Archive for the ‘Thriller’ Category

Non-Stop

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

tn_nonstopSo far I think I like the idea of Liam Neeson action vehicles more than the actual execution of them. Both TAKENs were fun, but with post-actiony scuffles and not as tight of storytelling as I prefer in a formula revenge movie. UNKNOWN from what I remember was kinda fun, but what was it about again? He was playing an amnesiac I believe? Yeah, that’s about how I feel about that one.

By far my favorite of this cycle is THE GREY, but that’s because it was all about manly drama. Most of the actual action (anything involving wolves) was as indecipherable as they come. So I came to his new airplane suspense thriller (from UNKNOWN director Jaume Collet-Serra) pretty jaded, but I enjoyed it more than expected.

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Grand Piano

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

tn_grandpianoGRAND PIANO is a tight little thriller, the kind of thing I would have to call snappy, crackling, popping or perhaps krispy if I had the vocabulary. It’s a cool premise, well-executed, and then it gets the fuck out in around 80 minutes not including credits. And get this: it’s THE PIANO on speed! Picture that. Great idea, right?

Oh, I’m sorry, no, I meant it’s SPEED on a piano! Elijah Wood (FLIPPER) plays a disgraced world’s-greatest-concert-pianist, reluctantly pushed by his movie star wife (Kerry Bishé, ARGO, RED STATE) into a high profile, high pressure performance in tribute to his eccentric, recently deceased mentor. He’s already ready to shit out all his insides on stage and then in the middle of the performance he finds threatening notes on his sheet music and a crazy sniper starts threatening him over a headset. (The credits tipped me off that it was [SPOILER?] John Cusack, but the voice is immediately recognizable anyway. Actually, I don’t know if I’ve seen him play an evil mastermind before, and he’s a natural. Usually you’re supposed to love him for his asshole qualities, in this one he’s just being more honest.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Angel

Monday, January 20th, 2014

tn_angelANGEL is a story about a young girl named Molly (Donna Wilkes from JAWS 2 and GROTESQUE) who lives near Hollywood Boulevard and buses out to the North Oaks Prep School. She gets straight A’s, she seems very innocent, and when a super nerd at school (who looks easily 35, but it’s okay because she’s 24 in real life) asks her on a date she turns him down by saying her mom says she’s too young to date. I thought she might be telling the truth, but after school she goes back to the boulevard, where everyone calls her Angel, she puts on makeup and starts walking the strip. Yep, our little angel is a teenage prostitute. It quickly becomes clear that she’s paying her own way through school, and that there’s a reason she’s not letting anyone into the room where she says her paralyzed mother is holed up.
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Captain Phillips

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

tn_captainphillipsCAPTAIN PHILLIPS is a tense and well made thriller based on a simple real life incident: a small band of Somali pirates board an American cargo ship to try to hold the crew for ransom, the crew tries to not be held for ransom. I remember when this happened. I mean, I’m sure this sort of thing happens all the time, but this was the famous one because of how things ended up. So that’s all I really knew about the story, so I was in suspense about how things ended up how they ended up.

Tom Hanks (HE KNOWS YOU’RE ALONE) plays the titlional captain, portrayed as an ordinary sorta schlubby working man married to Catherine Keener (in a part only slightly bigger than she had as the dead body in BAD GRANDPA). There’s a sense of inevitable doom as he takes his boat around the horn of Africa. We’re not the only ones who know he’s gonna get hijacked. He spends the first part of the movie suffering from an acute case of That Sinking Feeling until sure enough a suspiciously close skiff shows up on the radar. (read the rest of this shit…)

Oldboy (2013 remake)

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

tn_oldboyBefore I talk about the remake of OLDBOY it’s important that I say I liked the original but only saw it one time 8 years ago. Here’s what I wrote about it then.

In the remake directed by Spike Lee and written by Mark Protosevich (THE CELL, I AM LEGEND), Josh Brolin (THRASHIN’) plays a Nick Nolte character named Joe Doucett. He’s an alcoholic, sexually harassing deadbeat dad and advertising asshole who after a long night of drinking, puking and crying in 1993 meets a woman who takes him to a hotel and when he wakes up he realizes she’s not there and there are no windows or doorknobs. One of those hotel conundrums, you know. And this was before Yelp and shit like that so he couldn’t even give them a bad review. Turns out this is not a normal hotel in that you can’t leave. Someone, for some reason, has locked him in this weird prison. Every day they stick a plate of dumplings and a bottle of vodka through a hatch in the door, but they don’t tell him why he’s here.
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Obsessed

Monday, December 16th, 2013

tn_obsessedI guess Beyonce Knowles released a “surprise album” on iTunes on Friday. They didn’t announce it in advance or anything and word spread like word spreads on the internet and holy shit it became the number one selling digital file album of such and such. Everybody lost their shit and wrote headlines and everything. Amazing! Revolutionary! It may seem like a clever attention-getting gimmick for a star of her size to not bother with marketing, but here’s the truth: her husband Jay-Z knew through the Illuminati that I had just watched Beyonce’s Christmas-time thriller OBSESSED and was about to put up a review. So she knew she had to rush the album’s release in order to take advantage of that extra spotlight. Your welcome, Beyonce.

Like in DIE HARD, the shit goes down at an office Christmas party for some L.A. financial something-or-other firm. But instead of faux-terrorists taking over the building it’s a stalker executive assistant trying to take a married man. Lisa (Ali Larter from FINAL DESTINATION) is a temp who’s been breathing all over Derek Charles (Idris Elba, GHOST RIDER’S SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE), listening in on his phone calls, finding out too much about him, putting him in uncomfortable situations. The camera makes her seductive, zeroing in on her crossed legs when she sits near him, her glossed lips when she smiles at him. (read the rest of this shit…)

Whiskey Mountain

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

tn_whiskeymountainWHISKEY MOUNTAIN is an obscure movie I came across through my usual Slasher Search method of scanning for VHS boxes in the horror section. It’s from 1977 and I’m pretty sure it was made after the filmatists saw 1974′s THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, but you could probly stick it in the DELIVERANCE redneck attack type of genre more than in horror.

This is the story of two couples who take their dirtbikes up into some mountains in search of treasure. Like in TEXAS CHAIN SAW they’re looking for family property they vaguely know about, and a local business proprietor warns them they don’t want to be nosing around on other people’s property. Also like in CHAIN SAW that local shows up later on as one of the attackers. (read the rest of this shit…)

Passion

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

tn_passionHoly shit, Brian De Palma made a new movie. It’s a remake of the 2010 French thriller LOVE CRIME, but it’s still a new Brian De Palma movie. Rachel McAdams from MEAN GIRLS plays Christine, a grown-up mean girl high up in an advertising firm. Isabelle (Noomi Rapace, DEAD MAN DOWN) has a big career opportunity coming to Christine’s place to work on a smart phone campaign. She’s nervous but they get along well. Christine seems to be a cool boss and collaborator until she brazenly takes credit for the ad that Isabelle came up with and created entirely without her. Even worse she convinces Isabelle that it was okay to do that to her because they’re a team and one’s success makes the whole team look good or some bullshit like that.
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The Purge

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

tn_purgeWhat if in the near future “unemployment is at 1%, crime is at an all time low, because one night a year” – on March 22nd, for a 12 hour period – “ALL CRIME IS LEGAL!”

You know, everybody gets all their rapes and murders out, everybody does their shoplifting and meth dealing, and public defecating and car theft and kidnapping and arson and all that, just let it loose on that day and unless you want to beat someone’s face in with a crowbar or jack off in front of your neighbors you just stay indoors and out of trouble. And all because of that 12 hours of mayhem the rest of the year the streets are so clean Paul Kersey could eat off ‘em!

Other than on March 22nd, llife would be so much better. And we must consider the value of this trade off. Would an almost-year of peace be worth the dangers and moral complexities of that one day? Thinking about THE PURGE you can’t help but consider the ramifications of trying something like this, ’cause it would obviously work, right? Why haven’t we done this?

Admittedly I have some questions. Are people really goonna postpone all their crimes of passion until that period? Can serial killers hold it in that long? Do mentally ill people know how to schedule when to snap? Can the drug trade get all their work done in one day a year? And what are they gonna do with their 364 day weekend? (read the rest of this shit…)

Gravity

Monday, October 7th, 2013

tn_gravityGRAVITY is the new one from Alfonso Cuaron, genius director who hasn’t done one since CHILDREN OF MEN seven years ago. You remember for that he and his criminally award-snubbed cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (THE TREE OF LIFE, THE CAT IN THE HAT [!?]) devised several completely jaw-dropping long take shots where the protagonists run through these crazy battles and go through all kinds of shit without any visible edits. Remember that scene where the car is rolling down the hill and they get attacked by a band of marauders, or the one where he has to fight his way up the stairs looking for his elephant? Or actually I think one of those was TOM YUM-GOONG. But even so there were some great ones in CHILDREN OF MEN, and for GRAVITY they took that to the next level, doing most of the movie in long unbroken takes. You just stop thinking about it, but apparently the first shot lasts 17 minutes. And this is in an era when 17 seconds without a cut would seem like a long time.

Like AVATAR, this plays like a live action movie but actually has more animation onscreen than organic human flesh. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney play astronauts who are out in their astronaut suits fixing a satellite or telescope or some scientifical type shit when debris from an exploded satellite wrecks the shuttle and kills the rest of their crew. They have no contact with earth, no space ship and limited resources they gotta try to use to get their ass to the International Space Station or whatever. One of those space joints they got up there. Stop me if I use too much technical jargon and what not. (read the rest of this shit…)