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Posts Tagged ‘Man on Fire’

Pitch Black (aka Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black)

August 1, 2010 Leave a comment

The film that launched Vin Diesal from being an unknown starring in Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan into an action star. Also this film helped actress Radha Mitchell (Man on Fire, Silent Hill) get her ticket into the Hollywood limelight. The ‘Chronicles of Riddick’ was added to the title after the release of its sequel in 2004 titled The Chronicles of Riddick with the intention of a trilogy. A 3rd film is currently in the works bringing back the collaboration of David Twohy & Vin Diesal. A video game was released that acted as a connecting storyline between the first two films.

Written & Directed by David Twohy (Director of both Riddick films & 2009’s A Perfect Getaway). Wrote the films The Fugitive, G.I. Jane & Waterworld. Cole Hauser (Good Will Hunting, Tears of The Sun) stars as Johns, a bounty hunter tasked with transporting Riddick to prison. Radha Mitchell stars as Carolyn Fry, the surviving member of the flight crew who is wrongfully praised for their survival of crashing onto the planet. Keith David (Armageddon, Crash) stars as Abu ‘Imam’ al-Walid, a priest and father of three children.

A transport vessel crashes onto a desert planet after being struck by a meteor storm. They believe they are always in the light as the planet is orbited by 3 suns and quickly realize the need to find a water source. Soon, the 10 remaining survivors come across a mining colony where they find food and water. One of them is brutally killed and Riddick is captured and blamed for the murder. But they soon find out that the prior inhabitants never left but were killed by whatever killed their comrade. They soon come across these creatures as one of the children is killed and learn that they only stick to the night/dark. Therefore, if they stay in the light they would be fine. But of course this is a movie and it’s not that easy. They win the award for bad timing as an eclipse that only happens ever 22 years is about to occur.

“You’re not afraid of the dark are you?”

Now it’s a race against time to get the needed power cells they came across at the mining colony to their shuttle before darkness falls. Of course that doesn’t happen and the survivors are now at the mercy of relying on Riddick and, after a surgical operation in prison, his ability to see in the night. Will they make it off the planet alive with tensions mounting, trust dwindling and people dying?

The film mixes horror and action well without trying to be more of one rather than the other. With films like this, the character development is something that is usually forgotten in screenplay but not in this case. Not every character gets this treatment but the need isn’t there either. Plus after the sequel came out, this movie itself can be considered as development of the returning characters.

If you’re a fan of Vin Diesal than I highly recommend this movie. Also, with other viewings, this film will bring back that feeling of potential that we got our next big muscular action hero as his following films have been duds (The Pacifier) or cheesy attempts on action franchises (XXX). Plus we get some good one-liners that every action hero has to be remembered by and quoted on for years to come such as “Did not know whom he was fucking with!” The film itself isn’t even scary at all and doesn’t seem like it tries to be. It has more of that science-fiction/action feel to it and the sequel is undoubtedly placed in that category.

Book of Eli

July 5, 2010 Leave a comment

I’m sorry, but that was sick how he killed that cat. I take that back, I hate cats, that was awesome. I figured out there was going to be a twist and what the twist was from the trailers leading up to the film’s release. It was acknowledged by my brother when I typed it down on the Sticky Notes App for Windows 7 and he nodded and asked how I figured it out. Everybody has told me this is a film I’m going to like and I wasn’t going to let that little tidbit stop me from watching the movie anyway.

Denzel Washington (Crimson Tide, Fallen) is always a great actor to watch in any film he does. Plays every role top-notch and you know he’s having fun with it. He plays the lead character once again named Eli. Definitely a change of pace from his typical government official role.  Kind of curious though as with this film being post-apocalyptic that his mp3 player is still playing. Ha, disregard that last sentence. As far as this first action sequence goes…Wow, I thought he was a badass in Man on Fire, that was nice.

I am really liking how the film is directed by The Hughes Brothers (Dead Presidents, From Hell). That was awesome, he just paid to recharge his mp3 player with a lighter and KFC wetnaps. Now we see the films villain, Carnegie, played by Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight, Air Force One) and his #1, Redridge, played by Ray Stevenson (Punisher: War Zone, King Arthur). Haven’t seen Jennifer Beals (Flashdance, Runaway Jury) in a film lately, looks like she’s playing either a girlfriend or prostitute who was blinded at birth named Claudia. Then Mila Kunis (Max Payne, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), playing the daughter of Claudia named Solara,  shows up and it looks like in the span of 5 minutes of Eli getting into town we get the entire cast of main characters shown to us. Action Sequence #2 = Awesome.

Carnegie is in search for a particular book for the past 30 years since “the flash” knowing the powers it holds. All books are being burnt in hope that this book will never be allowed to be used for its intentions. Eli has been on a journey across America for the past thirty years after being guided by a higher power to this sought after book and given the task of protecting it.. Eli has been reading this everyday, believing this is the future of humanity and will protect it by any means necessary, which is making for some pretty sweet action sequences. Count is at 3 now….4

Backtracking a bit….Eli is forced to spend the night, given some hospitality (food & water)  and is accompanied by Solara. She comes to notice the book and wants to see it though nobody born after “the flash” actually knows how to read. Eli has Solara join him in prayer before dinner and the next morning she repeats it with her mom prior to breakfast. Carnegie overhears and knows that the book he has been in search for all these years is now currently staying the night in his place. This leads up to action sequence 3. A line that is said between Eli & Solara ought to make you think when Solara asks what he remembers before the war.

“People had more than they needed. We had no idea what was precious and what wasn’t. We threw away things people kill each other for now.”

Solara joins Eli in his journey as she begins to believe in his purpose but doesn’t understand it. Asking questions after questions we as viewers may have questions answered ourselves. Their trek takes them to a cannibal husband-and-wife couple who have a sofa loaded with weapons which means action sequence.

The twist starts to unfold after this last action sequence and if you’ve been paying attention close enough you may have picked up on it. Or you should start being able to figure it as you may question the actions of the characters. The film has a very strong christian message that is not trying to be hidden by the directors. While also reminding us to not take literacy for granted. The film is decent, not anything that’s going to hit home or have an impact on your life. But it may make you think about some of the messages that are spoken in various scenes. I don’t think Washington & Oldman were used to their best abilities but they were still fun to watch. There has been a slew of post-apocalyptic movies coming out in theaters or straight-to-DVD and I’d put this somewhere in the top 50%. Hollywood is definitely trying to take advantage of people talking about the end of the world coming in 2012.

“Dear Lord, Thank you for giving me the strength and the conviction to complete the task you entrusted to me. Thank you for guiding me straight and true through the many obstacles in my path. And for keeping me resolute when all around seemed lost. Thank you for your protection and your many signs along the way. Thank you for any good that I may have done, I’m so sorry about the bad. Thank you for the friend I made. Please watch over her as you watched over me. Thank you for finally allowing me to rest. I’m so very tired, but I go now to my rest at peace. I fought the good fight, I finished the race, I kept the faith.”

Phone Booth

February 28, 2010 Leave a comment

A thriller starring Colin Farrell (Minority Report, Miami Vice) as Stu who answers a phone call from a phone booth, apparently the only working phone booth left in New York. The man on the other side who has taken control of Stu’s life is played by the actor I’ve renamed The Actor Formerly Known as Kiefer Sutherland (The Lost Boys, Dark City) after falling in love with his portrayal on the tv show ’24’ as Jack Bauer. Now I just call him Jack Bauer. Stu has two love interests in this movie played by Katie Holmes (Batman Begins, The Gift) & Radha Mitchell (Pitch Black, Man on Fire), the latter being his wife. The cop in charge is played by Forest Whitaker (Vantage Point, Panic Room) who always gives us a good performance, his role in this film is Captain Ed Ramey.

My roommate actually just walked by and said “Would you like to have Jack Bauer hold you hostage in a phone booth?”

The movie plays off the saying “a ringing phone has to be answered”. The movie starts off with a montage of people on their phones and a narrator telling us some facts and the importance of communication in our everyday lives. The movie itself  takes place in one location, a phone booth and its surroundings. Being in a phone booth for basically the entirety of the film gives us that claustrophobic feel and the fear of imprisonment with the tension building from an unseen enemy who has shown you what he is capable of and what he could possibly do to you.

The film is directed well by Joel Schumacher (8MM, A Time to Kill) who has an up & down resume. This movie is done in real-time from beginning to end and it does not last longer than needed. Schumacher does a good job of building the suspense scene after scene and it keeps you focused on how Stu handles each situation “the caller” gives him and what he’s going to do next. The only thing I didn’t care for or could have done without was the split screen showing us different angles of the current situation. Cool idea, but done wrong in this case.

Colin Farrell does a good job in this role which was originally intended for Jim Carrey. This movie made me like him as an actor after first seeing him in American Outlaws portraying Jesse James which was strictly just a fun guilty pleasure western. It’s worth a watch if you’re looking for a quick and short thriller that will keep you entertained in under an hour and a half. To me it didn’t even feel like it was an hour-long. Rating 7/10