Posts Tagged ‘Patrick Heusinger’

Guns for Opium

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

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Director: Edward Zwick

Cast: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Holt McCallany, Danika Yarosh, Patrick Heusinger, Robert Knepper, Aldis Hodge

After Jack Reacher was first introduced to cinema audiences in 2012, the first film simply titled Jack Reacher featured an all-star cast including Oscar nominee Rosamund Pike, Werner Herzog and David Oyelowo and of course superstar Tom Cruise in the titular role.

While the first film had a brilliant cast, this sequel seems to be less concerned with attracting big stars and rather making Jack Reacher: Never Go Back another Tom Cruise action film.

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Tom Cruise (Mission Impossible, Top Gun) returns in this stand-alone sequel mainly set in Washington D.C. and New Orleans. He stars opposite Canadian star Cobie Smulders of How I met Your Mother TV fame as Captain Susan Turner.

Smulders (The Avengers: Age of Ultron) turns in a solid performance as the no-nonsense Captain Turner who is inadvertently arrested after two of her officers are killed in Afghanistan under mysterious circumstances.

Naturally it’s the everyman’s hero, one who has no flashy cars or gadgets, Jack Reacher who comes to the rescue breaking Turner out of a military prison whereby they embark on a quest to uncover the truth behind a shady private military contractor Parasol, represented by the villainous Robert Knepper of Prison Break TV fame.

In the process Reacher, a character based on a series of novels by Lee Child, discovers through a paternity suit filed against him, that he may have a teenage daughter, the Blonde haired and skilful Samantha, a suitably wilful performance by Danika Yarosh who soon forms a close bond with Reacher and Turner as they escape the American capital and head for Louisiana.

Close on their tail is a merciless assassin, The Hunter played by Patrick Heusinger (Black Swan) who ruthlessly hunts the trio to the Mardi Gras capital of America.

As the conspiracy deepens and the body count rises, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back becomes an absorbing and fast-paced thriller with loads of action skilfully directed by Edward Zwick, an accomplished American filmmaker responsible for films like Glory, Pawn Sacrifice and Blood Diamond.

While this film is not as good as the brilliant original film, Jack Reacher directed by Christopher McQuarrie it certainly will stand up as a continuation of another action franchise for Tom Cruise who inhabits the role of Reacher with ease and confidence.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is worth watching, while the plot is not particularly inventive, but certainly entertaining, is recommended for those that enjoy a good old fashioned action thriller, without the CGI, fancy cars or exotic locations. Although there is a particularly well executed action sequence during a Halloween Parade down Bourbon Street which is the highlight of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

The Fall of the Swan Queen

Black Swan


Director: Darren Aronofsky

Cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder, Sebastian Stan, Patrick Heusinger

Darren Aronofsky’s masterpiece is a taut psychological thriller about a prima ballerina who delves into her dark side, so she can perform the complex role of the Swan Queen in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.  Natalie Portman gives a stunning and frenzied performance as Nina Sayers. As well as the physical demands of playing the lead Ballerina in Swan Lake, Nina is trapped in a claustrophobic and co-dependent relationship with her mother, a wonderfully obsessive performance by Barbara Hershey (Portrait of a Lady).

Whilst rehearsing for the final act, the ballet master a seductive and sadistic Thomas played with relish by Vincent Cassel, taunts Nina and reproaches her continually for not bringing out her dark qualities to dance the antithesis of the White Swan, the Black Swan. The fact that Nina is prone to episodes of self-mutilation smothered by her overbearing mother and is generally an exceptional sexually frustrated and fragile young woman who uses dancing to quench her repressive state, makes Black Swan a highly intoxicating psycho sexual thriller set in the bitchy and uncompromising world of ballet.

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Aronofsky always has his central characters stripped away to the vicious core, from The Wrestler, where in a break-out performance by Mickey Rourke as a washed up Trailer Park, drug-addicted wrestler angling for a comeback to heroin addicts played by Jennifer Connelly and Jared Leto in Coney Island, who resort to extreme methods for their drugs, as detailed in the inventive and shockingly brutal Requiem for a Dream.

Black Swan is no exception, as Portman gives a ground breaking performance of a Ballerina rapidly losing her grip on reality, delving deeper into her own troubled and shattered psychosis to satisfy the dreams of an obsessed mother who compromised her own stage success.

Black Swan is about the rigours of Ballet training along with the mental deterioration of a young woman driven beyond the edge of sanity, surrounded by a gallery of heinous characters from an overbearing mother, a cruel ballet instructor and a tempting rival, Lily played with an unforgiving relish by Milas Kunis slyly plotting to derail Nina’s debut as the Swan Queen.

This is a classic psychological thriller, from the drab and daunting world of the dance studios, filled with giant mirrors reflecting Nina’s inner torment to the dingy apartment shared with her mother, an entire film bathed in black and white with only the occasional gashes of blood to break the diametric colour palette. Watch out for a great cameo performance by Winona Ryder as the broken ballerina Beth who declines as savagely as Nina’s star rises dramatically. Black Swan is a debut etched in blood and director Aronofsky, like in The Wrestler and Requiem for Dream shows this grueling Ballet world in its entire stripped down depravity, with obsessive dancers driven and searching for a depreciating gratification. A far cry from the graceful triumph associated with Ballet exemplified in such films as The Company and Mao’s Last Dancer.

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