“A Walk Among the Tombstones” opens with Liam Neeson gruffly mumbling as he talks to a drug dealer, then going inside a bar for two shots of whisky and a coffee. We presume the coffee is black because men like Neeson’s Matt Scudder like it that way. Suddenly the bartender is shot, and Scudder is scuddering his way down the road shooting bad guys. After he shoots one in the leg, he walks after the limping fiend, just like Jason or Michael Myers in a horror movie. Finally, and naturally, the bad guy is shot dead.
If you’re a fan of Liam Neeson the badass (“Taken,” “The Grey”), there couldn’t be a better start. Scudder is tough, fearless, has a way with words and is not to be messed with. Unfortunately, the rest of the movie isn’t as enthralling as its beginning.
“Tusk” is the most bizarre movie I have ever seen. That’s not hyperbole – it’s the honest truth.
It’s not quite torture porn, but it goes there. It’s not entirely a dark comedy, but it has funny moments. It’s not entirely a thriller, though the atmosphere suggests it is. It’s all of these things and none of them.
Not knowing what to make of the film is, I believe, entirely the point. Writer/director Kevin Smith’s career has run the gamut of hits (“Clerks”) and misses (“Cop Out”), and he’s spoken publicly about his disdain for the movie business. It makes sense that he’d create and self-distribute a film that subverts film industry conventionality, which states that movies are genre-classified and promoted in standardized (and therefore proven successful) ways. Using social media and core followers as his base, Smith is returning to his indie filmmaker roots, for better or worse.
Posting on a blog called Art (Not Art), director/co-screenwriter James Franco says, "The best thing about my new film, the Cormac McCarthy adaptation 'Child Of God,' is the performance by my old friend Scott Haze." Turns out Franco is right--again. McCarthy's abominable creation, this Lester Ballard character, becomes genuinely unforgettable through the phenomenal, vivid realism of actor Scott Haze. The trip into the woods with Ballard, a feral human being, is a thrill ride you ought not miss.
Don't let the stories of Haze's Tennessee cave-dwelling and diet of only apples and one fish per day for a month in preparation for the role of perhaps the most infamous necrophiliac in American literature distract you from what this man actually accomplishes, and dares to do, on screen.
In Israeli director Nadav Schirman's ("In The Dark Room" ) spy documentary "The Green Prince," Mosab Yousef, the eldest son of a prominent Hamas leader, and Gonen Yitzhak, an Israeli intelligence agent who "handles" prisoners, become allies. This is supposed to absolutely shock the senses and create deep intrigue. The most interesting part of this movie, though, is that it utterly fails at both.
One of the major problems with this film (and, more importantly, this entire conflict) is the privileged nature of the players. So here you have two wealthy individuals (one Palestinian and one Israeli) speaking openly about how they manipulate the public at-large through outright lies and deceptive, jingoistic propaganda.
We first see “David,” the enigmatic stranger at the center of the bloodthirsty, skillfully crafted thriller The Guest, from the back as he runs. Something about his confident body language suggests he's running toward a destination as opposed to eluding someone. Could he be possibly doing both?
A jump cut to the film's title in big, bold letters proudly declares we're about to be treated to Genre Pleasures without a hint of subtlety. The scene that follows, which comes across as a fairly earnest rendering of the kind of human interest story you read in the paper or watch on your local news, nevertheless alludes to a more ambitious undertaking than your run-of-the-mill B movie.
The famous Toho Studios-created creature Gojira, known in the U.S. as Godzilla, is sixty years old this year. To celebrate the big lizard’s birthday, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures teamed up to make a “Godzilla” movie. This is all well and good in theory, but as far as birthday parties go, this “Godzilla” movie is the equivalent of the birthday guest showing up, disappearing for long stretches of time, showing up and disappearing then showing up again, blowing out the candles, cutting the cake, and heading off for a nap.
This movie would more accurately be called MUTO, which stands for Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism. They have more screen time than Godzilla. There are actually two of them—a male and a female—and their goal is to breed hundreds upon hundreds of new MUTOs to destroy mankind and take over the world. Luckily, Godzilla is Earth and humanity’s protector, on a one reptile quest to destroy the giant MUTO insects for good. The fact that he causes just as much destruction as the MUTOs on his way to battle them is another topic for discussion in and of itself.
Just as much a travelogue for Italy as it is a platform for comedians Steve Coogan (“Philomena”) and Rob Brydon to showcase their talents, “The Trip to Italy” is a joyful romp full of delicious food and deliciously funny jokes.
A sequel to “The Trip” (2010), Rob (playing a version of himself) is once again sent by the “Observer” to review high-end restaurants, and he once again invites Steve (also playing a version of himself) to tag along. This time the destination is beatific Italy, which becomes a character in itself: The lush green pastures of the countryside, glistening waters on the coast and ancient ruins of Rome and Pompeii provide an ideal background for these two clowns to feast, get into trouble, and make us laugh.