Tag Archives: police

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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Face: How Clay Can Be Evil

I always thought the idea of facial reconstruction was used for recreating the faces of cavemen and our ancestors. In this movie, the skulls and recreated muscles in clay are used to identify murder victims who have been destroyed beyond recognition. A useful idea I may add (and actually done). But who knew that recreating somebody’s face could awaken an evil demon of the victim. And much more.

With two seemingly parallel story lines intertwining this film into one thread, Face is a horror movie about very specific diseases and using clay to remake a face. The star of

A bit of the fright?

the film, Lee Hyeon-min (Hyeon-jun Shin), is a face recreator who works for the police to catch whoever is murdering people past the point of recognition. Running along this is the fact that Hyeon-min’s daughter is in the hospital for a heart transplant from a very specific donor. Only able to accept Beta donors with similar to identical organs, this movies draws black market organ collecting with a facial recreation expert. When a fellow face creator named Jeong Seon-yeong (Yuh-ah Song) gets involved, things get creepy and horrific.

I’ll make this face to look like me. The Penguin. Muhahaha.

I was thoroughly confused at parts of this movie. Nobody was really given a name and the main actor looked like The Penguin from Batman. By the end, when everything is coming together, you feel you missed some part because the haunting ghost has something to do with something else, and it just all doesn’t make sense. There were some plot holes in this film when it came to the payoff twist.

As far as fright, this film delivered on a distant cousin with the American version of The Grudge. Now that movie is the only Asian horror film whose remake scared me more than the original. The long black hair and pale face with red eyes was reused in this one and was accompanied by some sort of scratching noise or something. But it is kinda sad when you can call every time and how they’re going to

What’s going on here?

deliver a jumpy scene. Through the mirror? Girl looks out the window? Eye in the box? Yep. It lacked a little bit of “Boo.”

It’s not one of those remarkable films you see that are made by Asian directors (this one was Korean) that has more than just fright, it has substance. This one fell short on script and delivery. For me I can never tell how good the foreign actors are, but you could kinda tell in this one. The whole film was pretty much lackluster. It took uninteresting scientific ideas and made them mix somehow. Oh well, better luck next time, Sang-gon Yoo. 4.5 out of 10.

 


The Chaser: Korea Keeps Kickin’ It

Should I ever be surprised now when Korea delivers with another amazingly dark and heart pumping thriller movie? I think at this point I just accept that those Krazy Koreans know just how to do it right. Chan Wook-Park and the Revenge Trilogy, I Saw The Devil, and now The Chaser. I hadn’t heard much about this one, but now I will actively be on the lookout for Na Hong-jin after this one. In his debut film, we are

A pimp pushed to the edge to use his strong hand.

introduced to a sadistic killer and a former cop turned pimp and his desire to get back his employees. With a seedy feeling underneath the whole thing, this movie explores the shortcomings of the justice system in catching what’s right in front of them.

As I said before, Eom Joong-ho (Kim Yoon-seok) is an ex-cop turned more lucrative business owner of a ladies of the night agency. He has recently been sending his ladies to the same man and they don’t seem to be coming back to him. This troubles him (he is losing money, after all) and he starts actively seeking out this man stealing his livelihood. What he discovers is something far worse. Based on an actual serial killer in Seoul, Ha Jung-woo plays Je Yeong-hee, a young and aspiring serial killer being looked for for years. This game of cat and mouse just got more dangerous.

The deranged serial killer. Chilling.

And what I liked about it were the stakes. Yeong-hee admits to the murders and the police find he’s a serial killer they’ve been looking for for a while. Eom Jonng-ho brings him in (well, he beats him in) and demands they arrest him and find his women. But there is a justice dilemma that favors Yeong-hee. There’s no evidence, and he was beaten severely, against fair and humane punishment laws. He was treated poorly and, without a warrant, they can’t hold him for very long. With a ridiculous police scramble for evidence, Eom Jonng-ho uses his police skills from way back when to find the conviction.

That’s a pretty good hog-tie right there.

This movie is very twisted in the same way that it is a bit more refined and elegant. There’s not too many bloody dismemberment scenes or gory, blood spurting elements to it. It’s very brutal with the beatings and depravity of it, but it holds back on the reigns when it comes to showing things. It is more of a Streets of Seoul type of film than having to do with a slasher film. The police and “ex-police” call the shots and do all they can to uphold justice. It was an interesting change of pace.

The justice beatdown dance.

A lot of the Korean actors in this film I wasn’t familiar with from other films. The daughter, Eun-ji was from Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, but that was about all I recognized. It was nice to see new faces that I can start to follow like I do with Choi Min-sik, Lee Byung-hun, and Song Kang-ho. Those guys are really legitimate good thriller/action actors, and I’m glad their work is recognized, even over here.

What I don’t appreciate is the fact that U.S. movie makers in Hollywood think it’s cool to remake these movies in a more American way. They’re planning to remake The Chaser with Leo DiCaprio as the leading man. Martin Scorsese in the the talks for directing. It’s gonna be an Infernal Affairs/ The Departed situation all over again. The original Asian make was just fine, why go and jumble it up with a poor remake that attempts to improve on the one before? Is it that

He has a very Choi Min-sik feel to him in this film. Think Oldboy.

Americans don’t wanna watch Asians and read subtitles or something. Come off it then…

But I loved this movie. It’s dark with all the right amounts of thriller/gory/horror/action/police work that you want in a psychological thriller like this. There’s some powerful acting and a chilling, “you gotta hate me” performance from Ha Jung-woo playing the serial killer. It has a good I Saw the Devil feel to it as well. Keep it coming, Korea, you gotta love all these dark Asian films. 8.9 out of 10.


Hobo With a Shotgun…

Okay, let’s try to tackle this cacophony of a train wreck with scene after scene making me yell out loud, “WHAT.” How do I even approach this? I think a good review of this would be to analyze the plot to really dig into the absurdity that is Hobo With a Shotgun.

Shot in the style of Grindhouse/Pulp Fiction/all of Quentin Tarantino’s crap, I really wish Jason Eisener had gone for a more original approach to this film. But hey, it’s a style people like that pisses me off, but that’s cool… I guess…

Anyways, plot. Hobo w/ a Shotgun (Rutger Hauer) rolls into a dead end town with no real goal other than to buy a mower. I know, you’re already wondering, “What the freakin’ Hell?” Suspend your disbelief, please. Hauer ain’t gotta have a purpose to buy a lawn mower. Anyways, first thing Hobo encounters, Drake

Why does this movie exist?

(Brian Downey) and his sons, Slick (Gregory Smith) and Ivan (Nick Bateman) have taken some dude and hung him by a manhole cover like a noose. Legs all hanging in the gutter and the manhole cover cheesily bending to allow him to move, they attach a barb wire noose around his neck and use Drake’s car to decapitate the dude. I thought, “Okay, I can roll with this.”

Rutger Hauer, you unbelievable bastard...

Then, Hobo gets pissed when his can cart gets picked off by Drake’s car. And Drake owns this town.  So you can be sure the final confrontation will be between Rutger Hauer, one of the strangest men in Hollywood, and Brian Downey, a no name actor. And for shame, former Disney Channel star Gregory Smith, you deserve to get your penis shotgunned off.

Drake, you sneaky old cod.

So Hobo roams around this shithole town, knowing that justice needs to be delivered. Who’s gonna do it? It’ll be him, but we have to wait 45 MINUTES FOR THIS. Crap. Slick takes this hoe (Molly Dunsworth)  back to his arcade full of cocaine and Hobo rescues her in the nick of time with his hobo prodding stick. After turning Slick into the police and expecting justice, Slick and Ivan screw his life up a bit more and toss him into the trash. (Insert retarded cheesy line here.) Being found by the prostitute who never makes a buck the entire movie (she was currently being talked to by a cop who wants to hurt himself more than have sex), she takes him back to her decent house with an empty picture frame and gets lectured about the majesty of bears.

I must be dreaming this scene can't be real...

Hobo goes to buy his lawn mower after recuperating and eating glass and witnesses a robbery at the pawn shop. So what does he do? Buys a shotgun and shoots every following bad guy in the stomach. Classy. Rutger Hauer mumbles the entire film and you’re supposed to understand his mindless ramblings. Didn’t get a damn word. Not a one.

There are some more lines about skate rape, a bus full of burn victim children, a town lynching of hobos, and then a final confrontation between these two

The useless prostitute, Abby.

juggernauts in full armor and prostitute with soldering iron skills. The town gangs together to rally the Hobo, the prostitute runs train on the juggernauts, and Hobo gives a touching speech to a hospital room full of frightened babies. People die, Hobo kills Drake, police gun down Hobo, credits roll in the blood. Moral of this waste of time story? Don’t let Hobos near any run down cities. Don’t let them buy lawn

Rutger Hauer. Scaring babies for far too long.

mowers or cart around tipsy shopping carts. Or even be in movies. (Other than Japanese ones.) I gotta say it, but despite the ridiculous antics of this film, I didn’t once laugh. I was distressed and felt like I was on a bad acid trip. Complete 0 out of 10. This truly was a skate rape.


Rolling Kansas

This stoner film classic (a title I wouldn’t normally give this film, but apparently is its category/genre) is a movie I’ve been aware of for a while and have watched at least a dozen times on Comedy Central. Sitting down to watch it, uncensored for a baker’s dozen made it all the more satisfying. This outlandishly dull/dark comedy film with its underlying marijuana jokes (by that, I guess I mean jokes that would be found funnier if high) and hilarious insults, this movie kicks a lot of ass. And takes no names. Well, it takes some. But this film incorporates the great tribute to the comedic road-trip (i.e. Dumb & Dumber) and ridiculous occurrences (i.e. Meet the Spartans/any spoof movie with random appearances of randomness) and molds these two concepts into one great head trip of druggie proportions. But at the same time, it works for non-stoners like myself, with its hilarious actors.

So Dick Murphy (James Roday, star of Psych) is a down on his luck T-shirt decal shop. He’s been recently broken up with, repossessed, and poor. With nothing else to ride on, him, his brothers, and a few college friends take on the enormous

The Murphys and some strippers. Rolling hard.

task of stealing a bunch of weed from a U.S. growing site that their hippie parents used to frequent. With obstacles and hardships aplenty, its a wonder they get anywhere at all. I mean, come on, geese that attack at the provocation of a car horn. Damn, dirty goats? It all adds up to a failed trip in the making.

But no, these 5 determined men won’t give up at all in their quest for the nugs. Despite police, border patrol, and an unkind Southern hermaphroditic waitress, these men will stop at nothing to make bank with bud. After every scene, every line, I find something new and funnier to laugh at. Despite seeing it so many times, the movie just gets better with age, like a fine wine. I tip my hat Thomas Haden Church (Sideways and Spider-Man 3 actor, but more importantly Brendan Frasier’s antagonist

A couple of great scenes. Who knew?

in George of the Jungle) the director and writer and 2-part actor in this film for the ages.

There are some hilarious not well known actors in this film. Sam Huntington plays the crippled and angry Dinkadoo Murphy, better known as “Dinkus”. Although he has been getting more work since this and his other smaller bit roles in a few comedies, I find Sam Huntington to be far funnier than he is given credit for. Dinkus’s character is no different with his hilarious outbursts and insult thrown at anyone who pisses off the boy in the wheelchair. Charlie Finn plays Kevin Haub, confused and slightly retarded friend of the Murphys who battles the entire movie with the idea that he might be gay (inset horn sound here). This clueless character is unlike any I’ve seen before, and I could only liken it to Dumb & Dumber. Ryan McDow plays (as a one time role) Hunter Bullette, the anti-social narcoleptic with a kind soul but hulking whale body. Filling out the cast in Rip Torn, known simply as Oldman, the messiah who leads the boys to the promised land of Mary Jane. Rip must be a natural comedic actor, because ever since Dodgeball, I’ve seen him in EVERYTHING.

With such a great cast and such a simple idea, this movie is definitely worth a few views. High or sober, it doesn’t matter, I’m sure it can be appreciated by everyone. With the pursuit of a dream and some major bones, this film brings the American West into perspective painted on a faux-highway of gold bricks. With nothing safe, why wouldn’t you risk your entire livelihood for weed?


Death Note: Simply Amazing

So this is one of the best anime I’ve watched. Ever. I mean hands down ever. I think this should be a mandatory requirement for all anime fans to watch. In one sitting. I had to load episodes from the internet, but I loaded them 1o at a time and would site for 3 hours watching al 10. This show blew my mind. It has the most intricate plot with twists and turns. It’s one of those pieces of art that you watch and you have to choose a side. (Clearly there’s only one side to choose in this anime.) But it’s harder than that. It’s about morality.

Light vs. L. Who will win?

Ethics. The worth/cost of a life. And whether or not it is just to take a life in the pursuit of justice and goodness. And if humankind can itself be gods.

So this anime is about Light Yagami (Brad Swaile). One day this 17 year old student, top of his class, suave, genius prodigy finds this notebook. And in it are instructions. If a name is written in this book with the persons face in mind, that person will die of a heart attack in 40 seconds. If a cause of death is established in those 40 seconds and the

Light Yagami. God of the New World.

details written in 6 minutes and 40 seconds, then the person will die that way if the means of that death can be accomplished. This is basically disregarded by Light as some ridiculous joke. Until he tries it. Then Light is thrust into a world of possibilities no one before could possibly imagine. And, using this Death Note, Light will become the God of the New World.

There is some baggage that comes with the Death Note. A Death Note can only be found by a human on Earth if it is dropped by a Shinigami. These quite strange, queer, funny creatures come from “limbo” as best I can figure. Their world is dissolving and Ryuuke

Ryuuke. He likes apples.

(Brian Drummond) has grown tired of the days of gambling bones and sleeping. He hungers for intrigue and excitement, and nobody better than Light can give that to him. Light’s attitude towards the power to kill brings surprising results. Light only kills criminals. Ryuuke follows him around, unseen by humans other than Light, for only humans who have touched the notebook can see Shinigamis. And it is Ryuuke’s duty to remain on earth with Light until it is his time to leave Light upon his death.

And from there the show picks up. Light soon becomes Kira (the Japanese pronunciation of Killer. Stereotypical right?) and creates a following. But the justice system won’t stand for that shit. They’re gonna put a stop to him right? So L(Alessandro Juliani), the greatest investigator/crime solver in the world, better than the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew combined, will do just that. And the chase begins. From here, the twists and mind games that’re played throughout the show display the amazing mind behind Tsugumi Ohba, creator of the manga.

I love Light Yagami. Thank you Brad Swaile.

Let me just say that my explanation/review of this anime comes nowhere near doing it justice. Although this anime was picked up by a Canadian company for dubbing, this doesn’t detract from the quality. Canadian voice actors are just as good as American voice actors. Case in point: Light Yagami’s voice actor, Brad Swaile. This guy must rock the mike when he’s recording. His manical laughs, his brilliantly intelligent air about him, it all fits the character. To a tee. Forget watching the subbed version, this guy brings this show home himself. Also of notable mention is Alessandro Juliani, the voice of L. Although his noises when interacting with food may seem off-putting, it enhances the strangeness that is L. L’s character is quirky and cold, intelligent and funny, but, to me, altogether annoying. And that’s why I chose the side of Light. Okay, not just because of the voice acting. To put my own opinion out there, Light’s sense of justice and genius mind are completely superior to L. In every way. Besides that, yes, L is respectable. But altogether inferior. But that’s where the dichotomy of the show comes from. And that’s why I enjoy the battle of the minds so much.

Also of notable mention in the voice acting department is Brian Drummond,  the voice of Ryuuke. All these Shinigami have sort of a grating, holier than thou, tone of voice to them and Ryuuke is no exception. Although he may play the part of jester, Brian Drummond brings an almost threatening aura to Ryuuke that makes him seem capable of anything being a God of Death. Chris Britton also gives a great performance as Soichiro Yagami, Light’s father. (I’m not gonna go into details about him, you must watch!) The grave, business air of Soichiro is what gives a respectable dignity to himself. Chris Britton’s caring and

Soichiro Yagami. Badass Dad.

intelligent voice lends itself to the character and really helps to envision a father worried for his family. Vincent Tong gets my honorable mention as Touta Matsuda, the goofy, caring, blundering police investigator of the Kira case. (This is inevitably what develops from Light’s mass killings of criminals.) He cares about the case, but he’s young at heart and this comes through strong and clear from Vincent Tong’s performance, making him an endearing character.

Teru Mikami. You'll see...

Another boss character from Death Note with a great voice actor is Kirby Morrow as Teru Mikami. (Now I can’t go into detail about this character, but look out for him!) Kirby does a great job of a devotional character willing to do whatever it takes for justice. Take that explanation as you like it. This show’s also great because there’s a culture crossover with Americans involved as well. And this shows itself in Raye Penber, voiced by Michael Adamhwaite. Adamthwaite (although a minor character) gives a great performance being an English speaking actor doing a English speaking character (not having watched the subbed, I don’t know exactly how this crossover works) and is quite the interesting character with a humble background.

But enough about voice actors. I could go on for far too long. The art is great too. It’s subtle dark colors mixed with flickering lights and dark corners gives it that seedy underbelly, nobody is who they say they are, investigation feel. This show is dark. I mean, come on, it’s about death. Characters are messed up in this show. But it’s all about the intelligence, it’s about the wording, and, most importantly, it’s all

Oh, did I mention there are live action movies?

about the deductions. The Shinigami, although otherworldly, become believable in this setting that seems it could never happen. I was never surprised or in disbelief by this anime, because it makes the impossible, possible. And that’s where the magic comes from.

So watch this show. Please check it out. It’s well worth its weight in gold. This show sets the bar unbelievably high for anime, and I think could make the jump into pop culture. Or, I wish it would. Love it, love it, love it. 11 out of 10. (Because I can.)

Oh, and this anime has one amazing intro. Check it (if you’re a metal fan).