Tag Archives: Liam Neeson

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?

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Life’s Too Short

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have done it again, this time exploiting the little people. Or as they like to be called, dwarfs. The dwarven kind in this mockumentary are represented by Warwick Davis, dwarf star extraordinaire. In a fake and awkward version of his true life, Warwick Davis explores what it’s like to have no work, a divorce, and unending amount so debt. And I laughed through every second of it.

Thanks to HBO, this show and Ricky Gervais’ Animated Podcast were brought to my

Let the awkwardness ensue.

attention at the same time. I love both of them and this show was just quicker to finish (other review coming shortly). Life’s Too Short follows Warwick Davis, the person and the character, around for 7 episodes seeing just what kind of mischief he gets into in his typical life. But this isn’t your average Warwick Davis, the lovable Wicket Ewok we see when he was 11 in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. This is something more horrendous.

Now that’s a great pic.

Warwick in this show is a selfish, deceitful, and overall poor sport actor down on his luck. He feels his fame should be giving him more than it is right now and he won’t let anyone get in his way. He has small man syndrome (and appropriately so) and is always offended by midget. I have a fear of midgets usually (saw Chucky too early and connected the two) but when it’s Warwick Davis, you have to love him.

I mean, look at his career. There’s Star Wars, The BBC specials of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series, and the amazing Leprechaun series (I love it and always will. Too funny and classic.) The 10th Kingdom, my favorite, and the Harry Potter series as Flitwick, the Charms Professor. He has a better and more lucrative career than a lot of little people, and people love him for that. I haven’t seen Willow yet (a running joke in the

The creators shunning the little guy. Classic.

show) but I damn well plan on watching it now.

This show highlights everything that Gervais and Merchant wanted to do in The Office. After meeting Warwick in Gervais’ Extras, they started talking about this project. With my hopes up for more than a Christmas Special (come on Season 2…) I really enjoyed this awkward social situational comedy from the masters.

Rosamund Hanson. She’s got nothin goin on… upstairs.

Every episode hits you harder than the last, with some great star appearances thrown in. I must say, I don’t like Johnny Depp, but in this show he really knows how to make fun of himself. Liam Neeson was hilarious (although unintentionally), and Sting was just a dick. I loved Warwick’s dimwitted assistant, Cheryl (Rosamund Hanson) and everything she said and how she said it was pure comic gold. I know it’s wrong to think that when Warwick falls over during the show is the funniest part, but it’s one of those old gags you never get tired of seeing. Warwick himself was funny, but he knows how funny it is for a little person to struggle in normal everyday things.

Critics said this show was too awkward and similar to The Office that Gervais and Merchant were just getting lazy. Sure they were lazy. But they were lazy with a formula that was going to work from the

The toilet troll emerges!

beginning no matter what. I sincerely relish awkward moments in TV and movies (especially real life) and seeing a show that focuses on it to the point of painful, that’s spot on comedy. The drier and darker the better. Although I did at some points want Warwick to win some of the moments in life, it just wasn’t in the cards. Oh well, you win some, you lose most.

So with an awkward show like this and a dwarf who can poke fun at themselves, it’s fun to watch a car wreck comedy. Don’t wanna look, but can’t stop. Oh, and here’s the real Warwick for ya, just so you know where he’s coming from. Enjoy just like I enjoyed Series 1. 8.6 out of 10.

 

 


Wrath of the Titans

I had never seen the first of what may be a trilogy. I had no expectations for the second one. My friend asked me to go see it and so I did. And I have mixed feelings about Wrath of the Titans. A movie series sparked from the 1981 version, this is just one of those typical action movies. It may have some flair and epic qualities to it with its mythology come to life for Perseus, but I’m not really sure where this series is headed. I’ll just let time and some 3-D/CG effects ride the tide until the next Kraken-like creature bubbles up from the Netherworld.

What guy doesn’t like a bit of mythology with his films? I enjoyed it somewhat, but I wasn’t sure how accurate the film was to the myths. You got your Zeus (Liam Neeson), your Poseidon (Danny Huston), and you got your Hades (Ralph Fiennes). Throw in some Sam Worthington for good measure and you got yourself a film about defeating a Titan. Although it is strange this series is following the titling of Star Wars, I won’t complain too much. What I don’t get is where people get off considering Sam Worthington a quality actor. He’s good in what he does in action films, but I dunno if Avatar gave him a big head or not. Same goes for you too Thor…

Metaphor for acting career? (Hint, it’s a struggle.)

So this movie takes place a decade after Perseus killed the Kraken (thanks Wikipedia). He’s got a son now and that damn kid can’t stop crying and making all these weird faces and noises throughout the film. Even when he’s supposed to be brave at the end, he ends up yelping like a beaten dog. Where did they find this kid? So he is almost killed by the initial attack on Perseus’ shanty town by a pair of Chimeras. This scene was rather basic and didn’t really get me too hyped up yet. It doesn’t really look like Perseus/Worthington is in rare form yet and hell, it doesn’t look like he’s interacting with the beasts at all. Heads up there Warner Bros., you’re behind the ball on that new wave tech shit.

A couple of old bro’s slanging some magical spells.

Meanwhile, in the Netherworld, Kronos, king of the Gods is all tied up by his snotty young hoodlum children. But there’s a twist! Hades and Zeus’s son Ares (Edgar Ramirez) are planning on draining Zeus in order to unleash Kronos and reattain immortality. They’ve become weak because of some comment on religion and how paganism isn’t popular anymore. Things get heated and its up to Perseus, a scraggly, yet funny Agenor the Navigator (Toby Kebbell), and Andromeda (Rosamund Pike). Of the three, I’d place my best bet on Agenor. That Toby Kebbell is a relaxed, naturalistic actor who I now appreciate because of this movie. He definitely deserved his father’s trident for that one.

So there are some cyclops, some lava slanging behemoths, and some molten crusted, two-headed beasts. I would almost say that the trailer built up the movie a bit too much for how much they suggested was action in this film. There’s even a disappointing fight between Perseus and the Minotaur in this film! That beast is just as big as Perseus is, how is that possible? But there’s a lot of old man Zeus grunting and some anticlimactic fighting in what is a strange ending with Perseus and Pegasus. Worthington passes on the torch to his son and one of the only things I can say about this movie is that Gods died in this movie. Who is gonna be left to make this a trilogy with so many mythical beings gone? We’ll see if Titans makes a strategic move and decides to pit Christianity against Paganism. I’d watch that. For this, I’ll give it an entertaining watch with a 4.6 out of 10.

Set him free Sam, set him free…


Unknown: The Unrelated Sequel to Taken

As with Taken, Liam Neeson leaves his comfort zone yet again as an action star. This classic Irish actor assumes the role of an American with a sophisticated upper class NorthEastern accent to kick some more ass. I don’t know how this all happened, but out of nowhere, Liam Neeson became a huge action star at the ripe old age of 56. It may have started in 2005 with Batma Begins, who knows. But the world (Hollywood) decided it was time for a 50+ year old man to be the star of oh so many action films. In his latest to be released, Liam Neeson plays Dr. Martin Harris, a biochemical engineer on a getaway convention in Berlin, Germany.

With The Grey to be released soon, I had to see Unknown before I could begin to handle Neeson bottle knifing wolves in the forest wilderness of Alaska. (I think that’s where it is…) By the suggestion of my mother (weird it isn’t just my own volition, huh?) I sat down with some Taco Bell and delved into something I wasn’t entirely ready for.

Aww, what a quaint father and daughter... I mean couple...

Dr. Martin Harris is a well to do scientist in Germany on business. He has decided to take his wife Elizabeth (January Jones) on this wonderful little convention at a well to do hotel in Berlin. (My mother suggested this movie to me because I speak German decently and enjoyed Germany.) Upon arrival, Martin Harris (he will frequently and forcefully refer to himself as such throughout the film) forgets his briefcase at the airport. Catching a cab back to retrieve it, Harris is involved in an unfortunate accident that takes him off a bridge (homage to Bourne Supremacy insert here) and loses his memory (continue Bourne reference).

WHO AM I? My age has restricted my memory...

Upon waking up in the hospital, Harris can’t seem to explain to the doctor just who he is or what he’s doing there. With a bit of probing, it all starts to come back to him. He is Dr. Martin Harris and he must get back to the hotel for the conference he’s been unconscious three days for. So he books it to the hotel with a stern message from the doctor and finds his wife. But his wife doesn’t recognize him. And there’s a man there, claiming to be Dr. Martin Harris (Aidan Quinn).

In his polite and assuredly forceful rage, Liam Neeson begins a Alzheimer’s induced rampage all over Berlin. He runs into the fraud of himself multiple times and argues semantics with his past that this man can spew back at the same exact time. This is where it gets weird. You think there’s a sci-fi/fantasy twist, but hold your breath, it’s something not as strange. But it does seem like The 6th Day right? Someone in my house eating my birthday cake with my child, right? It’s uncanny. And yet, it almost seems to actually be the delusion of some old man running into another old man and rambling like old men.

A love made in... Berlin?

The movie has some good action scenes, but with the unfortunate comparison to Taken, it’s just not as good. Liam Neeson elegantly and kindly stumbles around Berlin attempting to find out just why he’s so crazy. His logical mind kicks into full gear and recruits an ex-Nazi intelligence man, Ernst Jurgen (Bruno Ganz). This guy seems like a hardass and, with the way Liam Neeson’s career is going into action films, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Ernst karate chopped a few necks of his own. Harris (Neeson, they’re interchangeable) recruits the help of a renegade Turkish woman who was driving his taxi Gina (Diane Kruger) and strangely falls in love with her. It’s all just bizarre.

Get out of here J.J., you're terrible.

This movie, like Taken, takes cues from the Bourne series amongst other things. Car chases and explosions, intense fight scenes with a lady present, it’s got it all. What is doesn’t have is an element of romantic chemistry I felt it was going for. Liam Neeson is attempting to fight for and win back a wife who is 26 years younger than him. Sure, love comes in all shapes and sizes, but you feel absolutely none of that chemistry on screen. He remembers sleeping with her. A bit creepy. Imagining Qui Gon Jinn hooking up with Padme Amidala is a bit more realistic. When this movie started, I thought it was Taken 2, and Neeson was accompanying his daughter January Jones (funny, she’s born Jan. 5th…) to Berlin for a proper European vacation. I was sorely mistaken. And disappointed.

It’s unfortunate I have to compare this to Taken. Based on the novel Out of My Head by Dider Van Cauwelaert, I found the premise and plot to be quite well paced and interesting. The casting is just too piss poor. With this new stigma of placing Liam Neeson in the wrong roles, there is a translation error. An unfortunate one that must be corrected. We should’ve stopped at Taken. A paltry 5.1 out of 10.

Oh, and January Jones is a terrible actress. Frank Langella was good though for his small part.

Time to get you chop on. Maybe in The Grey...


Taken: Liam Neeson Will Chop Your Neck

So this great little film appeared to me when it first came out to be a joke. I thought, “How could this movie be serious? Liam Neeson, a late 50’s year old man running around destroying people? No way…” But it was the truth. This movie came out with the full intention of blowing people’s minds. And, coming on the heels of the Bourne series, it kinda did. This movie functioned more as a sleeper film and turned into a classic (at least among my friends). I feel its a film most action fans can get behind, and I’ve heard talk of a Taken 2. Let’s hope it goes just that far.

So the plot of this movie is quite basic. Recently estranged from his wife and daughter, Byran Mills (Liam Neeson) feels separated and alone from the family he loved and lost due to his work habits. After a birthday party and run-in with a would

Where is my daughter?!?!

be star killer, Mills finds himself right back in the thick of his former lifestyle. And to make it worse, his daughter wants to leave the country with her friend, without adult supervision. Knowing the dangers of the outside world, Mills is hesitant at first, but is ever so gently tricked into letting his daughter go. And what happens? Of course, his daughter is kidnapped and she’s give 96 hours to be found.

But, as we all know, Liam Neeson has a special set of skills that make him a nightmare for men like those who kidnapped his daughter. And “good luck” to him. Will Neeson save the day? Watch the movie to find out. I find the abandoned father come back to save his little girl the most endearing part of this movie. (Not a emotional movie to begin with, but still.) The reconnaissance and lucky breaks that Neeson catches with finding his daughter is almost to good to be true, but I suspend my belief. (I mean, he found his daughter’s jacket at a construction site whorehouse by a random conversation? Right…) Other than that, this movie is pure and simple badassery.

Not even the French government will stand in his way.

Not much to say about acting or the stunts, it was all legit. Liam Neeson gave a powerhouse performance as a seasoned actor will naturally do. Maggie Grace gave a good performance as Mills’s daughter Kim, and Olivier Rabourdin gives a great performance as the conflicted cop, Jean-Claude. Trust me, some unexpected shizz is gonna go down. Set with a French landscape to fuel the story, this movie is worth checking out. Some scenes will leave you a bit breathless and its all worth it. 7.7 out of 10.