Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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The film starts out strong. A weathered frontiersman kneeling by a fire with his horse in the frozen mountains of Nevada. A shot is fired and our frontiersman finds himself wounded, a bullet from the posse above that has been tracking him down. But why? Who are these men? Why is this man being hunted? What connection is there? What happened at Seraphim Falls?
It's overall a fine story that uncoils slowly and sensitively throughout the 2-hour run-time. The opening act raises plenty of questions, the answers to which will keep an astute film-goer rooted to their seat for the whole adventure. From the frozen, treacherous mountains to the dry bright deserts, the cinematography is utterly beautiful. The characters take the spotlight for the majority of the film, and what grand characters they are. Liam Neeson plays the somber, hardened Carter (the pursuer) while Pierce Brosnan plays the resourceful, desperate Gideon (the pursued). As we follow our characters across the beautiful, yet harsh landscape and through plenty of classic Western staples, we learn that there's a history between these two men. And it becomes clear that they aren't very different. At first it almost seems to take on a "Rambo-meets-Wild West" flavor, but still maintains its Western roots. It isn't terribly exciting, with most of the action being more suspenseful than savage. And after a time, it becomes a touch boring. As though the incredible length is an excuse to enforce the metaphor behind the title and get our men from the Heavenly heights to the Hellish wastelands. The acting is brilliant, the plot is sound, cinematography breathtaking, and the message clear and timeless. But it just moves so slowly and uneventfully, it makes it difficult to focus, especially after the proverbial cat is let out of the bag. It's as sparse for real excitement as the desert is for water. And despite the brilliant performances, the two characters have so little chemistry together. It could have easily been shortened considerably (the railroad scene wasn't all that useful) and that is probably what hurts this film the most. It was obviously conceived with care and love, but it isn't entirely received that way. Overall it's noteworthy in the fact that it's typical, yet beautiful. It's compelling, yet tiring. It's so close to being truly excellent that it pains my heart to give "Seraphim Falls" 5.5 out of 10.
One of my old favorite Disney films about the young King Arthur and his teacher Merlin the Wizard. Is it shining classic Disney magic, or just a dull pile of rock?
The first order of business, for me, is the characters. Some of the most memorable in Disney film history, in my opinion. Merlin, voiced brilliantly by Karl Swenson, is the crotchety old wizard that essentially carries the plot with his interesting teaching strategies and entertainingly-grim attitude. Next up with have Wart (aka Arther). He is a typical pure main character, and follows Merlin's lessons well. At first he seems like an empty vessel, but by the end of the film we cannot help but sympathize with him. And the supporting cast does its job well enough, creating a good cushion for our stars to fall back on and propel the plot.
The plot itself is a bit overly simplistic, and hardly the sum of its parts. And there seems to be a drastic change in tone at the start of the last 3rd of the film that plunges everything into hurried chaos. As if they wanted to do so much in their allotted 80 minutes, and decided to cram the required ending (and typical moral message) into the last few moments that leave you wanting, no, expecting, so much more.
The music and musical numbers are entertaining and fit the film well. But they don't seem to convey much and honestly feel a bit hollow. At the very least, though, they don't feel forced.
Unfortunately the technical aspects of the film are fraught with problems. "Everybody's got problems" rants Merlin, and this film is no exception. Wart is voiced by three different people (Richard & Robert Reitherman, and Rickie Sorenson). While each does their job well, the overall result is a strange and inconsistent voice for the character that can't help but bring us out of the film. Also, the animation seems a bit lazy for a Disney film. The style itself is fine, and works for the story, but several identical scenes and action cels are used multiple times. At first it seems simple enough; characters moving in a consistent manner. But by the end it becomes annoying and repetitive.
Overall it isn't even close to Disney's best work. Suffering from several technical problems, an odd change of tone, and an unsatisfying ending. But the memorable characters, songs, lovely animation style and quick simple plot make "The Sword in the Stone," if nothing else, a lot of fun. I'll give it 6 beard malfunctions out of 10.
"Dark Age indeed. Age of inconvenience. No plumbing... no electricity... no... nothing!"
The film is pushed forward by our lead actors: Anton Yelchin, recently of "Star Trek" and "Terminator: Salvation" fame; and Robert Downey Jr. First of all, these two knock it out of the park. Yelchin proves that despite his age, he has a talent and I see a bright future for this kid. He pulls off Charlie Bartlett perfectly in all his altruism, innocence, and downright strangeness. Downey also gives us a convincing performance as the school principle and father of Susan, Charlie's love interest. He draws on some of his personal experience to deliver a fine serious performance that somewhat distinguishes from his other, sillier roles. And all of the supporting cast turns in fine performances as well.
The well-written script provides plenty of natural off-beat humor, while providing appropriate emotional involvement as well. Gustin Nash's script is also the only thing keeping this from being another typical throwaway high school flick. It teases the subplot of Charlie's father as well as the romance between Charlie and Susan, played very well by Kat Dennings. But this brings up the one major flaw of the film: the plot progression. It moves from scene to scene so haphazardly, and takes such a long time to really start the story. So much so that it could easily cause you to lose interest before the film has even begun. Fortunately though, it does improve greatly as it goes on, and it's a very quick-moving film. And Johnathan Beck's score matches the off-beat tone perfectly.
Charlie's attempts to reach the top of the popularity food chain are at first oddly unethical. Quickly the film makes the act tolerable, but it's a little difficult to stomach a rich kid peddling medication to gain popularity, even as innocent and relatable as he is. Thankfully it develops into an interesting study of just what kids are willing to do for what seems to be the most important thing in high school: being popular. And this is easily the best film to look for when approaching the subject. And the comparison drawn between Charlie and Principle Gardner is a great one, especially during the last half-hour when they share the most screentime. Two good people that should be friends, though the choices they find they have to make put them at ends.
Overall it suffers from erratic storytelling, a not-always-funny script, and the sheer cheesiness of the high school subject. But it makes up for it with stellar performances, well-penned relatable characters, a quick pace, and a lighthearted tone. "Charlie Bartlett" gets 6.5 visits to the therapist out of 10.
A guy and his best friend.
A guy, his best friend, and his car.
A guy, his best friend, his girlfriend, and his car.
A guy, his car, his best friend, and his girlfriend.
A guy, his car, and his best friend.
A guy and his car.
"Christine" isn't among John Carpenter's best films, nor is it of Stephen King's best adaptations. But it is one of my favorites.
A solid performance from Keith Gordon as well as a decent one from John Stockwell keep us in our seats for this slow, tense ride. The plot is solid and laden with real-life comparisons, creating a wonderfully eerie dual-meaning to the film. It's most certainly due to King's writing, but the adaptation is excellent none-the-less. Carpenter knows how a build an atmosphere, evident in this film just as well as his other greats. One of his personally-crafted themes combined with well-used classic rock fuels the old-school terror. The story of the car is developed at a perfect pace, becoming just what we want when we want it. And the special effects are beautiful, again a Carpenter trademark.
Inevitably though, there are a few reasons this film isn't much praised. The first is the awkward camera work, which isn't like Carpenter at all. The second is the less-than-convincing performance of William Ostrander, playing a bully with a large part in the film. Just plain bad. And finally, the scene progression feels a bit choppy around the end. Other than that, though, Christine is a wonderfully eerie piece of filmmaking. And with a premise like this one, I honestly hope we'll see a remake. Or perhaps even a sequel. I give "Christine" 6.5 blinding headlights out of 10.
True Grit will no-doubt get the comparison to the classic '69 adaptation of the Charles Portis novel starring John Wayne. And so, this isn't so much a remake as a second adaptation. And with the Coen brothers directing, it looks to be another modern Western milestone.
Any review will tell you that Jeff Bridges performance is downright magnificent, easily rivaling Wayne's portrayal. The dirty, drunken, gritty, and downright unpleasant hero in Marshall Rooster Cogburn is put forth in brilliant form and seems much more natural than the original performance. So natural that it seems to take on a life of it's own and it's honestly difficult to remind yourself that it's Jeff Bridges. The young determined Mattie Ross is once again ably performed. It doesn't seem to command the same respect that Kim Darby's portrayal had, but as her first film performance young Hailee Steinfeld did very well. Matt Damon's act as Lebouf the Texas Ranger is a fine performance that more than out-matches Glen Campbell's portrayal. And taking up the rear is Josh Brolin in the villainous shoes of Tom Cheney. And while the performance is superb, the man only appears in three scenes. Definitely not a decent focus for the poster.
The plotline is strict, simple, and straight to the point. A fine wild west excursion filled with intrigue and character conflict. And while the plot itself is sound, the storytelling feels a little choppy. Even at the two-hour runtime (which is much better managed than the original) the plot feels somewhat devoid of detail. Not so much to really hurt the film, but a bit of explanation here and there might have been nice. Though nothing about the film felt superfluous, so I suppose it's an even trade.
The script was worked out very well and kept pace with the runtime. Although the language barrier between modern English old western phrasing felt prevalent a little too often, with a few stiff lines. And of course the Coen's delivery some of their off-color humor, feeling only the slightest bit out of place. Of course the scenery, costumes, and set pieces are superb.
Overall, I don't think we've seen a perfect adaptation of Charles Portis' no-doubt brilliant novel, but this easily matches the 1969 adaptation. Strong performances, strong slick plot, and a fine script make it a Western not to be missed. Although it's a little choppy at times, it's still a fine film to behold. I give "True Grit" 8 shot-up biscuits out of 10, hoping that Jeff Bridges receives a Best Actor nomination.
Sometimes I feel like my basic expectations are too high to account for older films like this, especially Westerns. However, True Grit earns my seal of approval.
To start off, the performances are excellent. Kim Darby turns in a fine performance as the young Mattie Ross as she pursues the murderer of her father. There isn't much in the vein of character development for her to handle but the slack she leaves, Wayne more than picks up. U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn is a wonderful character portrayed beautifully by John Wayne, with the script really bringing the character full-circle rather than remaining static. This is what an Oscar-worthy performance looks like, folks. No cheesy close-ups, no emotional music, just great acting. Glen Campbell puts forth a fine effort as Texas Ranger "Le Beouf" (pronounced La Beef) as well, along with Robert DuVall and Dennis Hopper in some of their earlier roles. The action and excitement pushes for quality over quantity. A bit disappointing, but well done.
There are two things about this film that can be conceived as problems, though. The first being that despite the title, this film isn't very gritty. There isn't much focus on dark themes, or even violence for that matter. It actually seems like an oddly lighthearted tale. It's enjoyable, and doesn't really feel out of place, but it does seem a little odd, considering what you'd expect to see.
The second problem involves the pacing. On a scene-to-scene level it works very well. But on the grander scale, there is far too much time spent in the set-up rather than the adventure itself, and it makes the whole thing feel a little sparse for plot.
But these flaws aside, it's an enjoyable adventure with great scenery, fun action, brilliant performances, and some great characters. I'll give "True Grit" 7 too-big pistols out of 10.
"Fill your hands, you sonofabitch!" -Rooster Cogburn
Once again the world falls prey to Harry Potter fan-ism, and we are delivered the first half of what is promised to be the prestige of this wonderful saga. Does it live up to the hype? Well, let's just say they've got a lot to do yet to meet their quota.
Straight from the opening credits, we're greeted with the gripping drama of isolation as Harry says goodbye to his 'family.' The only difficulty is that there's absolutely no build-up, or easily discernible context for all this melodrama, setting the film straight off at a pretty awkward limp, as if they skipped something pretty important. Even as a huge fan of the books and films, I felt myself pretty-well lost. There was no context set up until several scenes yet in, and even then felt dodgy.
The plot is a decent one that in the long run looks exhilarating and interesting. However, it's drastically and annoyingly stripped of style and agility. Yates' directing has only faltered since his control over the last installment. The tone of the film changes from the dark and serious to the light and laughable on a whim. And while the fun is an absolute riot, it completely and utterly pollutes the sternness and drama, often being in dangerously close proximity. It's as if Yates was going through bi-polar at the time, and mutilated the tone of the film. When the decision was made between getting effective-yet-out-of-place laughs or dynamic plot progression, Yates sadly chose the former.
Thankfully the tone has no effect on the performances, which were stellar from all involved as always. At last Rupert Grint is allowed to shine as our favorite redhead Ron Weasley, while the three friends' relationship grows strained. Although for the most part, every other character seemed to exist for the soul-purpose of exposition. Because the film is so poorly set into context, there is next to no connection with these characters. If this was meant to catch us up; get us from point A to B; this film is a poor map.
The visual effects range from acceptable to top-notch in no particular order. Which, along with the always-stellar costumes and set pieces, brings the wizarding world to life once again in top form.
The action scenes were possibly the best parts of the film along with the acting. The camera-work was far too frantic, but the scenes had a perfect dynamic to them that moved them along well while remaining engaging and outright exciting.
By the end of this film, I was crying. The fan in me cried for the emotional ending, but the critic in my cried for all the wasted potential. Yates couldn't hold a tone to save his life, moving from one extreme to the next too often, making this the most difficult film to take seriously. While our stars turn in brilliant performances, they seem ill-used and almost totally overturned by the films catastrophic mood-swings. The plot was slow, repetitive, and lacked the necessary stamina to keep me engaged. The special effects, costume, and set departments did a great job, but not great enough to make up for the rest of the film. It felt like a place-holder, rather than an intriguing part one to make us beg for part two. The worst part being that even with its turtle pace, the film felt cut-down. By now we come to expect great length from these films, but it was pushed into what felt like a short 2.5 hours. I was thoroughly and utterly disappointed. The worst of the Potter franchise by a landslide. My inner-fan has hopes for a rip-roaring final chapter, but the rest of me anticipates a train-wreck. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One" garners 5 fly-by-night wands out of 10.
With a chic look and original premise, "Daybreakers" promises to be the next great entry in the vampire genre. Unfortunately somewhere along the line it deteriorates into a disappointing pile of... ash.
I haven't to date seen Ethan Hawke give an overall bad performance, which is all I can say for this one. He holds his character (hemotologist Ed Dalton) together well enough, and we're given his clear set of values. But the character overall, like every other member of the cast, feels flat and overall unmemorable. His physical emotional range is that of a turnip, and that makes it difficult to cling to him as a protagonist. Sam Neil, on the other hand, gives a wonderfully sinister performance as Charles Bromley, head of a company that farms blood. He's your standard evil businessman, but Sam Neil just holds that haunting presence about him throughout the film. Finally, Willem Dafoe does as best he can with his character "Elvis" Cormac. Aside from a delightful accent and Van helsing-esque aura about him, there's really nothing memorable about his character.
Like Cormac's character, the action in general feels very restrained, and has a total lack of tension. It exhilarates to a degree, but sometimes even feels forced and becomes so dull that there's an honest difficulty in telling which parts of the film are supposed to be exciting. The film can't carry a tone to save its life. And speaking of tones, the score is hardly noticed at all throughout the film, much less improving the bland atmosphere.
The plot is a poorly-laden trail that we've walked far too many times. The 'search for the cure' has been a staple in vampire films for quite a while, and we would think that two men that would think up and use such an original scenario as the post-vampire outbreak would be able to give us something new. Unfortunately, they don't. They simply present a new way to make it seem boring and bland. In a way it's just as bad a plot-pusher as 'type on a computer' was for "Swordfish." At least in the latter it was over in one quick, energetic scene. It just isn't an engaging subject, and with the equally dull action scenes, it has nothing to balance against. The short scenes showing the world falling apart, as well as Bromley's (pointless) side story with his daughter, are probably (and unfortunately) the best parts of the film.
On the plus-sides (finally) the directing wasn't too bad. Each scene is filmed pointedly-yet dynamically. It gives us a good idea about what each scene is about, and plays the events through quickly and effectively. Aside from a few scenes that seemed cut-short-to-pointlessness, the directors maintain a nice flow from scene to scene. The set pieces are also satisfactory. The blue neon lighting really portrays the super-modern, sterile, technologically-advanced age these vampires live in, contrasting with the warm and inviting country the humans are forced to in habit. The special effects deliver well with portraying the vampires as well as the dreaded 'subsiders.'
In the end, "Daybreakers" looks pretty good on a poster. It boasts a blissfully-original premise and a fine cast to back it up. Unfortunately, it lacks that essential tension needed to really make it pop, and the characters feel so restrained that its alienating. The plot is unoriginal, the tone is bland, and even the action has no bite to it. Fine direction, flow, sets and effects can only carry a film so far. "Daybreakers" just can't carry itself far enough to escape blinding, searing, failure. A big disappointment. "Daybreakers" eats 4 shotgun/crossbows out of 10.
Screen legends Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino definitely deliver with discernible, engaging, and even sympathetic performances as their opposing characters Lieutenant Vincent Hanna and thief Neil McCauley. Despite the typicality of the characters, they're brought to life as worn, equal, dedicated professionals.
The plot moves slowly, sometimes falling into deep lulls that may make you lose interest. And the poor romance on DeNiro's half doesn't help that. But it's filled with intrigue, originality, and excellent twists as our two heroes try to stay one step ahead of each other while balancing their personal and professional lives.
Michael Mann's directing is excellent, with wonderful cinematography overlooking the setting of Los Angeles. While the visual effects are a little dated, it hardly affects the fine camerawork. It isn't minute-by-minute excitement as the title may lead you to believe, but the drama throughout builds up a decent "heat" that climaxes with the quick, yet hot-burning action scenes. Mann puts specific focus on the relationship between the lieutenant and the thief, or the cop and the robber, painting a beautiful portrait of the similarity and connection between these two characters as well as their archetypes.
The script is a fine one (nominated for an academy award) that fits our two heroes like a glove. It plays to the strengths of the the actors as well as their characters, while fitting the tone perfectly.
In the end, "Heat" is a slow, intense crime story boasting two great characters backed by great stars. It brings forth the connection between the typical "cops an robbers" archetypes, while keeping a fine plot going. When it hits the brakes it may lose your interest momentarily, but it always makes up for this with fine characters and brief-but-effective action sequences. "Heat" receives 7.5/10.
Right from the start, the film tries far too hard to introduce the opening events, which are reviewed continually throughout the film. Our main character Lt. Web Smith doesn't appear until fifteen minutes in, but we're greeted with an adequate performance from Snipes. Not nearly his best, but it works. Connery is as charismatic as always in his role as Captain John Connor. The film brings plenty of star power (lacking slightly in Snipes' case), but that is not where the fatal flaw lies. The pacing is nearly non-existent. Scenes simply follow one another with no build-up or breakdown of tension or mystery of any kind. The plot takes a few clever twists, to be sure, but the film never truly emphasizes them. Another flaw of the film is the flaw of many other book adaptations: too many characters. Generally a book adaptation will try to include all the clever subplots and characters found in the book. Unfortunately, this is no the case, and the characters hanging from these unused plot threads are pointless and annoying. And the time wasted on these small pieces detract from our understanding of our characters. We never really find ourselves in Web's shoes. Also, the opening plot device wherein Web is being held in interrogation throughout the film, is used poorly and without effect. And the ending isn't very effective either, never really giving a decent explanation of the plot flow or closure with any of the characters.
To summarize, the film boasts a fine cast, and a clever plot with a steady flow. But it lacks a decent ending or any sort of pacing to the events, and it reeks of basic book adaptation problems. The one thing, though, that sinks "Rising Sun" is the distinct lack of style, edge, or tension. A good long sword with plenty of detail is nice to look at. But if that sword has a dull blade, it isn't a very useful weapon. And "Rising Sun" isn't a very good movie, despite it's basic accomplishments. It receives 5 Japanese stereotypes out of 10.
"The Japanese have a saying, "Fix the problem, not the blame." Find out what's fucked up and fix it. Nobody gets blamed. We're always after who fucked up. Their way is better." -John Connor
After nearly dying after an AC/DC concert, five fans decide that the first of them to die would be buried next to their idol, Bon Scott. And so, twelve years later four of the gang regroup to take a road trip and bury their pal Ronnie who was -you guessed- thunderstruck.
As always, I start with the positives. The acting in this film wasn't too bad, especially for an independent. The unfortunate fact is that these five friends are never really characterized very well as such, and have only a few brief moments that prove their connection to each other. Ronnie's character was hardly developed at all, and thus it doesn't carry enough weight to warrant the plot of the film. Even though the script has plenty of wit & clever plot twists, it fails to be anything more than a simple road trip flick.
But there's another crucial element to the film that drags it down further than it should have. These four guys are supposed to be hardcore rock fans. And they just don't pull it off. The fact that the plot is based around this fan-dom sinks the ship like loose lips. It's so generalized, a few changes could really make this about any band. I see what the film is trying to accomplish, but it just doesn't do it very well. It doesn't deliver any sense of "hardcore" about it. And the heart that's meant to carry between the comedy is hardly there at all.
Over all the clever script and half-decent acting can't keep this bland, overly-formulaic road trip comedy from living up to American cinema, much less Aussie, as the charm slowly deteriorates from beginning to end. And it paints a pale portrait of its fan-dom that it seems to have so much love for. In a word, I was underwhelmed. "Thunderstruck" gets 3.5 red hats out of 10.
When people think Disney, quite a few great films come to mind no matter how old you are. And one of those fine films is "Beauty & the Beast." A tale of love beyond physical beauty, the title pretty much sums up the plot.
The animation, as with most Disney films, remains enchanting even after nearly twenty years. The classic sort of animation that mixes whimsical brushstrokes with brilliant still-scapes.
Another trademark of Disney films are their musical numbers. And this film carries no exception. The talented voice cast carries through splendidly along with the animation to give us a wonderful show from beginning to end. And the music knows when it is appropriate, and when it is better left to just words. One of the things I really love about this film as a musical is that it is aware it is a musical. Great spectacles of flying singing dancing dinner plates aren't simply forgotten when the show is over. It integrates the music into the film nicely without overdoing it.
The characters are all wonderfully memorable, from the debonair Lumiere to the gaseous Gaston, and of course our starring couple. Belle's character isn't exactly new (essentially being the same girl from very other princess story) but she is certainly a relatable & charming heroine voiced by Paige O'Hara. And of course the Beast, played by Roby Benso, is explored just as well as his icy heart is melted.
The plot is a fine & simple one about an open-minded girl in a close-minded world who meets a man-turned-beast in need of someone to love & be loved by in return. The plot moves quickly enough between the music to keep us interested and involved. The script is fine as well, matching darkness with bits of comedy as well as the obligatory love story. All the dialogue works perfectly with its characters. Though the film moves a little bit too quickly, and doesn't really deeply place us into our characters' minds. But as far as streamlined stories go, this was done with a fair bit of tact, coming in at just under an hour-and-a-half.
All in all, I really can't see a reason why you wouldn't enjoy this film. Action, comedy, romance, and some spectacular musical numbers. "Beauty & the Beast" earns 9.5/10.
Many years ago in the medieval world of Prydain, an evil king's spirit was locked away within the form of a great black cauldron. Now the wicked Horned King yearns for it's power to resurrect an army of undead warriors & Taran, an assistant pig-keeper, is charged by his master with protecting a pig with amazing knowledge & power from the Horned King's grasp.
As usual with animated films I have to start with the animation. It's not necessarily brilliant by today's standards, but it does mesh beautiful hand-drawn landscapes with colorful animated foregrounds and our colorful characters. It plays to the mystical harmonious elements just as it does to the dark, frightening ones. Unfortunately what it has in visual depth, it lacks in plot depth. It suffers from something I discussed in my earlier reviews of "Stranger Than Fiction" and "Wristcutters." And that is the fact that certain story pieces become more interesting than the story itself. An example being the magic sword that Taran uses, or the glowing orb following Eilonwy. It feels as though the film is strapped for time & simply doesn't see fit to explain certain elements of itself or its outwardly interesting characters, making it difficult to create a decent emotional attachment. Combined with the very stitched-together story, it really brings the film down a few pegs. Thankfully it takes a chance with its plot that few have before it: including an element of real darkness that separates it from the generic kiddy titles that makes it just a little fresher. The voice-acting isn't the best I've ever heard, but John Hurt should be praised for his very spirited performance as the Horned King.
All in all it's not among the best animated films you'll find as far as plot and characters, but it's balance of light and darkness mixed with great animation and a fine cast make it worthy enough to watch and enjoy. So I'll give "The Black Cauldron" 6 magic swords out of 10.
"Oh, my soldiers. How long I have thirsted to be a god among mortal men." -The Horned King
Larry Donner is a struggling writer, with most of his frustration stemming from his hatred of his ex-wife, who stole his book idea from him. Owen Lift is a simpleton living with his monstrous mother, who attends the creative writing class that Larry teaches. With Owen's attempts for Larry to notice him, and a few overly-explored words of advice, the unlikely pair find themselves in the midst of a murder case that drives Larry up the wall.
First off, I must point out the excellent performances from Billy Crystal, Danny DeVito, and Anne Ramsey as Owen's mother. Crystal, as usual, plays himself. And, also as usual, does it splendidly and really creates that average-guy-type main character that we ca easily get behind. And DeVito pulls off Owen's deranged man-child persona effortlessly. And it goes without saying that Anne Ramsey was brilliant; a perfect target for murder.
My second commendation goes to the writing. The characters are painted perfectly with each line feeling completely natural. The story is brilliantly written seemingly from the perspective of a rat caught in a trap. The tension builds effortlessly The plot moves smoothly, almost in a comedy-of-errors fashion akin to "Ruthless People."
Unfortunately unlike "Ruthless People," the comedy is a bit lax. It's in no small supply of dark humor, but so little of it is actually funny. Thankfully the film turns into a bit of a mixed bag, balancing dark humor with situational comedy & a bit of slapstick.
Fortunately the film does give us something to dwell on, such as Larry's situation with his writer's block and feeds us plenty of elementary phrases about telling a story, whilst successfully engulfing us in it's own plot.
In the end there isn't too much that really makes this film pop, but it satisfies in that menial "just-right" sort of way. The comedy is a bit shaky, but the characters & the excellent plot should get you through the hour-and-a-half. I give "Throw Momma from the Train" 6 guys in hats out of 10.
"Hate makes you impotent, Love makes you crazy, somewhere in the middle you can survive." -Larry Donner
"She's not a woman. She's the Terminator." -Larry Donner