Archive for the ‘Liam Neeson’ Category

MOVIE: The Next Three Days (2010)

May 9, 2011
NOTE:  THE FOLLOWING REVIEW CONTAINS A SPOILER, BUT THIS MOVIE IS SO CRAPPY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER IT A FAVOR.

I confess it wasn’t until the closing credits rolled on this flick and I saw Paul Haggis’s name that I thought to myself, “Huh, I probably should’ve paid more attention to that.”  Haggis is, after all, the MASTERMIND behind the BRILLIANT television series Due South (you know, among other Oscar-winning things).

But that Paul Haggis?  Of the complex and clever mind?  Nowhere to be found in this snoozaroo, and I doubt paying closer attention would’ve helped much.  Besides, I watched this on pay-per-view in a hotel room, which means there was absolutely nothing around to distract me in the slightest, and I still had a hard time focusing on it.  The beginning didn’t grab my attention at all and the story was about as predictable as they come (not to mention utterly ridiculous).  What the heck, Hags?  Where is your mind?

The Next Three Days is about a family — husband John (Russell Crowe), wife Lara (Elizabeth Banks), and their young son — whose lives are flipped on end when Lara is suddenly arrested for the murder of her boss.  All the evidence points to her — her car was spotted leaving the scene, the victim’s blood was on her jacket, and she’d spent the previous evening ranting about how much she hated her job to friends.  Motive, means, and opportunity, all lined up perfectly; the trial moves quickly and ends with a guilty verdict, bing bang boom.

At first, the promise of a successful appeal keeps the family going, but as the years pass, it becomes clear Lara is never getting out.  When John learns she’s only got three more days before she’ll finally be moved to the state pen, he’s had it.  He’s gonna bust her out.

And so he does.  And it’s pretty easy.  Roll credits.

YAWN.

I have no idea what the point of this film was.  Everything about it was mediocre, from the acting, to the story, to the lamely forced action scenes.  The only nice thing I can say about it is that it only cost me $4.99, instead of the usual pay-per-view fees of more like $15, which left me feeling free to watch something better when it was over.  Thankfully, what I watched next (review coming soon!) helped clear the bad taste that’s always left in my mouth when I see a completely worthless movie that cost bazillions of dollars to make — bazillions of dollars that could’ve been spent making five independent films that would’ve been fifteen times better.  Man, I hate it when that happens.

SKIP!  NEXT!  BOO!

[Netflix it, if you still don’t believe me, you fool, you fool.]

Genre: Action (dubious)
Cast: Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Ty Simpkins, Olivia Wilde, Liam Neeson, Brian Dennehy, Jason Beghe, Aisha Hinds, Daniel Stern

MOVIE: Unknown (2011)

February 28, 2011

This movie was almost universally panned by reviewers when it first hit theaters a few weeks ago.  But most of the reviews I read, especially Ebert’s, made it sound so bad it might actually be good, which is really all it takes to get my butt into a theater seat.

I spent most of the movie nodding in agreement while ticking off each one of Ebert’s criticisms in my head.  Until I got to the end, that is, when suddenly, all those complaints were completely resolved by a twist that I, personally, found  satisfyingly unexpected.  That made me wonder:  Did Ebert actually stay until the end?  Because in the context of what happens in the last 20 minutes or so, his review makes almost no sense whatsoever.

Huh.  Maybe he fell asleep.  I suppose I can’t really blame him for that.

Anyway, look, you know this isn’t going to be a great movie, right?  I mean, it’s an action flick about a guy who gets conked on the head and loses his memory — it’s not a “film.”   Nevertheless, despite some truly boring acting on the part of January Jones (has she EVER done anything interesting?  Why does she still have a job?), I found it to be fairly well-acted and entertaining.

Liam Neeson plays a doctor, Martin Harris, traveling to Berlin with his boring wife (Jones — why he couldn’t have a wife his own age is beyond me, but whatever, Hollywood) for a conference.  His briefcase gets left behind at the airport, so he leaves his wife at the hotel to check in while he climbs back into a cab to go fetch it.  On the way back, though, the cab gets into an accident, and Harris ends up in a coma for four days.

When he wakes up, he finds he’s been replaced by an impostor (Aidan Quinn), a man everyone says is the real Martin Harris, including his wife.  Meanwhile, a group of bad guys are after him, trying to take him out — mostly a bad thing except for the part where it at least lets him know he’s not crazy.  Right?  RIGHT?

There are a lot of car chases, loads of silly dialogue, and all the other kinds of stuff you’d expect from a thriller of this nature.  But it was exactly the sort of movie I was in the mood for, and I definitely got what I wanted from it:  two hours of satisfying entertainment.  You could do a lot worse, is what I’m saying.

And Ebert:  you’re fired.  (Ha ha!  Just kidding, man.  I still love you.)

[Prequeue it at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre:  Thriller
Cast: Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones, Aidan Quinn, Bruno Ganz, Frank Langella,

MOVIE: Taken (2009)

June 17, 2009

It’s a rare occasion when my husband expresses an interest to hang out and watch a DVD with me, so whenever it happens, I always drop everything and leap.  That said, it’s always a challenge to pick out a movie we both want to see, unless that movie happens to be any one of the three Lord of the Ring films or Zoolander.   At the video store, I tend to gravitate towards the crap  and he tends to gravitate towards the non-crap.  Sometimes I win, sometimes he wins, sometimes we meet somewhere in the middle.

This one fits into that latter category.  Neither full-on crap, nor full-on non-crap.

Taken is about a former spy named Bryan (Liam Neeson) who recently retired so he could spend more time with his teenage daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace).   Just as they are beginning to reconnect, Kim asks for his permission to spend a few weeks in Paris with her friends.  Bryan initially refuses — he’s seen a lot in his career, and it’s made him a bit on the overprotective side.  But when his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) tells him he’s going to lose Kim if he doesn’t lighten up, Bryan reluctantly comes around, signs her paperwork, and lets her leave the country.

And so, OF COURSE, as soon as she gets to Paris, she’s promptly kidnapped by a group of Albanians who specialize in human trafficking and the sex trade.  Ain’t that always the frakkin’ way. . .

That’s about all you really need to know about the plot — unless you were born yesterday, you already know exactly where this flick is headed.   To wit: Bryan goes after her, anybody who gets in his way gets their asses kicked or killed, and blah blah blah happy ending, etc.  This movie is ridiculously predictable and, even worse, it doesn’t have much in the way of character to hold its shabby little pieces together either.

That said, it’s not completely unwatchable.  It’s sort of fun to watch Liam Neeson pretend to be Chuck Norris, for one thing, and even though I hate Maggie Grace (haaaaaate, actually), she’s not too unbearably annoying in this.  Plus, I’ll just say it:  I love Famke Janssen.  I love her.  I. Love. Her.  I have loved her ever since I first saw her in the movie Deep Rising, where she spent 106 minutes verbally sparring with ex-Boyfriend Treat Williams and physically sparring with a sea monster.  A SEA MONSTER, I said.  That’s brains and brawn, people.  Brains and brawn are my favorite.

Anyway, the husband’s comment on the movie?  “Not bad.”

I probably could’ve just made that the whole of this review and called it a day.

[Netflix me | Buy me]

Genre:  Thriller
Cast:  Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Xander Berkeley