Archive for January, 2012
Hired to protect workers from the elements, outdoorsman, security guard, and survivalist, Ottway (Liam Neenson), is a broken man contemplating suicide while working for an oil drilling company in Alaska. On a return flight back to civilization, somewhere over the tundra, his plane crash lands. Surrounded by wolves and wicked terrain it’s up to Ottway to lead the group of survivors (Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo, Dallas Roberts, Nonso Anozie, Joe Anderson, and Ben Bray) to fight their finest battle yet and hopefully live to die another day. Directed by Joe Carnahan, the same guy who brought you the A-Team, and Smokin’ Aces, it seems as though The Grey is a departure and much smaller scale film from what might be expected from Carnahan. Although, I’m not entirely convinced this is a good thing. First off the character development is half baked and stereotypical, there isn’t a fresh character in this film. The dialogue isn’t terribly impressive or artful prose. And then, repeated attempts at sentimentality through flashbacks eventually just run out of steam– even with what’s supposed to be a big reveal at the end. I get it, it’s supposed to be an artsy-ish film dealing with all kinds of conflict, Man vs. Nature, Man vs. Man, Man vs. Self, I just can’t get myself to care enough or invest anything with most of the characters on the page. And, for what it’s worth, I’ve been told I should have sat though the credits for a bonus scene at the end of the film that might add even more obscurity to the whole plot, meh…Really more of a rental, The Grey is rated R.
Recently escaped from prison, former cop, and wrongly accused jewel thief, Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington), is on a mission to prove his innocence and bring down the man that put him behind bars, (Ed Harris). But, to pull off this impossible task will take the assistance from not only his brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and Joey’s fiancé, Angie (Genesis Rodriguez), but also an unknowing foil, NYPD negotiator Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks). Now in action the big question looms, will justice be served before Nick is forced to jump from the ledge he’s perched on? Well, you see, what we’ve got here is your basic mindless bank heist type film. Again, as stated before, January isn’t exactly known for bringing us the shiniest gems in the cinema world, and this is a pretty opaque stone. But, that’s not to say the film is total garbage. I’m not entirely sold on Elizabeth Banks, as much as I want to like her here, I just can’t. Sam Worthington isn’t awful, and the antics between Bell and Rodriguez provide some low level comedic entertainment value. Ed Harris does over the top slime ball as good as anyone. And, the rest of the cast, well, they’re not offensive. I guess you could say the plot is mildly engaging, even though it’s about as predictable as they come. And oh, you know how much I love it when the title of a film gets worked into the characters’ dialogue, spoiler alert, yep it happens here, yawn. Maybe a matinee, but really fits into the rental category better. Man on a Ledge is rated PG-13.
World class smuggler gone straight Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) is faced with the task of pulling off one more job to clear his family’s name of debt to a group of Irish mafia thugs. While working the job, Chris’s wife Kate (Kate Beckinsale) and their two boys wind up as collateral for the job’s completion. Now it’s up to Chris to deliver the goods to mobster thug Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi) and save his family. A challenge that required the help of his close friend Sebastian (Ben Foster), but who’s really pulling the strings? Ah, January, how I love to loathe thee, you bring us such cinematic gems as this. Yet, in all fairness I can’t totally pick this film to pieces. Of course the plot is ridiculous, of course the death defying escapes are too close, and of course every punch is telegraphed up to a semi-predictable end. Yet still, there’s just enough barely enough charisma and character to carry us through the finish line. Wahlberg as the action hero works, plain and simple; Ribisi is great at detestable characters, between the two there’s just enough to be interesting. It’s the kind of pulpy action that made shows like the A-team palatable, and not that you could live on a diet of this for very long, but to take on a few empty calories, you could do a lot worse. Mindless action for a matinee but really more of a rental. Contraband is rated R.