Reviews written by registered user
|8 reviews in total|
TAKING LIVES (2004) is a great movie about a serial killer who is not
only taking lives but also assuming the identity of his victims. He
moves from one victim to the next until the police start to join the
dots and the FBI send an agent up to Montreal, Canada, to help out the
FBI agent, Illeana, (Angelina Jolie) is a talented profiler and she soon realises what is happening but neither she nor the Montreal detectives have any idea who the killer might be. That is, until Costa, an art dealer, (Ethan Hawke) pronounces himself the witness to the latest murder. He even draws a sketch of the murderer. And the mother of a son who she thought died years ago comes in and reports that she has seen her son alive and he was and is very dangerous. Now the detectives are on the trail of the killer and it looks like the killer is after Costa who is used as bait.
It's a bit graphic so if you are offended by nasty photos, you might want to give this a miss. I just think it's all a load of ketchup. And this movie has a lovely twist at the end - a nice sting in the tail.
The director is D. J. Caruso (I immediately thought Miami CSI, but no, not him). This director also was responsible for Disturbia (great movie) and Eagle Eye, both starring Shia LaBeouf. Michael Pye is the author of the book Taking Lives, available at Amazon.
CITY OF ANGELS (1998) is a soppy, sentimental, super, supernatural
movie that I absolutely love. I think you can call it supernatural when
you have a screenload of angels much of the time, all tall, slim, and
wearing the same dark raincoats. I guess they don't have designer
outlets or Kentucky Fried Chicken in Heaven.
Dr Maggie Rice (Meg Ryan) is a surgeon in a hospital and when she loses a patients, she is all cut up about it! She doesn't realise that the hospital is full of angels watching over patients, keeping a heavenly eye upon things and walking away with the bereaved once they have shed their earthly shells. Seth (Nicholas Cage) is one such angel and when he witnesses the grief that overcomes Maggie when her patient dies, he becomes drawn to her, falls in love with her, but the only way he can be with her is to give up his existence as an angel and become mortal. Determined to be with Maggie, he permits her to see him.
It's all very mushy but easy on the brain and the eye and a refreshing change from action thrillers. I think that Ryan and Cage are well cast in this one. I guessed how it would all turn out. I hope you don't.
MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL (1997) is a superb movie
starring John Cusack and Kevin Spacey. It is set in the southern states
of North America; Savannah, Georgia to be precise, a place of ultimate
refinement, fine manners, rich living, and weirdos! It's an absolute
marvel of eccentric residents including a charismatic transvestite
named Lady Chablis and a guy with flies, attached to threads, flying
around his head. Can you get weirder than that? OK, not counting Los
John Kelso (Cusack) is a reporter and has been invited to the home of Jim Williams (Spacey), a rich and powerful resident of Savannah to write an article for Town & Country magazine. Next thing, Williams is arrested for the murder of a younger man, Billy Hanson (Jude Law) and suddenly all sorts of strange facts and even stranger people are entering our screens as the matter comes to court.
Apparently tourism has increased tremendously in Savannah since the movie came out. The book on which the movie is based was written by John Berendt, and was on the 'New York Times Best Seller list for 216 weeks'. Thanks goodness they made it into a movie and thank goodness Clint Eastwood directed it.
The only thing I don't like about Clint Eastwood is that he is now over 80 and won't live forever, darnit! Here's to another 20+ movie-producing years, Mr. Eastwood. Long may you live.
UNTHINKABLE (2010) is a psychological thriller about a US citizen,
Steven Younger (Michael Sheen) who has converted to the Islamic faith
and sends a video to the government in which he says he has set three
nuclear bombs in various places across the USA. Henry Harold Humphries,
aka 'H' (Samuel L Jackson) is brought in to interrogate Younger and
ascertain the locations of the bombs. But getting the information from
Younger by fair means and foul isn't easy, things don't go according to
plan, and time is running out.
Samuel L. Jackson plays this kind of role so well and he excels in this, as does Martin Sheen which is more than I can say for the rest of the cast. The plot doesn't just focus on the threat of nuclear bombs but on Human Rights and on the methods used to extract information. Personally, I just kept thinking of how many thousands would die if nuclear bombs went off. That's unthinkable.
LIES & ILLUSIONS(2009) is a comedy thriller (using the term 'thriller'
loosely here) which I think some critics and reviewers have taken too
seriously. Perhaps they miss some of the dry humour. Nevertheless, I
cannot see audiences queueing around the block to see this one, unless
they are giving away free ice cream and popcorn to go with it. Best to
watch it when it comes on TV. While I respect Cuba Gooding as an actor,
Christian Slater's voice kinda grates on my nerves and he always seems
to be reading his script off a prompt board.
Wes Wilson (Slater) is a writer and he writes books about love - how to find your love, how to keep your love, that kind of stuff. He is engaged to a beautiful woman, Samantha (Sarah Ann Schultz - who I mistook at first for Kirsten Dunst) who is suddenly kidnapped by a bunch of thugs lead by Isaac Kahn (Gooding) and Wes is left lying in the car park dirt as they drive her away. But what do they want? They want diamonds. Seems Wes' fiancée has been leading a double life and poor old Wes knows nothing about it. Then he is called in to see her attorney and in one year's time, Wes will be entitled to all his fiancée owned which includes the house and the contents of a safety deposit box. How time flies. And soon the baddies are back.
I think by the time you get so far into the movie, you might not care what happens next. You might be asleep.
Insidious (2010) is a horror movie that has moments that might make you
jump - out of your seat and go get a cuppa coffee and a sandwich until
it has finished. They were going to call the movie Ridiculous or
Ludicrous but that would have given the whole plot away.
The plot? This couple and their three small children move into a big spooky house. Creaking doors, figure in the corner, weirdos walking around, eery attic, flickering lights, creepy noises, burglar alarm going off, husband staying at work late, wife going doolally home alone. You know, the whole gamut of horror movie tricks and then some with this one. One of the children slips into a coma and with all the weird goings on, the wife insists on moving house again. Who wouldn't? They move into a bungalow but, lo and behold, it isn't the house that is haunted, it is the child in the coma. But he's not in a coma. He is in a place called Further and someone needs to go and get him out.
The only actor I recognised in it was Barbara Hershey. I know, a lot of people actually find the movie frightening. Well, OK,maybe it's not for those with a nervous disposition but I found it hilarious. I mean. Come on!
What was that????? Did you just hear something???
FATHER OF INVENTION (2011) stars Kevin Spacey and I thought it might be
really good, hilarious, but it was more than a bit corny and I got sick
to death of that blonde saying 'I am a lesbian'. So what? It wasn't all
that funny the first time she said it and it certainly didn't improve
Robert Axle (Spacey) is a 'fabricator', not an inventor, he says. He puts things that already exist together into a new product but one of his fabrications severed fingers actually, and he ended up doing time in prison. When he got out, years later, all his hard earned millions had gone to the now ex-wife and her new husband,and to the injured via lawsuits. He was broke, jobless, homeless. And keeping down a regular job wasn't easy for him. He seemed to be disaster prone. Always in the wrong place at the wrong time mostly. And everywhere he went, trying to better himself, he bumped into people with severed fingers. His wife, living in the mansion he paid for,spending the money he earned, doesn't want to know about his problems. His daughter doesn't seem to care for him much either but she takes pity and he ends up sleeping on the couch in the home which she shares with two friends, one being the boring lesbian ('fraid so'). And so the story went.
It's not bad for a rainy afternoon when you have nothing better to do but my expectations tend to be high with Kevin Spacey. Still, not to worry, you can always play Scrabble or Chess and keep up with this plot at the same time.
A young girl is brought up by her father in a forest (in Germany, I
think), a wilderness, and taught how to be an assassin; how to survive.
She is educated through books, knows virtually nothing of the outside
world (no TV, no laptop, no iPod, no iPad, no iAnything). No one knows
where they are, living as they do in the wilderness, surviving on
animals that they kill. But her father tells her that baddies are out
to kill her because she was part of an experiment that was aborted.
Seems she was genetically engineered to be a deadly fighting weapon -
strong, fast, fearless - like a perfect soldier. All she has to do is
throw a transmitter switch and those that are out to get her will know
where she is. So she throws the switch. Okaaaaaay??? Not sure why she
would want to do that, particularly as she still only looks about 12
years old. Her father (Eric Bana) does a runner with a plan to meet her
later (thanks, dad) and she stays put in the woods and is captured by a
bunch of soldiers with funny masks and taken back to some underground
place where she is questioned about the whereabouts of her father. Her
mission is to kill the woman, Marissa, who is after her (played by Cate
Blanchett). Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) kills a woman whose job was to
pretend to be Marissa (lousy job that) and escapes and emerges up an
air vent in deserted land in Morocco (I think).
The movie is about that escape and the hunt for her.
Thing is, every character she meets or passes seems to come from an asylum, from La La Land, or maybe a circus. I mean, really? I kid you not! And, ludicrously, Hanna is a powerful, supposedly fearless weapon, skilled with guns and knives and other pointy objects, yet throws a wobbly when confronted by fluorescent lighting and an electric kettle. I mean, come on movie makers, stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Nevertheless, I managed to watch it all the way through without being in the least bored. I think the best bit is the comedy element provided by a young girl who befriends Hanna. (It is a comedy as well as an action thriller, it seems). It won't get a gold star from me and it will never be part of my DVD collection but it's a bit of fun. I won't be watching it again though.