Korean filmmaker Kim played with the Western genre before in his wacky 2008 pastiche The Good the Bad the Weird, and this film is just as chaotically uneven, mixing cartoon-style silliness with grisly violence. But the high-energy approach holds our interest, as does Schwarzenegger's immense screen presence in his first starring role since his political career. The film is far too jumbled to hold together, but its sardonic sense of humour makes it a decent guilty pleasure.
Arnie plays Sheriff Owens, who has a quiet routine in his sleepy Arizona-Mexico border town. So when a stranger (Stormare) appears, he sends his deputies (Alexander and Gilford) to investigate. Things get violent quickly, so he deputises a drunken veteran (Santoro) and a moronic gun-nut (Knoxville) to work alongside another deputy (Guzman). What he doesn't yet know is that the baddies are part of an elaborate plan to help a drug kingpin (Noriega) escape from a Law Vegas FBI Agent (Whitaker) and cross the border to freedom in Mexico.
The whizzy plot actually has promise as a straightforward action movie, but Kim throws so much nuttiness at the screen that we can't take anything seriously. The story zings from set-piece to set-piece without much concern for credibility or coherence. It's all very cool, especially the baddie's glimmering, super-fast prototype Corvette, which travels "faster than a chopper" on isolated country roads that are improbably smooth. And his climactic plan to get over the border is astonishingly silly, but played dead straight.
Continue reading: The Last Stand Review
Ray Owens is a police sheriff whose major crime fighting days are all but over when he swaps his job in the LAPD combating drug crimes for the much less strenuous post in the quite town of Sommerton Junction on the Mexican border, after a botched drugs operation left him feeling defeated when his friend and colleague ended up crippled. His comfort in his new post is challenged all too soon when the most formidable drug tycoon in the western world, Gabriel Cortez, slips from the clutches of the FBI. Cortez and his ruthless army head towards the Mexican border in Sommerton Junction at 250 miles per hour in a deadly modified Corvette ZR1 with a hostage, mercilessly shooting at the police officers attempting to arrest them and easily sweeping police cars out of their way. They are pursued by the entire law enforcement of America led by Agent John Bannister, though Owens is unwilling to bring his team into the fight at first, feeling not the officer he used to be. His reluctance becomes irrelevant anyway when he is told to take a backseat due to the lack of experience of his team; however Owens soon changes his mind and bands his modest taskforce together to forcibly take on the fierce drug gang themselves.
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It turns out that Butch Cassidy didn't die in a hail of gunfire in 1908 Bolivia after all. Now calling himself James Blackthorn (Shepard), he's still living there 20 years later with his girlfriend Yana (Solier). But after he decides to return home, he's waylaid by Eduardo (Noriega), a city-slicker who has embezzled thousands from a brutal businessman. Their ensuing adventures spark memories of Blackthorn's days as a young outlaw (Coster-Waldau in flashbacks) with the Sundance Kid (Delaney) and Etta Place (McElligott), chased to South America by the dogged lawman McKinley (Rea).
Continue reading: Blackthorn Review
Butch Cassidy is infamous for being a bank and train robber and the leader of the Wild Bunch Gang, which included the criminals Elzy Lay, George Curry, Laura Bullion and Harry Tracy. He is perhaps well known for committing his crimes with Harry Longabaugh, also known as the Sundance Kid and Longabaugh's girlfriend Etta Place.
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In Brad Anderson's film, the scenario is one we've seen before, but it's handled here with an unusual alacrity. Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer play Roy and Jessie, a pair of young Americans who just finished a volunteering stint in China and are now taking the Trans-Siberian train all the way to Moscow. Both as comfortable in their roles as few actors are ever allowed to be, the two need little more than a handful of lines and a couple of telling looks to apprise viewers of their characters. As the good-natured Christian rube from Iowa, and the girl with a past who's looking to put it all behind her but doesn't trust herself to do so, the two are ripe for the plucking. So when a dark and sexy couple in black move into Roy and Jessie's cabin, it's all a question of time before the Americans find themselves in a situation they're less than prepared for.
Continue reading: Transsiberian Review
Set almost entirely in a nicely-appointed conference room in a Madrid office building, The Method begins with a very telling split-screen montage: As we watch the characters go about their morning routines, traffic is piling up and the streets thickening with protestors. The IMF-World Bank conference is in town and the anti-globalization forces are marshalling for a Seattle-esque day of angry confrontation. But this is of little concern to the seven, who have taken advantage of the protests (many offices have shut down for the day) to go to a group interview for an executive job at Dexia Corporation. Of course, we are never privy to knowing what it is that Dexia does, but such specifics are entirely beside the point.
Continue reading: The Method Review
From the moment the movie opens, it's unclear of what is real and what is not. We meet a handsome, young, successful businessman named César (Eduardo Noriega), who drives expensive cars, resides in a classy residence, and enjoys an endless supply of beautiful women.
Continue reading: Open Your Eyes Review
Continue reading: The Devil's Backbone Review
"Open Your Eyes" is a jaw-dropping psychological thriller about the power of the human mind to bend and break reality -- or is it?
With more twists than a strand of DNA, co-writer and director Alejandro Amenabar delves headlong into the increasingly erratic mind of a rich, charming, devastatingly handsome egoist who becomes unhinged after being horribly disfigured in a car crash.
Eduardo Noriega plays Cesar, a habitual love 'em and leave 'em charmer who at his 25th birthday party meets Sofia (Penelope Cruz), his best friend's date and the first girl who has ever truly made his heart race.
Continue reading: Open Your Eyes Review
Sublimely atmospheric but erratically chilling, "The Devil's Backbone" is a promising Spanish spooker about a haunted orphanage, but it's too hung up on being more than just a ghost story.
Taking place during the Spanish Civil War, the film opens during a nighttime bombing raid in which a huge ordnance slams the building's courtyard but doesn't explode.
Months later when a war orphan named Carlos (Fernando Tielve) is abandoned at the remote, dilapidated institution, the rusting hulk of the bomb still sticks straight up out of the ground, looming over the day-to-day lives of the children and their caretakers.
Continue reading: The Devil's Backbone Review
The 1969 session, including the only known recording of 'Sunshine Woman' by the band, will be included on a re-issue of 'The Complete BBC Sessions'...
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The BBC drama starring Aidan Turner returns to BBC One on September 4th.
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Korean filmmaker Kim played with the Western genre before in his wacky 2008 pastiche The...
Ray Owens is a police sheriff whose major crime fighting days are all but over...
Plaintive and perhaps too slow-moving for mainstream audiences, this finely made Western cycles through a...
As the train rattles through the frozen tundra with its cargo of weary passengers, a...
"Open Your Eyes" is a jaw-dropping psychological thriller about the power of the human mind...
Sublimely atmospheric but erratically chilling, "The Devil's Backbone" is a promising Spanish spooker about a...