Based on the novel by the name, the thriller Puerto Vallarta Squeeze,… MoreBased on the novel by the name, the thriller Puerto Vallarta Squeeze, was a story that never should have happened. No matter how good a film may be, I can not get into it when there is a huge and obvious plot hole. The film wasn't terrible, but it could have been so much better if they had just eliminated the obvious! Scott Glenn stars as a CIA hitman, who after executing his target, kills a potential witness, someone he shouldn't have killed. Following orders, his team leaves him stranded in the small Mexican city of Puerto Vallarta. The hitman needs to get back to the states and decides to pays a couple to take him on a ride to the boarder, never informing them that the Mexican authorities, as well as the CIA, are chasing him. What doesn't make sense to me, is if this guy is such a big time hitman, and he's on the run, why not just steal the car? It really wasn't necessary to drag this couple into it, when all they did was slow him down. This could have been a terrific action thriller, instead it was full of this non-sense, involving this random couple. Scott Glenn stars, and he's one of these guys whose name you don't recognized, but who has had minor roles in huge films for decades. Even I didn't realize until I looked him, but Glenn was in The Silence of The Lambs and The Hunt For Red October. He was very good, but the problem was that it wasn't believable. He wasn't injured, he didn't know these people, and there was no reason for him to take them along. They hindered his getaway and just destroyed the story. Also worth noting is that this was the last film to feature teen heartthrob, Jonathan Brandis, who killed himself in 2003. I've always liked Brandis, as he had a major role in one of my favorite TV shows, Seaquest DSV. He didn't get much work as an adult, which is considered to be one of the major reasons behind his suicide, but it was interesting to see one of his few adult roles. He didn't play a very interesting character, but only ever knowing him as a teen, I really wanted to see what he had become before the tragedy. Puerto Villarta Squeeze had a great back story, but it wasn't the focus of the film. The hitman's interaction with this bizarre couple was, and it just ruined the whole thing.
For nearly six decades, Meyer Lansky was the brains behind the mafia,… MoreFor nearly six decades, Meyer Lansky was the brains behind the mafia, and is credited for their rise to power in Las Vegas. While being one of the more interesting criminals to ever live, his role was mainly behind the scenes and the film about his life turned out to be much less interesting than the man himself. Meyer Lansky (Richard Dreyfuss) was a Europen Jew, who fled to America in the early 20th century. Living on the streets of New York, he quickly fell in with the wrong people and started laundering money and bootlegging alcohol for some of New York's biggest gangsters. Lansky along with Lucky Luciano and Bugsy Siegel, formed one of the most profitable organizations in the history of the Mob, and are credited as the first group to officially be refereed to as organized crime. I've always loved mafia movies and did genuinely want to learn more about Meyer Lansky, but the truth is, what he did really wasn't that interesting. He wasn't a boss, he wasn't a hitman, he was basically an accountant, trying to make money for all kinds of nasty people. The film was basically a behind the scenes look at the mob and I found it to be very long and boring. Reclusive veteran, Richard Dreyfuss, takes on the role of Lansky and fits the character like a glove. Dreyfuss even mirrored Lansky's mannerisms and was really very good. From an artistic stand point, Lansky was worth watching, as Dreyfuss wasn't the only one to turn in a powerhouse performance. I went into this film looking for an intense, fast-paced thriller, but what I got was more like some documentary on the mob, that put me to sleep. Everything was as it should be for an epic drama, but the truth is, the man they chose to feature, just wasn't the type of guy that needed to have a film made about his life.
In one of his more recent films, Jason Statham tries out a more… MoreIn one of his more recent films, Jason Statham tries out a more dramatic role. While his performance was terrific, this slow moving film leaves a lot to be desired. Joey (Jason Statham) is a war veteran who has returned to a London that is no longer his home. Falling on hard times, Joey is one of a group of homeless drug addicts, that are being terrorized by a group of thugs. While fleeing from another beating, Joey finds a seemingly abandoned, upscale apartment, and sees it as a chance to get back on his feet. The story was interesting, but it moves at a snails pace and is somewhat unbelievable. Statham pretends to be friends with the man who owns the apartment and the neighbors never question it. The film is further harmed by Joey's love interest, who just happens to be a nun. It was a very strange dynamic. Jason Statham was terrific, as a guy who was leading two lives. At one point he's this addict, trying to protect his girlfriend and at another, he's a mob enforcer, doing what he must to find and save her. The character of the nun, while performed admirably by newcomer Agata Buzek, really complicates the story. It was a semi-interesting twist, but it really takes the movie off course for extended periods of time, slowing the film to a halt. I'm a big Jason Statham fan and will watch anything he does, but if I were making recommendations on which of his film to watch, Redemption sadly wouldn't make the cut.
Cleaner was a great film that would have gotten a much higher rating,… MoreCleaner was a great film that would have gotten a much higher rating, if not for predictability. There are certain actors, when you see their names in the credits, you know, even before the film starts, that they are the bad guy, and that's exactly what happened here. Samuel L. Jackson stars as a former police officer, who was part of a dirty department. He knew that it would only be a matter of time before he was caught up in the corruption, so he decides to get out. Jackson decides to take on the unique, but very real profession of being a crime scene cleaner. One day, he's given a key and a job to do in an upscale neighborhood. Nothing is out of the ordinary, until the next day when he goes to get paid and discovers that the woman there has no idea what he's talking about. Now Jackson must discover who used him to cover up their crime, who was the victim, and why were they murdered? While I prefer Samuel L. Jackson in a more comedic role, he's just as good in a dramatic one. His strength has always been the ability to carry a film, no matter if it's dramatic or ridiculous. Despite being direct-to-video, Cleaner has a large supporting cast of stars that really help the film. A lot of these films tend to have newcomers backing the veteran star, and their weak performances bring down the quality of even the best written films. Here, Jackson is supported by the likes of Eva Mendes, Luis Guzman, and Ed Harris, all of whom are very believable, and all of whom help move the story along. Cleaner is intense, unique, and interesting, if you haven't seen a lot of film, you may not realize who the bad guy is, five minutes into the film, and you may be really surprised. As for me, it was like watching a movie that some amateur Netflix reviewer already ruined for me, and the suburb ending was lost.
After 9 years, Chucky has finally returned in his sixth film. After… MoreAfter 9 years, Chucky has finally returned in his sixth film. After the disaster that was 2004's Seed of Chucky, many fans of the franchise felt that they were owed another film, and they finally got one. The timeline of this film is a bit confusing though, as the characters refer to the events of the past films taking place 25 years ago, even though this film appears to take place before 1998's Bride of Chucky. Nica's family lives a quiet life on the outskirts of town. Her mother is obsessed with the home shopping network, so it's no surprise when a mysterious package shows up at their door. Inside that package, you guessed it, your friend til the end. Curse of Chucky plays more like the old school Child's Play films, rathen than the more recent comedic ones, whoever it does have it's funny moments. It's also unique in some ways, as for the first time the film features flashbacks, and real life appearances by the famed voice of Chucky, Brad Dourif. The story here was more of a tie in to older films that a stand alone sequel, but it gives fans a little bit of everything they've come to expect from Chucky. It may not be one of the best the series has to offer, but it's certainly better than the previous one, and it introduces a new generation to the simplistic genius that is Chucky.
Often times, when a generic horror film is as lazy and predictable as… MoreOften times, when a generic horror film is as lazy and predictable as Killer Holiday, the producers try to spice things up by adding something that will trick viewers into seeing it. Sometimes it's a unique location, other times they will make the film more comedic, and the most common trick of all is to have an attractive cast, that is wearing very little. Killer Holiday tries all three, which should tell you something about the story! A group of college kids rent an RV for a summer trip and decide that the highway is too boring, so they take the back roads. On the way they find an old abandoned amusement park, whose fun house is home to a serial killer. A killer with the last name Holiday, who introduces himself to his victims, yes it really is THAT bad. From there the film is one big chase to get away from the mad men. Rational people would have just gotten in the RV and left, but drunk college kids apparently aren't that bright. The cast is all no names and it really shows as some of them seemed like they were literally reading from the script. Horror movies are by nature somewhat predictable, but when you throw in some really bad, albeit good looking actors, and a bizarre story that goes around in circles, you have the recipe for something that is basically unwatchable.
For those unfamiliar, Jesse Stone is the legendary, fictional, Police… MoreFor those unfamiliar, Jesse Stone is the legendary, fictional, Police Chief in the small town of Paradise, Massachusetts, created by Robert B. Parker. The Jesse Stone franchise has spawned over a dozen novels and eight feature films. While being the first book in the series, strangely enough, Night Passage was the second movie shot, and the third one released. It seems odd, but Night Passage is more of an introduction to the character and the town. If this were a TV series, it would have been the pilot, but when you're trying to start a film franchise, you want to start it off with a film that hits harder and is more memorable, the way Stone Cold was. As for Night Passage, it introduces audiences to Jesse Stone, as he leaves L.A. a disgraced homicide detective, with an alcohol problem, coming on the heals of a divorce. Stone drives across the country in hopes of taking over the seemingly easy job of being a Chief in a small town, but he quickly learns that Paradise is not your ordinary small town. Tom Selleck stars and was the obvious choice to play Stone, because the man has been playing a cop for almost forty years! Unlike many of those other Policemen, Stone is more withdrawn and uses his experience to take care of business, so he can go home to his dog and his alcohol. Each story centers around a crime, but also has a secondary story, Night Passage is no different as Stone must deal with a homicide, and a domestic situation that has torn a family apart. Similar to the other films, they get big names to co-star and in Night Passage we get Academy Award Winner, Viola Davis, and Stephen Baldwin. These guess stars, along with deep characters, and complex stories are the difference between the Stone films and a TV series. While Jesse Stone would transfer into a tremendous TV series, you wouldn't get the same feel that you do from the films. The world of Jesse Stone is a cold, dark one. He must do his job while battle his own demons at the same time. With a perfect leading man, coming from some very well written novels, the Jesse Stone films have been a treat, and Night Passage is where it all started. I'd highly recommend getting into the series, but watch the films in order of the novels, not in the order the films were released.
Hit & Run is a wild ride that never should have worked, but… MoreHit & Run is a wild ride that never should have worked, but surprisingly it does. The story doesn't appear to be deep or complicated, and just when you think they've come to the end, a whole other angle begins. The film is further helped by a large cast and a whole bunch of interesting cameos, that help take it to another level. Charlie Bronson (Dax Shepard) is happy living in a small town with his girlfriend, Annie (Kristen Bell), but things are about to change. When Annie gets offered a job in L.A., Bronson must decide whether or not to go with her, which also means leaving the safety of the witness protection program. When a jealous ex learns of the plan, he finds out who Charlie really is, and thanks to Facebook, connects with the men he's hiding from, making the trip to L.A. a dash for safety, across California. Dax Shepard is not an actor I find to be very funny, but this was the first time I've seen him play a character as deep as Charlie Bronson, and he was terrific. He is being perused by Bradley Cooper of all people, who I did not see as someone who could play the bad guy. His good looks and charming personality, don't exactly lead one to believe he'd be believable as a bad guy, and while he wasn't the toughest bad guy I've ever seen, he does more than an adequate job. Hit & Run isn't an award winning film, it may not even be all that memorable, but it is extremely entertaining and an edge of your seat thriller ride. The perfect film for those who want to just sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
Based on the novel, The Legend of Micky Tussler by Frank Nappi, comes… MoreBased on the novel, The Legend of Micky Tussler by Frank Nappi, comes the Canadian film, A Mile In His Shoes. While the basic story remains the same, the film was significantly different than the novel. The new story transfers much better to film, but takes far too much away from the original novel. Micky Tussler (Luke Schroeder) is a mid-western farm boy, who suffers from Aspergers Syndrome. One day fortune finds him, as the manager of an independent baseball team's car breaks down in front of his farm. While waiting for a tow truck, Arthur Murphy (Dean Cain) observes Tussler throwing apples to his pigs, and realizes that the kid has a lot of potential. The story originally took place in the 1940's and it was much easier to understand the hardship and discrimination Tussler faced. When the film changes the story to modern day, there isn't much of a stigma associated with Aspergers and that whole angle seemingly disappears from the story. The film being made for TV is also problematic, as rather than being a story of a kid who had to overcome overwhelming odds, it plays more like a Disney movie, about some loveable idiot and the coach who takes him under his wing. The whole message of the original story is basically gutted for TV and as someone who really enjoyed the novel, I resent that. Luke Schroder, son of Rick Schroder, stars as Micky and was really the only bright spot in this film. This was his film debut and he played it as though he'd been acting for years. Growing up around the business must have made it very easy for him to slip into the profession, and his performance was very admirable. As for the rest of the cast, they are just along for the ride and as I said, for me, the film takes too much away from the original story and plays like a dreaded Disney movie, in one of those rare instances where I wish I'd just stuck with the novel.
Philadelphia will always hold a place in cinematic history, as it is… MorePhiladelphia will always hold a place in cinematic history, as it is the first major film to really address the discrimination against Aids and Homosexuality. It also was the beginning of Tom Hanks amazing run of Academy nominated film, that may never be duplicated. The message of the film comes across loud and clear, but not quite in the way that the film's producers intended. Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks) was a top attorney with one of Philadelphia's top law firms, when all of a sudden he's fired. Beckett believes he was set up and fired because he has Aids, but can he prove it in court? As the film goes, it is easy to see the discrimination and stereotypes that Beckett has to face on a daily basis, and weather or not you accept homosexuality, it's powerful ending will make you feel for the plight of any homosexual who suffers from this horrible disease. The majority of this film takes place in the courtroom and centers around Beckett's case against his former employer, and as someone who has studied the law, I can tell you that the case destroyed the merits of this film. There are things that both sides do, that would never be allowed in a court of law, and in my opinion neither side really makes it's case. As far as the legal aspect of this trial goes, it is very subjective and would never lead to the verdict that was handed down. As for the stars of this film, they are the ones that make it as powerful as it was. Hanks gives a performance that was absolutely worthy of the best actor award, as following him and his story is really what gave the film it's reputation. Quite ingeniously, Hanks is paired with Denzel Washington, who plays his attorney. Washington's character is meant to represent how much of the audience felt at that time, as even while representing Beckett, he speaks out about Aids and Homosexuality. The more he works to represent Beckett, the more you can see his attitude change, the same way the audiences attitudes change as the film moves alone. I loved Philadelphia for it's performances and it's message, but as far as the story goes, the trial is the majority of the film, and the trial is completely unbelievable. In my opinion the trial takes away much of the film credibility. The issue and the case should have been more clear cut and the legality of it all should have been easier for the audience to understand. That being said, if you choose to watch this film, you will be hard pressed to find better performances by a better cast, but the story will leave you feeling somewhat incomplete.