Take Liam Neeson out of Taken and put in say, Steven Seagal, and it's the same movie. The perception of Neeson is not the reality (in this flick). Wasn't there a part where he's handcuffed to a ceiling pipe and he superman breaks it off, knocking a dude out in the process?
Ehh, yes and no. Although there weren't any really serious acting chops for Neeson in this, he did it one hell of a lot better than Seagal ever could have. I agree it became over-the-top pretty quickly, but Seagal? C'mon now.
I saw about half of it. The theater that I saw it in had one of the spools detach (or something like that) and they gave everyone watching a free pass for a movie at another date and I never felt the urge to finish seeing it. One of the reasons for that is, it's kind of a by the numbers Western. If you're familiar with the genre, then you've see the movie before (unless they did something out of the ordinary in the last 30 to 40 minutes or so, but I doubt it). If you really like Westerns, I doubt it will disappoint you.
I saw it and liked it pretty good. It's got a flaw in that it's not as good as either of the two westerns from last year, 3:10 to Yuma, or, especially, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
Part of it's problem is that it can't seem to decide where it stands in the genre. It's not nearly as spaghetti as 3:10, yet lacks the darker edge of Jesse James. It's kind of caught in the middle. It's also got a terrible love interest/triangle written into it with the insufferably annoying Rene Zelwegger.
It's shot really well. It has a lot of that washed out desolate Western look. A lot of long shots paired with tight one shots that make a wester feel like a real western. The general story is pretty interesting. Traveling sheriffs for hire. Not so much the clean up the town posse, but rather a posse for hire from town to town, bound by an odd moral code. But so much of that is lost on the love interest trail that feels like it was put in to draw in more of an audience.
Definitely worth seeing, but if you're choosing between that or the two movies from last year, I'd suggest seeing them first.
It's a great movie, if it were any ordinary director directing it, I feel like it would have just an 'average' movie, however, the way Tarantino put the movie together and organized really was exceptional.
I've been on a bit of a run the past few weeks. I recently saw Gran Torino, Revolutionary Road, and The Wrestler.
I'll be honest, I thought all of them were a bit overrated from what I had expected going in.
Gran Torino I knew had issues with the cast. I was willing to overlook it going in. How many really good young asian actors are out there who can carry a scene with Clint Eastwood. But Eastwood's performance was too over the top for me. He actually growls at people during the thing. And the whole thing is a little spelled out. The poor girl, who wasn't bad, was practically forced to narrate large sequences of it to explain who they were and why Clint didn't like them. The lighter banter stuff was well handled. And the ending makes it worth seeing, but there wasn't really an oscar caliber performance in there.
Revolutionary Road made me think of Family Guy when Peter says The Godfather "Insists Upon Itself". I wonder what he would have thought of this. I'm a prett miserable, bleak guy, but this thing provides so little light that the darkness just doesn't have anything to contrast against. And it's hard to feel too awfull bad for people who seem to only get joy from this misguided notion that they're better than everyone else. Sometimes I get the feeling Leo is doing period pieces from the fifties all the time because he's afraid it's the only wardrobe he can pull off. Kate Winslett is great, in that she's convincing as an undiagnosed bipolar woman trapped in a cycle of depression. I'm just not sure what the point is. Mendes too makes a nice cut of the miserable couple against this sort of oversaturated idylic fifties setting. But frankly all his stuff looks like that. Rent The Ice Storm. It's a more interesting version of the same themes.
The Wrestler. I'm still not completely through soaking this in. On the one hand, I loved it. It's right in my wheelhouse. I went to Wrestlemania I in The Garden. I live only twenty minutes from WWE head quarters, and have friends whose parents worked there. This is right in my wheelhouse as far as my age and my relation to wrestling from that era. Mickey Rourke shows so much genuine emotion during a few sequences, that it's worth seeing for that. Unfortunately, I just didn't think there was enough depth created overall. They don't get to far into anything. There just isn't enough background given with his relationship with his daughter, his relationship with Pam, Pam's relationship with her son. And all that seemed to get in the way of the real relationship the movie was getting at, Ram's relationship for his craft. There's a ton of great emotion, but I found it hard to connect with. It felt a little like watching raw documentary footage. An affect Aranofsky seems to generate pretty regularly for me. I did love the ending.
It's almost become blasphemous to suggest, but I don't think it was the best performance of the year. My choice would be Frank Langella as Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon. The guy was unbelievable. To be fair, I haven't seen The Visitor.
At this point, Frost/Nixon is my choice for best picture, followed closely by Slumdog, and then Benjamin Button. All of which were flawed, but in ways that bothered me less than the other major releases I've seen. I haven't seen Milk either, for the sake of full disclosure.
And my favorite limited release flick this year is Transsiberian. It's got an old Hitchcock feel to it, but on a train. Not really reinventing the wheel, but really well done.
It was also a good year for documentaries. Man on a Wire was way more interesting than I thought it had any right to be.
Good performances all around. I preferred the supporting roles over Brolin, but he was believable as Bush. I also enjoyed how Stone, rather than start off young and work his way to when Bush was in office, decided to do flashbacks throughout the film. Condoleezza Rice was a complete joke in this movie. I guess it was Stone's weak attempt at comedic relief.
Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins. 7/10, before seeing it i would have rated it 5 out of 10. But it was funny ass movie. Thought Martin would come up short. He didnt. Didnt mind watching this. Good for days where nothing is on.
Just saw "In Bruges" yesterday... will give it a 9/10
Brendan Gleeson and Collin Farrel were excellent, I'd give them both a 10/10 for their performance. Ralph Fiennes character was a little too over the top for me, but it worked well for the movie.
The supporting actors where great across the board I thought, especially the co-owner of the hotel and the midget.
I thought the graphic display of violence/gore didn't fit, I'd have liked it better if there was less blood. I'm not the guy who can't stand blood in movies, I have no problem watching the Tarantino movies or even Saw, but it just made me go "wtf" in "In Bruges".
Screenplay, cinematography and score where excellent, though at times music was a little repetetive, but the piano theme was great, and I was absolutely stunned by the use of a classical german song composed by Schubert, which by music alone fits great, but if you understand the german text you only really get the full meaning.
Carter Burwell, who was responsible for scoring "In Bruges" definitely knows what he's doing, I like his work in almost every film he does, which includes most of the Coen brother's movies.