Posts Tagged ‘Scott Glenn’

Clarke’s Catastrophe

Greenland

Director: Ric Roman Waugh

Cast: Gerard Butler, Morena Baccarin, Roger Dale Floyd, Scott Glenn, Hope Davis, David Denham

Film Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Angel has Fallen director Ric Roman Waugh reunites with his star Gerard Butler for the latest doomsday disaster film Greenland. The hunky Scottish actor Gerard Butler who become a household name after the smash hit 300 and then went onto star in the Fallen trilogy plays American structural engineer John Garrity who is trying to reconcile with his wife Allison Garrity played by Homeland star Morena Baccarin (Deadpool, Spy) who both live a comfortable life in suburban Atlanta.

That comfortable life is shattered into a million pieces when John and Allison have been selected to survive an extinction event after a Comet called Clarke’s Comet hits Earth and breaks up into a million asteroids which demolish cities and towns across the planet. The Garrity’s only chance of survival is to head towards a secret government facility to house survivors located in Greenland. The only problem is how to get there.

To add to John and Allison’s woes their young son Nathan played by Roger Dale Floyd is diabetic and cannot be without his insulin injections which proves difficult when the entire family get separated and Nathan gets kidnapped by some desperate hillbilly’s Ralph and Judy Vento played by Hope Davis (Proof) and David Denham (Logan Lucky, 13 Hours).

In the meantime the world is literally going to hell in a handbasket as fiery asteroids start striking the earth and the Garrity’s need to reunite at Allison’s father’s ranch in Knoxville. Allison’s father Dale is played by Scott Glenn (The Bourne Legacy, The Paperboy). Fortunately once the family gather there John confesses to his father-in-law that he hasn’t been the best husband.

Whilst Greenland’s doomsday scenario could be the metaphor for a broken marriage, the rather lacklustre script by Chris Sparling is fortunately punctuated with some dramatic action sequences including the airport chaos sequence and the asteroid crushing car sequence on an American interstate.

Greenland is great entertainment and doesn’t pretend to be anything superb. It’s a good old fashion disaster movie in the tradition of director Mimi Leder’s Deep Impact and Michael Bay’s 1998 smash hit film Armageddon. Greenland is worth seeing on a big screen and is a reasonably enjoyable action disaster film which certainly needs cinematic support in these uncertain times when audiences are not rushing back to cinemas in a hurry.

It did help that the star Gerard Butler did broadcast a preview message thanking South African audiences for supporting Greenland in cinemas. With that being said, audiences should watch Greenland – it’s an exciting two hour family adventure film which gets a rating of 7.5 out of 10.

The Grand Floridian Tale

The Paperboy

paperboy

Director: Lee Daniels

Starring: Zac Efron, Nicole Kidman, David Oyelowo, Matthew McConaughey, Macy Gray, John Cusack, Scott Glenn, Ned Beatty

Before controversial director Lee Daniels become famous for his film about the American civil rights movement in The Butler, he tackled the big screen adaptation of American writer Pete Dexter’s 1995 novel The Paperboy about journalism, ethics and sultry desire in the humidity soaked state of Florida in the mid-sixties.

Matthew McConaughey’s conscious decision as an actor to shed his Rom-Com image and star in more controversial films is evident in this edgy thriller as he bravely  takes on the part of Ward Jansen, a hard-drinking Miami reporter who returns home to Moat County, Florida to investigate the gruesome death of the town Sheriff and the consequent arrest and incarceration of the chief suspect Hillary van Wetter, a rural swamp dwelling redneck, dangerously played by John Cusack.

Add to the explosive story of murder, lust and betrayal is Ward’s younger brother Jack Jansen the scantily clad swimmer played by Zac Efron and van Wetter’s supposed prison fiancé the trashy yet resourceful Charlotte Bless, in a surprisingly different turn by Oscar winner Nicole Kidman (The Hours) making The Paperboy an intoxicating mix of pulpy journalism, sacrifice, mystery and tragedy, all atmospherically played out in the sweltering summer of 1965 at the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

The Paperboy is not for sensitive viewers and contains some controversial scenes in this unusual yet absorbing thriller including a scene where Kidman’s character Bliss urinates on the writhing jellyfish stung torso of Jack on a Florida beach, in a sequence which even shocked hardened Cannes Film Festival audiences at its 2012 premiere.

There are other equally gruesome and lurid scenes in The Paperboy, but the acting is topnotch especially from Kidman and McConaughey, the latter was clearly preparing for his groundbreaking Oscar winning performance in the recent Dallas Buyers Club. Whilst the narrative of The Paperboy is crude, shocking and ultimately tragic, what would audiences expect from the controversial director of Precious?

Unlike the superbly written and hugely stylish novel by Pete Dexter, the only criticism of Lee Daniels film version is that the ending is slightly altered. For those audiences that thought McConnaughey did a sudden transformation for Dallas Buyers Club, then its best to watch his more shocking performance in The Paperboy to see his ongoing evolution as an actor.

With a groovy retro soundtrack and a fabulous sixties, almost sultry Southern ambiance inspired by the more violent films like Alan Parker’s Mississippi Burning set in the same period, The Paperboy is a gritty and brilliant thriller of one man’s desperate attempt to uncover the truth at all costs despite the damage it causes to himself and those around him for the sake of journalistic integrity. For in The Paperboy the Story becomes paramount despite the terrible cost of human sacrifice.

Pop star Macy Gray and David Oyelowo (also seen in The Butler) as the smooth talking Yardley Acheson round off the cast of The Paperboy which shows that teen heartthrob Zac Efron (Charlie St Cloud, Hairspray) can really hold his own onscreen against Oscar winners Kidman and McConnaughey. This Grand Floridian tale is recommended viewing but not for those easily offended.

Reinvention of Romance

Nights in Rodanthe

nights_in_rodanthe

Romance is reinvented in the 2008 screen adaptation of the successful American author Nicholas Sparks novel Nights in Rodanthe, set on an island off the Outer Banks of the spectacular coastline of North Carolina, starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane. These two accomplished actors were previously seen together in the brilliant film Unfaithful and are now back together demonstrating that mature love stories are an everlasting draw card for audiences. Nights in Rodanthe directed by George C. Wolfe is a beautifully shot film about the turmoil of human emotions that ordinary people suffer from loss, regret, love and the general difficulties of balancing a family with the demands of a stressful career in contemporary society.

Diane Lane plays Adrienne Willis a Carolingian housewife whose husband abandoned her months ago, leaving her to deal with two children whose life is changed forever when she goes to Rodanthe a small coastal community to look after a friend’s gorgeous Bed and Breakfast for a couple of days only to fall in love with the one guest who arrives to solve a crisis of conscience, Dr Paul Flanner, a doctor from the city of Raleigh who is seeking to make amends with a man who blames him for his wife’s death. Both characters have emotional troubles and are certainly at turning points in their lives, when they spend a couple of nights together slowly revealing each other secrets and the tragedies that they have left behind.

Charlotte, North Carolina,

Fall 2005

Admittedly I am at a slight advantage in reviewing this film, because I have had the privilege of meeting the author Nicholas Sparks in Charlotte, North Carolina in the fall of 2005 and also having read some of his other novels, most famously The Rescue and The Notebook, starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams the latter of which was also turned into an historical love story, all set in Sparks home state of North Carolina. All his novels were international bestsellers and as a writer he has found a niche market, well-written romance novels about ordinary characters living under extraordinary circumstances as they deal with themes of love, redemption, loss and eternity.

As a film, Nights in Rodanthe is placed firmly in the tradition of Love Story and will primarily appeal to the female viewer, but what elevates this film is the extraordinary performances by both Gere and Lane who give maturity and significance to their brief affair, made more poignant by love letters written between them after Gere’s character Dr Flanner goes to Ecuador to make amends with his only son. The art of letter-writing so virtually extinguished in this digital age, is cherished here as are the simple pleasures of reflective contemplation, soul-searching and the emotions that accompany those that have discovered true love later in life, beautifully evoked with spectacular scenery of a turbulent coastline and an astonishing setting.

Lethal Legacy Continues

The Bourne Legacy

Director: Tony Gilroy

Cast: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Albert Finney, Corey Stoll, Edward Norton, David Strathairn, Joan Allen, Stacy Keach, Sam Gilroy, Scott Glenn

Tony Gilroy the screenwriter for the original three Bourne movies takes the director’s chair in the fourth installment of the Bourne movies The Bourne Legacy featuring an all star cast including Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross, Rachel Wiesz as Dr Marta Shering. The Bourne Legacy also features Edward Norton as Eric Nyer and Stacy Keach as Mark Turso along with brief appearances by David Strathairn, Joan Allen and Albert Finney. The Bourne Legacy has all the excitement, espionage and action of the first three Bourne movies except for Jason Bourne himself, whose character lurks in the fourth installment as a shadow, with this film’s tag line being suitably appropriate There was never just one.

The Bourne Legacy picks up soon after the third Bourne film ends, The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) when Jason Bourne played by Matt Damon deftly vanishes into the Manhattan morning traffic, swopping its urban location for icy Alaska where viewers are introduced to Aaron Cross bringing a muscularity to the role is the superb Jeremy Renner another drug-modified recruit employed by a shady covert agency within the CIA, battling hungry wolves and his own survival in this gorgeous Alaskan wilderness.

Matt Damon in the first two Bourne films always had this stern yet slightly confused look on his face as he was globetrotting across Europe trying to work out who wanted him dead without vocalize his unique dilemma. Jeremy Renner is wonderfully vocal and expressive in his portrayal of Aaron Cross who soon has to flee Alaska and head for Maryland to discover the supplier of the shady drugs he is taking from a less than orthodox Pharmaceutical company in Bethesda, Maryland.

Cross soon teams up with Marta who after surviving a horrific laboratory shooting, trusts in Cross as her number 5 patient and they flee America for the Philippines.  The Bourne Legacy might lack some of the directorial flourishes of the more experienced action directors of the original visceral Bourne Trilogy Doug Liman (Mr and Mrs Smith) and Paul Greengrass (United 93), but retains all the traits of the original movies: exotic locations, shady government agencies and of course a brilliant chase sequence in the overpopulated streets of Manila.

Two particular noteworthy scenes are Cross’s encounter with a wolf in Alaska and the superbly shot motorbike chase sequence in Manila. The chemistry between Wiesz and Renner is genuine and they make a great onscreen couple something which was lacking in the original films especially when Matt Damon’s love interest Franka Potente was eliminated in The Bourne Supremacy.

The Bourne Legacy continues in the tradition of the first three films and viewers who have seen that trilogy will be impressed by Tony Gilroy’s recreation of the Bourne universe complete with physical violence, ruthless assassins and spectacular action sequences complete with some really well timed dialogue especially between Renner and Wiesz. Gilroy as director was also responsible for the superb Michael Clayton and Duplicity and does not disappoint in The Bourne Legacy. The chase sequence in the Philippines deserves an Oscar for Best Sound Editing. Recommended viewing for those who love spy thrillers and enjoy Jeremy Renner’s always unnerving on screen performances as seen in The Hurt Locker and The Town and proves that Renner has what it takes to be a leading man.

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