Friday, January 16, 2015

No Good Deed

This movie stars Idris Elba as an escaped prisoner and Taraji P. Henson as a stay at home mom whose house the escapee decides to visit. 
I didn’t really care for this movie and thought it was one of the worst of the year.  I know not everyone will agree but that was my opinion.  I gave this movie 1 out of 4 stars. 


This movie was nominated for best movie, best director, best supporting actress, and many other awards.  Once you see this movie you will not forget it.  It takes you through the life of a boy over a 12 year period. 
Director Richard Linklater did a tremendous job of pulling this cast together, especially Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke.  The same cast stayed together over the entire 12 years that this movie was filmed.  This includes the boy, Mason Jr, (Ellar Coltrane) and his sister, Sam, (Lorelei Linklater) as they grow up and you see the experiences that they have. 

I would definitely recommend that you check out this spectacular movie.  I truly enjoyed it.  I gave this movie 4 out of 4 stars.  It will be on my top 10 year end ratings.  

Taken 3

This sequel is the third installment of the Taken series and as in the others stars Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills.  The movie begins with Bryan meeting with his ex-wife Lenore who was played by Famke Jannsen.   They discuss the fact that they still love each other.  Lenore however has remarried and is trying to keep the marriage going.  Lenore’s husband, Stuart, (Dougray Scott) suspects that something is going on and visits Bryan requesting that he stay away from Lenore. 
While Bryan is out jogging, he gets a text from Lenore asking him to get bagels and she will meet him at his house to talk.  Lenore gets a similar message, asking her to meet Bryan her near a convenience store.   Bryan gets the bagels and arrives home to find that Lenore has been killed.  Soon the police arrive to arrest Bryan led by inspector Franck Dotzler who was played by Forest Whitaker. 
Bryan escapes and makes his way to a payphone to call his daughter, Kim, (Maggie Grace) to alert her of her mother’s death and to warn her to be careful and to trust no one.  Bryan plans to find out who killed his ex-wife and set him up to take the fall. 
I love almost everything that Liam Neeson stars in and this movie was no exception.  He is a far better actor than most people realize and is a terrific action hero.  Forest Whitaker was also fantastic in his role as was all the other actors.  I loved the scenes between Neeson and Whitaker showing the respect Inspector Dotzler has for Bryan Mills. 

This movie will not disappoint if you enjoyed the first two movies.  I highly recommend that you see Taken 3.  I gave this movie 3 ½ out of 4 stars.  

The Woman In Black 2: Angel of Death

The Woman In Black 2:  Angel of Death starts out in London during World War 2.  London is being bombed and families are being broken apart.  Eve (Phoebe Fox) is a teacher.  She and the head mistress (Helen McCrory) take a bunch of children to a nearby town to get away from the bombing. 
On the way there, they meet up with Harry Burnstow (Jeremy Irvine) who is a pilot stationed nearby.  Edward (Oaklee Pendergast), who is one of the children, had just lost his parents right before the group left London.  Edward will no longer speak and Eve takes a liking to him. 
The location chosen to house the children is very run down and unsuitable, but they have little choice but to stay there.  Two boys lock Edward in a former nursery, and weird things begin to happen. 

The first movie was OK.  It starred Daniel Radcliffe (who played Harry Potter).  This movie started out strong but went downhill quickly.  I found myself checking the time on my watch hoping it would be over.   Those with me thought the movie was good but I cannot agree.  I gave this movie 1 ½ out of 4 stars.  

The Gambler

This movie stars Mark Wahlberg as Jim Bennett.  He is a literature professor with a severe gambling addiction.  He owes $260,000 to the proprietor of an underground gambling ring and is told he has one week to pay off the debt or he will be killed.    He then borrows money from a loan shark to pay off the debt but instead gambles it away.
Jim comes from a wealthy family.  His mother, Roberta (Jessica Lange), gives him the money to pay off both debts, but he again gambles it away.    One of his students shows promise as a writer and he falls for her.    She is soon threatened as well.  He now contemplates borrowing money from another loan shark who is played by John Goodman. 
I enjoyed this movie but there were some scenes that I didn’t like.  Some of the characters didn’t add anything to the movie.  Mark Wahlberg was terrific as was Jessica Lange and John Goodman.  

The performances were better than the directing.  Rupert Wyatt was the director.  He should have given his attention to the whole movie instead of just the beginning.   I gave this movie 2 ½ out of 4 stars.  

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Equalizer

I really enjoyed this movie that starred Denzel Washington and Chloe Grace Moretz.  The two of them together were excellent.  Denzel plays the part of a tough guy who looks out for the common person taking their side when they are wronged. 

The action in this movie was terrific.  Denzel just turned 60 years old and I can’t believe it.  He is so talented as an actor.  He always plays parts that are demanding and he always comes through.  The Equalizer will not disappoint.   I gave this movie 3 ½ out of 4 stars.  I really enjoyed it.    


This movie directed by Angelina Jolie is based on the real life of Louis Zamperini who was the son of an Italian immigrant.  The story begins with Louis as a young boy who is always getting into mischief.  His brother convinces him to take up running as a way to stay out of trouble and he finds he is quite good at it.  He makes the Olympic team and is to compete in Tokyo.  However the Olympics are halted due to the war.
Louis, who was played by Jack O’Connell, is a bombardier in the war and his plane is shot down over the ocean. After being on a life raft for 47 days, him and the only other survivor Phil, played by Domhnall Gleeson, are taken as prisoners of war by the Japanese and taken to a POW camp.
Louis becomes the whipping boy for the camp leader who was known as “The Bird”.  He endures many hardships at the hands of “The Bird” but survives.  His motto becomes “If I can take it, I can make it”. 
I enjoyed this movie and it was heartbreaking at times.  The strength of Louis is admirable and you can’t help but respect him.  Angelina Jolie was terrific as a director and got the best out of all the actors. I look forward to any future movies with her as a director. 
Interestingly enough, Louis was selected to be the grand marshall in this past week’s Rose Bowl parade.  He however, died at the age of 97 on July 2, 2014.    He lived his life in a way I would hope everyone should look up to.   

This movie has been a sell-out almost every night it has played and I rated it accordingly.  I gave it 3 out of 4 stars.