff Bridges’ alcoholic neighbor is just another one of those typically mysterious strangers, who has all of the answers and almost seems to be imaginary, until it turns out that he isn’t in the most silly fashion imaginable. And yeah, that’s about the same for almost everybody else.

All the ladies love the old Bond charm.

Save Kate Beckinsale’s Johanna who, honestly, both seem to deserve better than this.

For one, Beckinsale is a good actress who deserves better material to work with than whatever Loeb has here, but Johanna does give off some interest and promise every so often. She’s the typical hussy character who sleeps with married-men, doesn’t care, and is happy to just have money, fancy clothes, and a nice loft, but really, there’s a bit more to her. She’s sad, damaged, and in desperate need of some love – it’s not just about sex for her, it’s much more about actual human connection. It makes her surprisingly stronger of a character than you’d expect from something as dumb as this, but as I’ve said, it goes nowhere.

When your movie is so concerned with third-act twists about surrogate fathers and possible life-changers, who cares what’s interesting or not? You just want the movie to end. Which, eventually, the Only Living Boy does.

Not as quick as its run-time would suggest, however.

Consensus: Despite a cast that tries, the Only Living Boy in New York is poorly-written and chock full of melodrama that neither connects, nor ever seems to be an actual story.

3.5 / 10

“Let me tell you a story, about a house of blues.”

Photos Courtesy of: Aceshowbiz

The Tailor of Panama (2001)

Always need a nasty spy to get rid of the neat ones.

Harry Pendel (Geoffrey Rush), early in his life, used to be a con from Cockney. That was before he met his wife (Jamie Lee Curtis), started a family, and most importantly, basically reinvented himself as a popular tailor to the rich and powerful of Panama. While his customers love his lavish and beautiful suits that he hand-crafts himself, they also love the stories he’s brings, with some of them feeling as if he’s more than just their tailor – he’s their friend. Or better yet, he’s a part of their family. The British realize this, especially spy Andrew Osnard (Pierce Brosnan), a man who notices that Pendel is a very important pawn, in a very big chess game and does not let up one bit from getting each and every piece of info he can, at any costs. But Harry isn’t used to having so much pressure be on him and it’s only a matter of time before it all blows up in his face, as well as everybody else’s.

Still Bond no matter what.

Still Bond no matter what.

The Tailor of Panama is a perfectly serviceable spy-thriller that makes you understand why so many people love and hate John le Carré. One of the main reasons why people love his material so much is that he creates such fun and exciting yarns, that they’re hard not to get wrapped-up in. He tends to love writing about spies, and because of that, we get to sit by and watch as deep, dark and seductive stories of secrets, lies, and spy-hijinx occur. Sure, some of it may be too twisty for its own good, but there’s no denying that spies themselves are pretty confusing; they never know what they want to be and le Carré is there to try and make sense of them, without letting up on any sort of fun.

At the same time, a lot of people hate his work and this movie is another example of why.

For instance, people often complain that le Carré’s work can tend to get a bit too complicated and convoluted than it needs to be, and well, that’s kind of the case here. However, it doesn’t start out like that; director John Boorman takes his time with this setting, these characters, and also, give us a better understanding of what exactly is at-stake/going on. Even if this part doesn’t feel fully realized, the least we find out is that some bad, rich people are up to bad, rich people-like things, and it’s up to Rush’s character to stop it all. Of course, you can fill in the blanks from there, but yeah, it’s pretty simple for a short time.

But like I said, it all goes to hell once the actual plot itself gets going and we have to find out more about these shady and corrupt millionaires. As is usually the case with le Carré’s stories, what the reasoning and explanation of these evil-doings actually are, tend to be overdone, overcooked, and just so damn evil, that after awhile, you wonder why their first idea wasn’t to just nuke the whole world while they were at it. This is the part of the Tailor of Panama that bothered me, as everything leading up to it seemed to be light, breezy and semi-twisty fun. After the half-way mark, of course, it goes away and all of a sudden, we have to pay attention to each and every twist that comes around, even if they aren’t fully believable to begin with.

But thankfully, there is Pierce Brosnan and Geoffrey Rush here, who make it all worth our while.

Always need a good tailor who eavesdrops way too much.

Always need a good tailor who eavesdrops way too much.

As Harry Pendel, Rush is having a good time, but he’s also got more of a character to play. He has to both be somewhat sinister, as well as naive and nerdy at the same time; something he pulls off quite well, especially in the later, more confusing portions. Though Jamie Lee Curtis may initially seem miscast here, she actually fits well as Pendel’s wife who not only makes the most money in the house, but also appears to be the one who wears the biggest and widest pants in the family. She doesn’t back down when the going gets heavy and she starts to catch on real quick, not only making her smart, but more than willing and up to the task of playing with the big boys.

Of course though, none of these two are any match for Brosnan and all that he does here as Andrew Osnard. On paper, Osnard is a snively, somewhat goofy spy who likes booze, women, and partying; in the movie version, Osnard is a snively, totally goofy spy who likes booze, women, and partying, but also enjoys stealing every scene known to man. Sure, a lot of what makes this character cool in the first place is the writing, but really, it’s Brosnan who makes this somewhat conventional spy character, literally jump off the screen, seeming like someone you wouldn’t expect at all in a story like this, nor would you expect him to be as funny or likable as he is. That’s probably why Brosnan, playing somewhat against-type, was the perfect choice here; he’s not likable a whole lot, but with enough of that winning smile and charm, he’s willing to shine the pants off of anyone watching.

Now, does that sound like true Bond to you? I think so.

Consensus: A tad too twisty and wild, the Tailor of Panama is a fun and exciting spy-romp, made all the better by the key performances from the talented cast, most especially the always vibrant Pierce Brosnan.

7 / 10

That's Pierce, alright! Always sneaking up on ya in the water!

That’s Pierce, alright! Always sneaking up on ya in the water!

Photos Courtesy of: Rotten Tomatoes, MTV, Roger Ebert

No Escape (2015)

White people should just stay home, apparently.

After disappointing in the states, Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson) takes his family on a business trip to a foreign country where he hopes to not only impress his wife (Lake Bell), but also get out of this work-slump that he’s been in since the recession of 2008. However, little does Jack know that the native residents of this foreign land don’t take kindly to people like Jack, nor do they take kindly to the water company that Jack represents. So, without him really knowing, Jack and his family is being targeted for representing America and its selfish, rude ways of sticking their nose into other countries’ business that they don’t need to be bothered with in the first place. While Jack, nor his wife really have any experience in kicking ass, or taking names, what they do have with them is the will to live, as well as the inspiration in making sure that their two daughters survive this hell-zone. Because even though they don’t know where to go, or even how this is all going to end, they are, most definitely, going to try and get out of this situation with a fight.

Owen Wilson. aka, All-American Daddy.

Owen Wilson. aka, All-American Daddy.

Even if it comes close to killing them.

For a good portion of its running-time, No Escape is actually a damn solid thriller. Director John Erick Dowdle starts things off nice and slowly by introducing us to these characters, the gritty, but odd scenery they’re thrown into, and lets all of the craziness happen, but doesn’t over-do it. Once Owen Wilson’s character goes out for the morning newspaper, there’s a slight chill of discomfort in the air; it’s almost as if we, yes, know that something bad is going to happen, but because Wilson’s character is such a middle-class boob and clearly has no idea what to do in the face of violence, we’re already in-suspense and waiting to see what goes down. Then, the movie focuses on what’s going on with Lake Bell’s character, her two daughters, and the hotel that they’re staying at, and instead of just being tense and somewhat fun, it’s now absolutely terrifying.

Because really, what No Escape wants to be, is a real-life thriller that makes you feel like, if you were given the same misfortune as these characters to be stuck in the same situation, that you’d have no clue what to do either. Rather than having a bunch of pre-calculated, James Bond-like ways of thinking and gadgets to save yourself from an angry hoard of killers, you’re just a simpleton who may have no actual prior experience with violence or tense situations such as these. So therefore, you have to act on intuition, as well as your gut-feeling and this can sometimes lead to the dumbest, perhaps most risky decisions you could make, but because you want to live, and want those that you love to live, too, you’re willing to do whatever it takes, no matter what.

This is perhaps the biggest fear that No Escape taps into and it’s why, for at least the first 45 minutes, it’s a solid action-thriller that puts you directly in the shoes of its protagonists and makes you actually believe that, well, this could actually happen to you.

Of course, a lot of the movie is completely far-fetched and a bit silly, but at the same time, it’s interesting to see how the movie switches the idea around of racism being against white people, and no other race or color. A lot of people have called No Escape “racist” and “ignorant” for not naming its supposed “villains”, or being more descriptive in just who it is that they represent (are they Cambodians?), but really, it’s doing something that not many other blockbusters in the same vein do and that’s focusing on white people being targeted for the color of their skin and how, no matter how hard they try, they can never be taken in as innocent.

Sound familiar?

James Bond is probably the right guy you want on your side in a situation like this.

James Bond is probably the right guy you want on your side in a situation like this.

Well, that’s because it definitely should and it makes me wonder why so much of No Escape, while occasionally smart, if anything, intriguing, also seems to fall apart. For example, the movie really wants to throw the grisly, heinous violence in our faces, which is fine, but by the same token, also wants us to see this movie as something of a cheery flick about sticking together as a unit, regardless of what trepidations stand in your way. While there’s no problem with this message to begin with, in a movie as dirty and disgusting as No Escape, it almost feels like a cheat – kind of like Dowdle himself couldn’t come up with the right tone to tie everything together.

That’s why, after a solid hour or so, No Escape starts to get, not just very silly, but very messy, trying to make sense of its violence, add some context, and most importantly, act as if it’s “important”, when in reality, it’s not. If anything, No Escape is just another shoot-em-up action-thriller, that also happens to take a ripped-from-the-headlines circumstance and give it a realistic treatment – anything added, honestly, feels unnecessary and silly. After all, this is the same movie that features Owen Wilson chucking his two daughters from one fifteen-story building to another, and hardly encountering any strength problems or injuries in the process.

Then again, it’s pretty interesting to see Owen Wilson in this kind of role and it also calls into question just how much thought may have actually gone into No Escape. While the movie could have easily cast a Jason Statham, or a Tom Cruise, or hell, even a Matt Damon in the role and act as if they’re just the everyday man pushed to the brink, the movie actually goes so far as to cast somebody as plain, ordinary, and dorky as Wilson, which works in helping it make it seem like this character has no clue what he’s getting himself into, or how to get out of it. Same goes for Lake Bell, who does get a tad annoying with her constantly pushing and bothering Wilson, but doesn’t get in the way as much.

If anything, however, the one character I’d probably like to see get his own movie is Pierce Brosnan’s Hammond, a variation on James Bond, that’s perhaps more realistic. Not only is the man wiser beyond his years, but he’s also a nice guy who can strike up a conversation about anything and generally seems to know what he’s talking about, regardless of what the topic may be. At the same time, however, there’s this idea that the guy can’t be messed with and what this does, whenever his presence is felt, makes you feel all warm, cozy and safe inside, even if you know full well, that it may not even matter.

Something we want to feel with James Bond, but come on – the guy’s too busy getting laid half of the time!

 

Consensus: One-half a surprisingly effective, if ugly-looking thriller, No Escape starts off strong, but soon dives into trying to take on a bit more than it can chew and lose itself in unexpectedness hokiness.

6 / 10

You can run, you can hide, but no matter what, there's no escape!

You can run, you can hide, but no matter what, there’s no escape!

Photos Courtesy of: Aceshowbiz

The November Man (2014)

But it’s not even his month yet! What an arse!

Veteran CIA officer Peter Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan) is lured back into the profession when an old confidante of his turns up dead. This leads Devereaux next in line for the killing, so he goes on the run, which also, unsurprisingly, pits him against his protégé (Luke Bracey) in a violent game of cat-and-mouse. But there’s a bigger story here than just these two guys trying to kill one another; apparently a big member of the Russian government is involved with a prostitute-scandal that he wants to keep silent. However, that’s not going to fly with Devereaux and this is when he stumbles upon a woman (Olga Kurylenko) who may have all the information he needs in order to have all the dogs called-off and allow for him and his rival to chill out and sip on a few cold ones. That is, if they don’t kill the other first.

So, why on Earth did I decide to review this? Better yet, why did I even bother watching this in the first place? It had crap ratings, a crap release-date, crap box-office returns (okay, they’re not as bad), and honestly, will most likely be forgotten by the end of the year, rather than nominated for a Razzie or two (which, believe it or not, isn’t as bad as being “totally forgotten”).

Well, the short answer? Because I don’t know. Maybe a part of me just wanted to get away from the drama-heavy usual pieces I sit around watching and just enjoy myself, even if it was for only an hour two. Okay, maybe that answer was a bit longer than I had wanted, but honestly, I feel like that response puts into perspective of what I’m trying to get across here about the November Man: It’s nothing special, but eh, you could do worse.

Tryin' to catch Pierce ridin' dirty....

Tryin’ to catch Pierce ridin’ dirty….

Actually, you could do a whole lot worse with a piece of R-rated action-thriller such as this, but somehow, director Roger Donaldson finds a way to class this up ever so slightly, that it makes the final-product more than just a bunch of blood, guts, bullets, and, ahem, octane. It’s a sort of spy-tale in that we get a bunch of international men of mystery, end up colliding with one another in a game full of twists, turns, hoops, and holes, but also has a bit of an aggressive edge to it that made some of the violence a bit shocking.

In fact, if there was a problem I had with the movie, it was that the gruesome violence seemed to happen so abruptly, it almost seemed like the movie didn’t want to make it any more than just what they presented themselves as being: Bloody bits of violence and action. Which, yes, is fine if that’s exactly what you’re going for in your movie, but I feel like Donaldson was aiming for something a little bit deeper than that, and he doesn’t fully achieve it.

He tries to make us care for these characters, understand their plight, and cheer that whatever situation they’re in, they get out of them alive. Most action movies use this aspect, and use it well, but the November Man feels slightly odd in that we never really get to the point of where we can feel anything for any of these characters. Not because because they’re written poorly (which they are), but because the actions they make, don’t always allow them to shine in the right light. Which is a problem considering that almost every action these characters make, is a bad one that can either rub us the wrong way, or make us wonder who in the hell we’re supposed to cheer for.

It’s obvious that the movie wants us to mainly be on the side of Peter Devereaux, its hero of sorts, but he only comes off more like the idea of “a hero”, and more of just, simply put, “a dick”. See, even though Pierce Brosnan is playing Devereaux as another side of James Bond, there’s not much charm or likability to this guy that makes us want to reach out to him like we do with Bond. Sure, the character of Bond himself has some problems, mostly with the boozing and the women, but when it comes down to getting his mission done, in an efficient way, where hardly any innocents are hurt, Bond is there to save the day, for lack of a better term.

A Bond actor and a Bond girl, but not a Bond movie? Da 'eff?

A Bond actor and a Bond girl, but not a Bond movie? Da ‘eff?

However, that’s not Peter Devereaux and while I like Brosnan playing up his “good-guy” image of Bond, this time would have been more effective, had he already not done so in a much better, much more entertaining movie, the Matador. That said, Peter Devereaux is a ruthless bad-ass that definitely shoots first, and takes names later, so if you’re into that sort of sociopathic thing, then yeah, he’s definitely your hero. However, if you’re like me and appreciated it when the people you’re supposed to be rooting for have at least a few good qualities to their personalities, then you may be a bit out of luck here with Peter Devereaux. Brosnan definitely tries with this character and more often than not, comes out on top, but sadly, it’s not the kind of performance he can be happy with, years after the fact when he’s looking at his career in hindsight.

But I’ve realized that I’ve gotten further and further away from my original point about the November Man: It’s quite fun. Though it may be gritty, full of senseless acts of violence, somewhat mean-spirited, and confusing whenever it focuses on its convoluted, unnecessary political-subplot, there is some excitement to be had here, especially when people are shooting one another and do whatever they can to kill the other. Sounds a bit scary, I know, but that’s how most action movies are.

For better, as well as for worse. All depends on who it is you’re talking to.

Consensus: With numerous acts of bloody, disheartening violence, the November Man may rub some the wrong way, while entertain the hell out of others. Basically, it all comes down to what kind of person you are and what it is you like to do with in your spare time.

5 / 10 = Rental!!

Cool guys still apparently walk from explosions.

Cool guys apparently still don’t look at explosions.

Photo’s Credit to: IMDB, AceShowbiz

A Long Way Down (2014)

If I ever have to be stuck in the same room as these people, remind me to just kill myself right then and there.

Martin Sharp (Pierce Brosnan) was once a very popular day-time talk show host who found both his professional and personal life ruined when a recent sex-scandal involving him and a minor became known to the public; Maureen Thompson (Toni Collette) is a meek single mom who is struggling with taking care of her handicapped son, while also barely having any personal life to speak of; J.J. Maguire (Aaron Paul) is a struggling musician, working as a pizza delivery-man and is living with the news that he has brain cancer; and Jess Crichton (Imogen Poots) is the daughter of a very wealthy politician who she doesn’t care for and has just been recently dumped. All four of these people are so different in their own ways, yet, they share one common interest: They all wanted to jump off of the roof of the Toppers Building, on New Year’s Eve, which is where they all met in the first place. Eventually, the four decide that it would be best to continue to meet up, talk and see if they can maybe raise awareness for this sort of problem, however, not everybody is so willing to do so, or even capable because of how truly messed-up they are.

Though the reception for this hasn’t been too lovely to say the least, there were two factors really driving me more and more towards this. For starters, the cast is pretty impressive – more importantly because they cast Aaron Paul as an American in a very-British movie, something I was not expecting in the least bit from him. And secondly, this movie is an adaptation of a Nick Hornby novel of the same, who also just so happens to be one of my favorite writers. No, I have not read the book and after seeing something like this, I feel like I should.

Oh, come on, Pierce! Live a little, take that shirt off, and show the ladies that you still like your martini's shaken, not stirred!

Oh, come on, Pierce! Live a little, take that shirt off, and show the ladies that you still like your martini’s shaken, not stirred!

Not to get a better impression of what this film was leading towards, but to somehow wipe the horrid taste of this flick out of my mouth.

Which, for someone such as myself, is really a shame because whenever I see a Hornby-adaptation, I feel like I can always hear or feel his style through the movie; but not here. All of that fun, that wit, and all of that humor seems to be lost here on a bunch of characters that seem as thin as the pieces of paper they originally appeared on, but aren’t likable, or even interesting to get to know better. They’re all pretty miserable, annoying people that try to make each of their lives better, but instead, just annoy the hell out of each other by being as unpleasant as they are humanly capable of. Which, if you wanted to know, is for the whole duration of this movie.

Now sure, there are some nice touches here and there – mostly due to the way the cast handles some of the more schmaltzier moments – but I really couldn’t get past most of this movie’s problems. It has an interesting premise for sure, but the movie can’t do much with it. It just has these characters talk to one another and, presumably, get on each and every one of each other’s nerves, only making the idea of suicide seem all the more reasonable. I know that was a low joke, but you get my drift: These characters are unlikable and to make matters worse, the cast can’t really do much for them either; which is to say that mostly everybody acts the same here, as they’ve acted in about five of their past pieces of work.

Pierce Brosnan is a crotchety old dick that seems like he could be a nice guy, but doesn’t seem like he wants to be and only wants his last shot at fame instead; Toni Collette is charming at times, but even she’s so quiet, you wonder if she would have been better written as a mute; Imogen Poots runs around, yells at people, makes fun of them, gets all up in their business, and gets upset when others don’t take so kindly to her constant line of questioning; and Aaron Paul, bless his heart, is basically just Jesse Pinkman here, except this time, without their being any meth around whatsoever.

Which, honestly, is kind of a shame, because this movie barely has anything that resemble the slightest amount of something “fun”. Now, I know that this is a flick about suicide and people coming to the end of their roads, but still, something like this doesn’t have to be such a dramatic-bore. Especially in the middle-act when we get a chance to see all of these workers make some magic together and let loose a bit. But nope, we never get that. Instead, we just get more and more talk about suicide, why they hate their lives, and why they are annoyed of the other person they’re with.

Betch.

Betch.

In all honesty, if I wanted to sit around a room where a bunch of people said how much they disliked the person sitting across the table from them, I’d just go to my Grand-mom’s place for Sunday dinner. But, I don’t want to. So, when I want to watch a movie that features some very talented people, I want to at least see more than just a bunch of arguments and nagging. I want to see some emotion, heart, insight, and most of all, fun. There’s hardly any of that here and although the film definitely likes to act as if it has a funny-bone located in its body, the mark just never hits. It’s just unfunny and uninteresting.

On second thought, Sunday dinner at my Grand-mom’s doesn’t sound so bad now that I think about it.

Love you, ‘Gams. See you then.

Consensus: Though it is clearly packed with a promising premise, and an even more promising cast, A Long Way Down just never knows what it wants to do with either of it, so instead, just becomes a ill-advised bore that no one wants to talk them off the ledge.

2 / 10 = Crapola!!

Wah. Go home and shut up!

Wah. Go home and shut up!

Photo’s Credit to: Goggle Images

The World’s End (2013)

Well, if we’re all going to die soon, might as well go out with a bunch of drunken nerds.

After failing to complete “the Golden Mile”, some 20 years earlier, old high school friends Gary (Simon Pegg), Andy (Nick Frost), Oliver (Martin Freeman), Peter (Eddie Marsan) and Steven (Paddy Considine), all reunite to try to recreate, and hopefully finish, their epic pub crawl. However, time hasn’t done any of them any good, and they’ve all found themselves losing connection with one another, becoming working members of society, getting old, getting responsibilities, getting kids, getting wives, and etc. Except for Gary, who is a recovering drug-addict that practically forces them into this whole reunion of sorts, which, surprisingly, seems like it’s going well for quite awhile; that is until they all begin to realize that something is rather amiss with their hometown. Not only is everybody acting weird, but everybody they ever knew is still there. What could be the cause to all of this? And hell, what are they going to do to make sure they stay alive throughout the whole night? Eh, just keep on drinking.

Well everybody, there does it! The World’s End marks the end of what everybody knew as “The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy”, and what a trilogy it was! Shaun of the Dead started things off perfectly, not just making fun of horror movies, but showing the heart and the fun that could be had with those certain movies if you took them seriously; and Hot Fuzz pretty much did the same thing, but instead of it being horror movies, this time it was buddy-cop movies, male-testosterone and all. And last, but sadly least, we have this movie and it’s surprisingly different from the other two, and not because it’s a lesser-product, but mainly because it isn’t spoofing any sort of movie genre or idea. It’s basically it’s own wild beast, and for that, it deserves a whole slew of credit.

There's a reference on that map somewhere. I can just tell.

There’s a reference on that map somewhere. Way too much significance placed on it to not be.

But also, more credit should be given to this flick because it’s exactly everything you’d expect from Wright, Penn, Frost, and co.: quick, funny, full of sight-gags, action-packed, witty, and best of all, has an underlining heart and soul to it’s final-product that really helps even it all out. Nothing here in this movie will necessarily surprise you in terms of its sense of comedy, action, or where the story-line goes and why, but what it will surprise you with is how damn dark it can somehow get. And I don’t mean to use the word “dark” in a bad way either, it’s more of a welcome addition to a trilogy that needed some serious dosage of it, especially for the last installment.

For instance, if you take the whole character of Gary King into thought, he is essentially a very damaged, sad and messed-up person, yet, is able to get past on the sure with and charm of Pegg. Gary has not only become a loser ever since his grand days of high school were up, but he’s become something of a explosive device, just waiting for his time to blow up and disintegrate into the air. We see that he misses his lads, he wants to relive those glory days, and will stop at nothing to get them back, but yet, also doesn’t have an ounce of morality located anywhere in his soul, which therefore, makes him a hard character to really root for or connect with. Yet, he’s a human, and you can tell that out of everybody involved, he needs this reunion the most, as if it’s sort of a way to give his life some meaning and a reason to live.

If you haven’t been able to tell just yet, yes, this is some very dark stuff, but Wright uses it to his advantage by touching on all of the emotional-notes that worked so well with the past two, and to make matters even better: The dude seems to really be living it up behind-the-camera.

It’s fairly obvious that Wright is the real deal when it comes to fast-paced, punchy, and movies that MOVE, but here, he shows total and complete in control in his material, and allows for his it to get even weirder and weirder as it runs along. What starts out as a movie along the lines of Beautiful Girls, somehow becomes Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and it’s as bizarre of a transitioning as you’re expecting, except that it’s more fun and entertaining to watch here, rather than what’s probably playing in your head. Once it gets revealed to us just who these “things” are, it’s an all-out fest of jumps, thrills, chills, and epic throw-downs (especially the first scene in the bathroom where it’s 5-on-5, no holds barred), that will probably bring you back to what Wright did 3 years ago on his own with Scott Pilgrim. Just goes to show you that as time goes on and he gets more projects under his belt, Wright is growing into being his own type of director, and showing us that he will continue to do so, regardless of if it’s with his fellow, British pals or not. All we have to do now is wait for what he has in store with Ant-Man, and then he will totally be the finest director working today.

But as I said before, this is sadly the lesser of the three, and I think that reason is because the switch in tone is so obvious and a bit jarring, that it’s too hard not to get past. I won’t give away what happens, or what’s revealed to us when we realize what’s really going on underneath it all, but I will tell you that it definitely changes the way the movie works, and how it becomes serious. There’s an sense of seriousness and heart to this material that shines through in certain spots, but once we realize that something’s wrong with the night’s proceedings, then it gets very serious and dare I say it, “melodramatic”. Don’t get me wrong, the movie was still fun, exciting, and full of yucks and chuckles, but the tonal-change in the middle that we’ve come to see and expect from Wright’s flicks isn’t as subtle here, and it definitely changes the mood and the overall outlook of the rest of the flick.

With that said, it’s still an Edgar Wright flick, and with that being said: The cast is still full of a bunch of heavy-hitters that show they can be dramatic, but still hilarious as well.

"Aye! We're British, and we're here for a couple of pints and a few smokes, lad!" British enough?

“Aye! We’re British, and we’re here for a couple of pints and a few smokes, lad!” British enough?

Case in point: Simon Pegg. Everybody knows that Simon Pegg is a funny guy, and everybody knows that he can use his British wit and charm to his advantage, but what really surprised the hell out of me here was how deep he went with this character, not just showing us a damaged-soul, but one you can feel an ounce of sympathy towards, even if he would never, ever feel it towards you. Pegg really gets to the bottom of who this guy is, why, and where he will most likely be going with his life, but while he’s at it, also seems to be living it up, dialing it up to 11, and totally letting loose on his comedic-chops. Everything the guy says, does, and even thinks about is hilarious, and it shows that not only is Wright growing as a director, but Pegg’s growing as an actor, one that can get to the root of any character, given the right material, time and place.

Same goes for Nick Frost who, believe it or not, is actually playing the straight-man to Pegg’s crazy and wild antics as Gary. Frost has never really shown us resilience in his acting, but he shows it here and makes us realize just what we’ve been missing out on all of these years. He’s funny, sweet, a bit sad, but also a bit bad-ass when the movie needs him to be. and it just goes to show you that Frost is growing up alongside his fellow mates as well. However, Pegg and Frost are just the beginning of what’s a very good, very well-equipped, and very attuned cast to the material they’re working with here, as it seems like everybody else involved knows what they’re getting themselves into with this movie, how to play it off, and why they have to give it their all, and never let up. Not for a second. It’s kind of strange actually, because yes, even though I have seen Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, and Eddie Marsan all be funny and light with some of their roles, I’ve never quite seem them as much in a full-on comedy-mode as they are on in here, and it allowed me to see them in a different light where they can do this funny stuff, but also allow for us to take them in as actual characters as well. Not just a bunch of goofballs, but people, and I think that’s a smart decision on Wright’s part on casting these highly-acclaimed, “serious” British actors. Or at least just Marsan and Considine; Freeman’s more of a clown than those two.

And don’t be fooled either, just because Rosamund Pike is the only gal of the group, doesn’t mean that she goes down without a fight. In fact, just the opposite. Not only is she as knowing of the humor as the dudes are, she also shows that she can mess-around with the best of them, and even get her hands a bit dirty if need be. She’s funny, very sexy, and also, very fiery, and reminds me of the type of chick I wouldn’t dare to mess with. Also, I highly doubt it needs to be said, but I’ll go for it anyway, just be on the lookout for everybody in this cast, because they’re all familiar-faces you’ve seen before and will surprise the hell out of you here, as they are all having a great time, and allowing you to enjoy the whole movie even more than before.

Consensus: The World’s End, or as others will know it as “the inevitable finale to The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy”, may not be as polished as the two prior installments, but is still full of the same madcap hilarity, fun, excitement, action, and typical glee that we have come to love with these movies, while also offering us some real heart and emotion to the proceedings as well.

8.5 / 10 = Matinee!!

They're all drinking in-sequence! See, I told you they were all buds!

They’re all drinking in-sequence! See, I told you they were all buds!

Photos Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

Love Is All You Need (2013)

When John and Paul wrote this little number, you can totally tell that they had James Bond in mind.

Ida (Trine Dyrholm) doesn’t have the most successful life any person could dream of; she’s battling cancer, has a philandering husband, and is a hairdresser. However, she somehow finds a way to approach life with a smile no matter what, and this weekend, will be no different, especially considering because her daughter is getting married. But it’s getting hard for Ida as she soon approaches the date, that is, until she meets the groom’s father, Philip (Pierce Brosnan), who isn’t the nicest, nor the happiest guy in all of the land, yet, has more going for him in terms of Ida. Somehow, someway, these two connect over the weekend in ways none of them ever expected.

Movies about older-people getting married and re-discovering life once again, never seems to interest me, unless it’s done right. However, it rarely is. Movies like Quartet and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel are perfect examples in the way that they are way too cute, cuddly, and modest for it’s own good. They show the older-peeps as a bunch of play-toys that say witty and silly things. But why? Oh, it’s all because they’re old! I get it! But this isn’t one of those movies and that’s why it’s one of the biggest surprises I’ve been hit so far with this year.

What starts out as a pretty simple, romantic-dramedy, soon turns into a movie that actually has more meaning than I expected, especially with it’s attention to characters and what makes us love life, the way that we usually do. Susanne Bier is very-talented in that way, because she’s not only able to show us our two, main characters at hand, but give us everybody else’s story as well. Some of it seems over-stuffed and random at points, but it all makes sense in the grander scheme of things, especially when it gets rather soapy by the end. But even then, Bier keeps it moving and never for a second manipulative.

"Would you prefer your martini, shaken or stirred?"

“Would you prefer your martini, shaken or stirred?”

In this movie, you actually care for the people you are watching and hope that they all find their special someone one of these days. Even the philandering husband that’s a huge tool and idiot; yeah, you want him to be happy because you know that underneath all of the sleeping-around, the guy just wants to love and be loved. Hence the title. It all sounds cloying and obvious, but when a film is able to give you the love bug as quick as people fall in love in a Nicholas Sparks novel (for all of you non-readers out there; that’s pretty quick), then you have a simple man, at a simple time in his life, smiling and feeling hopeful for the future. It will put a big smile on your  face, even if you don’t know how and why. You just feel it and that’s the simple joy of life.

God, I need to get myself a girlfriend and stop ordering Vietnamese prostitutes. Been too long.

The only times this movie seems to really lose it’s audience is when it decides to pack more than it can actually handle. The movie may be advertised as being all about Philip and Ida finding one another, connecting, and falling in love, but they are only the anchors of the story. There’s probably about four or five different story-lines going on at once and even though all are interesting, some do feel like they are a tad bit unnecessary, as if Bier felt like she needed to give everybody some sort of meaning and importance to the idea of love.

The most obvious example of this is the soon-to-be-wed couple at the center of the story. From the first moment we see these two, we think that they are perfect together, happy, hopeful for the future, and ready to get hitched as soon as possible. That is, until the movie starts to unearth some unsettling truths behind one of these characters, ones I will not choose to give away, but still feels unneeded. Not just because it added a twist to the central theme and story, but because it’s obvious right from day one about what the hell is going on underneath the sheets (or lack thereof). Even after the truth is unearthed about this one character, the movie explains and focuses on it a bit too much. Once the film goes for this, not only does it stall, but it detracts away from what the real movie’s selling-point actually is: Ida and Philip. Thankfully, it does go back to them and allows this movie to somehow work it’s magic.

I have never seen Trine Dyrholm in a movie before, but her performance as Ida makes me want to pursue more and see what I can conjure up myself. The great thing behind Dyrholm’s performance is that we never, ever know what’s really going on with this character. Yes, we see her smile, laugh, joke around, and have a good time, but you know there’s something more to this gal that just feels real, but also very vulnerable. You know that she’s sad underneath all of the giggles and playfulness, but you can’t exactly put on your finger what and it makes you hope that she eventually finds that one person who will sweep her off of her feet, make her happy, and bring her back to the land of being loved.

Young love: makes me sick!!!

Aww, young love. Makes me sick!!

She might just have found that in Philip, played to perfection by Pierce Brosnan. Even though he doesn’t show up in as many movies as he definitely should, Brosnan is an exceptional actor, all for the sake that he is able to bring cool wit, charm, and likeability, even to the douchiest of characters. And Philip is that type of douche. Not only does the dude feel like he has all the money, riches, good-looks, and reasons to be happy at his disposal; he never really seems to be happy. He always seems to want to be alone, not bothered, and content with being like that. Is there something more to this dude that may be triggering that feeling? Maybe, maybe not. All we do know is that there is more to this guy and layer-by-layer, we begin to see that show and Brosnan works incredibly well with it because he feels real. He’s a handsome dude that knows how to make the ladies swoon (without singing), but he also feels like a honest dude who knows what he wants, he just doesn’t know how to approach it just yet. Him and Dyrholm’s chemistry isn’t what you expect between two adults who are still trying to search for the right answer. They’re a bit fiery, a bit sexual, and a bit loving as well. Together, they are great and what keep this movie moving, interesting, and always entertaining.

Consensus: You may, or may not be able to see the ending of Love is All You Need coming from a mile away, but no matter what, you still will be interested, entertained, and happy with what you feel, see, and hear, especially from the finely-written characters we have to here.

7.5 / 10 = Rental!!

My man Pierce, still got it.

My man Pierce, still got it.