20 October 2010


Thought My Life was Going to Meet the Hereafter Before this Ended

I look forward to every Clint Eastwood movie. Whether he is directing or acting, or even better, both in the same movie, I look forward to his films. I have missed a few over the past few years, but I try to see them all in theaters. I love the way he directs and crafts his films. He has a very old school look and approach to his films. When I first saw this trailer to Hereafter, I was excited. Clint was going supernatural. Matt Damon is a solid actor. I have not seen Invictus, but, Matt was nominated for his role in it. So, the two of them working together again seemed like a good idea. The running time of just over two hours didn’t scare me. Most of Eastwood’s movies clear the 120 minute mark. Peter Morgan, writer of Academy Award winning films The Queen, Frost/Nixon, and The Last King of Scotland, wrote this, adding another perk.

Hereafter opens with an incredible scene of a tsunami wave crashing through a small coastal town. One of the main characters, Marie LaLay, a French investigative reporter, is killed by the wave, but is revived. She is played by Cecile De France, from one of my all-time favorite horror movies High Tension. Marie gets a glimpse of the afterlife before she is saved. This vision consumes her throughout the film. This scene of destruction was amazingly filmed. The sound, the movement, the visuals, all gelled together to give a final product of greatness.

From there, the movie goes straight into the crapper. We are next introduced to Marcus and Jason, twin brothers played by real life twins Frankie and George McLaren. They live in England with their junky of a mother. One is tragically killed. The survivor is left in the hands of child services. He goes on a search to find out what happens after death and to see if he can communicate with his deceased twin. There is one other scene that is a stroke of genius in a subway station.

Finally, we meet Matt Damon’s character of George Lonegan. He is a real-life psychic. He can communicate with the dead through physical touch. His brother, Jay Mohr, tries to get him to re-open as a psychic for money.

Now that we know all three of players, nothing happens for another hour. We see Marie lose her career and boyfriend. We see young Marcus fail at communicating with Jason. George loses his job and fails in love. Then, for a forced reason, they all wind up in London at a book fair where they finally cross paths and end this tragically long film. As we reached this apex, it felt like a bad M. Night Shyamalan film.

In the finale, I felt that I should feel happy for the trio, and should have had some emotional connection to them, and cried. People around me did. All I felt was elation that this was coming to an end. Or was it? It didn’t really end. It was just kind of over. The ending was rushed, but it took too long to get there. When it was over, I checked my watch to make sure it was still Monday. I was afraid that I lost a day or two in there. Along the way, look for appearances by Bryce Dallas Howard, Richard Kind and Sopranos’ own Steve Schirripa. Verdict: Boring, dry and unfulfilling, I do not recommend this movie. I just hope Eastwood’s Hoover biopic is better.

10 October 2010


Red Does NOT Mean Stop!

Well, if Bruce Willis blowing stuff up with Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich wasn’t enough for you, they threw in Helen Mirren, Mary-Louise Parker, Richard Dreyfuss, Ernest Borgnine, Brian Cox and up-and-coming Karl Urban. Whew! That is a lot of people. It is second only to The Expendables.

R.E.D. was everything that The Expendables wanted to be; a bunch of over the hill people going out one last time. The story in this movie was vastly superior to that in The Expendables. The action scenes were about the same, but knowing that there were no strings or computer graphics does give The Expendables the advantage there. I think this is a better movie than The Expendables, which might sound sacrilegious, but it is true.

R.E.D. is simply the story of Frank Moses, played by Willis, who is a recent retiree from the C.I.A. He is marked Retired Extremely Dangerous, aka R.E.D., by the powers that be. Karl Urban’s William Cooper is sent on a mission to kill Moses. He asks no questions. We find later is basically Moses’ replacement.

Moses strikes up a phone relationship with Sarah Ross, played by Weeds’ Mary-Louise Parker, who works for Social Security. After a hit squad attacks his home, Moses goes to get Ross before she is killed. After that, we meet Freeman’s Joe Matheson in his retirement home. Next up is Marvin Boggs, played by John Malkovich, living in his below ground bomb shelter. His character was the best. Every scene he is in, he stole. Lastly, we meet Helen Mirren as Victoria in her stately home.

The crew go on a mission of their own to discover who has marked Moses RED, and why.
Along the way, Ernest Borgnine plays the elderly man who guards the archives. Richard Dreyfus is part of the conspiracy. Nip/Tuck’s Julian McMahon plays a Presidential candidate. And Brian Cox plays an old Russian from the Cold War who has history with the crew. All the acting was spot-on. A friend of mine thought that Brian Cox’s Russian accent didn’t suit him, but it didn’t bother me. The director’s inexperience did not show. His only real credentials are the pilot episode for Lie to Me, Flightplan, and The Time Traveler’s Wife. It’s not that impressive, but this was. His next movie is R.I.P.D., Another comic/graphic novel adaptation. The writers were the same that brought the graphic novel Whiteout to the screen. I didn’t see that, but judging by its box office take, neither did anyone else.

In the end, I loved the movie very much and found it very entertaining. I highly recommend this movie to any action movie junky like me. The story was solid, the acting superb and the action was explosive.

RATING: 8/10