“Run All Night”
Liam Neeson teams up with Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra for a third time. Their previous outings, “Unknown” and “Non-Stop,” were action-packed but uneven affairs.
This one seems to have found more center-balance. Perhaps they spent more time on character development and dynamics. Maybe it’s the gritty plot of the criminal underworld, or Neeson’s character being an underdog just trying to make right for past sins. Maybe it had something to do with the interplay between Ed Harris and Neeson or the solid supporting roles of Joel Kinnaman and Common. Or maybe, Neeson has just found the right touch when playing these broken characters.
Whatever the case, it works here. Some of the same problems re-emerge from other Neeson/Collet-Serra collaborations – difficult situations are given easy treatments. At times, believability becomes an issue. But run away from reality for a couple of hours and just enjoy this action-thriller – worth a watch.
In-between big budget, independent and little-to-no budget films, there has to be at least one hundred sci-fi movies made each year. Of that hundred, probably a dozen are good films. Maybe a handful is better than good.
In 2009, Neill Blomkamp wrote and directed a great one – “District 9” – a thought-provoking action flick. His follow-up “Elysium” didn’t match up to its predecessor’s reach or scope, but it attempted. He attempts again with the story of a robot that thinks and feels in an age of police mechanization.
As in all Blomkamp’s movies, Sharlto Copley stars, but there’s a twist, he’s the voice of Chappie the robot. Blomkamp mixes the cast up with sci-fi giants of past (Sigourney Weaver), present (Hugh Jackman), and throws Dev Patel in to give the whole thing more heart. It doesn’t match his debut, nothing ever will, but Blomkamp keeps asking good questions and entertaining in the process – worth a watch.
“The Wedding Ringer”
Sometimes it all comes down to chemistry. And we know what you’re thinking – when you think of wedding season and comedians, you think of Kevin Hart and Josh Gad. OK, we get it, not the first two people that jump into your heads.
This script was originally intended for Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, but those guys did weddings 10 years ago in “Wedding Crashers.” So it’s time for a new pair of scruffy upstarts to take on nuptials.
Hart grabs this role by the throat and takes Gad along for the ride. Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting is propped up as Gad’s fiancé, but she comes off stiff beside the dynamic Hart and Gad.
The best men are an amusing menagerie of outcasts. It’s a “Bridesmaids” for dudes. Hart steals the show, and Gad is a strong enough performer to let him. Say “I do” to this one, because it’s worth a watch.