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23rd
AUG

Spartan

Posted by Player under Thrillers

SpartanVal Kilmer stars in this political thriller as a government agent who works only on individual cases.

The story line for Spartan is very complex, but the director never seems to pause to explain much of it all, in this way, you see the story unfold through eyes of Kilmer’s character, and much like the character who is not very emotional, the scenes never get too deep into any one character. But you will hardly notice it because the dialogue is rather poetic and the action is subtle but very fast paced, considering this is not an action film.

Spartan is somewhat like Ronin, another very well done thriller.

What I really liked about Spartan was the score. Throughout the film, there is a very complementary score which entirely keeps the pace of the movie fresh and unlike other films, the score in Spartan is subtle and effective, not harsh and interfering.

Overall if you like an interesting kidnapping plot with very good acting, then Spartan deserves your viewing.

4 out 5 stars

23rd

The Hunted

Posted by Player under Thrillers

The HuntedThere’s something about Tommy Lee Jones that reminds you of being a man. Perhaps it is his wrinkled face or his inviting tone of voice, or perhaps it is because the guy makes so many films that he is so recognized now that even David Letterman once joked about him being the “Hardest Working Man in Hollywood” because he starred in no fewer than 12 films in one year!

In The Hunted, Tommy Lee Jones stars once again as an ordinary joe who proves to be not so ordinary after all. L.T. Bonham is an ex tracker and trainer for the military who many years ago trained young men to kill and survive. One of those young men was Aaron Hallam, a top-secret soldier, played by Benecio Del Toro. Hallam has basically lost it and he is now officially a danger to everyone.

The film is a thriller suspense film and not really an action film, but except that there really is no mystery to anything. Our story begins in Yugoslavia, where we see Hallam execute a man, and witness his first flashbacks. The scene of a little girl in war is a little too familiar and overly used in most dramatic films of today, Schindler’s List comes to mind as being a good example of this iconic scene, but there are others that are less well done, and THE HUNTED is among those films.

We then flash forward to witness Hallam killing two men in the forest. And this is where the film starts to lose some of its character appeal. We’re not really told to much about Hallam’s victims or why they mattered to Hallam, and pretty soon LT is called in to track him and so begins a series of puzzling dramatic dialoques and rushed through action sequences.

About the only thing that is remarkable about THE HUNTED is that the fighting scenes are hand to hand and less about guns and Matrix style martial arts. This is a bit refreshing but also points out the actual techniques military special forces use in combat.

In the end you know it is going to come down to two men fighting it, but the failure to really illustrate why Hallam is who he is and maybe let the audience care more about him, would have helped to make this film better for many of us.

Technically THE HUNTED looks pretty sharp on DVD and soundwise, the Dolby Digital track is okay, but there are no killer surround sounds or anything to get excited about. The film uses a song from Johnny Cash that details the story of Abraham and how God ask him to kill him a son. This reminded me of the poetry lines in GIJane, where poetry was used to contrast and add definition to the plot. It was interesting but it did not work too well I think.

There is only one reason to watch this film and it is about Tommy Lee Jones, cause Del Toro’s acting in this film is pretty bad.

3 out 5 stars

22nd
AUG

The Village

Posted by Player under Thrillers

The VillageOriginally written by my friend Hoboscratch:

Don’t go see. Don’t rent. In fact, forget it ever existed. Worst movie I ever seen!

Spoilers Ahead!!!

If you’re familiar with M. Night Shyamalan’s movies, you should be aware that there’s some sort of twisted ending, or shocker of some sort. Well, this movie attempts that and fails to deliver. Based on the previews, you might believe that this movie will be scary, or at least slightly thrilling. And it is, for about the first third. The previews tell you that there are creatures in the forest on the boundary of this village in the valley, and over time, these people have learned to live with them, and the creatures with the people. Good enough, I can deal with that.

The love story in this movie is of the bravest man in this historical village and the blind girl. He is not scared of the creatures while everyone else is, and appears to risk his life to protect the blind girl. Decent so far I guess, a couple “jumpy,” tense moments.

Then you see one of these creatures, and the first thing that comes to my mind is that Shyamalan just read Little Red Riding Hood. The thing is in a red hooded cloak, and appears to be wolf like, with a lot of claws and spikes and the such. Ok, not as scary as I had expected.

Then as it turns out, the brave guy has been stabbed, nearly to death, by the local insane man, who just happened to be in love with the blind girl. The blind girl offers to travel through the woods to the “towns” (which are mentioned in ill light) to get medicine to save him. Her father, one of the great elders of the town, admits to her that there are no creatures, and people just dress up in suits to keep the townsfolk at bay, to prevent them from entering the woods. He tells the girl there’s nothing to worry about, and lets her go to the “towns.” Along the way, she encounters a creature, and despite being blind, kills it by tricking it into falling into a deep ravine.

It turns out to be the insane guy in the suit, who was apparantly trying to kill her. Anyway, the blind girl continues on, and comes to a fence which she climbs. She is seen by none other than a park ranger at a national wildlife preserve! Oh wow, the twist was that a bunch of people got tired of society, hid away in the preserve, started a life similar to what the amish might cherish, and made up these creatures to keep their people from leaving! All the while, everyone but a few in the village think that the world is really like the historical liefe they’ve been living! Sweet! Wait, no, I mean, stupid! Anyway, the park ranger helps the girl, says nothing, and she goes back to be seen as a hero. You’re left with a feeling of….Wtf was that??

2 out 5 stars