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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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

Tag Archives: Sam Neill

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Who gave Kevin Feige acid?

The God of Thunder, also known as Thor (Chris Hemsworth), after finding out that he and his evil adopted-brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), have an evil older sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett) that they never knew a thing about, is sent away to an awful planet where all of the universe’s trash and undesirables are dropped off and sometimes, even sold. Thor becomes one of those items and is forced to face-off against an old pal of his, Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), who, after leaving the rest of the Avengers to fend for themselves over two years ago, has been hulking out, beating the crap out of all sorts of foes. But Thor thinks that he can get through to Hulk and, hopefully, bring him back to Asgard, so that they can take down Hela, as powerful as she may be. Of course, though, Thor’s going to need some more help than just a Hulk. This leads him to Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), a bad-ass bounty hunter who gives a Thor a run for his money, in terms of fighting and drinking, but also in the ways of the heart.

Brotherly love.

Ragnarok is probably one of the weirder Marvel movies out there, which I don’t say lightly. The first Guardians of the Galaxy and even to a certain extent, the sequel, were both so incredibly odd and crazy, that they almost didn’t feel like products of a huge corporation, made for the sole sake of mass-consumption. In ways, they were original and electrifying enough to stand on their own terms and not just be another installment to the already-expanded Marvel Universe that we hear way too much of.

But yes, Ragnarok comes pretty close to being even weirder and it’s both great, as well as a little disappointing. It’s great because it shows that even with a character like Thor who, in all respects, may be the least interesting Avenger of the bunch, can actually have his story told and go to crazy lengths that we don’t expect. Due to Ragnarok being set in the galaxy, where everything is already nutty and wild, director Taika Waititi, who is already an inspired-choice, gets the opportunity to go as far and as deep into this insanity as he wants.

Which is great and all because the movie’s funny.

Like, really funny.

“Uh, yeah. Like, Thor, uh, you’re a uh, you know, pretty crazy guy.”

And it’s why the one-half of Ragnarok works so well; it’s not afraid to be silly, weird and meandering, even when we know that there’s a story to be told and a much bigger-universe out there. Most of the humor and fun of the movie comes from just making fun of these characters, their characteristics, and how exactly they’re all just a bunch of comic-book characters, literally made to function as fully-dimensional human beings. It’s a joke in the sense that it’s not really a joke, because it’s all taken seriously and still gives us glimpses of actual character-development, but man, it can be so funny to watch.

But then, the other-half of Ragnarok, the one that takes primarily on Ragnarok, is a bit of a bummer. And it’s not like bits and pieces of this half aren’t interesting and/or fun to watch – watching Cate Blanchett vamp and go way over-the-top is more than worth the price of admission – but it’s so slow and expository, it just feels like a bit of a drag. All we really want to do is get back to Thor, Hulk, and whatever the hell Jeff Goldbum is, because they’re where the real party is at.

However, you also can’t fault the movie all that much because they sort of get this idea real quick and decide to keep things with Thor for a good portion. It makes sense why we have all of this villain-building, but it could have done better. That, and also, the Thor-stuff is just so much fun that we almost never want to leave it.

It’s just a weird and crazily fun time. Something I don’t say too often when it comes to Marvel movies.

Consensus: Not afraid to get a little weird and silly, Ragnarok proves why we deserve to see Thor’s story again, with a great bit of fun, exciting supporting-players to keep things always entertaining.

7.5 / 10

LET. THEM. FIGHT.

Photos Courtesy of: Aceshowbiz

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

Every kid’s troubled.

Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison), is a a defiant young city kid who is preoccupied with the gangster lifestyle. Meaning, that he spends a lot of his spare time stealing, cheating, cursing, rapping, wearing baggy-clothes, and just doing things one little kid his age isn’t supposed to be doing. In hopes of getting that all changed and he may shape-up a bit, Ricky’s sent by child welfare services to live in the country with foster mother Aunt Bella (Rima Te Wiata) and her husband, the cantankerous Uncle Hec (Sam Neill). Bella instantly takes a liking to Ricky, as does he to her, but Uncle Hec is a bit of a mystery; he’s not necessarily angry at the world or at Ricky, he just doesn’t care. However, their lives all change one day when Ricky and Hec are forced to spend a whole lot of time together, where they’ll have to learn to survive and depend on each other. You know, typical survival stories, but in this case, between a 13-year-old kid and a nearly-70 year-old-man.

Wouldn't get in a stand-off with him, kid. Sorry.

Wouldn’t get in a stand-off with him, kid. Sorry.

What’s interesting about writer/director Taika Waititi is that it seems like he doesn’t necessarily have a certain style that you can pin down, but it’s twee and quirky enough that it’s still recognizable. In a way, Waititi is a lot like Wes Anderson, in that a lot of his humor tends to stem from editing and visual quirks, and less about what joke is actually funny and how it was delivered. Then again, whereas Anderson feels like he’s actually limiting himself, as well as his comedic sensibilities, by having to stick with his awfully pretentious style, Waititi isn’t afraid to move around a bit, feel for some room, and explore the ever-regions of humor and the comedy world as is.

That’s why Hunt for the Wilderpeople, while not a perfect movie, still shows that Waititi is a talent that needs to be watched.

Even after last year’s What We Do in the Shadows, a lot of people may be surprised about the adoration coming for him only now, but I didn’t quite love that movie the same that others did; in ways, it almost felt like one improv-sketch, after another, with the found-footage format just being a little bit of a bore. It wasn’t wholly original, despite having some nice bits and pieces of inspired humor. Here, that same sense of humor, style, and sense of storytelling is practically lost and with good reason – Waititi gives us a simple story, with a pretty simple execution that helps the movie out because it doesn’t take away from its heartfelt message about, well, love, family and all that sort of thing.

Yeah, it’s pretty cheesy to say a film is “about family and love”, but with the Wilderpeople, it’s true and it works; Waititi has a pretty conventional story on his hands here, but he adds enough heart, warmth and charm to it to where it doesn’t matter what conventions get played out again, or what similar beats get hit. All that really matters is that the beats work, the conventions don’t get tiring, and most importantly, that the movie itself stays sweet and charming. After all, a movie can be as predictable as Sunday mass, but as long as it has a little something more brewing underneath the predictability, then it’s all good.

For the most part, that is.

The only thing keeping Wilderpeople away from being a way better movie is the fact that, yet again, it is still a conventional piece of family-oriented film making. Waititi himself has some nice tricks and trades to make the interesting a whole lot more visually appealing, but other times, he can’t help but succumb to the fact that this story is as simple as you get. The characters work and, of course, the performances from both Neill and Dennison are quite great, but really, they’re all in a movie that’s plain and simple. Waititi may have dealt with the heavier-issues of alienation and sadness in something like Eagle vs. Shark, whereas here, he sort of just hints at them, in hopes that nobody will get too sad or depressed and get taken away from the fun that takes place in the woods with these characters.

When the fuzz comes a knockin', it's time to get a rockin'.

When the fuzz comes a knockin’, it’s time to get a rockin’.

That said, the characters do work and help make this as exciting as it can possibly be. As a child actor, Julian Dennison is not only very cute, but he’s also got some skill, too; a lot of moments and lines could have made Ricky out to be another one of those young, pain-in-the-ass kids that’s just annoying to all hell, but there’s more to him than just that. The fact that he wants to be a gangster and idolizes Tupac and Biggie, makes him more than just your ordinary kids protagonist who just likes to cause a lot of mischief and get into fights about cleaning their room.

Trust me, we’ve all seen it before. But thankfully, Dennison’s a good child actor and can make it all work, while also giving us plenty to adore about him.

Then, of course, there’s Sam Neill who seems like he’s actually enjoying himself here, even if he’s not allowed to show too much of it. Because Hec is such a stern and serious dude, you almost get the impression that Neill himself may be bored and want to live a little, but Waititi gives him plenty of opportunities to do so where he’s more than just an old codger who wants kids to get off of his lawn. Sometimes, all he wants is to be around people for a short while, have a good time, feel some sort of adventure, and then, yeah, go back home to where he won’t ever be disturbed again.

Can’t say I hate him, to be honest. In fact, he’s downright relatable.

Consensus: Seemingly not a very original flick, Hunt for the Wilderpeople works well with its attention to characters, heart, and a visual-style that keeps things interesting and most of all, funny.

7.5 / 10

Can I come? Seriously, guys?

Can I come? Seriously, guys?

Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire

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

Event Horizon (1997)

Maybe it’s not the aliens we should fear, but ourselves? Then again, maybe not. They’re freakin’ scary!

Smart, but slightly off-kilter astrologist Dr. William Weir (Sam Neill) creates a ship called the “Event Horizon” which, for one reason or another, can create small, black gravity holes and do a whole bunch of other cool and fancy things. The first crew to go aboard the spaceship onto a mission for Neptune, somehow vanish into thin air. Nobody knows how, why or where – they just know that one day, everything went dead. This is when Weir decides that it may be his time to finally go and see what has happened to those crew-members, and most importantly, to his creation, but not without some much-needed, professional guidance first. Enter the spaceship called “Lewis & Clark”, commandeered by Captain Miller (Laurence Fishburne), the type of no-nonsense guy you’d expect to see on such a high-class mission such as this. And for awhile, everything seems to be going all perfect, that is until some of the crew-members begin to see some weird images, that may or may not be actually “real-life” or just plain and simple “hallucinations”. Nobody knows, and yet they are all experiencing them, even Weir himself, who may be getting even more sadistic images in his head than the others.

"....well then you better go catch it!!!"

“….well then you better go catch it!!!”

So yeah, I bet you can already get your pen and papers ready and try to chalk this one up to being, yet again, just another carbon-copy clone of all sci-fi, lost-in-space movies like Alien, 2001, or hell, even Lost in Space itself. And to be honest, if you were to do so, you wouldn’t be wrong; everything that you see here doesn’t have much originality to it in terms of what new technology it introduces, or what sort of logic about its premise and high-tech gadgets it may make us try and believe. But there is something to be said for a movie that doesn’t really try to go out there and re-invent the wheel, but instead, just tries to keep things small, contained, claustrophobic, and straight-up in-your-face, like any good B-movie, you know?

Especially if that B-movie just so happens to be directed by this guy.

Yep, before Paul W.S. Anderson started forcing us to notice and pay attention to how hot his wife is, the guy was another ambitious, inspired and up-and-coming film-maker that had a predilection for big, loud and extremely dumb sci-fi movies. You could argue that his taste-preference hasn’t quite changed since then, but you also could, considering that it seems like he definitely put some thought into these movies, rather than just making the same damn video-game adaptation, time and time again.

I mean seriously, how many times can we honestly see Milla Jovovich blow-off some zombie’s head, while barely-clothed!??!?

But I digress. Mainly what I am trying to get across here is that Anderson is a bit of a joke nowadays (especially being that he’s usually considered “the lesser director Paul Anderson”), but back then, when he was just getting started, the guy showed that he knew how to frame a story, make it tense, make it go all-over-the-place and most of all, make it fun. While this movie definitely starts-off a bit too plot-heavy, eventually Anderson himself decides to throw most of that out of the window and just allow us to feast our eyes on a bunch of characters just losing their cool and not knowing what to believe and take-in as “real”, or “make-believe”. And needless to say, Anderson frames this idea perfectly and actually has us in the mind-set of not knowing just what the hell to believe, or what to expect next. Always fun when you have a movie like, no matter how original its plot may, or may not be.

I guess the "hard-as-nails, take-no-crap black lieutenant cliche" could work for a movie that takes in space.

I guess the “hard-as-nails, take-no-crap black lieutenant cliche” could work for a movie that takes in space.

As you could expect too, the dialogue is, at times, horrendous. The fact that it’s being delivered by some talented, and relatively substantial names, definitely gives it an extra-push to where it’s not as grueling as it may have been with lesser-people involved, but so is not the case here. Laurence Fishburne is definitely the stand-out in this movie because it’s quite clear that he knows exactly what he signed-up for, and lets there be a couple of moments of light in his eyes, shine through whenever necessary. However though, most of the time, he just stone-faces this material, and oddly enough, makes it work because of how strict and uptight this character is. Same sort of goes for Sam Neill who is able to make any sci-fi mumbo-jumbo sound the least bit credible, even if it is abundantly clear, right from the get-go, that he’s definitely a bit of a weird guy who, I for one, would not trust around me for a single bit on Earth with, let alone flying millions and millions of miles into space.

Everybody else that shows up here is fine, too, but I don’t really want to stress any of them all that much because this isn’t really an “actor’s movie”. It’s less concerned with them, and more concerned with how it looks, feels and entertains us as movie-goers, and with that idea taken into mind, the movie does a mighty fine job at doing so. You can clearly tell that most of this movie’s budget went right into the look that Anderson packs with all sorts of 90’s-CGI, that is dated, but then again, it’s the 90’s, so what else could ya expect?!?! And also, any movie that’s as up-front about its numerous amounts of blood, gore and violence as this movie is, always deserves a free-pass from me, especially since it is quite rare to ever get a sci-fi extravaganza that’s rated-R. Maybe that’s why this movie bombed in the first place, but that’s not the point. The point is that while the movie definitely may not have had everybody clamoring at the knees to see it on opening-day weekend, it still seems to have gain a pretty loving, and devoted cult-following; the same one I guess you could consider myself apart of, even though I probably won’t be going to any special events for it anytime soon. Or ever, for that matter. I think a Netflix watch is just enough for me.

Consensus: You can’t wholly expect greatness from Paul W.S. Anderson, but with Event Horizon, you can at least expect him to deliver the goods on a not-so original story that’s fun, exciting and a tad unpredictable, especially once crap begins to hit the fan for everybody involved. Including yourself, the viewer.

7 / 10 = Rental!!

Less creepier than before, Sam. Nice job.

Less creepier than before, Sam. Nice job.

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJoblo

The Hunt for Red October (1990)

We hated the Russians so much, we just cast Scotsmen in their roles!

Soviet naval officer Captain Marko Ramius (Sean Connery) is a pretty big deal, especially since he himself, along with the rest of his crew are aboard the submarine known as “Red October”. What makes this sub so special is that it’s able to move so silently throughout the ocean, without ever being detected by a fellow ship or submarine. It can practically get from point-A-to-point-B, without a single hiccup or interruption to be found in between, which is probably why the U.S. government freaks out so much when they have the slightest idea that Ramius, along with his ship and crew, may be heading for the States in hopes that they’ll blow-up Washington and send us a message we’ll be soon to never, ever forget. However, most members of the U.S. government have no clue who Ramius is, or the type of man he truly is; all of them, with the exception of one CIA agent Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin). See, Ryan believes a theory that Ramius isn’t actually coming to America to blow us up, but rather to escape his country in hopes that he can start anew and get away from all of the pain, hardships and suffering he’s witnessed over there in Russia. Problem is, Ryan’s going to have to do a lot of convincing, to a lot of people, and may have to do it all before the Russians themselves pick-up the pace with Ramius’ ship and get rid of him for betraying them.

"Brrr, baby. Itsch cold outshide."

“Brrr, baby. Itsch cold outshide.”

It seems like adapting a Tom Clancy novel can be a hard task to go through with, especially considering his books are so dense and rich with detail, jargon and exposition. That’s why most of these Jack Ryan movies that are made, usually try to center on the well-known CIA Agent-character himself, in hopes that they don’t have to put that much of an eye on the technology Clancy himself loves to chat about, but also piss-off those devout readers of his, just in case you have to change some things up in the process. But that’s not the department where director John McTiernan doesn’t screws up; in fact, from what I hear, he stayed pretty damn loyal to the source-material, which must have been very hard considering there’s all sorts of stuff going on here, and sometimes, all at once.

To start things off though, I have to be honest and tell you all like it is: The first 20 or so minutes of this are pretty hard to get into. Not only is the movie relatively slow as molasses, but there’s a lot of talking going on here that you don’t know what it’s all really about. I got that the movie itself was trying to set-up character’s, give us a bit of insight into them and have us locked and loaded for what was to be the premise for the rest of this movie, but oddly enough, I felt like I may have stumbled upon the middle-half of the movie, where we’ve already been introduced to everything it is that we need to know with this story, the characters and the central-conflict at hand. And I’ve already seen this before, so to have that problem occur once again, made me feel like I was surely making a mistake, one that I should have left as another “one and done” deal.

But, as I expected it to, things began to sort themselves out and this is where McTiernan’s skills as a director come into play, as he’s somehow able to rack-up tension, just by throwing little bits and pieces of information at us. When a couple of people are speaking about what options they have next on the table for themselves, I couldn’t help but feel riveted and wonder what conclusion all of these peeps were going to come to. Most of the time, hell, I didn’t even know what they were talking about, or even how they gained all of that information in the first place, but I trusted McTiernan enough as a director to where I knew that wouldn’t bother me and I’d just have to pay attention a bit more.

That’s why “paying attention” is exactly what you’re going to have to do with this one, because the more you figure stuff-out, sometimes along with the characters in this film themselves, the more the tension amps-up and absolutely sucks you in. Submarine-thrillers seem to always do the trick for me nowadays, but this one really got to me as I could practically taste the sweat dripping off of each and every one of these dude’s foreheads, feel the heat from the steam running all throughout the submarine itself and the constant clinging and clanging of the steel up against, whatever it was that it was constantly clinging and clanging against. I felt like I was right there, watching the ride, enjoying the show and in the middle of a dire situation that just seemed to get more and more suspenseful and unpredictable as it went along, even if I already knew what the outcome was going to be beforehand.

And that, my friends, is exactly when you know a thriller is doing its job, and doing its job correctly. God, I wish John McTiernan would get out of the clink, come back and continue to make movies. Because, I don’t know about you, but I think some people may need him around for another flick or two.

Just saying, legal system.

"Damn you, Charles. You sunk my battleship, once again!"

“Damn you, Charles. You sunk my battleship, once again!”

Another reason why this thriller works so well too, and in many ways, why it isn’t as dated as most movies from the year of 1990 are and/or ought to be, is because it doesn’t really take any political-stance on the Cold War itself. We see plenty of development on the sides of both the Americans, as well as the Russians, and while the former may get a tad better treatment than the latter, it still should be noted that the flick never makes it out to seem like these Ruskies are the types of soulless, blood-sucking nuke-nuts that the media may have portrayed them as. Sure, they went into the war with their weapons and heads held high, but they were also fighting for their families, friends and most importantly, their country. Hate to start sounding like a die-hard liberal over here, but it’s a nice change-of-pace to actually see from a movie for once in which we aren’t given a clear-cut, black-or-white situation with these two sides. We see them both as humane, for better and sometimes, for worse.

Acting as channels for both of those sides are the performances from Alec Baldwin and Sean Connery, who both play on both sides of the coin, but also seem to understand one another as human-being, as well as tactical soldier. This is infamously Alec Baldwin’s one-and-done stint as Jack Ryan, and while I wouldn’t say he is amazing here, he certainly isn’t terrible neither. Actually, I’d just put it simple and state that Baldwin’s fine, and while I do think that, in recent time, we’ve seen him come-off a lot better as a supporting-player, much more than the star of the show, he still does a nice job as Jack Ryan, giving us a guy that has the brains to think his way into, and out of any particular situation, and even if he may not have the skills to succeed in a fight, isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty a bit. Over the next couple of flicks, this element to the character of Jack Ryan would begin to change and evolve into a more “fuck yeah”, action-y type of character, but it still worked well for Baldwin nonetheless.

The one this movie really works wonders for is Sean Connery who, despite obviously trying to hide his thick Scottish-accent, really does give a certain heroic-pose and feel to Marko Ramius, even though he may definitely make some questionable decisions as Captain of the ship, here and there along the way. Still, through it all, Connery seems like the type of guy you’d be able to trust when he’s at the helm of all this, and be able to spit some inspiration into your hearts, even when he clearly knew the shit was about to hit the fan. However, there’s a reason for why he stays so calm and never clams-up throughout this deadly situation, and it’s one that humanizes him and makes us see that Connery can work with anything. Just throw him a script worthy of his talents and watch him spin the wheels. Gosh, I truly do miss him.

Consensus: May not be the quickest, most punchiest thriller you’ll ever see in your life, but it still stands, and stands in high-order that The Hunt for Red October is an exceptional thriller that gets down the meat of the situation, while never forgetting about making it fun, exciting and worth while for everybody involved, especially the audience sitting back at home and using their brains as hard as they can.

8 / 10 = Matinee!!

Old-school computer-programming must have been a hoot!

Old-school computer-programming must have been a hoot!

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJoblo

Escape Plan (2013)

Imagine joining a prison gang with these two. Yeah, you better not screw up. EVER.

In order to deem whether or not prisons are “inescapable”, Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) takes the hard job of getting thrown into these prisons, and actually test out whether or not he can use whatever trick in his books to escape. He’s been to plenty in his life, has escaped them all, and better yet, has even writing a book telling prison owners how not to get caught up in the same kind of funk most of these other owners find themselves in. However, Breslin may have meet his biggest, toughest, and possibly, even final match when he gets thrown into a full-scale prison that’s mysteriously so off-the-books and hidden, that nobody has a clue that it exists. That’s how the warden (Jim Caviezel) likes it and wants it to stay, by any means possible. But once Breslin gets acquainted with fellow inmate Emil Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger), then he knows he’s going to have stack up on everything from security, protection, and most of all, his power.

The pairing of Sly and Ahnuld may have seemed like a pipedream for most Hollywood executives back in the 80’s and 90’s, but now, over 2 decades later and with both gentleman verging on the age of 70, now is as good a time as ever! And yes, before any of you do get all up in my grill about how they both appeared together on the same-screen in the two Expendables movies, they don’t necessarily count. Yes, they show up on-screen together for a bit and throw winks and head-nods towards one another, but they aren’t really substantial roles or time-limits where you can feel like you’re 10-year-old’s boy dreams have come true right in front of your own very eyes.

When he isn't punching meat, Rocky working on his mime.

When he isn’t punching meat, Rocky working on his mime.

However, now you can have those dreams come true, regardless of if you’re way into your 30’s/40’s or not. Either way, it’s Arnie and Sly together, for a full movie! And while Sly does get the bigger role of the two, there’s still plenty of celebration needed to be had here because not only do the two seem like they really do enjoy working with one another, but also seem to have really invested themselves in this material, that it doesn’t feel like a 2-hour-long joke like the Expendables movies do. Instead, this somehow feels like a long lost action film the two could have made during the peaks of their fame in the late-80’s-mid-90’s, and it works.

While the movie does feel like it is a bit too serious for its own good, you still get the feeling that everybody involved set out to make a fun, dumb, and obviously implausible movie that could only be made with action legends at the helm such as these two. Together, they make good use of the time that they have together and while they don’t get to shoot as many guns as they may have wanted to, you still get the feeling that you’re not missing out on something either. You know that the plot will start to move, and once it does, the tension will pick up and so will the action, violence, blood, and all of that fun stuff. Like I said, it made me feel like I was watching a serious, but respectively made action film either of these two could have made back in their golden days, and it did a great deal for the material and made it more fun to watch, rather than just joking the whole time.

Now, that said, it IS an Arnie and Sly team-up, which means you’re definitely not going to get the smartest material out there, but then again, I don’t really know if that’s the point here. The whole idea of getting out of this prison seems pretty far-fetched, but the whole idea of an underground prison where all of these dangerous people are left not having any clue where they are at and forced to live out the rest of their days in total and complete solitary confinement, seems pretty far-fetched. However, the movie milks it for all that it’s worth and I was taken for a few of the twists and turns this movie comes up with out of nowhere. That may have been the case because they were so stupid and random that nobody, not even the writer himself, could even predict it; however, I was all game for those types of surprises because it just added more and more to my overall enjoyment of this movie.

Before I go any further though, it should be noted that Sly and Arnie, for their first, full-length team-up, don’t crap out on any of us wanting the best from these two, even if their acting skills sort of have rusted-up a lot in the past few years. Listening to these two have a conversation, whether it be about the next step in their escape plan, or just a simple session of shooting the breeze, you’ll scratch your head in wonderment of what the hell it is that they are saying, and also, why every line had to be a pun. I get that this is the best way these two can get a reaction out of the crowd that isn’t full of anger or cheers, but seriously, have a normal conversation every once and awhile, would ya?!!? Maybe that’s just me asking too much from a movie like this, and if that’s the case, I do apologize. Not just to you, the reader, but to both Arnie and Sly as well, seeing as they couldn’t hold back their internal joy and happiness of being able to work together for a single second here. But the energy is palpable and you can’t help but fall in line once the going gets going.

"Say what about me playing Jesus?"

“Say what about me playing Jesus?”

Luckily for those two hooligans though, is that when we aren’t too busy listening to them slurring their words like my Uncle Johnny on a Tuesday evening, the supporting cast is taking full-control in giving all that they got with this scrappy material. Some better than others, but hey, what do you expect from a script this dumb? 50 Cent, not Curtis Jackson, is actually funny playing Breslin’s most trusted and loyal co-worker, finding any hint or clue that may lead him to be reunited with his bud; Amy Ryan is hot, spicy and fun as the only important female in this whole flick filled with ungodly amounts of testosterone, but she holds her own, like she always does; Vincent D’Onofrio is slimy and a bit of a dick as Breslin’s boss, but with that bit of casting, I bet you already expected that, and last, but certainly not least, we have Jim Caviezel as the sick, twisted, and slightly sadistic warden of this new prison Breslin gets thrown into.

Ever since he was crucified all of those years ago, Caviezel hasn’t really shown his face around much, yet, still did enough work to where we knew he was in fact, alive, well, and still working. That’s why you can probably forgive me for when I say that not only does Caviezel steal every scene he’s in, but practically walks away with the whole movie in his bare palms when all is said and done. And yes, I do mean that he’s doing such a thing in an Arnie and Sly team-up, actioner! Caviezel is just so dead-pan, weird, and off-kilter that you wonder what’s going through his mind at any given moment and even if you don’t want to go that far, you can still be interested knowing that he is unpredictable and willing to do whatever it takes to ensure his reputation as a bad-ass son-of-a-bitch. Never thought I’d get that type of role from the same cat who played Jesus Christ, but I’ll be damned if this guy doesn’t have range!

Consensus: While you don’t need a whole lot of brain-power to enjoy Escape Plan, just know that this may be the first, last, and possibly only full-length team-up we’ll ever get between Arnie and Sly, which means you can’t take any of it for granted, in the same vein that they aren’t, enjoying every second that they got together with each other and this material. That’s right, it’s like a little something we call love. Or a bromance. Same thing.

7 / 10 = Rental!!

"We're back!! For the fourth time!"

“We’re back!! For the fourth time!”

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

Wimbledon (2004)

Tennis is for wimps, although football doesn’t seem like the type of sport that reels women in. Never mind then.

When it came to being the supreme star in the world of tennis, Peter Colt (Paul Bettany) was never quite that person, but he came pretty damn close back in the day, when he was ranked #15 in the world. Years later, he’s ranked #115. Yeah, time changes, people get older, and skills start to deplete over time, but Pete isn’t letting too much of it go to his head as he plans on making his latest-trip to Wimbledon, most likely his last one as he continues to let more and more people know that he is in fact “retiring from the world of tennis”. Sounds all depressing and whatnot for Pete, but then walks in Lizzie Bradbury (Kirsten Dunst), a bright-and-shining star in the tennis world that is not only making her name known, but her look as well, especially in the eyes of Pete who just so happens to find Lizzie’s presence and likeness of him, help out his game a bit more and make tennis seem more like a fun, competitive-game for him once again, rather than just a chore.

Rom-coms and tennis are my least two favorite things in the world; put them together, you have a movie that’s just not for me, but yet, I still found myself oddly-attracted to. I don’t know how it happened, but I actually found myself sitting down on my couch in front of the Television, checking out Encore On Demand, finding this, and thinking, “Why the hell not?” and at least giving it a try. After witnessing this movie for all that it is, I feel like I should make random, aimless decisions like this more often, especially if they make my day just a bit sunnier. Even if it is the hot, summa time.

Woah! Tennis is actually FUN and INTENSE!??!!?

Woah! Tennis is actually FUN and INTENSE!??!!?

Everything you expect to happen in a movie like this, whether it be a rom-com or a romantic-dramedy (don’t know how to shorten that one up); happens exactly like you’d expect it to be. The initial-meeting between these two characters is hokey and contrived; the tennis scenes where Pete begins to feel the sensation come all throughout his body once again was seen from a mile-away (because honestly, who wants to see a movie where the lead character gets his ass kicked-out in the first round?); and once things begin to look bright for Pete, you realize that he’s going to end up facing somebody that’s supposed to mean a whole bunch to him and causing the most problems throughout most of the majority of the flick.

Yeah, I know a lot of you out there are probably going to be pissed off that I already spoiled all that you’re practically going to see here, but in all seriousness; if you watch the first 10 minutes of this movie and don’t already know what beats it’s going to hit, how and when, then STOP READING. I knew right from the start, I accepted it, and eventually, it’s magic and charm began to work for me in a way I didn’t expect it to. Rom-coms such as this don’t have to change the world or break any new-ground to really hit me and allow me to enjoy myself, they just need to be done right and that’s exactly how this flick is done here: just right.

Sort of like the Goldie Locks story, but instead of having a little, spoiled brat not make up her mind about what soup or bed to eat/use, we have a witty, British guy who’s trying to win over “the girl”, while also trying to win the coveted, Wimbledon tournament. This ones more entertaining and interesting than that sad-sack-of-a-tale, but they do come pretty damn close. Okay, not at all.

Anyway, back to the movie!

But ultimately, I think what struck my interest-level with this movie and had me eventually go for the gold with it was the fact that it had Paul Bettany in a rare, leading role that we so often see him in, let alone use to his advantage to show why he’s such a good actor,  as well as a very underrated one at that. Bettany gives off the same type of master wit and charm we’re so used to seeing and hearing work wonders for Hugh Grant, but it works even better with Bettany, along with the character he’s playing, because the guy’s just generally likable, even from the start. Pete, as you can tell, is not a guy who asks for much in the world, other than a slight-shot at fame once again, some love in his life, and eternal happiness for the rest of it. That’s all there is to this guy and because of that aspect of this character, and the way Bettany allows him to be perceived as, the movie’s a lot better to sit-through because we see, what seems to be a real guy, going through real problems, and wanting to have real solutions, to his said real life. This is where Bettany shines, not just by making us laugh or want to give this guy a hug, but also show why more and more Hollywood producers should take a look at him when they’re thinking about what next British actor to call next after Colin Firth or Hugh Grant deny a role.

"Love rules! So does tennis! Woo-hoo!"

“Love rules! So does tennis! Woo-hoo!”

And no, I don’t mean these types of opportunities.

While Bettany keeps the movie going, Kirsten Dunst doesn’t show any signs of slowing it down either. Dunst has always been that actress I’ve gone-to-bat for on many occasions, and she’s fine here as Lizzie, even though I feel like she may have just been a bit too young and ambitious with her life to settle-down for such an old-head like Pete, despite the dude being only 32 in the movie. Still, that’s just a weird nit-pick of mine, either way; they’re chemistry is sweet, sexy and worth sticking with this movie for, even if they do feel like they were put together because the studio’s first-choices bailed-out at the last second. Not to be a dick and all, but seriously, I highly doubt that Hollywood producers were clamoring in their seats for the day that they finally got “Mary Jane Watson and that British dude who shows up on the side in every movie” together as love-interests. Just a thought, as mean or as bold as it may be perceived as.

Consensus: Everything you’ve seen done and/or occur before in a rom-com, happens exactly, note-for-note in Wimbledon, but because of fun chemistry between the well-acted leads of Bettany and Dunst, the constant clichés are worth ignoring and/or getting used to, in order just to have a good time with yourself.

7 / 10 = Rental!!

"You're that dude who's practically naked all throughout A Knight's Tale, right?"

“You’re that dude who’s practically naked all throughout A Knight’s Tale, right? Yeah, you’re not so hot with your clothes on.”

Jurassic Park (1993)

Dinosaurs never have been, and never will be the same.

Two dinosaur experts, Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Dr. Ellie Sattler Laura Dern), are invited to test out a soon-to-be theme park from a millionaire named John Hammond (Richard Attenborough). Hammond has it all: he’s got the glitz, the glamour, the look, the style, and most surprisingly; he has dinosaurs. That’s right those things that you thought were exterminated almost 70 million years ago are in Hammond’s park, and are causing a ruckus like you’d expect. However, when that ruckus turns from playful to deadly in a matter of 24 hours, all hell breaks loose and it’s time for everybody to get their asses the hell of that damn island.

It’s been a long, long time since I made a return to this wonderful, but scary island but it was still a trip worth taking, even if it was in 3D this time around. Here’s the thing about the 3D since most peeps will want to know right off the bat: it’s nothing worth even talking about (even though that is exactly what I’m doing). The 3D is cool at times and definitely makes you feel as if you are a lot closer to the action than ever before, especially when it’s just jumping right out at you, but other than that; it’s nothing special that would really make me want to go out and see it, again and again. Even though I did see it in theaters, it was all because it was free, early in the a.m., and best of all, with my daddy waddy. Father-son bonding. Ain’t nothing else like it.

Aside from the 3D elements that are relatively lackluster at best, let me just get back with the movie and say that it’s still as fun and entertaining as much as it was all those years ago I watched it as a kid. I remember being scared of the big-ass dinos, I remember gripping my seat when those kids were running all-over-the-place in that kitchen, and I especially remember those freaky fuckers that used to spray poison/venom out of themselves, just as soon as they gave you the warning sign to “run the fuck away, now!”. Fond memories going into this movie and I was so happy to see none of them really tarnished, even if some glaring problems come in the way now that I’m a more sophisticated, and uppity-uppity film critic.

Lights off, idiot!

Lights off, idiot!

Some of the problems I seemed to have had with the script was not that it was lame or anything, it’s fine for what it is and what it tries to do, it’s just that when the initial plot where there is running, chasing, and panic all throughout the area, I felt like it could have been handled better, and written better without all of the plot inconveniences  For instance, the character of John Hammond just seemed like an idiot for even bothering opening up this park, for one reason and one reason only: there’s not enough security. The fact that the dippy was even thinking of opening up this park, where dinosaurs can easily get out of their safe-spots, just by knocking down a couple of wires, seemed really idiotic to me and not something that a rich millionaire would even forget about. Then, it goes on about how he’s cloning these dinosaurs from other gene-pools and turning them all into female, even if that proves a problem for evolution within this park, along with the rising tensions. I get that the guy had a passion and inspiration to create this park and allow everybody to see it, but you got to think things through man before you go all nutso on us.

There’s other problems with the script in certain areas, but the fact of the matter is that this movie is still fun, still entertaining, and still freaky, despite being released almost 20 years ago. Shit, I was actually three months away from entering the world when this movie came out. I’m getting old, man. The movie holds up in many ways because it shows what Steven Spielberg can do when he has a vision and that includes having a ball with his material. Some of it is a tad serious, but rightfully so. It allows us to feel worried for these characters as they constantly try to run and hide from these dinos, without losing a leg, arm, shoulder, knee, or life. It’s pretty scary even after all of these years, but I like how Spielberg was able to transition it back-and-forth, between serious and fun. It’s not light entertainment by any stretch, but if you bring your kid to it, I highly doubt they’ll be scared for life. Granted, they may wet the bed every night and never, ever want to see a dinosaur again, but that’s just life my friend. Quite frankly, it’s your call if you want to take them to see it, not mine. So please, don’t sue me if the kid ends up in a nut-ward or a serial killer. Just saying.

Another factor of this movie that works and also shows how much fun Spielberg seemed to be having while filming was the ensemble-cast he was able to assemble and make ready for this “dinosaur on a rampage” flick. Might have been a hard-sell at the time, but somehow, the man was able to get a lot of heavy-hitters that are still doing great work, even to this day. Laura Dern and Sam Neill are good as the couple that loves dinosaur bones as much as they love each other, and are good at what they do, whether they be together or separate  Dern is good at playing-up that tough, female-role where she can do almost as much dirty work, if not more than the boys in town; whereas Neill is good at playing-up his role as the type of dude who doesn’t like kids and doesn’t even want him, but yet, finds himself almost acting like a daddy when the shit hits the fan. Bedtime stories and all.

"What a pretty puppet."

“What a pretty puppet.”

Samuel L. Jackson shows up and is good in his couple of scenes where he infamously utters the line, “Hold on to your butts.” A bit corny, but it’s classic because of Mr. Jackson. Or Samuel L. Whichever one that mofo desires. Despite the problems I had with his dumb-ass character, screen-vet Richard Attenborough was actually very good at giving us a glimpse into a man that has too much money, too much ambition, but not enough smarts to fully think things through. I felt bad for him, until I realized that he allowed his grand kids to show up for this wonderful weekend. I guess he won’t be invited to Christmas din-din any time soon. And lastly, need I not forget about the one, the only, Mr. Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm, aka, the rock-star scientist who always lays low, always lays cool, and always has something hilarious or witty to say. It’s classic-Goldblum, whadda ya expect?!?

Consensus: Though the extra-dimension isn’t needed, Jurassic Park still holds up as one of the best, and most entertaining Spielberg flicks because he never seems to lose that fun-aspect that makes it such a ride (they actually have a pretty sucky one in Universal), and also the serious side to it all where you feel like anybody could die at any second, you just don’t know how to expect it coming. Trust me, not as gruesome as it sounds so show your kiddies and see what they have to say. Unless they get traumatized for the rest of their lives. Once again, don’t blame me for not listening to your inner-soul.

9 / 10 = Full Price!!

If all parks ended their tours like this, family-trips wouldn't be so painful.

If all parks ended their tours like this, family-trips wouldn’t be so painful.

The Hunter (2012)

If this was a series on the National Geographic channel, I’d definitely watch it. Or at least try to.

Martin (Willem Dafoe), a skilled mercenary is sent to the jungles of Tasmania to bring evidence of a creature known to be extinct, the famed Tasmanian Tiger.  Posing as a scientist, he arrives at the house of a family whose father has become missing hunting for the same animal.

Nature thrillers aren’t the best kind of thrillers out there. ‘The Grey’ was pretty good but usually, these kinds of thrillers just end up being uninteresting without any real thrills. This is a little bit in between.

I actually don’t even think you can categorize this as a thriller because it’s basically all about a man finding something inside of himself to give the film this character-based drama feel, but then have this thriller premise build around it as well. Director Daniel Nettheim did a great job here with setting the feel and atmosphere of this flick. Many scenes are just dedicated to total silence where we see Dafoe in the woods making traps, setting up, and doing all of this other cool, hunting stuff but all to the sounds of nothing else other than the birds and wind. There’s a very placid feel to this whole film that may take awhile to get used to but it still works and keep you interested as to what’s going to happen next with this dude.

Let me also not forget to mention that this film is very beautiful to look at but not in a pretty way. I have never seen Australia look this certain way in a film before than it does here. There are so many shots of the dangerous and dark forest that Dafoe goes into just about everyday and they add a lot more to the mood than anything else. I never thought that this forest was dangerous but then again, I never thought it was a happy place with Care Bears skipping and dancing everywhere either. Just a very mysterious and strange place to be in. Thanks cinematography!

Despite how good the cinematography and pace may be, the film still has its problems when it tries to be a character-based drama. Everything in the woods worked, but when Dafoe started hanging out with this family and getting attached to them, the film really does falter into just trying to finding more ways to have us sympathize with this dude more. Since the movie is so quiet and placid, the scenes that are supposed to be very emotional and touching don’t do either of these things. They are just sort of there to provide more of a background for our dude and even though I don’t mind a film trying to develop its character no matter how mysterious or strange he may be, at least try to do it in a way that isn’t so obvious.

Other than the moments in the forest, this film also doesn’t have any real tension. The real life tension between Green activists and tree loggers is here but they show up only to bring more tension to this flick and it doesn’t do much at all. It’s an important rivalry to show, and maybe a lot better to show in a documentary, but here, it seems unneeded as if the film couldn’t rely on the scenes in the forest to bring tension to this flick. Damn, I never realized how much I liked the scenes of just Dafoe in the forest.

Willem Dafoe is definitely the right choice for this quiet and mysterious character Martin. Dafoe in almost flick he does, has an engaging screen presence where you just can’t take your eyes off of him and you want to know more and more about him, which this film tries to do but sadly fails. Martin doesn’t talk much but you can see all of Dafoe’s emotions pour right through the looks on his face and proves that he’s one of those rare actors that can say plenty without saying anything much at all. Great performance from Dafoe and any lesser actor would have just totally made Martin one of those strong, silent types.

Frances O’Connor is pretty good as Lucy, the chick that Martin comes to live with, and gives her character a very deep sadness to her even though she does start to lighten up a bit by the end. Sam Neill is also good as Jack, a guy who seems a lot more mysterious than Martin. Neill is great at playing these very sly characters that you just don’t know if you can trust or not and he’s no different here even though this character does end up being a little bit more human by the end then you expect. Also, it’s great to finally here Neill in his Australian accent once again. Small cast, but effective when needed.

Consensus: The Hunter features a very slow, but melodic pace, with great performances from the small cast and beautiful cinematography. However, when it steps away from the forest, the film tries too hard to get emotional on us and it just ends up being more forced than anything else.

6.5/10=Rental!!

The Vow (2012)

First Ryan Gosling saves her, now Channing Tatum does. Lucky ass chick!

Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum star as Paige and Leo, a recently married couple whose lives are devastated by a tragic car accident. When Paige loses all memory of her relationship with her husband, Leo vows to do whatever it takes to make her fall in love with him all over again.

Ever since ‘The Notebook’ came out, studios have been gunning for that one flick that can make as many chicks and dudes (yes, admit it, guys) cry as that one did. Sadly, none of them have even came close. But I guess it took one-half of that film and a dude that can shake his ass off to come the closest to surpassing.

Director Michael Sucsy doesn’t really bring much new to this whole weepy and romantic drama genre that we all have seen done for the past 6 years, but it’s the writing and premise that makes it work. The premise is definitely something that seems like it was adapted right from a Nicholas Sparks novel, but it’s actually based on a true-story and it’s that genuine feel that made me believe in some of the more melodramatic moments. But then for all we know ‘Dear John’ and even ‘The Last Song’ could have been based on real stories, but then again, those films don’t quite have as much as this flick does.

The writers obviously aren’t doing too much to this premise to change it up and make it all of a sudden become something like a cross between ‘Memento’ and ’50 First Dates’ but it still has its cute moments that are always backed up by some funny ones as well. The film takes itself seriously but never too seriously to the point of where I wanted there to actually be some sort of fun here. There is a little playful and joking feel to it which made it a lot more easier to actually stay in this film and laugh every once and awhile, rather than cringe at all the cliches. And woahhhhh crap, did I mention the cliches!??!

The film is very predictable, corny, and cheesy which may sound kind of weird considering I just got done praising elements of it but there are still those eye-rolling moments that started taking over the flick. There was a pretty good amount of time where this film seemed to actually be working well for me but then when the started getting into the more weepier montages/moments than the film started to lose my interest. Then again, this is the sort of stuff that many, many ladies will swoon over and the guys will sort of just be left in the dust, but that’s usually expected with these types of films.

One of my biggest problems with this film was that with a premise like this, there could have been so many different themes and messages that this film could have explored on its own but instead, just talked about briefly and left up in the air. One of the most important themes of this film was how people change over time which is evident in how Paige first started off as this yuppie, rich-girl then changed to this hip, and funky fresh Chi-town gal. This was pretty cool to see in a film that showed a person in two different ways since this happens in real-life but instead of actually giving that topic any type of insight whatsoever, the flick just skates over it and leaves it hanging. Pretty disappointing but I guess I was just expecting a little bit too much from a Tatum-McAdams love flick.

Rachel McAdams is given a lot more of the showy things to do in this flick as Paige, but she does a good job with it all. She goes throughout the film all confused and whatnot, so when she starts to actually show two different sides of her, it seems believable but then again she is sort of playing the same character that she did in ‘The Notebook’, except she’s forgetting things at an earlier age. Since McAdams is basically trying to piece together her whole life, it’s up to Channing Tatum as Leo to pick the slack up and give a good enough performance to actually have us follow his character, which he does. Tatum does a good job at keeping this performance believable, subtle, and very relaxed to where he didn’t have to do anything all that emotional but even when he does, it seems realistic. Both of them also have a good chemistry which is another reason why this romance, as well as this flick works in more ways than I expected.

The supporting cast is also pretty good. Sam Neill is great at playing that sinister and smarmy character he usually plays as Paige’s daddy; Jessica Lange plays her mommy and doesn’t do much until this little, dramatic monologue where she lets her true emotions out and it’s a really good scene mainly because Lange is able to pull off scenes like this; and Scott Speedman is good as the ex-fiancé of Paige, but damn does he need to lay off the hair gel!

Consensus: The Vow features plenty of those predictable, cheesy, and utterly sappy moments that occur in these types of romance flicks but with a fun script, good performances, and some nice touches to the whole formula itself, there’s a lot more to keep your mind off of this stuff and just focus on the romance at-hand.

5/10=Rental!!

Daybreakers (2010)

Sadly this had to be released in a time where Twilight rules the vampire world.

Earth’s population is up against a vicious plague that’s transforming everyone into vampires and draining the world of an increasingly precious resource: blood. Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke) and “Elvis” Cormac (Willem Dafoe) must decide what happens next. As the human race count nears zero, will vampires feast on the few men and women who remain, or could science hold the key to a less destructive solution? Sam Neill and Claudia Karvan co-star.

This film has a very nice twist on the apocalypse story that we usually see in films nowadays. Instead of their being a world full of humans on extinction, its the vampires world that is, see how it gets ya!

There are a lot of ideas that the directors The Spierg Brothers use. The movie works because it tries to explore flaws in the idea of vampire mythology and our own social structure at the same time. The Spierg brothers ask questions but don’t answer them but how could they? The question of how we solve the energy crisis is indeed a loaded question; we have alternative fuel sources but using them effectively could take decades to figure out and can we figure it out before it’s too late? Obviously no film, no matter how smart, could know the answer and this isn’t “Collapse”, it’s a January vampire movie that serves its primary purpose of entertaining its audience, I just hope that said audience doesn’t use too much gasoline driving to the theater.

Their is also a great use of the action and blood here. The Spierig Brothers show a lot of promise as great directors cause when it comes to their blood and gore, they actually care for it and want it be looked at as in a beautiful way, instead of just your normal every day in a movie killing.

There’s pretty much nonstop action, and the plot twists and turns with several story lines: brotherly love/hate relations between Edward and brother Frankie (Michael Dorman); the inevitable romance between Edward and Audry (Claudia Karvan); father daughter estrangement/betrayal between Charles and daughter Alison (Isabel Lucas); and Elvis’ philosophizing about everything under then sun (and Moon). A little bit too much in one story that could have gone the traditional way other than being over-stuffed.

I think the performances in this film are pretty good, just not as powerful as they could have been. Hawke doesn’t bring out a lot of emotion within his character, unless he really needs to, and even then, his lines don’t seem that believable. I think Dafoe was really good, delivering the best lines in his charmful, yet odd way, but I feel he was under utilized in here. I think he could have played the villain a bit better than Sam Neill, although Neill does do a pretty good job at playing this sinister bad-guy.

There is a little twist at the end of the story here that is worth mentioning, but not too much so I don’t give the full ending away.

Consensus: Though it is a bit over-stuffed with many questions left unanswered, The Spierig Brothers still direct this new twist on the vampire genre, with bloody, dark, and explosive fun.

7/10=Rental!!!

The Hunt for Red October (1990)

Sean Connery trying to be a Russian, nothing else is better than that.

When a Soviet nuclear sub headed toward American waters drops off U.S.scanners, the Yanks scramble to take defensive steps. But CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) convinces the brass that the sub’s commander (Sean Connery) has something other than a first strike in mind.

Now getting ready to watch this movie I was all hyped up. I love Sean Connery in any movie, and it actually looked like a reasonably slick thriller with little tweaks of action. Too bad that wasn’t what happened at all.

The film I guess you could call it a thriller, that’s if what your definition of thriller is. If your definition is a movie that has little or no action in the middle and suddenly picks up speed bu the end, with the other 95% of the film all just useless talking, then yeah this is a thriller.

Other than the talking about God knows what with these characters nothing really happens. I felt myself zoning out plenty of times and just bored all together. I mean I know sound pretty stingy but this film just didn’t hold my attention. They play this score music that tries to get you all in suspense when really there was no suspense to begin with, and its just put at random times of the movie.

The acting in this movie is actually the one thing that makes it watchable. Sean Connery as usual does a great job in this film and it seems like he really does try his hardest with this film and actually make a run with it. Alec Baldwin does a good job to and has more effective scenes than Connery which kind of threw me off, but they were still good nonetheless.

By the end of the film there is some CGI that comes into play and I could not help but just laugh at how pitiful it really looked. I thought I was playing a video game or something when that crap came up.

Consensus: Though it has good performances, The Hunt For Red October doesn’t really have much going on and tries to act like a suspenseful thriller when it’s neither.

3/10=SomeOleBullShiiittt!!