Posts Tagged 'liam neeson'

The Early October Update

Helluuuur! Yeah yeah, it’s been awhile, I know. I haven’t had much to say over the past couple months, so by extension I haven’t had much to share. But I have seen a buttload of good movies of late, and figured it was time for a review dump. I’ve got some recommendations for yo ass, so pay attention.

GONE GIRL

Gone Girl poster

The 3-year wait between David Fincher films (his last was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in 2011) has been excruciating, even if we did get two Fincher-directed House of Cards episodes last year on Netflix. But he’s finally back, all is right in the cinematic universe, and of course he has not disappointed with one of the mostly hotly anticipated films of 2014. Why do people like me worship this man’s work so much? It’s not too complicated. When people say the first job of a director is to know what he or she wants, David Fincher is the embodiment of that. If you’ve watched the A+ special features on any of Fincher’s movies, you know what I’m talking about. I have learned so much about the filmmaking process just by watching this man work, and I’m grateful to him for having been so open with his audience. I can’t wait to get Gone Girl on Blu-ray and spend hours poring through the bonus content. He also does some of the best, most informative commentaries you’ll ever listen to. He’s one of the most consistent and talented filmmakers alive, and he hasn’t made a bad movie since his first movie, which was 22 years ago. That’s something worth admiring, methinks.

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Quick Reaction: TAKEN 3?!? Can Liam Neeson: The Actor, Be Saved?

Liam NeesonGimme dat Neeson Money. Sheeee-it.

Unsurprising, but altogether disappointing news broke early last week. Liam Neeson has agreed to again reprise his role as Bryan Mills in a third Taken movie. You know, that one you’re so desperate to see. At first, this may seem strange due to the fact that Neeson himself has publicly and repeatedly said he wasn’t interested in doing any more of these movies. He didn’t really want to do Taken 2 (and it showed in the finished product), but couldn’t resist the $10-15 million payday (the amount varies depending on your source). He was paid $1 million for the first film, which clearly wasn’t intended to start a trilogy. Now, it’s massive piles of cash once again bringing him back to the table, and this time he’ll reportedly reach the fabled $20 million salary plateau rarely seen in this age of franchise-driven, “it doesn’t matter who’s in it” studio tentpoles. Read the story over at Deadline HERE. My reaction follows…

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Review: 85th Academy Awards

olly-moss-oscar-poster

First things first, if you haven’t yet seen that Oscars poster above by Ollie Moss, I insist you click on it and check out the full-sized version. Absolutely amazing. He re-interpreted the Oscar statue to represent every Best Picture winner. Some of them are very clever.

I love watching the Oscars every year, because I love movies more than I love drawing breath. I’m not one of these a-holes who complain about how long the show is every year (because I don’t mind it being long), I don’t overanalyze the host’s performance, and I don’t watch for the fashion (unless someone/something really sticks out, see below). I watch it as a celebration of excellence in movies, and as an aspiring filmmaker, it never fails to inspire me in that regard. That said, I do have thoughts on the show each year, and for the first time on this blog, I thought I’d share those with you. Here is the good, the bad, and the ugly of the 85th Academy Awards.

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Review: LINCOLN

I typically don’t do a full review for a movie unless there were several things I liked and didn’t like. I like to share the good and the bad. Lincoln, however, is not such an instance. I have zero major complaints about the film. It’s actually one of the few 2012 films that actually fully lived up to expectations. As of this writing, I believe it is the best movie of 2012. That doesn’t mean it will stay that way when it’s all said and done, but as of right now, Steven Spielberg is on top of the hill yet again. It’s his best movie since Munich in 2005, and since he’s been my favorite director for almost 20 years now, I’m ecstatic to see he’s still capable of this, because it’s been awhile since he’s blown me away.

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Review & Perspective: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

The Dark Knight Rises arrived in theaters as my most anticipated movie of 2012, and if I think about it, one of my most anticipated movies EVAR. As in, top 5 on my “keeps me up nights I’m so excited to see it” list, right up there with The Phantom Menace, The Matrix Reloaded, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers & Return of the King, Spielberg’s War of the Worlds and the first Transformers. That’s not an official list, but it gives you some historical comps. It’s been four long years since The Dark Knight rocked our socks with its awesomeness (it remains the best comic book movie ever made), and even though Christopher Nolan has continued to shit greatness in the interim (Inception), ever since 2008 I was always more excited about any and all news regarding his third Batflick. What’s the title gonna be? Who is the next villain to get the Nolan Treatment? The instant I walked out of that theater in July, 2008, I was wondering how soon Warner Bros. would announce a release date for the followup. And it didn’t happen. Forever. Even as The Dark Knight broke the almighty 3-day opening weekend box office record (which has since been topped twice by two 3D-enhanced juggernauts, Harry Potter 7-b and The Avengers), went on to gross more than $500 million domestically and just over a billion worldwide. Nowadays, when studios get results like that, they announce the release dates for the next 3 movies in a series. But it wasn’t until April 30, 2010 that they announced the release date (which I correctly predicted in 2008 would be in 2012), and the Dark Knight Rises title wasn’t announced until October 27, 2010. I remember being hugely underwhelmed by the title choice (Huh? You’re just gonna add one word to the title of the last movie? was my reaction at the time), but I trusted that it would all make sense once we saw the film. And even with all the trailers and ads prior to release, you don’t fully come to appreciate the title until literally the final shot of the movie, at which point it does in fact make perfect sense…as I thought it would. Continue reading ‘Review & Perspective: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES’

Review: WRATH OF THE TITANS

Fuck it. I’m just gonna say it. I loved Wrath of the Titans. It was awesome. I ate it up. It was better than its predecessor (I know, that isn’t saying much), and it blew away the very low expectations I had for it going in. And now I will attempt to justify that opinion, because I can already feel you looking at me funny. Don’t judge me.

DISCLAIMER: I fully admit that my admiration for and enjoyment of Wrath of the Titans may have been artificially enhanced by the fact that 3 of the 4 trailers that ran before it were Prometheus, The Hobbit and The Avengers. The euphoria of seeing those awesome trailers in rapid succession may have clouded my vision for the following couple hours. If the Dark Knight Rises trailer were also attached to it, I may have just left immediately after the trailer reel. It would have been too much of a nerdgasm to handle. As such, I reserve the right to change my opinion on a second viewing of Wrath, if that viewing comes when I’m cinematically sober.

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SAILORS vs. ALIENS: Can we talk about the BATTLESHIP trailer for a minute?

Alright, so Universal Pictures, director Peter Berg, and writers Erich Hoeber & Jon Hoeber have turned this:


Note the women in the kitchen doing their patriotic duty.

into a $200 million movie that looks like this:

What the fuck was that?, you ask? Well, I don’t have that answer. Now, right off the bat, trying to turn a board game into a piece of narrative cinema is no small task. I’ll grant you that. And it’s been a long time since we’ve seen a film with some real badass naval combat, mostly since it also hasn’t happened in the real world in about 70 years. We’ve never seen naval combat between human battleships and alien battleships. So…there’s that! When this project was announced last year, I purposefully avoided pretty much every piece of news about it, because I wanted to wait for a trailer to find out just how in the world they would turn this board game into a movie. Until this trailer debuted, I had completely forgotten who was in the movie. I just knew it was directed by Peter Berg, who has some experience with big summer movies, having last directed Hancock.

Alright, so the plot they’ve come up with is “formerly promising Navy officer-turned-renegade earns back his respect and honor by fighting off an alien sea invasion, all the while trying to convince his commanding officer that he’s the right guy to marry his supermodel daughter.” Does that about sum it up? I can’t wait to see how they explain why these alien ships were just floating there dormant (immune to radar and sonar detection), and all it took to wake them up was a human touching it in just the right spot. Oooo! The magic touch causes one ship to wake up, it sends a signal into space that apparently encloses what looks like the Hawaiian islands in some kind of dome, and then several other ships emerge from the depths, slingshot out of the water into the air, then splash back INTO the water to confront a U.S. fleet. Huh? Oh, never mind. BATTLESHIP!

One of the things I’m most annoyed by here is that in the past year and a half or so, Hollywood has completely played out my favorite subgenre, the alien invasion, and this will be about the 48th movie or TV show recently to showcase attacking aliens. Enough already! Even I don’t want to see another alien invasion story for about a decade. In this case, I’m just wondering how the Navy is gonna keep these ships (which we’ve already seen can fly) seabound. Or is this an alien race that specializes in sea invasions? They’re gonna conquer the Pacific Ocean? Why would these guys stay in the water and fight the Navy instead of flying away and attacking where it matters? They have the technology to get to Earth, but apparently their GPS gets fucked up by salt water…or something. I’m actually excited to find out how they explain this logic gap to the audience. Does Admiral Liam Neeson use The Force to keep them the water?

So the plot is intriguing if for no other reason than its apparent stupidity. The lead is played by Taylor Kitsch, who came to fame through Berg’s TV version of Friday Night Lights (which I may or may not have praised a few times), in which he was fantastic as football hero/outlaw Tim Riggins. Now, he’s suddenly another “it guy” that Hollywood is trying to force movie stardom upon (a topic I’ve discussed ad nauseam). His first big movie role was playing fan favorite mutant Gambit in the utterly mediocre X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Needless to say, neither Kitsch nor the filmmakers did Gambit justice in that film. In 2012, Kitsch is the lead in two of the year’s biggest movies, Battleship and John Carter [TRAILER], which used to go by the much more appropriate title John Carter of Mars. Strangely enough, now Carter looks like a sequel to Cowboys & Aliens. One commenter on the trailer’s YouTube page called it Gladiator vs. Aliens.

I’m still not sure just how good an actor the kid is, but looking at Kitsch in this movie, I now understand why he kept that long hair all this time. With short hair, he looks like a young Billy Bob Thornton, which, shall we say, removes a lot his ‘hunkiness’. He just looks so…different. Anyway…


Tell me that’s not Young Billy Bob Thornton.

What a fascinating movie, for all the wrong reasons. The entire main cast is a strange brew. You’ve got yet another “Next It Guy”, you’ve got at least one legit actor in Liam Neeson, you’ve got that dude from True Blood (Alexander Skarsgard), you’ve got a major pop singer making her big screen debut (Rihanna), you’ve got a supermodel (Brooklyn Decker), and another of Berg’s FNL actors, Jesse Plemons (who played Landry on the show). An interesting lot to say the least, but I guess there’s no reason to expect much. It’s not like the film will require a whole lot of acting, anyway. This is the kind of movie younger actors do for publicity, and older actors do for money. Either way, there appears to be only one piece of direction this cast needed; put that “Holy shit!” look on your face again!

I’ll give it one thumbs up already; the movie doesn’t come out for 10 months and the effects (being created by ILM) already look amazing. At the very least it should have some very cool looking (and totally absurd) action. Point is, I don’t even care if this movie is awful. I can’t wait to see it because of how ridiculous it looks. Of course I’ll have a great time pointing out every reason why it doesn’t make any bloody sense, but I’m not expecting it to make any sense. It’s an alien invasion at sea, whatever the fuck that entails. Count me in, brah.


I probably wasn’t the first to come up with Sailors vs. Aliens,
but I did think of it independently, dammit. That counts!

Since I did grow up playing the Battleship board game, I do expect at least some form of homage to the game. I wanna hear someone look at a chart or map and say “They just hit us on grid D-7!”, and/or Liam Neeson screaming, “They sunk our battleship!” I don’t think this is too much to ask.

And don’t think for a second this is the only board game movie Hollywood has coming down the pipeline. No no, Hollywood doesn’t only try stupid things once. In the next few years, you’ll be seeing a Candyland movie (“We envision it as Lord of The Rings, but set in a world of candy.” [I didn’t make that up.]), as well as a Michael Bay-produced, McG-directed (there’s a combination for ya) “four-quadrant supernatural adventure centering around a family” [I didn’t make that up, either.] movie based on the Ouija board. I know, you can’t wait!

-Check out Daniel O’Brien‘s hilarious post, “Novelization of the trailer for the movie Battleship.” [CRACKED]


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