Nick’s Picks 10/17/12
FEATURE FILM REVIEW
Liam Neeson returns to the big screen as Bryan Mills, a retired CIA agent whose daughter was abducted in the first film, Taken. In the second installment of the series, he is being hunted by a relative of one of the abductors he killed. As Bryan uses his skill set as a covert operative to seek out and destroy those that are working to hurt his family, we get to see a real life character come to life in the James Bond mold – only real. It’s the in your face tactics and excellent story that keep fans of the Taken series coming back for more.
Characters in films often utilize catch phrases or even musical leit motives that represent the epitome of their individual characters. What will forever be “Bryan Mills” is the ubiquitous statement he makes as he is communicating with the abductors in the first film and, the same phrase is muttered in this installment as well: “I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you, I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.” Who wouldn’t say something similar if it was your child that had been abducted. More to the point, it is that statement that endears the audience to the Mills character. That was clearly the case as the test audience cheered when he delivered the line.
In Taken 2, it becomes readily apparent that no one cares about Bryan’s special skills, nor the promises he can make should the abductors leave both he and his family alone. Their sole purpose is to make his family suffer as much as possible. The director does a tremendous job in the manner he coached the actors with their delivery. The film was quite fresh and, coupled with the excellent cinematography and the quick edits, even the most ardent action film fan will find the pacing of Taken 2 to be very enjoyable. This film has it all – good acting, a solid story, action, detonations and it won’t put you to sleep. Neeson is brilliant as Mills and every theater goer would expect such. What is notable was the performance of Famke Janssen as Lenore. The chemistry she exudes with Neeson is palpable and keeps the film interesting.
What is most interesting about the film is the relationship Mills has with his daughter, Kim. Since her abduction (in the first film two years prior), Bryan’s relationship with Kim has developed into a much stronger bond. Through the events of the last film, Mills hopes to salvage some semblance of a relationship with Lenore, who is now his ex-wife. What Mills care about more than anything is the relationship he has with his daughter. The best aspect of the father daughter relationship in regards to Taken 2 stems from Kim being so much more proactive in this film. She is a much better character and represents a strong female to which the audience (particularly the young ladies) can relate. Kim is no longer a naive little girl. Like her father, she too has developed a few skills that come to fruition in the film.
Taken 2 isn’t ground-breaking. The film is very similar to the first installment and you really won’t take anything away from it that is mind-blowing. This is the requisite popcorn flick that represents the end of the summer films and the beginning of what we all hope will be a wonderful and auspicious Oscar season of excellent fourth quarter films. However, Taken 2 isn’t a dud – not by a long shot. The writing and performances are solid enough to justify checking this film out. Behind all of the action and special effects there is a coming of age family story that really is quite touching at times. There are many others you could choose to see that aren’t near the caliber of this one. Give Taken 2 a shot. You won’t be sorry you did.
Starring: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace & Famke Jannsen
Director: Olivier Megaton
Company: 20th Century Fox
Now Showing: In Local Area Theatres
MPAA Rating: PG-13
FREE DVD GIVEAWAY
We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of Legendary Amazons, Chernobyl Diaries, Basket Case 3: The Progeny, Red vs Blue: The Best Ever, A Cat in Paris, Sudden Death or Batman Dark Night Returns: Part One,, it is really easy! All you have to do is send me an email at HoustonMovieGuy@gmail.com. The subject line of the email should read DVD GIVEAWAY. In the body of the email, be sure to put your name, full mailing address and which DVD or Blu-ray you would like. Winners will be selected by random drawing. Best of luck!
LEGENDARY AMAZONS – WellGo USA
Set in the Song Dynasty, when the men of the Yang Clan are massacred in battle, their women, from elderly grandmother to little sisters, put on armor, take up swords, and lead the army to victory seeking vengeance against the armies, as well as the corrupt official who allowed it to happen. Produced by Jackie Chan, this action-packed war epic of the real-life story of the Yang family s women generals stars Cecilia Chung as Mu Guiying, the celebrated woman warrior and Yang family daughter-in-law, as well as veteran wuxia actress Cheng Pei Pei as the 100-year-old Yang matriarch. ’90s action sweetheart She Taijun, Yukari Oshima and Taiwanese actor/singer Richie Ren also star in this epic and legendary martial arts spectacular.
CHERNOBYL DIARIES – Warner
Six tourists hire an extreme tour guide who takes them to the abandoned city Pripyat, the former home to the workers of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. During their exploration, they soon discover they are not alone.
RED VS BLUE: The Best Ever – Flatiron
Clerks meets Star Wars in this smash-hit comedy series. Using officially licensed video from the blockbuster videogame Halo, Red vs Blue adds hilarious voiceover. In a parody of first-person shooter (FPS) games, military life and science fiction films, the series begins with two opposing teams of soldiers fighting a civil war in the middle of the desolate Blood Gulch box canyon. The most luckless bunch of soldiers in the universe must fight the least likely war ever, in the most ridiculous way they know how.
A CAT IN PARIS – New Video
The Academy Award-nominated A Cat in Paris is a beautifully hand-drawn caper set in the shadow-drenched alleyways of Paris. Dino is a cat that leads a double life. By day he lives with Zoe, a little girl whose mother is a detective in the Parisian police force. But at night Dino sneaks out the window to work with Nico a slinky cat burglar with a big heart, whose fluid movements are poetry in motion as he evades captors and slips and swishes from rooftop to rooftop across the Paris skyline. A Cat in Paris is a delightful animated adventure perfect for both adults and children a witty and stylish “animated noir” with a jazzy soundtrack featuring Billie Holiday and a thrilling climax on top of Notre Dame cathedral.
SUDDEN DEATH & LIVE A LITTLE STEAL A LOT – Inception
Get Down With Two Totally Awesome 70s Crime Heist Capers Classic TV icon of the 50s, 60s and 70s, Robert Conrad and frequent sidekick Don Stroud are at their macho best in these action-packed feature films from the mod 70s. Live a Little, Steal A Lot aka Murph the Surf (1975): Based on a true story, details the daring 1964 theft of the J.P. Morgan jewel collection from New York s American Museum of Natural History. Called the Greatest Jewel Heist of the 20th Century, the robbers took 22 precious gems, including the Star of India, the 100.32-carat de Long Ruby and the 16.25-carat Eagle Diamond … stones so famous they would be impossible to sell. Directed by Marvin Chomsky, with one of the original thieves serving as a film advisor. Also stars Burt Young and Donna Mills. Sudden Death (1977): When Ed Neilson s entire family is viciously murdered, he pleads with retired CIA operative Duke Smith (Conrad) to investigate. He refuses, but relents after Neilson too meets an explosive death.
BATMAN – DARK NIGHT RETURNS: Part One – Warner
It is ten years after an aging Batman has retired, and Gotham City has sunk deeper into decadence and lawlessness. Now, when his city needs him most, the Dark Knight returns in a blaze of glory. Joined by Carrie Kelly, a teenage female Robin, Batman takes to the streets to end the threat of the mutant gangs that have overrun the city. And after facing off against his two greatest enemies, the Joker and Two-Face, for the final time, Batman finds himself in mortal combat with his former ally, Superman, in a battle that only one of them will survive.
MOONRISE KINGDOM – Universal
Set on an island off the coast of New England in the summer of 1965, Moonrise Kingdom tells the story of two 12-year-olds who fall in love, make a secret pact, and run away together into the wilderness. As various authorities try to hunt them down, a violent storm is brewing off-shore – and the peaceful island community is turned upside down in every which way. Bruce Willis plays the local sheriff, Captain Sharp. Edward Norton is a Khaki Scout troop leader, Scout Master Ward. Bill Murray and Frances McDormand portray the young girl’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bishop. The cast also includes Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, and Bob Balaban; and introduces Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward as Sam and Suzy, the boy and girl.
WWE SUPERSTAR COLLECTION: Shawn Michaels – WWE
WWE Superstars Collection: Shawn Michaels He is one of the most revered Superstars in the history of sports entertainment. Spanning a quarter century, Shawn Michaels’s career was punctuated by countless accolades including multiple reigns with every major championship, and timeless matches that revolutionized the industry. The Main Event, The Icon, The Showstopper, Mr. WrestleMania and most recently Mr. Hall of Fame has truly influenced a generation of fans. Now in this special collection, relive these show-stealing classics from his final run in WWE, including his one last stand with Triple H in DX and his emotional final match at WrestleMania XXVI.
WWE SUPERSTAR COLLECTION: Rey Mysterio – WWE
Rey Mysterio is WWE’s preeminent giant- killer. Staring up at nearly all of his competition, what he lacks in size he makes up tenfold in heart and determination. With an innovative offensive attack highlighted by the gravity-defying 619, this ultimate underdog has proven time and time again why he is pound-for-pound one of the most accomplished Superstars of all time. This special collection from WWE compiles the best edge-of-your-seat action from the masked Superstar including his record setting bout vs JBL, high flying classics against CM Punk, Chris Jericho and more!
UPTIGHT – Olive Films
Uptight is an updated remake of John Ford’s 1935 film, The Informer. Dublin becomes the Cleveland ghetto and the Irish Republicans are replaced by black revolutionary fighters. Days after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Tank Williams (Julian Mayfield) is an unemployed and itinerant steelworker who turns over his militant friend, Johnny (Max Julien) to the police for the $1,000 reward, resulting in an underground all-points bulletin to exact vengeance on the squealer. Legendary director, Jules Dassin’s unrelenting directorial pace is complemented by the driving score of Booker T. Jones. The stellar cast includes Raymond St. Jacques, Ruby Dee, Roscoe Lee Browne, and Frank Silvera .
THAT’S MY BOY – Sony
While still in his teens, Donny (Adam Sandler) fathered a son, Todd (Andy Samberg), and raised him as a single parent up until Todd’s 18th birthday. Now, after not seeing each other for years, Todd’s world comes crashing down on the eve of his wedding when an uninvited Donny suddenly shows up. Trying desperately to reconnect with his son, Donny is now forced to deal with the repercussions of his bad parenting skills.
SCREAM THEATER: Volumes 1 – 8 – VCI Entertainment
In the first feature, Sisters of Death, Six lovely high school girls are involved in initiation ceremonies for their exclusive society, The Sisters. A shot from a presumably harmless pistol — part of the ritual — kills Elizabeth. Seven years later each of the remaining Sisters receive identical letters inviting them to a reunion. Who is their host, or hostess? The only way to find out is to meet at the appointed rendezvous — an isolated, but lavish estate. …With nightfall a reign of terror and madness begins as Elizabeth’s death is revenged. The second feature, Scream Bloody Murder, tells the story of a demented child who causes his father’s death and spends 19 years in a mental institution. They think he’s cured. But when he comes home and sees his mother with her new husband, something snaps. He kills them both as he tries to kill the recurring visions haunting him. Spare the rod. This is the first film made in the Gorenography category.
THE CUP – Lionsgate
At the heart of this true story is Damien Oliver a young jockey who loses his only brother in a tragic racing accident just days before the Melbourne Cup. The race fall hauntingly reflecting of the way their father died 27 years earlier. After suffering through a series of discouraging defeats Damien teams with Irish trainer Dermot Weld and triumphs at the 2002 Melbourne Cup in one of the most thrilling finales in sporting history.
THE LUCY SHOW: 6th and Final Season – CBS Paramount
The Lucy Show does not have the iconic status of I Love Lucy, but it was a worthy and very popular successor (it was the fifth-rated show in its inaugural season). Based on a book, Life Without George, it was something of a groundbreaking series in that it centered on two single moms: one, Lucy, a widower, and the other, Vivian (Vivian Vance), a divorcee (the first such sitcom character). Vivian and her son, Sherman (Ralph Hart), share Lucy’s suburban home in Danfield, New York, with her two children: teenage daughter Chris (Candy Moore) and wisecracking young son Jerry (Jimmy Garrett), who delivers zingers like a pint-sized Fred Mertz. Don’t look for Gale Gordon as banker Mr. Mooney. He doesn’t arrive until season two. The great Charles Lane (one of Mr. Potter’s minions in It’s a Wonderful Life) appears this season as cranky Mr. Barnsdahl, who is in charge of Lucy’s trust fund.
BROADWAY: The American Musical – PBS
Hosted by Academy Award-winning star of stage film and television Julie Andrews. “Broadway” tells two stories: the 100-year history of musical theater and the story of its relationship to 20th-century American life from the immigrant experience at the turn of the century to today’s Broadway where big budget new productions and revivals of classic favorites compete for box office success.
MY 1st COLLECTION, VOLUME 4: Robot Zot – Scholastic
My First Collection Vol. 4 is an engaging collection of stories certain to foster creativity and learning in your toddlers. Your toddlers will rhyme along with Robot Zot, learn the value of the appreciation in Too Many Toys, and be inspired to take small steps that can make big changes in the world with The Curious Garden. Also included are interviews with Too Many Toys author/illustrator and Robot Zot illustrator David Shannon, The Curious Garden author Peter Brown, Fletcher and the Falling Leaves author Julia Rawlinson and Lion and the Mouse author Jerry Pinkney.
ELLA ENCHANTED – Lionsgate
Anne Hathaway is Ella in the charming fairy tale adventure Ella Enchanted. On the day of her birth Ella is given a gift by her Fairy Godmother — the gift of obedience which is also a curse. Under no circumstances can Ella refuse anything she is asked to do no matter how wicked it may be. Tired of being taken advantage of Ella with a talking book as her companion leaves home to find her Fairy Godmother and return her unwanted gift. This simple errand soon turns into an amazing journey filled with ogres giants wicked stepsisters elves and the plotting of Prince Charmont’s evil uncle who wants to take over the Crown and rule the kingdom. Bursting with colorful characters music wit and whimsy Ella Enchanted is a truly enchanting and heartwarming tale that will captivate the entire family.
OBAMA’S AMERICA: 2016 – Lionsgate
Immersed in exotic locales across four continents, best selling author Dinesh D’Souza races against time to find answers to Obama’s past and reveal where America will be in 2016. During this journey he discovers how Hope and Change became radically misunderstood, and identifies new flashpoints for hot wars in mankind’s greatest struggle. The journey moves quickly over the arc of the old colonial empires, into America’s empire of liberty, and we see the unfolding realignment of nations and the shape of the global future.
MAD MEN: Season Five – Lionsgate
Mad Men” is back. Season Five of Mad Men, four-time Emmy winner for Outstanding Drama Series and winner of three consecutive Golden Globes, plunges into the seductive and intriguing world of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Jon Hamm and the rest of the award-winning cast continue to mesmerize as they adapt to changing times, social revolution, and a radical world. Lust is back. Adultery is back. Deception is back. It’s the perfect hat trick!
A PRINCESS FOR CHRISTMAS – Lionsgate
Christmas is right around the corner and Jules Daly (Kate McGrath) is doing her best to create a loving home as new guardian to her mischievous niece and nephew. But when she loses her job and an exasperated nanny on the same day a mysterious and unexpected invitation arrives – travel to Europe and spend a royal Christmas with the children’s distant grandfather – the Duke of Castlebury Hall (Roger Moore)! It’s a new world for Jules and the children as they discover their new prim and proper surroundings in the castle but soon laughter begins to echo in the once quiet halls filling everyone with renewed hope and joy for the season. And when Jules captures the heart of the dashing Prince Ashton (Sam Heughan) both of their lives begin to change inunexpected ways! Featuring a faraway land an enchanting romance and the unbreakable bonds of family this inspirational tale is sure to become a new holiday tradition!
BASKET CASE 3: The Progeny – Synapse Films
He’s back. He’s bad. And he’s a dad! Belial, everyone’s favorite beast-in-a-basket, is back in this sensational third film in the wildly macabre horror series. After being separated again from his conjoined twin brother Duane (Kevin Van Hentenryck), Belial finds out he’s going to be a deformed daddy! Mrs. Belial (Denise Coop) delivers a litter of bouncing baby monsters, but the blessed event turns into a nightmarish ordeal when the police kidnap the little critters. They should know it’s not safe to anger Belial! Attacking the cops in a climactic, gory rampage, everyone’s favorite mutant mauler stops at nothing to get his newborns back! The DVD release also includes the original theatrical trailer.
POWER RANGERS SAMURAI: Christmas Together, Friends Forever – Lionsgate
Finally! You knew it was coming and now it’s here! The Power Rangers have their very own Christmas special! This action packed DVD is the perfect gift for every young, budding, Power Ranger’s fan. Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the Shiba House, the teens reflect on their first year together as a team and as friends, followed by an unexpected lesson about the true spirit of the holidays. This set includes three episodes that definitely spread the spirit of the holidays for the entire family!
Short URL: http://www.fortbendstar.com/?p=24588