Advertisements

Film Review: COLD PURSUIT (USA 2019)

Cold Pursuit Poster
Trailer

A snowplow driver seeks revenge against the drug dealers he thinks killed his son. Based on the 2014 Norwegian film ‘In Order of Disappearance’.

Writers:

Frank Baldwin (screenplay by), Kim Fupz Aakeson (based on the movie ‘Kraftidioten’ written by)

Back in 2014, out of Norway arrived a taut, intelligent noir thriller from director Hans Petter Moland entitled IN ORDER OF DISAPPEARANCE so called because the father of the boy killed by a drug lord kills of, in revenge, one dealer after another until reaching him.  The film was violent,, absorbing and extremely funny with the father, Nils played by Stellan Skarsgard tossing the bodies one after another wrapped in chicken wire over the waterfalls.  COLD PURSUIT is the Hollywood remake, directed by the same director.

Th protagonist is now called Nels (Liam Neeson), short for Nelson.  Nels Coxman’s quiet life as a snowplow driver in a glitzy Rocky Mountains resort town where he was just awarded Citizen of the Year is disrupted when his beloved son is murdered under mysterious circumstances.  His search for the cause turns into a quest for revenge against a psychotic drug lord named Viking ((British Tom Bateman). Using his hunting skills to transform himself from upstanding citizen to cold-blooded vigilante, Coxman sets out to dismantle the cartel, triggering a chain of events leading to a turf war between Viking and a rival boss.

The best segment in IN ORDER OF DISAPPEARANCE, one that I have watched 5 times deserves mention.  In it, the drug lord is seated in his design furniture chair with a hole in its back rest peering through the hole to see his ex-wife angrily entering the house demanding to find the son’s gym bag and questioning his parenting skills.  He gives her a wad of cash saying that she can use it to find a dozen more gym bags and he has an important and difficult job (drugs) to do.  She questions the son’s eating, probably fruit loops to which he screams: “Fruit loops?  Fruit loops?  I am vegan and I make sure my son eats the proper food.”  He keeps screaming at her  but she has left the house.  The ensuing scene has the boy eating fruit loops in the kitchen with his employees.  In the remake, the drug lord, Viking talks about the food that he is feeding the boy.  No mention of fruit loops.  The furniture with the gaping the back rest is no longer there.  The next scene has the boy eating ‘fruit pebbles’.   There go the original’s classic scene.

In the remake the native Indians replace the Serbs as the rival drug gang.  There is more sympathy for the natives than the Serbs, so one up for this change in script by Frank Baldwin.

Both COLD PURSUIT and DISAPPEARANCE ends with the credits of all the players listed on the screen, with the names disappearing one by one in order of disappearance from the film.  This  impressive segment makes no sense in COLD PURSUIT but makes total sense in the original movie.

COLD PURSUIT is almost a scene for scene remake.  

COLD PURSUIT ends up a lazy and uninspired Hollywood remake of the Norwegian IN ORDER OF DISAPPEARANCE that was on my top 10 list of best films of the year in 2014. Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0phuNQQ_gHI

Advertisements

Film Review: THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS (USA 2018) ***** TOP 10

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs Poster
Trailer

An anthology film comprised of six stories, each dealing with a different aspect of life in the Old West.

Directors:

Ethan CoenJoel Coen

Writers:

Joel CoenEthan Coen

Made as a Netflix original movie, THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS is the title of the first of six the Coen Brothers stories set in the American frontier.  It is also the best of the six stories.

Written and directed by the Coen Brothers (the name that is synonymous with solid entertainment), the film is comprised of six chapters that present a different story with a different attitude from the wild frontier.  

The odd thing is that instead of the best reserved for the last, the first chapter, and the title of the film is the best of the anthology.  Anthology films, so popular in the past are now not so common.  Each chapter lasts about 20 minutes or so, and stars a complete different cast of actors.

The first episode – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs-  tells the story of a sharp-shooting songster played by an unforgettable Tim Blake Nelson.  It is hilarious, unpredictable and fun from moment one.  Nelson shows up as the fastest gun in the west while breaking into song and dance unexpectedly as well.  Though predictable as to what will happen to him at the end, this is one chapter that one does not want to end.  And to watch again and again!

The second is called “In Near Algodones’, in which a wannabe bank robber (James Franco) gets his due and then some.  The bank clerk the robber has to deal with is someone totally unexpected, coming out a-shooting with his armour of pots and pans.

Meal Ticket is a gothic tale about two weary travelling performers with Liam Neeson.  This is the least strong of the stories and my least favourite.

Al that glitters is definitely gold.  All Gold Canyon is a story about a prospector mining for gold, with Tom Waits as the elderly prospector.  The scenes of him panning the sands for grains of gold nuggets are priceless with Waits eagerly waiting to strike the mother lode.  The next is a wagon trail in which  a woman finds an unexpected promise of love, along with a dose of life’s cruel irony, across the prairies in the chapter entitled The Gal Who Got Rattled. 

Finally, ghostly laughs haunt The Mortal Remains as a pompous Lady (Tyne Daly) rains judgment upon a motley crew of strangers undertaking a final stagecoach ride.  This is the most talky of the stories and clearly shows the film deserving of the Best Screenplay Award it won at the Venice International filmFestival.  The monologue by the uneducated trapper, played by Chelcie Ross in simple but and the superbly well-written prose is unforgettable.  

The common thread in all the 6 movie is the unforgettable central character.  Each story has one that stands out and each are performed by a famous actor trying on something completely different.

One can only wish for more of these priceless uniquely Coen Brothers stamped  stories.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2PyxzSH1HM

Film Review: THE COMMUTER (USA 2017) ****

Submit your Screenplay to the Festival TODAY

The Commuter Poster
Trailer

A businessman is caught up in a criminal conspiracy during his daily commute home.

Writers:

Byron Willinger (story by), Philip de Blasi (story by) | 3 more credits »

 

Submit your Screenplay to the Festival TODAY

Film Review: SILENCE. Directed by Martin Scorsese

silence_movie_poster.jpgDirector: Martin Scorsese

Writers: Jay Cocks (screenplay), Martin Scorsese (screenplay)

Stars: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson

Review by Gilbert Seah

SILENCE. directed by Martin Scorsese and written by him and Jay Cocks is Scorsese’s labour of love. He was supposed to have made this film decades ago, but had to postpone the project many times owing to his obligation to direct other films. Finally, SILENCE is here, and despite all the hullabaloo, the film is surprisingly pristine and distant.

There is a lot of talk about the dedication and sacrifice the Jesuit priests went through. But the film never goes into the details of the source of this self-sacrifice. The only clue is the quoted scripture from Mark: 13, “Go ye into the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation.” Apart from that, all the audience is given is lengthy talk of the priests insisting of going to Japan. There is one lengthy, unconvincing scene where priests Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Francisco Garrpe (Adam Driver) argue with their superior (Ciaran Hinds) to be given permission to travel to Japan to locate their mentor Father Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson).

The film, based upon the 1966 novel of the same name by Shūsaku Endō is set in the 17th century. The two main characters are the Portuguese Jesuit priests — Sebastião Rodrigues and Francisco Garrpe. They face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate Father Cristóvão Ferreira, who has committed apostasy after being tortured. The story is set in the time of Kakure Kirishitan (“Hidden Christians”) which followed the defeat of the Shimabara Rebellion (1637–1638) of Japanese Roman Catholics against the Tokugawa shogunate.

SILENCE contains many awkward scenes, the funniest is the one which involves the act of apostasy. Apostasy is the formal disaffiliation from, or abandonment or renunciation of a religion by a person. The term is also used is used by sociologists to mean renunciation and criticism of, or opposition to, a person’s former religion, in a technical sense and without pejorative connotation. In the film, Father Ferreira apostates and talks about it. It is a hard word to pronounce and in that scene Neeson blows the pronunciation. It is a wonder why Scorsese did not cut that scene out of the film.

Another is the homo-erotic hugging of the two priests played by Driver and Garfield before they depart. Their odd look – as if they know what the scene could indicate but totally ignore the fact – is priceless. But the first scene with the torture of the priests by the Japanese soldiers using leaking ladles is quite ridiculous. I am sure the Japanese could have devised more torturous and less cumbersome instruments.

The film is shot in both English and Japanese. As the priests were Portuguese, whenever the actors speak English with a weird accent that is supposed to be Portuguese, The English is supped to stand for Portuguese. Fortunately, Japanese is left as Japanese. But these pose problems when in one scene pre sits asks: “Do you speak my language?” in English which stands for Portuguese.

The film contains too many set-up conversational pieces and laborious inquisitions for its own good. The lengthy 160 minute running time does not help either. SILENCE ends up a long, laborious and boring affair.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqrgxZLd_gE 

 

 

 

 

Watch Winning Best Scene Readings:

TV CONTESTSUBMIT your TV PILOT or TV SPEC Script
Voted #1 TV Contest in North America.
FILM CONTESTSUBMIT your SHORT Film
Get it showcased at the FEEDBACK Festival
writing CONTEST1st CHAPTER or FULL NOVEL CONTEST
Get full feedback! Winners get their novel made into a video!
SCREENPLAY CONTESTSUBMIT your FEATURE Script
FULL FEEDBACK on all entries. Get your script

Happy Birthday: Liam Neeson

liamneeson.jpgHappy Birthday actor Liam Neeson

Born: William John Neeson
June 7, 1952 in Ballymena, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, UK

Married to: Natasha Richardson (3 July 1994 – 18 March 2009) (her death) (2 children)

Read reviews of the best of the actor:

SEE TOP 100 LIAM NEESON PHOTOS

2012

and Alan Rickman

and Amanda Seyfried

and Antonio Banderas

and Bradley Cooper

and Brooke Shields

and Catherine Zeta Jones

and Cher

and Child

and Christian Bale

and Christina Ricci

and Clint Eastwood

and Daniel Craig

and Diane Kruger

and Ewan McGregor

and Freya St. Johnson

and Girlfriend

and Harrison Ford

and Helen Mirren

and January Jones

and Jessica Lange

and Jodie Foster

and Julia Roberts

and Julianne Moore

and Kids

and Laura Brent

and Laura Linney

and Maggie Grace

and Meryl Streep

and Natasha Richardson

and Orlando Bloom

and Patricia Arquette

and Pierce Brosnan

and Ralph Fiennes

and Russell Crowe

and Sam Worthington

and Sandra Bullock

and Tim Roth

and Wife

and Wolves

as a Lion

as Abe Lincoln

as Dr. Martin Harris

as Fidel Castro

as Gawain

as Hannibal

as Jean Valjean

as Kegan

as Michael Collins

as Oskar Schindler

as Qui Gon Jinn

as Ras al Ghul

as Rob Roy

as Zeus

Badass

Beach

Beard

Before and After

Black and White

Blue Eyes

Body

Caricature

Close UP

Comic

Esquire

Face

Hairstyle

Handsome

Hot

in A Team

in Batman Begins

in Battleship

in Chloe

in Clash of the Titans

in Dark Man

in Gangs of New York

in Kingdom of Heaven

in Kinsey

in Life’s Too Short

in Love Actually

in Nell

in Paris

in Phantom Menace

in Schindler’s List

in Taken

in The Grey

in The Other Man

in Unknown

Kilt

Kiss Scene

Nose

On Set

On the Street

Pose

Poster

Sex Scene

Style

Sunglasses

Wallpaper

Young
Batman BeginsBatman Begins
2005
dir. Christopher Nolan
starring
Bale
Liam Neeson
Katie Holmes

THE PHANTOM MENACEStar Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace
1999
dir. George Lucas
Starring
Liam Neeson
Ewan McGregor

THE A TEAMThe A-Team
dir. Joe Carnahan
Stars
Neeson
Bradley Cooper

TAKENTaken
2009
dir. Pierre Morel
Starring
Liam Neeson
Janssen

Kingdom of HeavenKingdom of Heaven
2005
dir. Scott
starring
Bloom
Liam Neeson

NELLNell
1994
dir. Michael Apted
Cast
Jodie Foster
Liam Neeson

Breakfast on Pluto
2005
dir. Jordan
Starring
Cillian Murphy
Liam Neeson

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn TreaderThe Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
dir. Michael Apted

MOVIE POSTERTHE GREY
dir. Joe Carnahan
Stars:
Liam Neeson
Dermot Mulroney

MOVIE POSTERTHE PHANTOM MENACE 3D
dir. George Lucas
Stars: Ewan McGregor
Liam Neeson

THE NEXT THREE DAYSTHE NEXT THREE DAYS
dir. Paul Haggis
Stars:
Russell Crowe
Elizabeth Banks

UnknownUNKNOWN
dir. Jaume Collet-Serra
Stars:
Liam Neeson
Diane Kruger

  Movie PosterCLASH OF THE TITANS
dir. Louis Leterrier
Cast:
Sam Worthington
Liam Neeson

movie posterCHLOE
2009
dir. Atom Egoyan
Starring
Amanda Seyfried
Julianne Moore

sexyTHE DARK KNIGHT RISES
2012
dir. Christopher Nolan
See over 80 pages of photos and videos!

MOVIE POSTERWRATH OF THE TITANS
dir. Jonathan Liebesman
Stars:
Sam Worthington
Liam Neeson

MOVIE POSTERTAKEN 2
dir. Olivier Megaton

Stars:
Liam Neeson
Famke Janssen

MOVIE POSTERTHE NUT JOB
2014
dir. Peter Lepeniotis
Stars:
Will Arnett
Katherine Heigl

MOVIE POSTERNON-STOP
2014
dir. Jaume Collet-Serra
Stars:
Liam Neeson
Julianne Moore

MOVIE POSTERTHE LEGO MOVIE
2014
dir. Phil Lord
Chris Miller
Stars:
Chris Pratt

MOVIE POSTERA MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST
2014
dir. Seth MacFarlane
Stars:
Charlize Theron
Liam Neeson

Happy Birthday: Natasha Richardson

natasharichardson.jpgHappy Birthday actor Natasha Richardson

Born: Natasha Jane Richardson
May 11, 1963 in Marylebone, London, England, UK

Died: March 18, 2009 (age 45) in Lenox Hill Hospital, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA

Married to: Liam Neeson (3 July 1994 – 18 March 2009) (her death) (2 children)

On March 16, 2009, she received a serious head injury during a private beginner’s skiing lesson at Mont-Tremblant, 80 miles outside Montreal. She appeared to be fine, and initially refused treatment. That afternoon, she developed a headache and was taken to Centre Hospitalier Laurentien, in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec. That evening, she was transferred to the ICU at Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur in Montréal, where she was declared brain dead. The next day, at her family’s request, she was transferred to Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, where she was removed from life support.

Meryl Streep was among her very closest friends.

Advertisements