Posts Tagged ‘Michael Douglas’

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

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Michael Douglas...hunting big game

Michael Douglas…hunting big game

“BEYOND THE REACH” My rating: B- 

95 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Our worst suspicions about the One Percent are realized in “Beyond the Reach,” an outdoor thriller with Michael Douglas doing a murderous variation on his Oscar-winning Gordon Gekko character from “Wall Street.”

Douglas plays John Madec, a ridiculously wealthy and probably sociopathic master of industry who shows up in a small burg on the edge of the Mojave Desert  looking for a hunting guide. After 10 years Madec has finally gotten a rare government license to bag a Bighorn sheep, the one animal whose head is missing from his trophy wall.

beyond-the-reach-official-trailer-0The local sheriff (Ronny Cox) suggests he hire Ben (Jeremy Irvine), barely out of his teens but an expert guide and tracker thanks to the outdoor education provided by his late parents.  Ben is immediately put off by Madec’s crude cockiness, but he can’t turn down the $1,000-a-day pay.

Once in the vast barren landscape of blistered flatlands and sweeping mesas (the film was shot in the Four Corners area), things quickly go wrong. Madec gets his kill…only it isn’t a sheep.

Ion the midst of a huge business deal conducted over a satellite phone, Madec cannot afford the bad publicity the incident will surely generate (though didn’t Dick Cheney survive a similar mishap?)  His scheme is to blackmail Ben for the death — and to make sure there are no loose ends he forces his young companion to disrobe and start walking across the desert.


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