Tag Archives: lawyer

The Next Three Days

This is one of those movies I had never heard anything about when it was first released, and became pleasantly surprised when I finally watched it. Russell Crowe is usually always a solid actor for me. A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man, Body of Lies, etc. He always comes across as clutch. So why would I have not checked out this great little thriller flick about a desperate man/dad trying to break his wife out of jail? The premise may be a little bit

An actor of ballin’ proportions.

unbelievable, but I always like to believe in a little bit of luck and a stroke of genius.

So the movie starts out on a pretty iffy note. A cat fight between working women. Elizabeth Banks plays Russel Crowe’s wife in this one, Lara Brennan. John Brennan is a well to do educator at a local school (or college, something or other) and loves his wife very much. But she appears to be a bit of a hothead. Arguing about boobs and whatnot, the night ends on a sour note. After the next day and some hours of work later, Elizabeth Banks returns home, finding some suspicious blood on her trench coat. Minutes later she is arrested by the police and charged with the murder of her boss. The hinging evidence on her conviction? A popped button on the “supposed other killer’s” jacket.

A happy family (without Ty Simpkins).

The years start to pass and John and his son Luke (Ty Simpkins) must cope without a wife and mother. Luke seems not to care and dumb old Elizabeth Banks seems tired and can’t even get an appeal. Even with Daniel Stern as your lawyer, Russell Crowe can’t catch a break. So he decides to do the unthinkable. Break his wife out of jail in an ingenious way. With some help from the great convict cameo by Liam Neeson, Russell Crowe has mere minutes to break his wife out and get out of the country. Can he do it?

Obviously I’m not gonna tell you the ending. But Russell Crowe is a straight boss in this film, as his ridiculous commitment to acting

A great scene a la The Fugitive. Looks like Banksy is a little worried about her acting career…

always shines in all his films. Elizabeth Banks, I could go without her being in any other movies. Her blonde and semi-intelligent facade is stellar-ly annoying and without question one of my least favorite actresses. It’s a good thing she’s in jail for most of this movie, because she has next to no screen time. Perfect. Ty Simpkins breaks onto the screen as the catatonic wonder, just as he did in Insidious. That kid could get any job… as a coma victim.

What I liked about this film? The preparation and plot that went into the execution of this film. It’s not really geared around action and drama, it’s more about the cold calculation that goes into doing such a risky thing. He’s almost caught multiple times and he even throws up because of how scared and nervous he is. He’s an average Joe and it

Liam Neeson, talking about breaking out of jail… and finding his daughter… and training Batman… and punching wolves…

shows in his frailty. But he’s a smart guy. And what I loved is that he used research and even Youtube to do some serious damage in the breakout department.

The acting across the board is pretty good in this film. Russell Crowe, ballin’. Elizabeth Banks, regrettable. Ty Simpkins, coma. Liam Neeson, badass as per usual since Taken. They even gave some opportunity to a deaf man who can ride a motorcycle like a boss. One thing that baffles me though is the repeated use of Olivia Wilde. She seems like a beautiful and kind person, but… what the hell? That woman has no remarkable acting skills. Dat shizz needs to stop, and now. I don’t like movies that use eye candy as a selling point. (Ahem *every Megan Fox film ever created* Cough) Oh well…

I tried to believe the situation despite the extenuating circumstances, and it still comes out to be a pretty solidly entertaining film. It didn’t

Could you leave your child at a gas station? All catatonic and whatnot?

do that well by critics’ standards, but to hell with professionally paid critics. I feel like most critics (older people than me, of course) have lost touch with what makes a successful and entertaining film these days. And with a Hollywood machine that makes things for profit, I can say without a doubt that the “art of film” is dead and really never was a factor in my lifetime. I know it’s harsh and critical of me to say, but that’s just how I view films. I am a pretty jaded person about the whole thing, I guess. But I love films anyways. Judge me if you want, let me know.

So I think of The Next Three Days as one of those films you show to new groups of friends every once in a while. It’s a thrill ride with well thought out planning and has a semi-satisfying ending. Comment on what you think about this post, but I’ll give Russell and his ballin’ acting in this one a 8.1 out of 10.

Do you like my North Face?


The Killer Inside Me (2010)

IFC films has brought to my attention another great film I would have otherwise missed. The Killer Inside Me is a gruesomely depicted film, void of emotion, that really showed off how well Casey Affleck could act. Better than his brother, but that’s not hard to imagine. A lot of things struck me in the slowly paced film noir (reminded me of the South’s version of L.A. Noire) about a man spiraling out of control that I wasn’t expecting. You think he was made a killer out of happenstance. You learn something frighteningly different.

Lou Ford (Casey Affleck) is a well to do sheriff in a small podunk town. He’s called out one day to a run down house outside of town in order to force a well known prostitute to abandon her position there. What

A ridiculously twisted performance.

happens is something you wouldn’t expect. This nice boy is smacked across the face and forced to leave. But he finds love, and pain, in the prostitute he brutally beats back. In a sadomasochistic love affair, Lou and Joyce (Jessica Alba) hatch a plan with unexpected drawbacks.

A twisted love affair.

What blew me away in this film was in fact Casey Affleck’s performance. Whenever you are introduced to a character in a film, especially the main character, you want that person to wow you. They’re the person you’ll most likely be following the entire film. And when a character like this who is seen as so traditionally brutal and evil, without an emotion on his face, somewhere inside you wants to root for them. You become so wrapped up in a good actor’s performance that you don’t wanna see it end with them getting caught.

There were some other great appearances in this film as well. The classic Ned Beatty makes an appearance as the rich

Podunk Noir.

villain, Chester Conway. From the outset of the movie, you think he’s the bad guy. But how little you know… Tom Bower from my favorite horror movie, The Hills Have Eyes, makes a great minor role player as the head Sheriff Bob Maples. His southern drawl and terrible drinking problem made him a great comedic relief at times. Elias Koteas, one of those standard character actors makes an appearance as the union leader, Joe Rothman. Ever since I first laid eyes on his acting, I realized Koteas can slip into anyone’s skin and make it seem natural. And Bill Pullman makes a great cameo towards the end as a lawyer. I had a little chuckle with that.

Always gotta look… sharp.

I think what upset a lot of people about this movie (confirmed by Wiki, as usual), is the violence towards women. All of Lou Ford’s sexual interests is beaten to death or near death throughout the film by him. It is in fact hard to watch, but it wouldn’t be a movie about a killer if he never did anyone in… What disturbed me more, personally, is the belt strangling Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson, more than the punches and bruises. The perverse and weird that is meant for behind closed doors, flaunted on camera, and no one mentioned that as a point of discomfort? Oh wait, sex is art and violence in movies is inexcusable… I get the double standard… So where does violent sex acts stand?

This movie, at its core, for me, was about a man losing control of his life. He was a normal person, with some major

Whatcha doing there, Alba?

developmental bumps along the way. He thought becoming a police officer would set him on the right track, but he grew bored. He needed the excitement of the extraordinary and the ability to get away with it as a cop gave him his high. Up until the very end, he felt he could get

Watch the world burn.

away with it. When all was said and done, he still kept his cool and let the world burn around him. It was an eerie film to witness, but made all the more interesting by its brutality and poetic separation from humanity.

If you’ve played L.A. Noire, or love noir films, you have to check this movie out. It breaks away from the genre and sets itself apart as a twisted version of what it sets out to do. It may have upset people who didn’t want to see it, but it may just be right for you to see. Let me know what you think. 9.1 out of 10.


The Woman in Black

I probably shouldn’t have watched this movie so late at night, but not for the reasons you’re thinking. I was falling asleep about 30 minutes in. I awoke for the more scary and chilling parts, but this movie really was your typical, “run of the mill” horror

A “dad” on a mission.

movies. It has the traditional elements (haunted house, ghosts and evil hags) you always see in films, but I think it attempts to rise above the others with one simple element. Daniel Radcliffe.

The Woman in Black is the story of Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe). Somehow a father at 22 (were they trying to pass him off as older with the facial hair?) but playing a 24 year old, I guess it’s not too far off to

The horrors pop up in places you wouldn’t expect…

assume this relationship was possible. A godfather to the son (Misha Handley) he has onscreen? That’s a bit weird… Anyways, Arthur is a lawyer sent to a small town out in the boonies (or British equivalent) in order to settle some business with an abandoned house that was recently vacated (or death-cated, wow, didn’t need to say that…).

While there, Arthur is shunned by the village folk, noticing a

Must… resist… eye…. twitch…

mysterious hint to the air around the town and what they’re trying to hide. With the help of an older gentleman, Mr. Daily (Ciaran Hinds), Arthur attempts to discover what’s wrong with the house and what The Woman in Black truly is. And, I’m telling you, it ain’t all pretty…

They killed Cedric! Wait…

As a whole, the movie isn’t that bad. It has it’s jumps and scares throughout in dark corners and at times you wouldn’t expect. In true haunted house fashion of the 1800’s, there are creepy old dolls (my favorite), squeaking chairs, and ancient vibes that make you feel unsettled because it is a time period so far removed from our own. I like that it chills in the traditional way. Doesn’t mean there aren’t its share of problems.

Daniel Radcliffe was picked, I feel, in order to raise buzz about the film. Plain and simple. It’s a damn shame that movies do this, but I don’t think this movie had anything else going for it anyways. In my opinion, I would’ve picked an older actor to portray a dad, because every fan of Harry Potter that went into this film was anticipating teenager Potter. I did too. And I was

One of the creepier parts of the film…

waiting for his lackluster acting and twitchy left eye to kick in as well… (Watch the HP series, you’ll see it all over every movie.)

The ending was sort of a dud of a twist, or a crappy cop-out. Arthur does what he needs to do. He sympathizes with the Woman in Black and lost his wife, all things that should’ve made him a worthwhile hero in this tale of horror. You were thinking man who conquers true life fairy tale. You get a relentless terror that doesn’t even know when the movie’s actually over. Arthur conveniently finds the clues he needs to solve the puzzle, moving quickly and not allowing any time to ruminate on the conundrum of the film. It’s a straight and away chiller with only a handful of good thrills. You know what’s going to happen

It’s not such a wonderful Wizarding world after all…

before it happens, leaving the plot as crap and the scary moments as the only things holding the film together. I don’t like to judge that harshly, but I have to put my foot down here.

So watch The Woman in Black if you’re not expecting much from a horror movie. If you are a horror fan, I would say steer clear of this one. You only feel disappointed by movie’s end. I give Daniel Radcliffe props for attempting to break the mold, but this wasn’t the movie to start it on. Better luck next time. 4.7 out of 10.


The Change-Up: Surprisingly Heartwarming

From the producers and directors of The Hangover and Wedding Crashers, I expected something a bit different from this movie. I expected the ridiculous situations and grossout comedy duo that has been spewing out of Hollywood since Judd Apatow took up The 40 Year Old Virgin. Something a bit different was sent my way. An outrageous comedy… with a sentimental side. As shocking as that may sound, this 2 hour film had the time to flesh out a relationship to the characters and the concern for the well being of their lives. And coming from a pair of true gold comedy actors (that have the capacity for more than comedy), this movie does deliver well. More so on plot and acting than lines and delivery.

So Dave Lockwood (Jason Bateman) is a married man. He married young and

Two men. Two varying lives.

has a beautiful young daughter and a strange pair of infant twins. Meanwhile, Dave’s friend Mitch Planko (Ryan Reynolds) is a single man, banging all he sees and loving living in his own filth and depravity. Although the two remain friends, they have grown apart somewhat since their lifestyles have taken them away from each other. Dave is a successful lawyer at a major corporation and Mitch is a semi-successful actor. The two’s lives aren’t close to perfect, but they enjoy their situations.

Until one day.

 

So who's who?

Dave and Mitch get together, breaking their routines to catch up on old times and catch a baseball game at a local bar. While there, the two get a little more wasted than ususal. Things are talked about and emotions run high. And then, BAM. Freaky Friday hits like a storm as the two piss into a fountain. By the plot Gods, this seems all too familiar. And yet, it’s the male perspective on the idea of taking a walk in another’s shoes. Word, I can dig that. With the fountain moved (classic Big situation), the two have to live each other’s lives for a while, and re-discover themselves through each other’s eyes.

What really stood out to me about this film was how well Jason Bateman

They play each other. To a tee.

played Ryan Reynolds and how well Ryan Reynolds played Jason Bateman. It’s more the generational issue in Freaky Friday, but in this one it’s more of a body swap of men of the same age. Different habits and personalities are mirrored in this comedy down to, what I would say, is a tee. The anal-retentiveness of Bateman pairs off with the ridiculously callous antics of Reynolds. Having to talk to yourself as the other person was pretty key in this movie, and it was pulled off with a-bomb. (Niceeee.)

Word.

In classic fashion, this movie starts off with some poop jokes and some strange combinations of swear words. (F-knuckles? Are you kidding me?) I’ve started to dislike the invention of swear-catch-phrases as I’ll call them, and this needs to be remedied with some great pop culture references and such, a-la Workaholics (can’t wait to rave about that shizz). The movie moves along with some classic situations and works along with quite a few nudie shots for the guy audience. I watched the unrated version. And yet, I was surprised that, despite not being directed by Judd Apatow, his wife, Leslie Mann, played a part in this movie anddd showed off the goods. It was as┬ástrange as it was comical.

And then you get hit with the friend moving along in life montage, followed by, BAM. 45 minutes of touching connection. Did you see this coming? Nope. Could you imagine Ryan Reynolds in Jason Bateman’s body pulling off

This movie will get touching.

pretending to be a lawyer by watching Law & Order? Not at all. But this all happens. And, in the realm of strange, quirky fantasy, it works. For the first time ever, I connected with Leslie Mann as a decent actress. Coming from a woman who always plays the comical stuck up bitch, this was refeshing. Some “true” tears were shed and the perfect balance of drama and comedy was achieved. From a movie made by The Hangover and Wedding Crasher guys. Weird…

Sorry guys, just for the eye candy. Don't know about that substance...

I gotta say, if this is in the original version and not the edited, there are some great comedy scenes in this movie. Watch out for the twins, that’s a great bit. And Ryan Reynolds’ acting career as it were? That’s what I’m talking about. Every time he pops up, whether it be Cinderella Man or Scary Movie 4, Craig Bierko delivers. This time as a Russian porn star director. What’s good. There are some great lines from Jason Bateman (while being possessed by Ryan Reynolds) and quite a few attractive women in this movie. Not a big fan of Olivia Wilde’s acting though… she’s just an eye candy actress… (Sorry if that offends…)

So, if you’re into dramatic movies, this one will surprise you. If you’re into comedies of the outlandish sort, this movie will please and appease you. With such a satisfying mix with only a few big name actors putting their names on the bill, this really delivers. And yes, this is the Year of the Bateman. Jason Bateman. Solid 8.6 out of 10.

Can you handle the Bateman?