Rock solid like a brick to the face, "Taken" is about as good a tense action thriller as anyone could hope to see. Though the plot is arguably overblown and too over-the-top at times, it never ceases to deliver those fist pumping moments of grandeur. I may be mistaken, but this felt like Liam Neeson's first really big marquee and if I am correct, shame on Hollywood for not recognizing his ability to shoulder a film on his own. He clearly is the reason why this movie works so well as he channels a combination of ferocity and ruggedness without seeming at all ridiculous. Many an action film could and should follow this film's lead.
While it's hard to call this film "enjoyable" in the normal manner, this is a unique film that stands alone. Amidst a strange visitor who is clearly human but without any solid identity, a strained family somehow (apparently) figures out how to co-exist (I guess). Given the circumstances surrounding each individual member's personality "quirks", one would be hard pressed to accept that any of these people could ever achieve a modicum of normalcy in any area of their lives, much less as a familial unit. You could call this a series of character studies (maybe) or an odd critique of a world obsessed with reality television and debauchery. "Visitor Q" has a weird ability to feel like something deeper and wholly ridiculous all at once. In its own way, this is a must see.
This film was billed as somewhat of a dark comedy, but I might call it a tragedy with a light heart. I suppose there are a few laughs to be found here and there, but it becomes increasingly harder to laugh at the main character's obvious pain and delusion. If you are a dog person, this movie can get a bit rough at times. I really like Molly Shannon and I think she really did an admirable job of exploring this character's forced dealings with loss and heartbreak, starting with the untimely demise of her dog. From that point forward, we follow Peggy through a series of mishaps and off-beat encounters as she desperately tries to find herself. Normally, this is not the type of movie that I would find myself engulfed in, but this movie works very well for something that is not likely to be a regular view for most people, though it has little to do with the actual film itself.
I hate Will Ferrell and I make no secret of it. However, I have made it through a few of his movies without crying and I even admit to enjoying "Stranger Than Fiction" quite a bit. "Elf" is a more precise example of a Will Ferrell film that can reduce me to tears and not in a good way. I believe my eyes can do a full 360 degree rotation in any direction now and I have "Elf" to thank.
If you watch this one time in your life, you won't feel like you've lost 82 minutes of your life. This is a standard fare romantic comedy with a holiday tie-in, two genres that seem to be Vince Vaughn's thing of late. The premise revolves around the two main characters who are forced to endure the family that they've seemingly tried to hide from one another since the beginning of their relationship. Being one of those "hurl random jokes and hope a few stick" concepts that have some tender moments stuffed inside, you are bound to get a gaffe or two in somewhere. The manner is which the conflict comes to a head and resolution is attained is pretty bad and wholly unrealistic, but this isn't high drama in the most foreign sense of the idea. It was obvious that it was a matter of getting the right outcome in under 90 minutes and most people that watch this film aren't going to complain. While no one is likely to loathe this film, I don't see people waiting outside of stores when it comes out on Blu-Ray either.