Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘John Malkovich’

Noomi Rapace

“UNLOCKED” My rating: C

98 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Despite a “name” director and an impressive cast of solid B-listers, the spy drama “Unlocked” feels terribly generic.

Viewers may be forgiven for thinking they’ve seen it all before.

CIA interrogator Alice Racine (Noomi Rapace), on the rebound from a disastrous assignment that led to mass civilian casualties, is now posing as a London social worker, collecting evidence on possible terrorist activities within the Islamic community.

When the agency snatches a courier carrying messages between a radical imam and a terrorist developing a biological bomb, Alice is called in to break the captive’s will and get details on the impending attack.

Except that the CIA dudes running the interrogation seem a bit dicey…in fact, Alice finds  herself a pawn in a rogue operation. Marked for death by her own people, she barely escapes and goes on the run.

Among her supposed allies are a CIA bigwig back in the States (John Malkovich) and her agency mentor (Michael Douglas). Unsure who to trust among her own colleagues, Alice turns to a Brit intelligence master (Toni Collette) and at one point teams up with a petty crook (Orlando Bloom) whom she discovers burglarizing an apartment where she has taken refuge.

Peter O’Brien’s screenplay keeps us guessing; almost nobody in this movie is what they first seem.

There is much running around and the bodies pile up, but nothing about “Unlocked” is particularly compelling.  Director Michael Apted (whose impressive resume includes “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “Gorillas in the Mist,” lots of first-rate HBO and Showtime offerings  and the brilliant multi-decade “7 Up” documentary series) keeps things moving but never makes us care.

| Robert W. Butler

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

and Liam Helmsworth

Teresa Palmer and Liam Helmsworth

“CUT BANK”  My rating: C+ 

93 minutes | MPAA rating: R

“Cut Bank” is a slice of country noir that despite an interesting cast and an array of eccentric characters still feels like a slice of warmed-over Tarantino.

Parts of it clicks. But the overall chemistry — that delicate blend of darkness and laugh-out-loud weird — lies just outside TV director Matt Shakman’s grasp.

In tiny Cut Bank, Montana — notorious as the coldest place in the continental U.S. — grease jockey Dwayne (a blah Liam Hemsworth) is out in a field of flowering canola videotaping

John Malkovich

John Malkovich

his high school girlfriend Cassandra (Teresa Palmer) when his camera records something unexpected in the background.

About 100 yards off a mail truck has stopped on the roadside.  The driver (Bruce Dern) gets out and walks toward a man approaching on foot. The man raises his hand, a shot is fired and the mail carrier falls.

The young lovers flee, then show the video to her sour-dispositioned father (Billy Bob Thornton) and the local sheriff (John Malkovich). The latter is so upset (it’s the town’s first homicide ever) that he immediately heads for the bathroom to throw up. Turns out this will be his ritual every time he encounters a corpse.

But when the lawman visits the crime scene there’s no mail truck and no body.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Penguins-of-Madagascar-Official-Trailer-2“PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR” My rating: B

92 minutes | MPAA rating: PG

Some of the best moments in the three “Madagascar” films were delivered not by the stars — a lion and his zoo buddies — but by four peripheral figures.
We’re talking about the penguins, a bunch of madcap Marxists (of the Groucho variety) who have somehow gotten it into their fuzzy little heads that they are an elite military unit. Despite their overall incompetence, at a crucial moment these diminutive black-and-white commandos always come up with an outlandish plan to save the day.
The penguins have enjoyed their own animated TV series, and in DreamWorks’ “Penguins of Madagascar” they seize the big screen. If you’ve managed to overlook them so far, well, they’re kinda great.
Part of it is their distinct personalities, even though they look pretty much alike. The leader Skipper (voiced by Tom McGrath, who created the characters) is a distillation of every movie drill sergeant ever.  He spits out rapid-fire orders (Skipper’s mouth moves much faster than his brain) but has a soft spot for his “men.”
Kowalksi (Chris Miller) is the idea man, expected to come up with an appropriate plan for any contingency. Rico (Conrad Vernon) has a voracious appetite: He’ll gulp down just about anything, only to regurgitate those items days later when they are needed.
Finally there’s Private (Christopher Knights), the new kid, still finding his way and fawned over by the others.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

warm hoult“WARM BODIES” My rating: B- (Opening wide on Feb. 1)

97 minutes | Audience rating: PG-13

The zombie romance “Warm Bodies” probably shouldn’t work.

In fact, for the first hour I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to work.

Well, that’s what I get for underestimating Jonathan Levine, maker of “The Wackness” and the sublime cancer comedy “50/50.”

“Warm Bodies,” you see, is a “Romeo & Juliet”-type romance about kids from two warring factions. Seriously, it even has a zombie-human balcony scene.

R (he can’t remember the rest of his name) is a hungry zombie wandering a post-apocalyptic wasteland.  Julie (short for Juliet, naturally) is a human survivor, one of several hundred who live behind a walled-off section of the city.  Her dad is the guy in charge.

(more…)

Read Full Post »