Archive for the ‘Eduardo Noriega’ Category

MOVIE: Transsiberian (2008)

December 19, 2008

Man,I’m so behind on everything again!  This is what happens in December, though, especially if you, like me, just spent the last seven days TKO’d by the flu.  D’oh.

I’m heading out tomorrow for a week in sunny San Diego, but will be working on blog posts and my “Best of 2008” write-up while there, never fear.  In the meantime, here’s another good movie I saw while I was on vacation over Thanksgiving.  And dude, let me tell you what, the downside to renting all GOOD movies during that trip is that I’m totally burned out on writing reviews of them.  Reviews of good movies?  BORRRRRRRRING.  I’m hoping to watch a bad horror flick today to try to even things out a bit.

This suspenseful flick is set on the Transsiberian, the train that runs from China to Moscow, across, you guessed it, Siberia.  As the story opens, an American husband and wife duo, Roy (Woody Harrelson) and Jessie (Emily Mortimer), have just completed some mission/church work in China and have decided to board the Transsiberian to Moscow instead of flying, in order to spend some quality time together.

Sharing their compartment is another couple, Carlos (Eduardo Noriega) and Abby (Kate Mara).  As the two couples get to know each other better, it becomes clear that not all is well with either relationship.  And things go from complicated to dangerous when Jessie discovers Carlos is smuggling drugs and has somehow managed to transfer them from his luggage to hers — just as the cops have boarded the train with drug-sniffin’ dogs.

But what at first seems like it’s going to be a drug drama turns in a radically different direction when one of the four is killed by another one of the four, and a dirty Russian cop, played by Ben Kingsley, takes the rest of them hostage in an attempt to torture the location of the drugs (and a large sum of money) out of them.   Didn’t expect that, I will confess!

There were definitely elements of this film I didn’t feel worked all that well, and Woody Harrelson would probably be my biggest complaint.  He’s all wrong in this role, and I had a hard time believing someone as smart as Jessie would hook up with a cutesy doofus like Roy to begin with.  But Eduardo Noriega is, as always, terrific (and gorgeous), and I was definitely sucked into this one and on the edge of my seat for much of the second half.  The scenery is stunning and I love movies set on trains (Silver Streak is a particular old favorite).

All in all, a great snowy thriller for the holidays!  You know, if you like to celebrate the season by watching movies about drug smuggling and dirty cops.  (Well, who doesn’t, I ask you?)

[Netflix me | Buy me] (Note: this is also currently available to Watch Instantly at Netflix)

Genre:  Drama
Cast:  Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer, Eduardo Noriega, Ben Kingsley, Kate Mara

MOVIE: Vantage Point (2008)

July 28, 2008

First things first, I’d like to formally thank the person who recommended this movie to me, even though I rather lamely cannot remember which one of you geniuses it was. Not only is this movie an absolute blast to watch, but it’s a veritable EX-BOYFRIENDPALOOZA! Dennis Quaid! Eduardo Noriega! Matthew Fox! William Hurt! Heck, even Richard T. Jones is in this! If they’d thrown in a cameo from Sock Puppet, it would’ve been my Movie of the Year for sure.

This intriguing, gripping film is about what happens between 12 and 12:23 pm one afternoon in Spain. The short version of what happens is that the U.S. President, in Salamanca to announce his new anti-terrorism partnership with the Spanish government, is shot and killed while speaking to a large crowd in the town square. But instead of just telling us the story of how and why this happens, the movie instead tells us the story of the same 23 minutes told, told, and retold from the perspective of a variety of different characters: a television news producer (Sigourney Weaver), two Secret Service agents (Quaid and Fox), a Spanish police officer (Noriega), an American tourist (future BotW Forest Whitaker), the President himself (Hurt), and then finally, the terrorists responsible for his shooting and the subsequent bombings, kidnapping, and car chases.

To say anything more than that is to spoil all the twists for you, which, I’m sorry to say, the movie will do a fine job of all its own — the one thing I was greatly disappointed by in this film was the fact that my Mom and I had just about every twist figured out LONG before they were revealed, including a very significant one I had pegged five minutes in. I hate it when that happens. It’s the work of shoddy writing, too much “telling” instead of “showing,” and some too-transparent, sub-par acting on the part of one of the aforementioned ex-Boyfriends, though I won’t say who.

Interestingly enough, however, despite the fact I think we both found this movie a bit too much on the predictable side, we were also COMPLETELY gripped by it, and very, very entertained. The constant rewinding and replaying from another point of view was clever in a Lost sort of way, and it also reminded me a little bit of Denzel Washington’s fine thriller Deja Vu, both because of the timeline stuff and because it also had a very fun car chase scene in it (though not one as creative as the comparable scene in Deja Vu, of course — that one is still tied for first place in Awesomeness with the car chase scene through the mall from the Blues Brothers (“Man, this place has got EVERYTHING!”)).

All in all, it was two hours we thoroughly enjoyed. And I’m really looking forward to A) seeing it again someday soon and B) seeing more of Eduardo Noriega in anything, although Spanish movies are so much better than American ones, it’s hard to wish he’d move to Hollywood. Even though I secretly want him to.

[Netflix me | Buy me]

Genre: Thriller, Action
Cast: Dennis Quaid, Eduardo Noriega, William Hurt, Matthew Fox, Richard T. Jones, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver.