Monday, February 2, 2009
Eh, not bad. That's all I can muster for this decent Liam Neeson thriller. I was worried it was going to be atrocious -- hasn't this movie been delayed forever? -- but I didn't dislike it. Part of the reason why is that I like Liam Neeson a lot. I think most of us are on board the Neeson Express, no? Why doesn't he get more (and better) parts?
This is a fairly absorbing thriller at times. Much of that can be attributed to the Neeson factor -- he gives the movie credibility. There's just enough solid work by the filmmakers and other actors as well.
Plot? Liam Neeson is Bryan Mills, a retired CIA "preventer." We know he's taken part in operations in South America, the Middle East and, oh yeah, Alaska. His old CIA buddies wax nostalgic about his antics. We know the drill. The movie is setting up what a badass he used to be. We've seen the trailers. We know what's coming. His daughter gets kidnapped. Mills has 96 hours to save her. He's going to walk over more than a few dead bodies to get to her. He may live. He may die. But damn it, he's going to save his daughter.
Director Pierre Morel deserves some credit. We've seen movies like Taken before. Yet, I still went "Oh!" a couple times and "Ow!" a few others. There's violence in this film but it isn't overly gruesome.
In its own way, this is a satisfying picture. It has just enough edge and semblance of quality to make it a passable time at the movies. There is at least one really shocking (and welcomed) scene where Mills ruthlessly shoots an innocent person. And here's the thing: I believed it. It worked. It made sense. There's another good scene where Mills impersonates a corrupt official. This act goes on longer than I expected, to the point where I was surprised when he finally takes off his mask.
The performances aren't bad either. I already mentioned Neeson, but there's also Maggie Grace as his daughter. I was struck by how young she looks and acts in this film, particularly after watching her play the older, bitchier Shannon on Lost. Then I realized, Oh yeah, she's an actress! Here she plays a very naive, overly sweet 17-year-old and it's totally believable.
Should you see this movie? Look, these days there aren't many good options out there as far as new movies go. What do you have to lose? I'll put it this way: If you're debating between Paul Blart and this, see Taken.
Theatrical Release:Mar 4, 2009 Limited
Starring: Sergei Makovetsky, Sergei Garmash, Aleksei Petrenko, Yuri Stoyanov
After winning the Foreign Language Film Oscar for 1995's BURNT BY THE SUN, Russian helmer Nikita Mikhalkov added another nod to his résumé with this Academy Award-nominated film. In 12, an... After winning the Foreign Language Film Oscar for 1995's BURNT BY THE SUN, Russian helmer Nikita Mikhalkov added another nod to his résumé with this Academy Award-nominated film. In 12, an 18-year-old boy is on trial for murder, and it's up to a dozen jurors to decide his fate. This Russian drama might bear passing resemblance to the American classic 12 ANGRY MEN, but it's a story deeply rooted in contemporary Russian culture.
Rated: Not Rated
Genre: Education/General Interest
Theatrical Release:Feb 27, 2009 Limited
Director: Ted Schillinger
How far would you go for your beliefs? That question, along with many others, is pondered in this thought-provoking film. The man of the title is on a mission to promote the death penalty in... How far would you go for your beliefs? That question, along with many others, is pondered in this thought-provoking film. The man of the title is on a mission to promote the death penalty in America. As a professor at Manhattan's New York Law School, Robert Blecker champions the importance of capital punishment, espousing the idea that the death penalty is justice for the worst of crimes. But when Blecker meets death-row inmate Daryl Holton, his ideals are put to the test. Daryl Holton committed the atrocious crime of killing his four children (earning him four death sentences), but the man is also well-spoken and he and Blecker bond, even as Blecker supports Holton's death. This complex documentary addresses a variety of issues and goes beyond just the death penalty debate.
Runtime: 1 hr 46 mins
Theatrical Release:Feb 27, 2009 Limited
Starring: Eusebio Benitez, Oscar Borda
Director: Carlos Moreno
Dog Eat Dog, a tale of double-crosses and retribution that's Colombia's official entry to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign-Language Film, plays midnights at IFC Center Friday, January 23 and... Dog Eat Dog, a tale of double-crosses and retribution that's Colombia's official entry to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign-Language Film, plays midnights at IFC Center Friday, January 23 and Saturday, January 24.
El Orejon is an agoraphobic crime boss who lives surrounded by telescopes in a luxury high-rise apartment in the center of Cali, Colombia. When his godson is killed he asks a voodoo priestess to avenge the murder by casting a deadly spell on the shooter, Eusebio. Miles away, Victor is hired by the boss to carry out a job to collect money from a slippery pair of twins. He makes a disastrous decision to break the sacred law of the crime world and keeps the cash for himself. Under suspicion by El Orejon he hides the money in a downtown hotel room which he shares with Eusebio, where they try everything in their power to outsmart the boss and escape the underworld's thick tangle of unpredictable, dangerous alliances. As the stash of money passes from hand to hand, who will have the wits to be the last one standing?
Dog Eat Dog is the first feature from Carlos Moreno, an award-winning television and video director whose work has been featured at festivals around the world.
Rated: Not Rated
Theatrical Release:Feb 27, 2009 Wide
Starring: Kristin Kreuk, Neal McDonough, Chris Klein, Michael Clarke Duncan, Robin Shou, Moon Bloodgood, Edmund Chen, Josie Ho, Taboo, Pei Pei Cheng
Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Capcom's STREET FIGHTER vaults back onto the screen with this film from director Andrzej Bartkowiak (ROMEO MUST DIE). Fanboys can start drooling now over SMALLVILLE's Kristin Kreuk in the role of... Capcom's STREET FIGHTER vaults back onto the screen with this film from director Andrzej Bartkowiak (ROMEO MUST DIE). Fanboys can start drooling now over SMALLVILLE's Kristin Kreuk in the role of high-kicking heroine Chun Li, while Neal McDonough, Chris Klein, Michael Clarke Duncan, and a number of impressive actors round out the rest of the cast.
Rated: PG-13 for mature thematic material, drug content, some violence and sexual situations
Theatrical Release:Feb 20, 2009 Wide
Starring: Tyler Perry, Derek Luke, Keshia Knight Pulliam, David Mann, Tamela Mann, Ronreaco Lee, Ion Overman, Vanessa Ferlito, Viola Davis, Sofia Vergara
Director: Tyler Perry
Tyler Perry dons Madea's floral dress--and prison garb--in this comedy that finds the wisecracking woman behind bars. Fans who saw Perry's last film, MEET THE BROWNS, won't be surprised that this... Tyler Perry dons Madea's floral dress--and prison garb--in this comedy that finds the wisecracking woman behind bars. Fans who saw Perry's last film, MEET THE BROWNS, won't be surprised that this is Madea's destination since she spent that film on the lam.
Rated: Not Rated
Runtime: 2 hrs 15 mins
Genre: Foreign Films
Theatrical Release:Feb 13, 2009 Limited
Starring: Salvatore Abruzzese, Gianfelice Imparato, Maria Nazionale, Toni Servillo, Carmine Paternoster, Salvatore Cantalupo, Marco Macor, Ciro Petrone, Italo Celoro
Director: Matteo Garrone
Matteo Garrone's Gomorrah is a dense, sprawling exposé of the corruption plaguing the communities of Naples and Caserta in modern-day Italy. The all-powerful Camorra syndicate influences the lives... Matteo Garrone's Gomorrah is a dense, sprawling exposé of the corruption plaguing the communities of Naples and Caserta in modern-day Italy. The all-powerful Camorra syndicate influences the lives of even the most innocent citizens. In a manner similar to The Wire, Garrone tells his story from many different angles, resulting in a complicated narrative that often feels novelistic. In many cases, the revolving stories never overlap or intersect. While that may be jarring to those viewers who are used to having their strings tied neatly for them by a film's conclusion, Garrone's decision results in an experience that feels much more honest and true. We witness the syndicate's impact from the top down and from the inside out, following a cavalcade of characters who are all trying in their own ways to escape the deadly world in which they live.
Based on the book by Roberto Saviano, Garrone's crime epic is a powerful indictment of the corruption that is running rampant in Italy. His decision to present such a wide spectrum of characters enables him to show just how deeply everyone is impacted by this terrifying, unchecked display of criminal power. Cinematically, he employs a dizzying array of styles in order to further establish the frighteningly ungoverned atmosphere that pervades this community. Gomorrah succeeds as both visceral entertainment and thoughtful social commentary.
Top Rated Movie Reviews is a personal blog that aims to share online information about latest and upcoming movies. This blog is a collaborative effort of individuals who are currently registered members of other online community sites. Top Rated Movie Reviews does not claim any form of ownership or copyright in the materials found in this blog. Most of the contents featured in this blog come from other sites. The said materials are owned by those sites where these resources are posted.