Posts Tagged thriller
Aaron Eckhart has proven he has the acting chops for whatever dramatic role comes his way. Whether he is a spokesman for a tobacco company in Thank You For Smoking, a district attorney turned maniac in The Dark Knight, or a police officer in The Black Dahlia he turns out good performances. But his one attempt to lead an action movie, Battle Los Angeles, was one of the most disappointing movies I have ever seen and his performance was completely cliché. However, after seeing the trailer for Erased I am thinking Eckhart may have gotten an action movie right this time.
As first glance I thought this would be a sequel/remake/reboot to Schwarzenegger’s Eraser but director Philipp Stolzl (North Face) made the switch to this title after some lengthy production/post-production delays. Erased had originally been titled The Expatriate and was supposed to have been released in fall of 2012.
Erased‘s plot follows a former CIA agent, Ben Logan (Eckhart), who is going about business as usual in his new international corporate life allowing him time with his 15 year old daughter (Liana Liberato) when suddenly it is as if the company he was working for never existed. Empty rooms and no record of Logan ever being at the corporation allude to a conspiracy that sends Logan and his daughter on the run from those he thought he trusted in order to protect himself and his daughter. Here is the trailer:
The trailer makes Erased makes it appear to be a hybrid of Adjustment Bureau meets The Bourne Identity with some Taken thrown in at the end. As to whether or not it will live up to thrilling action of the latter two movies (I did not particularly care for Adjustment Bureau) we will have to see. The fact that there has been such a long delay for this one has me a bit nervous that this may be a mess while at the same time optimistic that they wanted a little more time to get it right. But the premise and trailer give it some promise.
Currently Erased is set for a May 10, 2013 theatrical release but will be available April 5th on demand.
What are your thoughts on the trailer and Aaron Eckhart taking another stab at leading an action movie?
Do you remember in high school reading those short stories or plays that were written in the code of old English and if you did not have the teacher there to help interpret you had no clue as to what was going on? For me, that is how a lot of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories were. They were so well written that each word summed up what other authors would spend pages trying to explain. Now that I am a few years older since I first read some of those stories I have a new found appreciation for them especially after seeing The Raven today.
This mystery/thriller does the famous Poe stories justice. The Raven takes place during the final days of Edgar Allan Poe’s life as he is losing credibility as a writer just in time for a serial killer to bring him back into the public eye by using Poe’s tales as a template for his murders. Intertwine a love interest whose father cannot stand Poe and you got a Hollywood story. Here is the trailer:
As my title states, it is an admirable attempt. If I had to make a comparison it is a mesh of David Fincher’s Seven meets Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes. The way the mystery killer rationalizes who he kills and how based on Poe’s stories is like how Seven’s mystery man killed people based on the seven deadly sins. Then the costume and dialogue is similar to the old fashion banter of Sherlock Holmes. The best scene of the whole movie was the costume ball held at the Hamilton’s mansion. The costumes were so well done and it is a pivotal moment of the story.
The acting was pretty well done. I was honestly impressed with John Cusack’s performance. Of course in the beginning he has his usual character cracking smart-ass, snide remarks to demean those he dislikes but once the plot starts developing you can see a shift in his character and that is where his real acting kicks in. Other acting highlights include Luke Evans who was effective as Detective Fields, Alice Eve who played a great love interest, and as always Brendan Gleeson played his role as the stubborn and pompous Captain Hamilton to perfection.
Overall, The Raven is an intriguing mystery and thriller that ties some of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic together inventively. I score it at 7/10. I just found the ending a little unsatisfying.
Horror fans prepare to have your hacker/slasher world rocked Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods! This 2012 horror/thriller movie without a doubt adds an all new element to the horror genre, just like Wes Craven’s Scream did back in the late nineties. What I mean is that this is the first movie since Scream to offer legitimate thrillers while poking fun at itself and the horror genre in general. And poking fun I mean in the most comical but at the same time serious way possible.
The premise seems normal but with an incredible twist. It follows a group of five college student that are stereotypical of the horror movies: a jock, a slutty girl, an intellectual, a stoner, and most importantly a virgin. Together they venture out to a cabin supposedly owned by one of the friends’ cousin only to find something more sinister is at hand.
For those worried about spoilers before you see this movie you may want to put a hold on reading on and revisit this once you have seen the movie.
As I mentioned, The Cabin in the Woods does to the horror genre what Scream did back in 1996. What Scream did was have one of its characters, a horror movie guru, flat out state the rules for horror movies and then the movie follows them. What Cabin in the Woods does is inject a new way of stating the rules with people controlling the environment, the cabin, and the characters themselves as if it were some sacrificial game show. The controllers, Sitterson (Richard Jenkins) and Hadley (Bradley Whitford), have a formula or set pattern that they have to follow to have the college kids killed off depending on which means they “unknowingly” choose, a family of zombie. I must add by the way, the lead zombie carrying the trap on a chain was actually creepy! But it wouldn’t be a movie if things went according to plan. The controllers scramble as some of the attempt kills don’t go according to plan.
Hopefully that summary doesn’t give too much away.
Everything from the actors to those behind the camera making the movie were perfect. Chris Hemsworth added to the jock role with his humor and actually made him intelligent, go figure that book-smart jocks exist in horror movies. Anna Hutchison was effectively annoying but in a sexy way just as the role demanded, made bestiality seem plausible. Jesse Williams as an intellectual athlete that is a new face in the group does what is required of him by being a humble and honest love interest for the lead character. Fran Kranz was a true scene stealer as the free spirited, ranting stoner. The final friend role is the one of the virgin, played by Kristen Connolly, effectively naïve and real to make you want her to live. But the most important roles of the movie belongs to the controllers. Jenkins and Whitford fed off each other perfectly and made this film as great as it was.
People walking out of the theater were saying how they considered the Cabin in The Woods to be just as much a comedy as it is horror. But if you reflect on all the gore and ghouls seen, it is definitely a horror movie first and foremost. The special effects were fantastic and the script set it all up perfectly. Kudos to Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard on creating a horror movie that is original.
My one problem though was the last five minutes or so (SPOILERS!). The idea that this was all being done to please and contain the “horror gods.” I mean what? Never have I seen something so obscure. But after thinking about it I understood it better. People are always looking for something new and original but there are certain things they expect to happen or they won’t like it. So by using the horror gods I think Whedon and Goddard were trying to say that even thought the story is original that still had criteria they had to meet for the movie to satisfy horror fans. And they were successful.
My rating for Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods is a 8/10. Fun change of pace for horror fans that are sick of the same old same old.
Lockout is the latest action/thriller from Luc Besson (Taken) follows a similar formula of his other action films. Lockout jumps right into the action and refuses to slow down. The premise is somewhat original with many elements from other future isolated prison films. I think the best way to describe this movie without giving away too many details is that is a cross between John Carpenter’s “Escape From New York” and David Fincher’s “Alien3” (minus the alien of course).
Guy Pearce plays a wise cracking, hardened government agent who, following some misunderstanding with his superiors, has to go into space on a solo rescue mission for the President of the U.S.’s daughter (Maggie Grace) who is trapped on a run wild women-less prison holding murders and rapists used for conducting experiments. Okay maybe the premise is not too original.
Pearce’s portrayal of Lockout’s Snow is one action movie fans will like, he can take a punch while delivering effortless one-liners (much like Bruce Willis did in Die Hard). But I will say the zippy comebacks get annoying at times, some were great zingers I will admit but there are some that were unnecessary. You got the idea Snow didn’t give a crap about anything without them. Maggie Grace was a typical damsel in distress, nothing much else to add there. The villains were kind of creepy, Joseph Gilgun was off the wall but predictable and same could be said for the leader played by Vincent Regan. I actually thought of Peter Stormare as Langral as the major antagonist rather than the prisoners.
Like I say in the title, Lockout has action from start to finish which has advantages and disadvantages. The very original special effects were fantastic and fight scenes were well done which made the movie go by very fast. The problem with so much action is that the story gets jumbled or rushed. Besson used this for “Taken” and it worked out for it, but with Lockout there were some things missing or flaws in the story. One was there seemed to be some references to the President being like a tyrant by Pearce’s character but it is never really explained.
Overall Lockout was a fun movie, great action with so-so acting and an interesting outer space setting. 7/10 stars for me, maybe if it were 15 minutes longer it could have made up for its flaws.