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A Walk Among the Tombstones is a tidy, character-forward procedural offering up Liam Neeson in this year’s second “Liam Neeson movie” working in a more somber, less super-heroic mode than in Non-Stop or the Taken bonanza. A Walk Among the Tombstones finds haunted P.I. Matthew Scudder hunting a couple of sick slashers targeting 1990s New York women in a grim but engrossing dot-connector the likes of which you have certainly seen before, yet is still worth a run due to a well-casted ensemble and the elegant filmmaking of writer/director Scott Frank (he also scripted Get Shorty, Out of Sight, and Minority Report) and cinematographer Mihai Malamaire (D.P. on The Master, so that’s enough of a draw for me).
- Gregory Fichter
Although the trailers and other marketing materials being utilized to sell "A Walk Among the Tombstones" will have you believing that it's another run-of-the-mill Liam Neeson thriller, it's not. The movie is intricate and beautifully done, with one of the finer Neeson performances in recent memory, a twisty crime movie plot (based on a Lawrence Block novel of the same name), and nary a superhero in sight. We recently got to chat with Scott Frank, the film's writer/director, who you might know from his long and illustrious resume that includes collaborating with Steven Spielberg ("Minority Report"), Steven Soderbergh ("Out of Sight") and several other people who aren't named Steven (including Jodie Foster, Kenneth Branagh, Barry Sonnenfeld and Aaron Sorkin). He's also one of the most sought after script doctors in Hollywood. During the course of the interview we talked about everything from the pressure of adapting well-known mystery novelists to the. »
- Drew Taylor
Directed by: Scott Frank
Running Time: 1 hr 53 mins
Release Date: September 19, 2014
Plot: An ex-cop (Neeson) investigates the kidnap and murder of a drug dealer’s (Stevens) wife.
Who’S It For? Even Neeson fans will wish they had skipped this one.
It is uncertain who or what sliced up and scattered the potential of A Walk Among the Tombstones. Was it writer/director Scott Frank, who’s written some good scripts in his time (Out of Sight, for one), but also has a slim and shabby directorial filmography? Or maybe it was one or some of the higher powers that be, the slew of producers (including Danny DeVito) that steered Frank’s passion project too much towards the inherited conceits of casting Liam Neeson? The mystery, however, is unimportant. Whoever did not do it, »
- Nick Allen
Opening this weekend is director Scott Frank‘s crime thriller A Walk Among the Tombstones. The film stars Liam Neeson as a troubled ex-cop who investigates the kidnapping of a heroin drug lord’s wife, teaming up with a heroin trafficker (Dan Stevens) and his brother to hunt down the men responsible for the crime. Unlike his Taken role where Neeson is nearly impossible to pin down, A Walk Among the Tombstones takes place in the real world, where the characters need to use their brains and not rely on an endless supply of bullets to get the job done. Frank has a number of great credits as a screenwriter (Minority Report, Out of Sight), and he did great work directing The Lookout. I'm happy to say I really enjoyed A Walk Among the Tombstones and definitely recommend checking it out this weekend. During my video interview with Liam Neeson »
- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
Before sitting down to watch the new Liam Neeson movie, audiences have been prepped to see the weary-faced action star kicking ass with class, thanks to entertaining flicks like “Taken,” “Non-Stop,” and “The Grey.” But, for every “Taken” there’s a “Taken 2,” and if one year the grizzly Irishman can come out with something as forceful as “The Grey,” the following year “Battleship” can sink people’s opinions once more. It’s just not simple to put a finger on the prospects of a new Neeson film, particularly one directed by screenwriter-turned-director Scott Frank. The only previous feature Frank has directed was the overlooked and underrated “The Lookout,” and he's also got “Get Shorty” and “Out Of Sight” under his writing belt, as well as the less memorable “Flight Of The Phoenix.” With this combined pedigree from the actor and writer-director, the two dominant forces behind “A Walk Among The Tombstones, »
- Nikola Grozdanovic
A man walks into a bar... behind him follow gun-toting thugs, sparking a shootout that spills into the street. It's a grand entrance for Liam Neeson as Matt Scudder, the creation of novelist Lawrence Block, who leaves the NYPD and quits the booze after going 'Wild West' in the city. Sure, the film is littered with clichés, but a towering performance from Neeson and some delicate artistry from writer-turned-director Scott Frank (screenwriter of Out of Sight and Minority Report) lifts it above bog standard.
Even the opening credits are well-considered, with Neeson framed from below as he descends a flight of steps to finish off one of the gunmen. It's a subtle echo of the cop movies that were playing in the '70s when Block first put pen to paper on the long-running Scudder series, »
After more than a decade in development, writer/director Scott Frank has succeeded in turning best-selling novelist Lawrence Block’s signature book into a harrowing suspense thriller with an intriguing premise in A Walk Among the Tombstones. Liam Neeson stars as Matt Scudder, a troubled former N.Y.P.D. officer turned private detective whose quest for redemption leads him to help a heroin trafficker (Dan Stevens) track down the men (David Harbour, Adam David Thompson) who brutally murdered his wife. Adapted for the screen by Frank, the crime drama also stars Boyd Holbrook, Brian “Astro” Bradley, Sebastian Roché, Mark Consuelos, and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson. At the film’s recent press day, Frank talked about how the project first came together, why it took so long to bring to the screen, what convinced Neeson to come on board, casting Stevens into the dark role of a drug trafficker, the pivotal »
- Sheila Roberts
We’ve reviewed every summer movie season since 1980 to find out which are the best, and which are the worst. Last week we posted our picks for the worst, and here we post our picks for the best.
2015 and 2016 may just be the most overthetop summer movie seasons yet. It seems like nearly every movie slated for a summer 2015 or 2016 release is heavily anticipated. Because of these impending summers of movie awesomeness, we’ve decided to take a look back at summer movie seasons of years past. The idea of the summer movie season is currently in full swing, but it didn’t catch on immediately. Hollywood had to do its fair share of experimenting to determine what types of films would be most successful. As a result, some summer movie seasons have been better than others. We’ve reviewed them all for you and ranked them from worst to best. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (G.S. Perno)
Life of Crime, 2013.
Directed by Daniel Schechter.
Two common criminals get more than they bargained for after kidnapping the wife of a corrupt real-estate developer who shows no interest in paying the $1 million dollar ransom for her safe return.
Life of Crime, based on one of legendary author Elmore Leonard’s great collection of novels, ‘The Switch’ reminds us of that period in the 90s when adaptations of his work were effortlessly hip and cool. Get Shorty, Out of Sight, and Jackie Brown, made by three very talented directors each with a style of their own opened up Leonard’s work to a whole new generation; Life of Crime also reminds us of the gulf in class between those films and this.
The story begins promisingly, like a cool version of Ruthless People (yes, I »
- Gary Collinson
Keaton got his start on "Mister Rogers," though, most of his work was surprisingly behind the scenes. It really wouldn't be until 1982 that the actor would break out in Ron Howard's "Night Shift," and a few years later, his career went into overdrive. After collaborating with Tim Burton on "Beetlejuice" (1988), the director cast him as the legendary Bruce Wayne in "Batman" (1989). This fall, he revisits his superhero past in Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Birdman," and the acclaim is already rolling in.
2. His father worked as a civil engineer and surveyor, while his mother was a homemaker. »
- Jonny Black
Scott Frank wrote some of the best films of the past 20 years. His work on Out of Sight, Get Shorty, and Minority Report is nothing short of fantastic. After plenty of experience as a screenwriter Frank finally got behind the camera in 2007 with The Lookout. His snowy neo-noir was a hit with critics, but didn’t perform quite as well at the box office. That’s a shame, because it’s an exceptional dramatic thriller, boasting outstanding performances from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Isla Fisher, Matthew Goode, and Jeff Daniels. You also couldn’t ask for a more rewarding script: it takes its time for quiet moments, and yet moves at an exceedingly fast clip; everything set up has a satisfying payoff; and Frank’s original story plays with archetypes. The friendly cop could’ve been a bumbling moron with a gun, but when he’s in a shootout, he’s portrayed as a genuinely competent enforcer. Frank »
- Jack Giroux
With a couple of major (major) exceptions, film adaptations of Elmore Leonard novels rarely succeed. The breezy menace of his stories, the carefree, sneaky suspense of his plotting, the dim-bulb charm of his characters … it’s all booby-trapped for film. Go in one direction and it’s too bubbly, go in another and it’s all too generic, shorn of what made it special in the first place. If Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown and Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight work so well, it’s partly because those filmmakers themselves share the perverse, wildly varying tonal impulses at play in Leonard’s work. Their movies are like beautiful toy guns that somehow manage to go off. Writer-director Daniel Schechter is no Tarantino, and Life of Crime (adapted from Leonard’s The Switch) no Jackie Brown. But the film does manage to capture something special from Leonard’s work. A casual, »
- Bilge Ebiri
Written for the screen and directed by Daniel Schechter
Elmore Leonard has one of the most distinctive voices in American film and television and while you may not recognize his name, you will surely recognize his work. His writing is pure cinema, so it should be no surprise that Leonard’s work served as inspiration for Out of Sight, 3:10 to Yuma, Get Shorty, and Justified. Life of Crime is based on Leonard’s novel The Switch, which is a lesser work, but the story still has the capacity for entertainment. In a slow week of new releases at the theatre, that’s more than enough.
Ordell Robbie (Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def) and Louis Gara (John Hawkes) get much more than they bargained for after kidnapping the wife of a corrupt real-estate developer (Tim Robbins). As it turns out, Frank Dawson has no »
- Colin Biggs
For director Ivan Sen, his latest piece, the brooding and harrowing drama Mystery Road, explores themes very close to home, as he studies indigenous culture in the unforgiving landscape of the Australian Outback. When we had the pleasure of speaking to the talented filmmaker, he discusses the issues that come with tackling such territory and then selling it to an Australian crowd. Sen also talks about his own, truly personal attachment to the project, and the current state of the Australian film industry.
So where did the idea for Mystery Road first come on? What inspired this screenplay?
I guess the idea come from an event that happened in my distant family. A relative of mine was an aboriginal girl living out in the rural area of New South Wales, near an indigenous community. Her body was found under a roadway about eight years ago. I guess the police follow »
- Stefan Pape
[This is a re-post of my review from the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. Life of Crime opens today in limited release.] I’ve never read any of Elmore Leonard’s novels, and yes, I’m ashamed. But I know from the film adaptations of his crime novels that there’s a way to do them right and wrong. They have a confidence, a swagger, a sly wink, a braggadocio, and they’re smart. They have the talk for the walk, and some directors, most notably Quentin Tarantino with Jackie Brown (based off Leonard’s Rum Punch) and Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight, are smart enough to bring that confidence to the screen. Those films make the uninitiated feel embarrassed that they haven’t joined the club. Even with Daniel Schechter’s cautious adaptation of Life of Crime (based on the novel The Switch) the audience can hear the author's voice. Schechter’s direction is serviceable enough to not get in the way, he wisely trust his strong cast, accents the comedy, »
- Matt Goldberg
Bill Hader has come a long way since his stint on Saturday Night Live, creating many popular characters and impersonations such as Stefon, Vincent Price and CNN’s Jack Cafferty. He is one of the highlights in such films as Adventureland, Knocked Up, Superbad and Pineapple Express, and so it is easy to see why author Mike Sacks interviewed him for his new book Poking A Dead Frog. In it, Hader talks about his career and he also lists 200 essential movies every comedy writer should see. Xo Jane recently published the list for those of us who haven’t had a chance to read the book yet. There are a ton of great recommendations and plenty I haven’t yet seen, but sadly my favourite comedy of all time isn’t mentioned. That would be Some Like It Hot. Still, it really is a great list with a mix of old and new. »
A little over a year ago, the entertainment world mourned the passing of prolific author Elmore Leonard, a writer well-known in both literature and motion picture circles. His earliest works were in the Western genre and beginning in the late 1950′s many were filmed (his short story 3:10 To Yuma was made twice!). In the next decade Leonard switched genres and soon became known as one of the great creators of gritty crime thrillers. And Hollywood scooped these up for the screen, perhaps more so than the “oaters”. In the 90′s many celebrated young directors discovered his work and several critical (if not always box office) hits were released. 1998 saw Steven Soderbergh’s take on Out Of Sight following Quentin Tarantino’s spin on “Rum Punch” titled Jackie Brown the previous year. Both films even shared a Leonard character, Michael Keaton as Atf agent Ray Nicholette. This weekend sees a »
- Jim Batts
- email@example.com (Michael Rosser)
Is it overselling it to claim that James Brown's 18-minute performance on 1964's The T.A.M.I. Show rivals the moon landing as the choicest footage of human achievement of the 1960s? Stanley Kubrick couldn't fake this: Hot-footing in a crisp, checkered vest and jacket, Brown connected the world of then to the world of now. (You can relish it at two rare screenings of the omnibus concert film at Lincoln Center Aug. 31.)
First, he glides through the mod "Out of Sight," often on just one foot. Then, stopping on an unexpected dime, he lays into the ballad "Prisoner of Love," but that archaic song can't hold him. Like the song form itself, or the teen-oriented pop of Jan and Dean and the rest of The T.A.M.I. Show, "Prisoner of Love" is an envelope, and Brown's a h »
If action cinema has taught us anything over the past few years, it’s this – don’t, under any circumstances, screw with Liam Neeson. Alas, the generic baddies at the heart of this fall’s dark crime thriller A Walk Among the Tombstones do exactly that and, in predictable fashion, pay for it dearly.
With Taken, its sequel, Unknown and Non-Stop under his belt, Neeson has a pretty winning formula for action fare – growl some threats, bark some commands and kick some serious ass. Whether this upcoming pic, less high-octane than high-atmosphere, will deviate from those three steps remains to be seen, but even it doesn’t, there are worse tickets to plunk down cash for than one that allows you to watch Neeson go through those same badass motions one more time.
At the least the new crop of images from A Walk Among the Tombstones reminds us that »
- Isaac Feldberg
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