Jason Statham may be playing essentially the same character he always plays, but this noir-style thriller has a somewhat groovier tone thanks to the Las Vegas setting and a scruffy William Goldman script. It's also directed with wit and energy by Simon West, who keeps everything moving very briskly. Although not fast enough for us to miss the fact that it's all rather thin and pointless.
As always, Statham is a former black-ops agent whose jaded, frazzled exterior obscures his fighting-fit action moves. His name this time is Nick Wild, and he works as a bodyguard for wealthy clients like Cyrus (Michael Angarano), who needs protection as he visits Vegas casinos with vast sums of money. He also has a lot to learn from Nick about gambling and wants to learn some of those action moves too. Meanwhile, Nick's ex-girlfriend Holly (Dominik Garcia-Lorido) asks him to help her get revenge against the swaggering gangster Donny (Milo Vengimiglia), who kidnapped and viciously terrorised her. Nick knows that getting even with Donny will put him on a collision course with mob kingpin Baby (Stanley Tucci), but he can't resist a challenge.
Nick is one of those characters who can't resist much. He's addicted to high-stakes blackjack, life-threatening confrontations and his own seedy poverty. So clearly the goal of the screenplay is to find some sort of uneasy redemption. Statham has played this role before in his sleep, so he looks almost bored here, which makes him vaguely intriguing. His gimmick this time is an ability to turn everyday objects into lethal weapons, including a seriously nasty moment with a pair of hedge clippers. It also helps that the film is packed with colourful scene-stealers who add plenty of badly needed spark, including a ripped Ventimiglia and the reliably wonderful Tucci, plus lively cameos from the likes of Sofia Vergara and Anne Heche.
Continue reading: Wild Card Review
Nick Wild (Jason Statham) is working as a Las Vegas bodyguard for hire, mainly due to his lethal professional skills, but also because of a slight gambling problem he has. Unfortunately for Wild, he allows business to get mixed up with his personal life, as he chooses to help a friend of his that gets savagely beaten by a Vegas thug. After extracting a bloody revenge on the thug, Wild finds his simple little existence challenged by an entire crime family that seem hell-bent on sending him to a shallow grave in the desert. Wild knows that one way or another, he's not gonna be in Vegas by the morning.
Continue: Wild Card Trailer
Nigerian filmmaker Jeta Amata clearly feels passionate about the problems in his country, but despite the presence of Hollywood stars the movie is made in a style that will feel amateurish to Western audiences. Obvious screenwriting is the main problem, ramping up melodrama when political intensity is needed. Essentially, a more organic approach to storytelling, with attention to the characters instead of the themes, would have made this a much more powerful thriller.
After studying in America, 21-year-old Ebiere (Mbong Amata) returns home to her Niger Delta community just in time to witness a horrific oil-company accident in which most of her family perishes. As the most educated person in her village, she rises to a position of leadership among the rebels fighting for fairer treatment from petrol executive Tom (Mickey Rourke) and the corrupt military, which responds with relentless violence, betraying and brutalising the villagers. As she falls for rebel commander Dede (Hakeem Kae-Kazim), Ebiere becomes even more important. And things take a further turn when she's charged with murder after a protest turns fatal. Meanwhile in Los Angeles, desperate Nigerians (including Wyclef Jean and Akon) take Tom hostage along with a local reporter (Kim Basinger) to demand justice for Ebiere's plight.
Writer-director Amata made this film three years ago, then reworked it to add the L.A. sequences in an effort to make Nigeria's struggle feel more current in the context of global activism. This works to an extent, as it stirs the hot topic of terrorism into the mix. But the big action set pieces are directed and edited in a choppy way that feels undercooked. The story of desperate political activism amid heavy-handed corruption is compelling, but it's watered down by some rather soapy interpersonal plot points. Still, the film remains involving, a powerful tale of little guys standing up to forces much bigger than themselves simply in the name of what's right.
Continue reading: Black November Review
Wallace Avery is struggling with the hardships that life is throwing at him; a boring job, a failed marriage, an estranged son and an unfulfilling relationship; and decides that something must be done in order for him to find happiness again. He fakes his own drowning and purchases a new identity, becoming golf pro Arthur Newman and landing himself a job at a golf club away from Florida. It's then he meets Michaela "Mike", who is actually named Charlotte Fitzgerald and has assumed the identity of her twin sister who's suffering from mental health problems. They set out on a road trip together to Indiana but it isn't long before they both discover each other's true identities. With that in common, their bond strengthens and a romance blossoms as they take comfort in each other's dissatisfactions in life. But when it comes down to it, this couple have some serious decisions to make about the kind of people they really want to be.
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Harry Lennix, Amir Arinson, Diego Klattenhoff, Sophia Bush, Jesse Lee Soffer, Jasin Beghe, Jon Seda, Jane Lynch, Lucy Griffiths, Matt Ryan, Eamonn Walker, Monica Raymund, Taylor Kinney, Scott Cohen, Hope Davis, Kelly Brook, Elisha Cuthbert, Nick Zano, Debra Messing, Cristin Millioti, Ben Feldman, Krysten Ritter, Peter Facinelli. Anna Friel, Jake Robinson, Casey Wilson, Ken Marino, Gavin Stenhouse, Margarita Levieva, Morgan Spector, David Giuntoli, Russell Hornsby, Katherine Heigl, Alfre Woodard, Leslie Odom Jr, Craig Robinson, Tone Bell, Kate Walsh, Hugh Dancy, Minnie Driver, Benjamin Stockham, David Walton, Ice-T, Raul Esparza, Ellie Kemper, Tina Fey, Megan Boone, Ryan Eggold, Seth Meyers, Josh Lucas, Laz Alanso, Anne Heche and Jimmy Fallon. - 2014 NBC Upfront Presentation at The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center - Arrivals - New York City, New York, United States - Monday 12th May 2014
Dave (Harrelson) is struggling to hold his fractured family together while covering up his dodgy activities as a cop in L.A.'s rough Rampart district. He lives with his two ex-wives (Heche and Nixon) and two daughters (Larson and Boyarsky), while developing a tentative relationship with a lawyer (Wright).
But his vigilante-style approach to his job leaves him with few friends, while his addiction to prescription drugs is sending him into a downward spiral. And now he's being harassed by the D.A. (Weaver) and her investigator (Ice Cube).
Continue reading: Rampart Review
In the midst of the 1990's Rampart Scandal, Dave Brown works for the LAPD and is the most corrupt cop you're ever likely to meet. He is racist, homophobic and chauvinistic and that's just the tip of the iceberg. In his mind, he thinks he is an action hero and he has dedicated himself to doing 'the people's dirty work'. In his personal life, he has two ex-wives - both of them sisters - and has fathered two daughters between them.
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New York cops Gamble and Hoitz (Ferrell and Wahlberg) have been relegated to unimportant positions by two teams of flashier detectives (Jackson/Johnson and Wayans/Riggle). But when Gamble arrests a millionaire investor (Coogan) for a minor infraction, he and Hoitz are plunged into a murky case involving a ruthless Aussie goon (Stevenson) and bribed city officials. Even their captain (Keaton) tells them to leave it alone, but Gamble can't let go and Hoitz sees this as a chance to stop being the "other guys".
Continue reading: The Other Guys Review
Adapted from Elizabeth Wurtzel's memoir (unread by me, and despite its bestseller status it seems to be almost universally disliked) of depression and dysfunction at Harvard, Nation casts the always-watchable Christina Ricci as the self-absorbed author. The film doesn't exactly have a story; it's more about Elizabeth using college to gauge the depths of her mental instability. She writes in binges for the school paper, introduces countless substances into her system, and embarks on destructive relationships and non-relationships. Ricci, it must be said, displays skill and gusto in the areas of binging, abuse, and destruction; she throws herself into the part, though what she gets in return is questionable.
Continue reading: Prozac Nation Review
Co-stars Anne Heche and Tommy Lee Jones prove more than able at evading not only the encroaching magma, but also the horde of bad actors that follow them throughout the movie. And while the film is full of creeping cheese, complete with death-defying leaps to safety, slow motion shots, and kitschy one-liners, I shock myself even by saying that, for the most part, it feels real. They even thought to include Dennis Woodruff's infamous car, the cheesiest of Hollywood landmarks, floating along in a river of fire. Where else would they think of that!? I really do love L.A...
Continue reading: Volcano Review
Jason Statham may be playing essentially the same character he always plays, but this noir-style...
Nick Wild (Jason Statham) is working as a Las Vegas bodyguard for hire, mainly due...
Nigerian filmmaker Jeta Amata clearly feels passionate about the problems in his country, but despite...
Wallace Avery is struggling with the hardships that life is throwing at him; a boring...
Harrelson reunites with The Messenger writer-director Moverman for this grim drama about police corruption in...
In the midst of the 1990's Rampart Scandal, Dave Brown works for the LAPD and...
This goofy fish-out-of-water comedy is deeply endearing. As it follows its central character on a...
A sharp script sets this fast and furious action comedy apart from other brainless summer...