Tag Archives: Liam Neeson

Batman Begins an amazing franchise of films

28 Aug

BATMAN-BEGINS

Christopher Nolan’s interpretation of the Batman character has replaced most audiences’ perception of the caped crusader. Thank goodness because I am tired of campy television references and Tim Burton’s expressionist take on the masked vigilante. Nolan’s first installment provides the origin of Batman and Bruce Wayne’s reluctant journey back to Gotham City. Christian Bale is ideal for the part and the film’s antagonists Cillian Murphy (Scarecrow) and Liam Neeson (Henri Ducard) are equally up to the task. The Scarecrow scares audiences with his ghoulish demeanor while Ducard’s cold-blooded crusade are formidable tactics that keep the film from falling into a one-note action flick. Batman is known for his utility belt and Batmobile. Lucious Fox (Morgan Freeman) provides the eye-catching vehicles and gadgets that raise the level of action to new heights for a comic-book film. Nolan creates a realistic superhero with human flaws and weaknesses that audiences can’t get enough of. Batman Begins an amazing franchise of films.

WORD COUNT: 158

Chuck’s Grade: A

Adam’s Grade: A-

Kingdom of Heaven does not deliver salvation

17 May

Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 9.11.53 PM

Ridley Scott tries strikes to strike gold a second time with a sword and sandal epic, but Kingdom of Heaven does not deliver the same salvation with Orlando Bloom starring as the defender of Jerusalem as did Russell Crowe did in Gladiator. Bloom’s inability to match the statures of Liam Neeson and Jeremy Irons is only one of many shortcomings. However, it is one of the better films to capture the actual scale of the city, as well as balancing the beauty and ugliness involved in the politics of the Crusades. Especially, with the amazing performance from (Edward Norton) as the King of Jerusalem. Unfortunately, Hollywood keeps creeping back into the script and takes us away from the Promised Land.

WORD COUNT: 121

Chuck’s Grade: B-

Adam’s Grade: C

Gangs of New York cannot “preserve the order of things”

17 Nov

Martin Scorsese’s film, The Gangs of New York brings audiences back to 1860s when turmoil and change were happening on all fronts in America. A war was being fought in the South while immigrants from all nationalities were landing in New York City with dreams of hope and freedom. It is a beautifully shot movie that reveals the violent animosity between “native” Americans wanting to keep their city from falling in the hands of “non-native” immigrants, particularly the Irish Catholics.

Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio) returns to Five Points to seek revenge for his father’s death many years earlier at the hands of Bill “The Butcher” Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis). The two leads, along with Brendan Gleeson give amazing performances that save this film from its obvious shortcomings. Mainly, the miscasting of Camereon Diaz and the film’s unexpected change in the story’s scope. Bill Cutting is my favorite all-time villain, but Day-Lewis cannot save the “film” from becoming just another “movie.”

WORD COUNT: 159

Chuck’s Grade: B

Adam’s Grade: B-

Schindler’s List

16 Nov

Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece, Schindler’s List is one of the greatest films of all time. For me, it sets the bar for elite filmmaking. His accomplishments on the screen as well as behind them separate this production from all other films. Each component of the film is irreplaceable.

Based on a true story about Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) and his factory workers. At the start of the war, he is a German businessman that only cares about sex and money, but once he meets SS officer Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes), a sadistic psychopath that finds pleasure terrorizing and murdering Jews, his perspective and actions change towards saving as many Jewish people as he can. I remember watching Fiennes’ chilling performance and feeling embarrassed to be a human being.

After each viewing I sit and watch patiently until the final credit rolls past the top of the screen because of the amount of gratitude I have for everyone involved.

WORD COUNT: 158

Adam’s Grade: A+

Chuck’s Grade: A+

The Grey gets lost in the snow

25 Sep

Here’s a movie that had all of the ingredients of being great film, but instead it settles for mediocrity. The story follows John Ottway (Liam Neeson), in another role similar to hi recent film Taken. Ottway and his co-workers are stranded in Alaska after a plane crash and they are then forced to survive repeated attacks from a pack of wolves. Man against beast has been a successful Hollywood vehicle for ages, but this film is nowhere near JAWS.

Writer/Director Joe Carnahan tries to create likeable characters that audiences could care about, but this group makes some of most stupid decisions ever. The script is slow moving and the action reminds people of a horror film they have seen numerous times before. The intensity of the Neeson’s acting keeps the film watchable, but its abrupt ending forces audiences to question what Carnahan was thinking.

WORD COUNT: 144

Adam’s Grade: C-

Chuck’s Grade: N/A