Run All Night – Gritty

Run All Night banner

Liam Neeson must be one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood at the moment. A glance at his output on IMDb shows that he’s never really been short of work, but post-Taken in 2008, he has been utterly prodigious. It’s also interesting to note that the possible preconception of his work during that time is mainly low-budget action affairs, but once again, a glance at that very list shows he’s mixing it up somewhat with the odd comedy role (cameo or otherwise) thrown in for good measure. He’s clearly enjoying a career renaissance of sorts in his advancing years – he’ll be 63 in June this year – which is nothing but a good thing for all those Liam Neeson fans out there.

So onto his latest offering, Run All Night. Rotten Tomatoes tells us this is only 59% rotten from some 120 reviews (to date) while the user rating on IMDb (currently) stands at 7.2 from 3,802 users. This, I think, is more in line with the standing of Run All Night. I was hooked from the first time I witnessed the trailer; what could be more appealing than Mr. Neeson and Ed Harris butting heads over the death of a son? And that’s no spoiler, it’s all in the trailer. Which is a pertinent point, really, as usually when you see a trailer that pretty much shows you the whole film in condensed format, it’s a case of thinking “Well, what’s the point in going to see it now?” (The Gunman anyone?). That wasn’t the case with this particular piece of Hollywood and I think that’s down to the cast on offer and the interest of the premise.

RAN Neeson & Kinnaman

You take the big guy on the left, I’ll just watch!

As is de rigueur with Hollywood at the moment, the audience is asked whether the seemingly irredeemable are worthy of redemption. Come to think of it, these kinds of characters have always appeared in some form or another. I can think of the gangster movies of the 1930’s in particular that questioned the morality of man and whether he is worthy of redemption. The likes of James Cagney in The Public Enemy (1931) all the way to Al Pacino in Scarface (1983) – which itself was a remake of the 1932 original – have presented the audience with an anti-hero. To an extent, Run All Night is the same; Mr. Neeson’s character, Jimmy Conlon, is dealing with personal demons brought about by a life lived on the wrong side of the tracks, but is now given focus through the need to protect his son Mike, played by Joel Kinnaman.

RAN Harris

“You killed my son!”

Run All Night hits all the right notes at all the right times. The three principles are well supported by Boyd Holbrook, Bruce McGill and Holt McCallany (he’s not so embarrassed to be in this one); and it’s always nice to see Vincent D’Onofrio on the big screen, this time as the detective who’s been pursuing Jimmy for the last 30-odd years. All-in-all, Run All Night is a well-paced, well written, gritty piece of cinema that enhances Liam Neeson’s reputation as the older alternative to Jason Statham. Now there’s a two-hander I’d pay good money to see!

Thank you for reading πŸ™‚

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One Word Review recap + stuff!

Phew! And there was I, worried I may not be able to catch 5 films in the space of a couple of weeks. In fairness, I still haven’t seen Jake Gyllenhaal‘s Enemy, but that seems to be on a limited release and it hasn’t reached the homeland of Hertfordshire. 9 movies in 15 days isn’t bad though and I’m still enthusiastic to see more and write more. That’s got to be good. It’s also nice to write a post that isn’t a review, which is maybe why I’m waffling a little bit. Just trying to keep things fresh. It can’t all be a list of reviews and nothing else.

So, for your delight and delectation this morning – in addition to my Whiplash review – I thought I’d have a recap and post a trailer or two. Here goes…

One Word Review recap

Birdman poster v01

BirdmanPerceptive

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Exodus: Gods and KingsVapid

Imitation Game poster v01

The Imitation GameAffecting

Tak3n poster v01

Tak3nCrass

Wild poster

WildPresumptuous

Foxcatcher poster v04

FoxcatcherAbsorbing

Theory of Everything poster v02

The Theory of EverythingMoving

Selma poster v01

SelmaRighteous

Whiplash poster v02

WhiplashResonant

American Sniper poster v02

American SniperPatriotic

Ex Machina poster v03

Ex MachinaIntriguing

Gambler poster v01

The GamblerConfrontational

Kingsman: The Secret ServiceAstute

A Most Violent Year poster v02

A Most Violent YearEngrossing

Paddington poster v01

PaddingtonCharming

And now, here’s a trailer and poster for Sean Penn‘s latest The Gunman.

Gunman poster v01

Ho-hum! Now, don’t get me wrong. This thing’s got a great cast, but a wholly uninspiring poster (they just LOVE Photoshop!) and…

  • Proudly announcing “FROM THE DIRECTOR OF TAKEN” mid-way through the trailer is not a good thing!
  • The trailer has got almost the same running time as the film! I feel like I’ve already seen it and don’t need to go to the flix to see what happens!

So, my interest was piqued but quickly quashed. Of course, I’ll still go and see it, but not because of these promotional pieces.

As for something that did pique my interest and continues to do so, here’s Jennifer Aniston‘s latest Cake. No, it’s not a hot-looking middle-aged woman in a “light” comedy getting down to her undies at every possible opportunity. Although, in fairness, it is kind-of a comedy…well comedy/ drama thing…just watch.

Cake poster v01

This too has a great cast and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen so far. It’s got a James L. Brooks vibe to it and I like that Ms. Aniston is “playing against type“. A somewhat brave move and one which I hope works out. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing it.

And that’s all for today, dear readers. It’s nice to get a piece out there that’s a bit different.

Thank you for reading πŸ™‚

Tak3n – Crass

Tak3n bannerI thought I was plumbing the depths when sitting through 150 minutes of Hollywood religious story telling earlier this week, but little did I know how far I had to go. Be thankful for small mercies. On glancing at IMDb (Thursday 8th January 2015) I’m staggered to see Tak3n rating at 7.8 from some 2731 users! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the first two films – something of a guilty pleasure I suppose – but this is just a film too far.

Here’s what’s wrong with Olivier Megaton‘s *cough* made-up-name *cough* latest three-quel (he also did Transporter 3).

  • No amount of “funky” editing is going to make us believe our 63-year-old protagonist is going to outrun a pursuing Police Officer some 35 years his junior.
  • Using camerawork which looks like its operator is having some kind of “episode” while filming will not make chases – on foot or car-bound – seem more exciting/ faster paced/ dangerous/ you get the picture.
  • Generally, the movie-going public are an intelligent lot, so they do not need reminding through lazy flashback moments how the narrative is progressing and how we got to where we are at any particular point in the film.
  • We are also intelligent enough to spot glaring continuity errors when using vehicles in “action” sequences. There are plenty of those and generally point to lazy filmmaking and/ or a clear need to look after the budget.
  • We do not need a summary of all that has happened at the denouement – although if you arrive at that point in the film, it will have saved you from the previous 90-odd minutes…and that’s a good thing!
  • There’s only so much Liam Neeson can do with material this thin. They must have blown the budget on hiring him and Forest Whitaker!
T Neeson Whitaker

When Liam meets Forest

There’s not that much going on in Tak3n for all its frenetic pacing, which is a shame because, as I’ve already said, the first two were pretty good. They’re now just milking an already dead cow. Here’s hoping M. Besson hasn’t put the wheels in motion for T4ken – do you see what I did there?!?

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Things to see, things to consider…

So, the festive period is over and I’m back on it. Too much turkey, too much turkey dripping on toast (Google it), too much chocolate…still, it was FUN! I never get a chance to enjoy the flix at this time of year – but I’m not complaining – so there’s a bit of catching up to do. What I thought I’d do is give you a little rundown of what I’d like to see and at the same time share some posters with you. Here goes…

Exodus: Gods and Kings – middling reviews and a totally uninspiring ad campaign can’t quash my desire to see Mr. Scott’s latest offering. Here’s some posters to back up my views on big budget posters.

Taken 3 or Tak3nΒ – depending on what poster/ banner you see. Begs the question “Why?” but I’m sure Mr. Neeson knows what he’s doing; or it’s just the wads of cash he was offered that persuaded him. Mind you, Forest Whitaker is in it as well, so perhaps they blew the budget on their fees or… Anyway, it’s actually this poster that I saw on twitter which got me to thinking about this post, so there you go. It’s not groundbreaking but I like the way it’s formatted.

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That’s the “dull” ones out of the way. Now onto the more interesting stuff. Why is it most small budget, sometimes independent features have the most interesting posters? No, I don’t know either. In fact, now I think about it, perhaps it’s the “under the radar” aspect of these kinds of films that warrant the additional effort afforded to the poster campaign. Lay your mince pies (see what I did there?) on these.

Birdman – I’ve been looking forward to this for ages. And the posters are great too. Here’s just one I found on the web. Once I’ve seen it I’ll give you a few more to enjoy. Enjoy.

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Enemy – I’m hoping that Mr. Gyllenhaal is on a roll after the wonderful Nighcrawler. It’s certainly got an interesting premise; I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough whether this one confirms Mr. Gyllenhaal’s ascension to the “A List”.

Foxcatcher – my excitement levels for this one are up there alongside Birdman’s. Here’s hoping. At the very least this poster is wonderful and probably my favourite in this post.

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Phew. It’s a tough ask to see all these in the next couple of weeks, but watching at least 3 from 5 would make me happy. I’ll keep you posted.

Thank you for reading πŸ™‚

 

Jason Statham – he does exactly what it says on the tin!

Statham banner

Currently sitting at no. 173 in IMDb’s STARmeter chart, the legend that is Jason Statham usurps the likes of Arnie (he’s so big we don’t even need to say his surname), Gerard Butler, Liam Neeson and Tom Hanks! I mention these first 3 as a deliberate comparison – Arnie in his heyday was the go-to action star and in their current guises Messrs. Butler and Neeson have a penchant for the Action genre. As for Mr. Hanks, well, he’s a two-time Oscar winner, but while sitting at no. 199, still can’t get a look in on the popularity stakes compared to The Stath! I know these kinds of charts mean next to nothing in the real world, but it is a good indiction of where these actors sit in the “where have I seen him/ her before?/ what else have they been in?” >clicks IMDb< area of our lives. What’s more, you’ve only got to type in the first 3 letters of his first name for the Mighty One to appear at the top of the aforementioned site’s list of suggestions!

Norris

To give his output of films some kind of comparison, I would look no further than the output of the one and only Chuck Norris, albeit with (perhaps) slighty higher production values. If you haven’t seen the Chuck Norris Facts website, with classic statements like “Chuck Norris doesn’t obey laws…the laws obey him“, then check it out – it’s a whole other world of funny. But substitute Norris for Statham and you too can be wearing a shirt that says “Jason Statham doesn’t flush the toilet, he scares the sh*t out of it“. Not wanting to besmirch the great Mr. Norris, I think it’s fair to suggest that The Stath is just as much an action hero now as Mr. Norris was back in his hey day.

Wild Card v2

Why, you may ask, am I giving a Post over to The Stath? Well, there’s two answers to that query. One, the powers-that-be have recently released a trailer for his latest opus. And here it is:

And two, having watched the trailer a couple of times – yes, I am a Jason Statham fan – it got me to thinking. If you’re familiar with The Stath’s canon, you’ll likely agree that the above 100 seconds of trailery goodness ticks all the right boxes when consideration is given to a film starring said action star. Or, it does if you’ve only seen a few of the more well-know ones and while I would call myself a fan, I haven’t seen nearly enough. So, over the coming months I will attempt to view all the films The Stath has starred or co-starred in and proffer my views. Hopefully, it will give me – and by association you, dear reader – a better understanding of where Jason Statham sits in the pantheon of “action movie” actors. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it. Oh, by the way, I do realise that he starred in an Uwe Boll film too. That’s the one I’m least looking forward to viewing.

Thank you for reading πŸ™‚