GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS is not the perfect American Godzilla movie of our dreams, nor is it one that takes a thrillingly new angle on giant monsters, like SHIN GODZILLA did in 2016. Honestly I expected to like it more than I did, being a devotee of director Michael Dougherty’s previous movie, KRAMPUS. (He’s also the guy who wrote X-MEN 2, URBAN LEGENDS: BLOOD MARY and SUPERMAN RETURNS, and then wrote and directed TRICK ‘R TREAT) But this is the first time an American version feels to me like it’s completely in the spirit of the Japanese films from Toho Studios, particularly the “Heisei period” from GODZILLA 1985 to GODZILLA VS. DESTOROYAH (1995), so we’re getting there. As a monster fan apparently more forgiving than some of my friends, I found plenty to love about it. (read the rest of this shit…)
Posts Tagged ‘Vera Farmiga’
Liam Neeson is… The Commuter, starring in his self-titled, totally solid addition to the catalog of Neeson vehicles directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (UNKNOWN, NON-STOP, RUN ALL NIGHT). Written by previously unknown Byron Willinger and Philip de Blasi, this is a gimmicky suspense thriller taking place almost entirely in the limited location of a New York City commuter train, but it manages to also mix in a couple of impressive action exclamation points, not to mention the director’s endlessly playful computer-assisted camera show-offery.
The Commuter is Michael McCauley, an ex-cop who is suddenly fired from his current job at an insurance company, and then finds himself under siege in dark territory on the ride home. It’s the train he’s been riding for ten years, and most of the passengers know him by name, make small talk with him and ask about his wife (Elizabeth McGovern, ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA, CLASH OF THE TITANS) and kid (Dean-Charles Chapman, Game of Thrones). The usual sameness of his mornings is cleverly illustrated in an opening scene that shows him getting up, having breakfast, talking to the family and getting dropped off at the train, jaggedly cutting between seasons, emotions and conversations to show the passage of time without interrupting the flow of the daily routine. (read the rest of this shit…)
If you thought the conjuring in THE CONJURING was the only conjuring, you’re in for a big surprise, buddy. Because now there’s a THE CONJURING 2 and I gotta tell you, it is not about dealing with the repercussions of the previous conjuring. It is one or more totally new conjurings.
In case you get your 1-2 word title ghost franchises mixed up, THE CONJURING is the one by James Wan (DEATH SENTENCE, FURIOUS 7) that’s not INSIDIOUS. INSIDIOUS is the one that stars Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne, THE CONJURING is the one that stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. They play the famous “real life demonologists” Ed and Lorraine Warren, who were involved with investigating most of the alleged ghost cases that have been made into movies other than CASPER, which they were not able to investigate due to a scheduling conflict. This chapter opens with them on the case that became THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, but is mostly about the one that became GHOSTWATCH. (read the rest of this shit…)
15 MINUTES is a transitional Robert De Niro thriller bridging the Everybody Respects Robert De Niro era with the Robert De Niro Is a Guy Who Stars In DTV Movies With 50 Cent one. Here De Niro plays Detective Eddie Flemming, famous NYC supercop who steps on the toes of younger hot shot Fire Marshal Jordy Warsaw (Ed Burns in a practice run of his sidekick character in ALEX CROSS) when both report to the scene of a deadly apartment fire.
Eddie is famous for being on the tabloid show Top Story, where he lets the host, Robert Hawkins (Kelsey Grammer, Cheetos*), follow him on busts, so everybody treats him like a rock star and it pisses Warsaw off. But he really has been around the block and has alot of wisdom to share, so it’s a buddy movie where they butt heads but then he unexpectedly goes out on a limb for the kid and sort of mentors him and what not. All that type of stuff.
But also this is a satire about this crime celebrity culture, that’s what that title’s about. Back in the late ’80s, early 2000s we were very concerned about tabloid news shows and their morbid obsession with O.J. Simpson, the Menendez Brothers and etc., so here is a movie coming years after after MAN BITES DOG, SERIAL MOM, NATURAL BORN KILLERS, SCREAM, etc., and hitting at kind of an embarrassingly obvious target in my opinion. But it does get a little bit of novelty by framing it as the American dream, showing a crime spree committed by two European immigrants (introducing Karel Roden and Oleg Taktarov) who have come to America seeking opportunity. Well, actually to collect their share of the money from a bank robbery, which it turns out their buddy already spent while they were in prison. Whoops. Sorry fellas.
By the way I wonder if they ever met Yuri Boyka in prison? (read the rest of this shit…)
I’m always open to a James Wan movie just because I love DEATH SENTENCE so much. But everything else he’s done (until FAST AND FURIOUS 7 next summer) is horror, so it’s pretty different. SAW was okay, I kinda liked INSIDIOUS, haven’t seen the other one (DEAD SILENCE) yet. I probly wouldn’t have rushed out to see this except I heard good word including from some of you commenters who I trust.
Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga play Ed and Lorraine Warren, supernatural investigators or demonologists. They’re actually based on a real couple who famously investigated the cases that AMITYVILLE HORROR and A HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT and I think GHOST DAD and CASPER MEETS WENDY were based on, and wrote several books about this type of shit. I guess this is kind of like CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND where the movie pretends to believe their story and tells it as they would tell it. (read the rest of this shit…)
SOURCE CODE is a fun thriller with a clever sci-fi premise: what if for some reason they remade GROUNDHOG’S DAY as a DE JA VU type thriller, and instead of Bill Murray it’s the guy who looks like the guy who used to play Spider-man and instead of having one day to cover the weather he has 8 minutes to figure out who planted a bomb on a train? That would be kinda cool, right? (read the rest of this shit…)
UP IN THE AIR looks like a good candidate for the LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE of the year – the one I like but I’m kind of baffled by how intense the praise is during Critic’s Christmastime, the Season of Bountiful Awards and Lists. If I didn’t foresee that possibility I might not even review it – after all I recently discovered I didn’t even do a writeup of SNIPER, why would I bother with this? But this way if I start resenting it I can read this and get some perspective. I’ll have a record that I thought it was a pretty good movie.
It’s the story of Ryan Bingham, a guy who flies around the country to lay people off. He works for a company hired by other companies too chickenshit to swing the ax themselves. He has a whole rap about how you weren’t meant to be stuck in this job and you need to take this opportunity to follow your dreams. He’s good but, come on, people aren’t really buying it, except out of desperation. (read the rest of this shit…)
If you had told me a week ago that I would bother to see ORPHAN, even on DVD, I would’ve thought you had the wrong guy. But then somebody told me the plot twist and it was SEVEN POUNDS all over again, it suddenly seemed more interesting and I went and paid money to see it.
And I’m happy to report that ORPHAN is a surprisingly smart and enjoyable evil-child suspense thriller. It’s about a couple played by Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard who adopt a 9-year old Russian girl named Esther, and they should’ve kept the receipt because they got a lemon. At first she seems like a smart and incredibly talented kid, but actually she’s a fuckin lunatic who ends up terrorizing them all, mommy seems crazy because she says her daughter is a maniac, etc. You pretty much know the drill. (read the rest of this shit…)
If you saw INFERNAL AFFAIRS you know the storyline. Undercover cop vs. undercover gangster. There’s alot of stories about cops going undercover in gangs, but this one also has a member of the crime family who entered the police academy and moved up the ranks as a mole for his gang. So now both traitors are well situated and it starts to get obvious to both sides that they have a mole in their midst. And the moles are given the job of finding out who the mole is. It could be called LOS TOPOS.
Mr. Scorsese took that premise and moved it to Boston and told his own story about contemporary Boston criminals. Scorsese’s young associate Leonardo Del Caprio (looking more like Benicio Del Toro every year) plays the cop who pretends to get kicked out of the force, does some time and then joins Jack Nicholson’s gang. Matt Damon plays the cop who’s really working for the gang. We first see him as a little kid getting money from Nicholson in a diner. And the kid they chose is a dead ringer. They even taught him how to cock his eyebrow like Damon. Somebody’s gonna have to find a young Ben Affleck doppelganger and these two can go on the road. Or they could do THE YOUNG JASON BOURNE MYSTERIES where the camera shakes around while he’s fighting some kid in a treehouse. (read the rest of this shit…)
I really don’t have a problem with America’s team captain, Paul Walker. Alot of people seem to hate this guy, but I think he’s pretty good at playing these straight laced hunky characters in movies like THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS and EIGHT BELOW. But I gotta admit, when I saw the trailer for RUNNING SCARED I thought it looked like the worst shit ever. Paul Walker doing an accent, playing a mob guy? I wasn’t buying it. It didn’t help that the trailer ended with mobsters trying to hit a glowing hockey puck into Walker’s mouth. Like it’s not enough to hit the guy in the face, they gotta make it visually appealing and EXTREME.
But there are two things that the trailer didn’t get across. One, that Paul Walker actually does a pretty good job playing this type of character. I was hoping that Clint’s FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS would be the movie that shows Walker is a little better than people thought, but his part in that one turned out to be minimal. Instead it was this one that makes you think huh, maybe he could play other types of characters. Hard to say. The second thing the trailer didn’t get across about RUNNING SCARED is that it’s a crazed, ridiculous movie where the day-glo hockey rink fits right in. And I guess the third thing is that Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines are not in this one, it’s Paul Walker. (read the rest of this shit…)