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"I can see you want to end it, just do the right thing".
So now everyone is having a go at taking down 'Liam Neeson' as the king of action stars. This weeks challenger is 'Sean Penn' someone with a similar background (I feel) to 'Liam Neeson' both excellent actors with movies like 'Milk and 'Schindler's List' under their belt respectively. Which as with 'Neeson' I question why 'Penn' wants to get in this area, their performances haven't faltered. But then again maybe 'Penn' saw the slice of the pie and love 'Neeson' was getting after his attachment to the action genre - and thought I want some of that too.
Who knows, but one thing I do know is that after 'The Gunman' I feel 'Penn' has potential to go alongside him - sure he's not as like-able as 'Neeson' but they both have the rugged worn look that works so well for the aged action star. That said 'The Gunman' is not a good film - it has its moments but lacks the story, drive and energy needed.
The film starts in 'Congo' with 'James Terrier' (Sean Penn) and a group on protective detail at a humanitarian foundation but they have another objective which leads 'James' to leave 'Congo' and his girlfriend 'Annie' (Jasmine Trinca) - he asks 'Felix' (Javier Brdem) to look after her which you can tell he'll do more than that. Only its not done as several years later he's the target in the 'Congo' and he sets off to find out why. It's the usual affair with this kind of film - 'James' is hunted but he's a fighter more resilient and more effective than the rest. No surprises, nor is their in the story which is a major issue, with it all revolving around 'Annie' and 'James' relationship - which isn't all that believable.
The story never really goes anywhere beyond the the obvious, way way in advance. It's immediately apparent who is behind it all, as is the fact that 'Annie' will be used a bargaining chip. 'James' also has a head trauma problem that conveniently causes him problems at the wrong time, one point which would have saved all the trouble of the last 20 minutes - if he just shot the guy. Not to mention the start where a trained man thought it fine to record all the events they were doing and that everyone was fine with it - no big deal we're just doing a secret assassination that's all film away!.
There's just as many sex scenes and 'Sean Penn' showering scenes as their are plot advancements and gun fights. Which are the highlight (the gun fights not the shower), they aren't amazing but they have some inventiveness with how they're shot. Highlights being in a bathroom and (despite some stupid and confusing decision to free the bulls instead of shooting when there was a clear shot) the bull fighting arena pen.
I said before there is potential for 'Sean Penn' to have a say in the action star genre. But he's gonna need something a lot better than this. It's not laughably bad as some have suggested (Although I see their point) but it's far from good. When plotting goes out the window and we get fire and towels and goring bulls things seem ok. It's when we're reminded of the stupidity of the characters decisions that things start to unravel.
At least we got the tree-house chat with 'Idris Elba' - delightful.
It's a shame when a film feels the need to pander and suck up to one of it's actors or in this case actress'. Because beside the obvious sucking up to Rihanna (who by the was still can't act) 'Home' is a solid enough film. Thanks in largely to Steve Martin and 'Jim Parsons' excellent voice work - as 'Smek' and 'Oh' respectively. I may be being slightly presumptuous but 'Home' comes off as a film created around 'Rihanna' - all the music is hers, her character is from Barbados (really did that HAVE to be the same) . It all seems too convenient to be a coincidence. But then again I may be wrong.
However, it doesn't stop it from being Home's biggest problem - despite a familiar plot of fitting in and two outsiders meeting to be friends the story works. But the constant appearance of Rihanna's music playing every 15 to 20 minutes is an irritant - it's not event that I don't like the music (which I don't ) but that it beats it over your head. As if to say "Do you remember who we got to do a voice in a barely passable manner?". It seriously spoils what is an otherwise decent film for me.
But let's put that on the way side, Visually it's great, it seems like almost every colour is used and coupled with the chameleon like animation of the Boov's (the alien race) it pops. I will say however the human characters and cities are a bit lacking in personality. It's also quite funny in parts, there's the occasional miss but with 'Parsons' and 'Martin' you're going to get plenty of laughs. And as I said the story works, it doesn't break new ground and borrows plenty from far superior movies - Dreamworks own 'How To train Your Dragon' and a number of 'Pixar' movies.
The 'Boov', the alien characters who are constantly escaping what they feel is a deadly threat after wiping them out. Creatures of seemingly great intellect who value escape and fleeing over fighting. They are a fairly standard alien race, designed well enough but won't be memorable enough - usually mannerisms are what will do that. But even with their changing colours they aren't going to be instantly recognizable from other animated alien races.
Being a Dreamworks film it was always going to be a roll of the dice, in the end 'Home' is a solid enough and inoffensive movie. Held back by an annoying overuse and servant-like attitude to 'Rihanna'. 'Martins' as the captain 'Smek' is a joy to watch and as is 'Jim Parsons' 'Oh'. I genuinely believe removing the human character as the central to the plot would have benefited the story - giving a more in-depth at the alien species. Familiar story, yes, but it's still a fun enough and vibrant ride.
'The Divergent' series was after its first film in last place in the YA novel adaptation department. Behind the 'The Hunger Games', 'Maze Runner' and some others. And now with the sequel 'Insurgent' it...still is. Nothings really changed it hasn't gotten worse overall but its not got better either. It's just meandering along being inoffensive in its story-telling and characters. Not bad enough to be laughed or as a bad but a fun watch. It just exists in its own space, and I guess that's not bad...overall.
Presumably starting several months after 'Divergent', 'Tris' (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), 'Caleb' (Ansel Elgort) and 'Peter' (Miles Teller) have found refuge in the 'Amity' until they get overrun by 'Jeanine's (Kate Winslet) lap dog 'Eric' (Jai Courtney) and escape. All the things come to opening a box discovered by 'Jeanine' at Tris' parents house - something which see believes will rid the world of divergent and restore peace. But the box can only be opened by a Divergent and no surprises who that is. For starters that's a stupid idea to begin with, not to mention simulation (yet again) is used as the jumping off point.
We get a little more of a look into Four's past with his Dad and alter on his supposed dead mother - a women who's incapable of talking in anything other than ultimatum's and smug grins. The action is cleaner and better in this movie with a fiery fight on a train but with it always has to balance out with over the top ineffectual melodrama between the two main character taking centre stage. The problem is despite 'Four' being less of a robot than in the first he still comes of as one with little no personality - making Tris' attachment all the more puzzling.
I do have to commend it on killing off character, I never expect it to have the balls to do so - expecting some we're better than they are crap. So well done on that at least. Like the first one it's dialogue is crippling to the film, with ridiculous conversations and bizarre out of nowhere decisions - 'Peter' at the end nonsense. It cancels out all the good stuff it manages to get in there because of too much melodrama - not to mention the most uninspired post-apocalyptic/future city ever.
'The Hunger Games' this is not, it's not even 'Maze Runner'. 'Insurgent', 'Divergent' it's more of the same but this time swapping dull action for good action and little melodrama for far too much. Everything that accumulates can be seen coming a mile away and any good will it manages to muster is snuffed out by crappy dialogue. My only hope is it's building to something more for the third film, with it going in (I'll admit) more interesting way - we might be able to see what lies behind the barriers. But right now I don't hold out much hope, but they've come this far so at least it'll have an end but it'll need to do much better.
"I'm giving you one last chance to walk away from this".
'Run All Night', 'Taken 1, 2, 3', 'Unknown' the list goes on 'Liam Neeson' has clearly found a wheel house in the last couple of years. He's become THE action hero of right now. There have been imitators (or attempts should I say) - recently I saw a trailer for 'The Gunman' starring 'Sean Penn'. But none have even come close 'Liam Neeson' to taking his crown. When you first see a trailer for a film with 'Liam Neeson' at centre stage you know what you're going to get. Some people need not apply while others know they're in for a treat.
I fall in the middle, I like a few but most of them don't do anything for me. 'Run All Night' falls in with the crowd - a middle of road decent enough action movie. Its not all different in execution to the film I listed at the beginning. 'Liam Neeson' (In this case 'Jimmy') kills anyone and everyone in his path in order to protect someone. Standard, the plotting may be slightly different with 'Jimmy' being an ex-hitman to friend 'Shawn' (Ed Harris) that is until 'Jimmy' kills Shawn's son 'Danny' (Robert Boyd Holbrook) in order to protect his own 'Michael' (Joel Kinnaman).
Former friends become enemies (sort of), occasionally meeting to discuss like civilised people before commenting they'll kill each other - hmm. With a title like 'Run All Night' you be right to expect running and things taking place at night. Which is part of a problem I have with it, all the night is fine when its lit well but there are moments (an apartment block escape) that seem unnecessarily dark. The action sequences are standard with the police and with Shawn's men on the chase there's also a lot of hiding and ducking. As well as the occasional argument between hated father and you weren't here for me seething son.
Not surprising then that the story like similar films is kept aloft by the stellar acting. Its straight forward and doesn't even try to throw in some ridiculous twists - well done. This all leaves it to be solid if unspectacular - arguably the right thing with this type of film. But that's all for nought if it isn't moving a good pace and full of interesting set-pieces. Something 'Run All night' gets right - in part. It's too slow to start with nothing kicking in until a good 30 minutes in. The same again for the chases and action - a dull car chase and a boring train yard stand-off are balanced out by a solid building escape and a foggy shoot-out. Much like the gun men this film is hit and miss - frequently.
Teaming up again with 'Unknown' partner 'Jaume Collet-Serra' it's more of the same from my point of view. Ok, solid enough. Some good stuff some bad stuff. It achieves all the title suggests with it indeed taking place at night - and there is running!. The simple and forward thinking story is the right way to go but that needs the action to back it up. I takes too long to get started, trying to show 'Shawn' and Jimmy's friendship in too much detail - less would have worked equally as well. Liked 'Unknown', 'Taken' and the like? then this may well be for you. Don't? then I wouldn't bother. Middle of the road.
I don't know, I really don't know. A statement of nothing since Iv'e not backed it up but that's what my reaction was to watching this when it finished. I don't know. A comedy only in genre name and not in action - well at least 99% of the time. I'll admit to laughing at certain things - but when you can count how many laughs it got out of you and on one hand for that then there are issues.
Unfinished Business's problems are everywhere from the fact that 'Vince Vaughn' doesn't make for a compelling or even decent main character to the hap-hazard story. There's rarely a solid moment and those are as rare as a snow leopard. The film starts with 'Dan' (Vince Vaughn) talking down to his boss 'Chuck' (Sienna Miller) at the fact they he and all the employees get treated like crap. He subsequently quits and hires 'Mike Pancake' (Dave Franco) (Incidentally one of 3 laughs it got from me) and 'Tim' (Tom Wilkinson) to work for a rival company. But its never clear what this company does, it one point throws a bit of information about the company but beyond - 'We use metal shavings' there's nothing else.
A lot of the film involves Dan's home life and his (of course) troubled children - one being bullied and the other...Kid A and Kid B essentially. Mundane may be the best description, it tries to paint the picture of struggling but doing the best dad as well as underdog business owner. But because of the vagueness of what actually happening it doesn't come across. There's potential deal and kids are having a big of a bad time - that's as far as it gets. There's mentions of numbers and two meeting which seems a little light if you ask me - there's not mention of money earned so the impact of possibly losing the deal is just a question.
It's also the usual laugh free film associated with this type of comedy and 'Vince Vaughn'. For some reason Mike's surname got a laugh and 'Tom Wilkinson' has some good moments. Everything else however does not. It gets predictably raunchy with the obligatory party scenes and the "hahar isn't it funny that they're in a gay bar" part. I suppose an achievement is none of the jokes come off as desperate or cringe-worthy - more "OK let's move on".
I didn't care about these characters none of the characters in the film central or side have anything to offer but then again neither does the poor story and dialogue. It seems like another we want to be 'The hangover' attempt. It has all the hallmarks but doesn't have the script or 'Zach Galifanakis' for that matter. The consolation of a handful of laughs isn't much and so it can't be recommended unless you're one of those enigmas who like Vince Vaughn's increasing catalogue of movies. Sorry 'Vince', another for the crap bin for you.