Archive for the ‘Political’ Category

Point Break, 1991, PG-13, ****

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

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 “Point Break,” is a slick cops and robbers movie with a beachy connection.  It is a very cool movie.

 

Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves, “A Walk in the Clouds,” “The Lake House”) just started working for the FBI’s San Diego office and was assigned to an unappreciated, not-by-the-book wild n’ crazy veteran agent Angelo (Gary Busey).  The two get off to a rocky start, but soon realize they are a perfect team, to bust up a team of bank robbers.

 

Through undercover work, Utah and Angelo discover the clan is a bunch of surfers.  As Utah is nailing the facts down, various friendships and his career begin to collide.  Bodhi (Patrick Swayze, TV’s new series “The Beast,” “Dirty Dancing,” “Donnie Darko”) is the idealist gang leader befriends Utah but realizes they are in a fundamental conflict. 

 

This film is one of the most entertaining police-action flicks.  It is also one to buy and watch from time to time; it will always keep your attention.

Shattered, 2007, **, R

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

 

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This film should have been called, B times 3 (Brosnan, Butler, & Bello)—okay, I know—not too funny.  Pierce Brosnan, Gerard Butler and Maria Bello star in this thriller about a man who black mails a couple for no reason at all, or so we are led to believe.  Butler and Bello are about to be thrown into a tail spin of events when, Brosnan pops up from the back seat of their Range Rover as they are about to embark on a long tedious day of games, and events that will startled them for the rest of their lives.  It is unclear until the very end, why Brosnan is after the couple.  Is it money?  Is it for sheer thrill?  But then you ask yourself, no one would capture two people for a day for no reason at all, unless they are temporarily insane.

 

This flick is good, but in some scenes, it looses you—out of boredom.  It has a storyline that makes you want more, but then I was beginning to ask myself, “Why, waste my time?”  Well, I gave it the benefit of the doubt, and kept watching, and besides – who can resist Gerry Butler?  He is gorgeous, and a different genre for him to attack—typically we see him in period pieces like “Attila,” and “300.”

 

Neil Randall (Gerard Butler) is an ad salesman about to get a promotion.  His wife Abby (Maria Bello, “A History of Violence,” “Coyote Ugly”) is a stay at home mother, who does photography from time to time.  One morning, they drive off to part ways—Niel is going to a meeting, and Abby is spending the day with a friend, and a lady that works at Neil’s office is watching their daughter. 

 

The unexpected happens—a man—Tom Ryan (Pierce Brosnan, “The Matador,” “Married Life”), whom neither of them know jumps up from the back seat of their SUV, and points a gun at them, and immediately tells them, their daughter (Emma Karwandy, “The Dead Zone”) will be murdered if they don’t withdrawal a large amount of money from their accounts.  The entire day becomes like a synchronized swimming routine.  They must stay in line with what the man says or they are dead, along with their child.  Some of the actions of Ryan seem to be deliberately done to confuse them and make them to believe they are being mistaken for another couple.

 

Because the storyline is vague until the bitter end, it makes the viewer stay attentive, even if it does drag.  The actors are great in all of their other films, but this is very true—the script can make a movie, even if the actors are terrible.  The sparkle was definitely missing from this one, which is why the sudden gearshift in the last 20 minutes of the film was heavily needed.  The simple question in this movie is –How far does a parent go to protect their children? Every single step that these parents take is predicated on the well being of their little girl. 

 

I like the twisted ness of the film—because once you find out the entire issue at hand, you will think the same way.  The end of the film has a very powerful premise.  Was the cat and mouse chase worth it?  I think so.  

 

If you are a Gerard Butler fan, this is a must see film.  I will say, however it is a one watcher.  Also, if you want to see a better film, similar genre, rent the Michael Douglass film, “The Game.”  This one will not disappoint.

Arlington Road, 1999, *****, R

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

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Starring: Jeff Bridges, Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack, Hope Davis

 

It’s is riveting and oozing with suspense from the very beginning. Arlington Road, starring Jeff Bridges (The Contender, Seabiscuit ) and Tim Robbins (The Shawshank Redemption, Mystic River) pulls you towards the edge of your seat. It is for sure gripping, and makes you think about the terrorism situation throughout the world. The acting is pure genius and outstanding performances are done by the entire cast.

 

This is one of the many true acting accomplishments of Jeff Bridges. The mixture of cast between Bridges and Robbins accompanied by Joan Cusack (School of Rock) and Hope Davis is award winning. Joan Cusack plays Robbins’ wife, and perfectly captures a wicked yet concerned neighbor. She adds an extremity like no other support. Hope Davis (American Splendor) play Bridges girlfriend, who is very skeptical of his accusations of their neighbors. She makes Bridges out to be the bad guy, yet she is wrong.

 

The idea of a terrorist living in your neighborhood (in modern day) is hard to accept but with the help of knowledge and evidence it becomes compelling. Individuals, who are ignorant and living in a fantasyland, believe that everyone is a good human being. These individuals have no consciousness of a corrupt society and they do not see the evil in people. Therefore the corrupt people would easily get away with their actions of destruction.

 

College professor Michael Faraday (Jeff Bridges) begins to suspect his neighbor Oliver Lang (Tim Robbins) is not really who he says he is. Faraday takes it upon himself to discover the real past of Lang. From name changes to teenage bombing attempts, Faraday becomes impatient and anxious, as the information he gathers points to a very dangerous terrorist organization led by Lang.

 

This driven, nail-biting action-drama is well laid out and interesting to follow, but it is not your typical hero flick at the end. The suspense builds; there are twists quite different from other films of its kind. Scenes are well ordered so you are not lost in the pace of the story. Flashbacks do occur, and help you understand the main characters feelings about terrorism. This sets the tone, and helps the viewer understand some of Bridges background and knowledge of the subject. The film feels as though there is a climax point every five seconds, although you get a real dose at the very end. You will be hanging by a thread until the bitter end of the road.

 

The music for the film is extremely effective. The music when Faraday is caught researching his neighbor makes your heart pound with fear! The intensity that engages the viewer with full close-ups of Bridges eyes, and facial expressions that reek of fear is sheer brilliance. The lighting arrangements are also rather frightening, which makes you more aware of the terror. These additives are what make the film gripping and a pure excellent production.

I believe this is a film that is not only intelligent, but also superior to all others like it. It shows that we are vulnerable to terrorists. Individuals who are out to destroy and hide in plain sight are the most difficult ones to catch. I believe if everyone had seen this film before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks they would have better understood that these people have no value for human life. They would see that many of these evil individuals get away with their immoral crimes and that something must be done to stop them.

 

Deep Impact, ***1/2, 1998

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

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Starring: Elijah Wood, Leelee Sobieski, Tea Leoni, Morgan Freemman

 

Many individuals believe this film is a better representation of how all life on earth could end, unless the terrorists get to us first.

 

A teen astronomer, Leo Beiderman (Elijah Wood) discovers an object in the sky during a class project and reports his sighting to a noted Astronomer, Marcus Wolf (Charles Martin Smith).  Upon receiving the teens information Wolf examines the sighting and sees the unimaginable—a larger comet headed toward earth—but is unable to report his findings due to an auto accident in which he is killed.

 

Fortunately, the information is discovered and the government realizes the seriousness of the Wolf/Beiderman discovery and it’s clear a disaster of global proportions is possible.  The government tries to keep the finding a secret until a plan can be developed to deal with the event, however a broadcast reporter (Tea Leoni) puts a few pieces of information together, which expedites the governments announcement of the impending disaster.

The President of the United States (Morgan Freeman) tells the American people of the news and that NASA has organized a space mission to destroy the comet before its arrival.

 

This film is exciting and terrifying at the same time.  It is a film that will give you a shred of hope, because some individuals do survive.  The concept of a comet plummeting toward earth might even be more science fact than fiction, and the hope is that our worlds astronomers will always be combing the stars looking for anything that might be coming our way.

 

“Deep Impact,” has an array of many great actors, and many of the performances are emotional, intense and unforgettable.  Robert Duvall plays the head as the head of the NASA mission; Morgan Freeman is the President of the United States, Elijah Wood as Leo and his girlfriend Sarah is Leelee Sobieski.  Among natural disaster films this is one of the good ones and definitely promotes the sale of telescopes for young astronomers and probably a few Chicken Little’s.

Taking of Pelham 123 2009, ***1/2, R

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

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Starring: John Travolta, Denzel Washington, John Tururro, James Gandolfini

 

The remake is better the original with the late Walter Mathau, due to more action, and comedic one liners, in this Scott-Free Production.  Walter Garber (Washington) plays a transit dispatcher who runs into a snag; a group of hijackers on one of the lines he looks over, Pelham 123. 

 

Garber is a supervisor temporarily demoted while being investigated for bribery. Ryder (Travolta) the showman of the hijackers, demands $10 million within an hour, or he’ll start shooting hostages. He’ll deal only with Garber. The mayor (Gandolfini) okays the payoff, the news of the hostage situation sends the stock market tumbling, and it’s unclear what Ryder really wants or if Garber is part of the deal.

 

I thought this movie was a decent action flick to watch.  I would recommend watching it at least once.  Travolta and Washington make a quite a good pair.

Crossing Over 2009, ***, R

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

 

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Starring: Harrison Ford, Ashley Judd, Ray Liotta

 

This film is a series of vignettes that focus on various parts of the Department of Homeland Security, including ICE (Immigration and Customs and Enforcement).

 

Harrison Ford is an ICE team member and rounds up illegals on the California/Mexico border.  At the beginning of the film, he and other team members raid a sewing factory; one particular woman is upset because her son is at an upstairs daycare, and she is forced to leave without him (late Ford-feeling some compassion for the situation-is able to find the child and return him home). 

 

Elsewhere, in the Los Angeles area Ashley Judd works as a social worker and tries to help immigrant families as well as orphaned children.   

 

We also hear from a Muslim teen in a high school classroom where she gives a speech to class and sympathizes with suicide bombers, and the 9/11 Al Qaeda terrorists.  As you can imagine this causes quite a disturbance in the classroom and yet the teacher (probably politically liberal) lets her continue the speech.

 

Ray Liotta is one of the many “approvers” of US Visas, and it just so happens that a particular Australian blonde agrees to sleep with him to get her Visa.  All goes awry there, as you could have guessed. 

 

I think this was a very well done movie, because it shows aspects of immigration issues from all angles.  It reminds me of the film “Crash,” written and directed by Paul Haggis, not only due to the vignette approach, but the idea that there are many different sides to the story.  However, toleration of people that could be threatening to the American people is not accepted, even if it’s a 15 year old (due to the fact that suicide bombers are typically in the mid teens to early 20s.) 

 

The film also has a great line up of actors; however we don’t see them interact with one another-maybe another film?

 

Check this one out on DVD if you are into political dramas, or work for the federal government.