Thursday, December 6, 2012

Entertainer Profile - Sally Field


Yes, we love her, we really love her.  So, with my just recently published review of Lincoln, I decided my next Entertainer Profile should be on one of the many icons in the film and of course, on one of my favorite actresses (and one of the most talented) of all time.

Icon is hardly the only word to describe Sally Field.  Sex symbol in the 1960's, 2-time Academy Award winner for Best Actress in the 1970's and 1980's, Forrest Gump's mom in the 1990's,  Nora Walker in the 2000's, and Mary Todd Lincoln and Aunt Mae (The Amazing Spider Man) in 2012.

She was born in 1946 in Pasadena, California to actress Margaret Field and a salesman father.  She landed the coveted role of Gidget right off the bat at age 19, however it was cancelled due to low ratings.  Then came little more successful Flying Nun and the roles just kept coming.

Gidget (tv series 1965-1966) - This series only lasted 32 episodes but still remains a classic and  launched Sally Field's career.  She will be forever loved as the bubbly, fresh faced Gidget, a young girl living in California with her widowed father, spending her days surfing and hanging with her friends.

The Flying Nun (tv series 1967-1970) - First, I have to admit, I have never seen this show, well, a clip here and there.  I had to include this because this is a big piece of her career and, even though it was short-lived, an important piece of pop culture television history.
Sybil (1976) - This television movie brought Sally Field into a much different light and showed her range was staggering.  Portraying a woman who created 16 different personalities as the result of physical and sexual abuse earned her a well-deserved Emmy.
Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
Norma Rae (1979) - She earned the first of her 2 Best Actress Oscars portraying a Southern textile worker who gets sick and tired of working in horrible conditions and works to unionize the mill, no matter the cost.
Smokey and the Bandit II (1980)
Places in the Heart (1984) - She earned her 2nd Oscar for Best Actress playing a woman in the 1930's South who is suddenly widowed and must continue to provide for her family and pay the mortgage so she plants cotton with the help of some friends.
Murphy's Romance (1985)
Steel Magnolias (1989) - Seriously, do I need to even explain why I included this?
Soapdish (1991) - In my opinion, one of the most underrated comedies ever.
Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
Forrest Gump (1994) - She proved to us, life really is like a box of chocolates.
A Woman of Independent Means (1995) - A little known mini-series that I remember loving and shows her talent for portraying strong women.
Eye for an Eye (1996) - Everyone who knows me, knows I love a great psychological thriller and I loved seeing her in one.  Sally Field kicked Kiefer Sutherland's ass in this one.
From the Earth to the Moon (1998)
Where the Heart Is (2000) - A small, but pivotal role that she nailed.
ER (2000-2006) - Won the 2nd of her 3 Emmys for her 12-episode role as Maggie, mother to Maura Tierney's Abby Lockhart character suffering from bipolar disorder.
Brothers and Sisters (2006-2011) - Oh my, oh my, oh my, what can I say about the great television matriarch that was Nora Walker?  I absolutely loved this show, oh hell, I still love this show.  It is one of the few television shows in my DVD arsenal where not only do I own the entire season, I have watched them over and over again.  Her performances were hilarious at times and gut-wrenchingly sad at others and provided most of the kleenex-worthy scenes as, which my friend Amy says, proves Sally Field is one of the best criers on any size screen.  The funny thing was, when the show premiered, it was being billed as Calista Flockhart's return to television but then, everyone saw the cinematic icon out acting all the "brothers and sisters" of the show and that earned her a third Emmy award.
The Amazing Spider Man (2012) - One of the only good things about this stinker.
Lincoln (2012) - see my review.

It's hard to believe but it has been 47 years since she burst onto the scene with Gidget, and still even now in 2012, she starred in two of the most anticipated and bankable movies of the year.  Also, of course, I see a definite nomination for many awards for Lincoln.  I still have this secret dream that I will share with you now that when my autobiography is written and the movie is made, she will play my mom because seriously, they could be sisters.  It is scary how much they look alike.  So ready for your next role Aunt Sally.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.


**Now nominated for the 2012 Best Picture Academy Award.**

Of course, 4 STARS!

"I have yet to see a performance in 2012 that could come close to rivaling Daniel Day-Lewis'  triumphant portrayal of our 16th President."

History buffs rejoice!  It's as if the first news footage of Abraham Lincoln was found and put onto the big screen, it is that real.  We are now able to see him as a real person and not just the stellar man we've only read in history books.  From the first scene and we the audience see Day-Lewis' face, portraying a man who has been commander-in-chief of the United States during 4 years of war, you would have to be blind to not see the almost haunting exhaustion of having the weight of the entire country on the shoulders of his tall, slender frame.

Lincoln is directed by the great Steven Spielberg and from the first moment I heard this movie was even being considered, I wanted to see it.  The film begins in 1865 in the final months of the American Civil War and focuses on the already stressed President trying to get the 13th amendment past, which was the amendment that would end slavery in America.  It is literally a race against time to get the amendment passed because it has to happen before the war ends, all the while Lincoln is battling his own fight with many members of his Cabinet over freeing the slaves.  The tension builds and builds on this man throughout the whole film with his troubled wife by his side (played beautifully by Sally Field) and his whiny eldest son Robert (Joseph Gordon-Levitt).  Truly, the only happiness comes from his youngest son, the rambunctious Tad (portrayed in a stellar breakout performance by Gulliver McGrath).

There really isn't much more I can say about Daniel Day-Lewis' performance.  It is simply a tour-de-force in acting, emotion, and proof of what one actor can achieve in his craft.  Sally Field had to fight tooth and nail with Spielberg to play the immensely unstable Mary Todd Lincoln, mostly because he didn't think she could pull it off because of her age; Field is 10 years older than Daniel Day-Lewis and 20 years older than Mary Todd Lincoln was at the time the film is set.  Well, this critic is thankful her persistence payed off.  She put forth all the emotion (and then some) needed to play the famously over emotional first lady, who would later be committed by her eldest son Robert.  Speaking of that son, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was definitely an interesting choice in casting, however he executed his performance flawlessly.  Also, speaking of casting, I loved the great Hal Holbrook being in this movie.  He won an Emmy playing Lincoln in a 1974 television mini-series and also in the sweeping and epic television mini-series North and South (1985), still one of my favorite movies of all time even though it was on television.

The screenplay was the other flawless feature of this movie. The dialog was so engaging, dramatic, emotional, and yes, even at times funny.  Everyone in the theater laughed many times, including my friend and I.  Lincoln was written by Tony Kushner, who also penned the incredible Munich.  The attention to detail was nothing short of amazing.  When he was writing this meaty drama, Kushner was obviously trying to humanize this man of history and the other characters and not make it all so serious all the time.  Lincoln is going to play on all of the viewers' emotions.  It is 150 minutes of darkness, dread, blood, sweat, tears, tension, and yes, even a few laughs.  This film is proof that this icon of history we've been reading about our whole lives, did in fact exist, and was great without hunting all the vampires.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012



So, there are some creepy horror movies made these days after all. I know we have all been disappointed with the state of the horror movie lately.  Even the awesome stereotypes of the past are being taken past their prime, way way back.  Then, of course, there are the remakes.  In the near future, there are remakes planned for The Evil Dead, Poltergeist, Carrie (which just released its trailer), Childs Play, Texas Chainsaw (yes, another one and this time in 3D), and so on and so forth.  In my opinion, there have been some good ones: The Amityville Horror (a remake I did enjoy), Paranormal Activity (1-3), Insidious, The Strangers.  I have to say I am looking forward to Carrie with -two great actresses starring in it:  Chloe Grace-Moretz and the always enchanting Julianne Moore.

Sinister stars Ethan Hawke as true crime writer Ellison Oswalt who had a bit of fame 10 years prior with a best selling book and is looking for his next great work.  Ellison likes to completely immerse himself into the stories he writes, often moving his family to the town where the particular crime occurred.   To investigate the disappearance of a young girl after the rest of her family is brutally murdered, Ellison moves his family to the town where the crime took place.  The girl's disappearance is one of the biggest unsolved crimes where and when Sinister takes place so he believes this will put his writing career back on top. After finding a box in the attic of his new house filled with old super 8 movies and an old projector, his life is turned upside down from a series of creepy supernatural events.

The word sinister is an adjective and is defined as "threatening or portending harm or evil."  I can say that there is plenty of that in this movie. I actually found myself jumping at a few scenes which is definitely a rare occurrence these days especially with the "horror" movies coming out now.  Another aspect of this film I liked was that it didn't take an hour for the story to get going (for example The Possession), it pretty much started within the first frame.  It has a steady eerie flow which I believe will and does keep the audience interested.  Ethan Hawke, who I consider a fine actor, portrayed his tortured novelist character in awesome form with just the right amount of intensity, which in regard to Sinister, a great amount was needed.  This is a solid horror movie in my opinion.  I mean, don't get me wrong, this film should not scare the complete bejeeses out of you, but it is enjoyable nonetheless.  Just keep the sinister feelings you may be experiencing after watching the movie to yourself.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


 3 1/2 STARS

This evening I saw a movie that surprised me and I was proved wrong.  I will be the first to admit, I have never been a fan of the science-fiction, futuristic time-traveling genre.  I don't know why really, it is just a storyline that never really blew my skirt up.  It is the same with those, what me and some of my friends call, mindf#$&@ movies like Inception, which was a fine movie, it filled the void for a couple of hours one night in a movie theater, but I have no desire to make it a part of my DVD collection and watch it over and over again.  I did love the special effects though.

Today I saw Looper, which of course stars Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (see previous blog for entertainer profile), and Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada).  I went into this movie with low expectations because of the futuristic storyline shown in the trailer, even with such a stellar cast.  However, a few friends said it was really good so I decided to give it a chance.  I am so glad I did.  Even with the time traveling, there really was very little science fiction.  The plot and the characters were real (well, as much as they can be in these movies), raw, and actually had depth and soul.  The movie does take a little time getting off the ground but once it does, it is interesting and intriguing.

Looper takes place in the year 2044 where there are assassins called loopers who kill people sent to them from 30 years in the future, when time travel is illegal, by the mob.  These loopers are of course, paid handsomely for their job.  However, every once in a while, loopers are involved in a situation called "closing the loop" when the person sent back in time to be killed is the older version of themselves and then they collect a final, larger sum of money and forced to retire.  This happens to a young looper named Joe (Gordon-Levitt) when Old Joe (Willis) arrives unexpectedly.  The rest of the movie is a cat and mouse chase to close the loop but also kill someone who will put the future in danger.

This movie was written and directed by Rian Johnson (The Brothers Bloom, Brick).  The dialogue wasn't cheesy at all.  It didn't dwell on all the futuristic crap with conversations that utterly confuse the audience.  I not only could follow this futuristic thriller, I wanted to keep following it all the way through.  Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were awesome and the scene where they are talking face to face is an awe-inspiring act of writing.  The makeup used to make Gordon-Levitt look more like a young Bruce Willis was a primo example of how much detail the makers of this film focused on to make this as believable as possible.  However, his face was a little odd looking and the staring I was doing forced me to look away from the movie more than I should have.  I did read that he studied Bruce Willis mannerisms by watching his films to help him act more like and if you watch closely, you can totally see them in his face.  It also shows the lengths this great actor will go through to master his roles as much as possible.  The stand out in this movie was the lovely Emily Blunt, who was not prim and proper in the least.  She portrays Sara, a single mom running the farm young Joe comes upon because of a map stolen from Old Joe.  She is tough as nails, wielding a Remington like a pro, yet just the right amount of vulnerability when exactly as needed.  This character would probably drown other characters Blunt has portrayed in the past, like her breakout in The Devil Wears Prada, without any remorse.  I was so pleasantly surprised she could play someone so real who could wield a shot gun and an ax.  This movie also brings out a dark and wicked side of Jeff Daniels rarely seen.

I can definitely say go over to the movies and take a chance on this futuristic thrill ride.  It's a strong, original plot like, which all of you know I am really into these days.  You will not be disappointed and if you are, then try not to go back in time to fix the problem, you might get whacked for it.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Entertainer Profile - Joseph Gordon-Levitt


We have watched him grow up over the years and Joseph Gordon-Levitt has gone from that skinny,  long-haired Tommy Solomon on 3rd Rock from the Sun to established indie staple to an enigmatic leading man.

2012 has already been an unprecedented year for the actor with a role in the one of the years' (or should I say decades') most anticipated, critically acclaimed blockbuster, The Dark Knight Rises.  There is also a starring role in Premium Rush and co-starring in the thriller Looper as the younger Bruce Willis character.  Later this year, Gordon-Levitt co-stars alongside Oscar winners Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, and Tommy Lee Jones in Steven Spielberg's highly anticipated Lincoln.

He was born in Los Angeles in 1981 and was acting by the age of 6 in commercials and some feature films, like an appearance in A River Runs Through It (1992).  His breakthrough role came in 1996 in the form of a little show called 3rd Rock from the Sun.  The show had a successful 6 year run winning many awards.  After it ended, he co-starred in a string of critically acclaimed independent film roles before moving on to now bigger blockbusters like Inception and The Dark Knight Rises.


Angels in the Outfield (1994)
3rd Rock From the Sun  (TV series 1996-2001) - Some may just see this show as another sitcom.  I see it as one of the most imaginative, best-written, smartest sitcoms ever airing on television. 

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

Mysterious Skin (2004)
Brick (2005)
The Lookout (2007)
Stop-Loss (2008)
(500) Days of Summer (2009) - The first of his 2 Golden Globe nominated roles.  He played the adorable boyfriend every girl in America wanted in a movie audiences are still eating up even to this day and will for years to come.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra (2009) - the movie of course, was not that great which is what many of you would agree but his role was something truly different for the actor and I think he did a fantastic job with it.

Hesher (2010)
Inception (2010)

50/50 (2011) - see my review
The Dark Knight Rises (2012) - see my review 

 I definitely see an extremely successful future for this versatile actor and I know audiences and critics see the same thing, it's hard not to.  If he doesn't have an Oscar nomination or three under his belt in the next several years then the people doing the nominating are blind.  I also believe that alien kid will soon be a distant memory, if he hasn't already been swallowed by the amazing roles he has conquered.

Thank you and see you at the next blog. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Words


I recently saw a small movie in my local theater that was certainly a sweet, sweet cinematic surprise.  I can remember seeing the trailer some months ago, and again, like many movies, knew instantly it was something I wanted to see.  However, there was no way I expected some an acting tour-de-force.  I was definitely drawn to the storyline being a writer myself.  I could tell I was in store for a simple, yet fine American drama.  What I saw was simply a fine American drama!

The Words centers mostly on struggling writer Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper) who finds an extreme amount of critical and financial success with the creation of the next great American novel.  Except Jansen did not write the novel and the real writer, portrayed brilliantly in a spellbinding Oscar caliber performance by Jeremy Irons, arrives in his life to let him know the real story behind his book.  The Old Man, which is simply what Irons' character is called, takes the audience into a whirlwind love story taking place in 1940's Paris. This movie doesn't stop there with these two interloping story lines, we are also taken to the near future with Dennis Quaid playing Clay Hammond, a successful author who writes a book based on the tale of Rory Jansen and the Old Man.

This movie is smart, intriguing, and so very engrossing.  It is not filled with blow em up action scenes, raunchy sex, and f-bombs, just to let the people who only look for those factors know.  The story itself is something new and fresh which is always awesome after a summer filled with sequels and remakes.  The dialogue is intelligent with a script full of meaning without cheesiness.  Along with the three leading men, there are two actresses who also hold their own.  Zoe Saldana (Avatar, Star Trek) really releases some acting chops as Rory's stand by your man wife, Dora.  She is sympathetic, sweet, and shows all the emotional range needed for this intense role.  Olivia Wilde (TRON Legacy, Cowboys & Aliens) is seductive as usual in a small, but pivotal role romancing Quaid's Clay Hammond.  Many of you know from reading my other entries is that when needed, I like to point a stand out performance and in The Words, that award goes to Jeremy Irons.  His performance of The Old Man is gut wrenching and poignant at the same time while also being just the right amount of sinister and cold.  He almost doesn't need to use words in some scenes, just his awesome facial expressions and that coldness in his eyes, which his character deserves to feel.

If you are looking for a great, adult drama with an intelligent plot, then this film is definitely for you.  You certainly won't have to read too much into this early fall gem, just sit back and enjoy The Words and you will forget about that novel you are reading, at least for 96 minutes.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

**Just a quick note, this is a review of The Dark Knight Rises but I am also calling this an extended review.  I will also include reviews and comparisons of the other two movies in Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy and also comparisons with the Batman movies of the 1990's.  In other words, it will be long.**


"In the tradition of Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, a monumental blockbuster that could very well be nominated and win the Best Picture Academy Award."

Bear with me for a moment while I travel back in time a bit.  It's 1989 and Tim Burton has directed one of the most anticipated movies ever, an audacious version of the campy television series.  It was dark and ominous, yet had it's share of comedy.  The film had a powerful cast with Michael Keaton as the Dark Knight, Jack Nicholson at his deviant best as the Joker, Kim Basinger, Billy Dee Williams, Jack Palance, and Jerry Hall. I owned the VHS version and one of the critics quotes on the box read, "The movie of the decade." It was, it really was.  Then, in 1992, a sequel emerged called Batman Returns also directed by Burton and starring Keaton as Batman.  This movie also starred Michelle Pfeiffer and Danny DeVito as Catwoman and Penguin respectively. These two gave award worthy performances and in my humble opinion, this movie, which was even darker and more ominous than the first, was just as enjoyable as the one from 1989.  Any movie portraying a character called Batman has to be a dark movie, that's just movie law.  That is why the next two movies (well, one of many, many reasons why) are so damn ridiculous.  Batman Forever (1995) and especially Batman and Robin (1997) were such utter disappointments that I feel I have devoted too much writing space to them as it is.

That brings me to the 21st century.  In 2005, Batman Begins was released.  Directed by Christopher Nolan (Memento, Inception), this new version was to go back to the Caped Crusader's roots, way way back.  People and critics rolled their eyes (yes, including me) at another Batman movie after the last two disasters.  Batman Begins turned out to actually be a very awesome movie.  It was so dark, it was almost like a horror flick, like it always should have been.  I often called it an action horror.  As was the same with its sequel, The Dark Knight, which by the way is the 3rd highest grossing movie of all time.  The movies not only got back to the roots of the story, it gets back to the roots of an actual action movie, with real explosions and actual dialogue.  They are not polluted with fake green screen cinematography, and if they are, they do a damn fine job of hiding it.  Also, as far as The Dark Knight is concerned, it is easy to mention the Oscar winning performance from the late Heath Ledger, one of the finest performances of all time.

When the The Dark Knight Rises was released on July 20, 2012, it marked one of the rare times when the final movie in a trilogy out shined the original two.  This is an epic conclusion to a movie trilogy that has rocked movie theaters all over the world.  The story begins 8 years after The Dark Knight ended where Batman is blamed for the death of Harvey Dent, Bruce Wayne has been in hiding, and Gotham City's crime rate has dropped dramatically.  Of course, it being Gotham City, that cannot last very long when a new menace called Bane (played with titanic levels of awesome by Tom Hardy) shows up and wreaks havoc unlike the city has ever seen.

There are some supreme supporting players this go around. Michael Caine (in a powerful Oscar worthy performance) is back as right hand man Alfred Pennyworth.  Gary Oldman of course in his perfectly casted role of Commissioner Gordon.  Morgan Freeman, entertaining as always, continues as Lucius Fox, Batman's version of James Bond's Q.  Among the newcomers are Joseph Gordon-Levitt who portrays rookie cop Blake helping out through all of the before mentioned havoc.  A rousing addition if I do say so myself. Then, there is Marion Cotillard as love interest Miranda Tate.  I have to say that is was quite the refreshing change out of all the freaking Batman movies, having a love interest that can act and is not some anorexic no-talent who looks like she is 16 (not naming any names).  Finally, there is Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle.  Michelle Pfeiffer played the part in 1992 and for 20 years, as far as I was concerned, there was only one Catwoman.  She conquered the character and made the men of the movie her bitch.  Anne Hathaway's performance was very reminiscent, however I do not believe in spoilers, so I am not going pinpoint every little different detail because that will give away important plot points.  Hathaway almost channels Pfeiffer through most of the movie with her dark, brooding 'screw the world' attitude.  It's really hard to determine who I like better because their characters are different.  But I can tell you, Hathaway threw out the good girl and stomped on her ass for this role, which she rocked.  Tom Hardy's Bane will go down in movie history as an iconic cinematic villain.

The Dark Knight Rises ended a great American movie trilogy.  Christian Bale did the movie audience a solid as Bruce Wayne/Batman.  I found him a perfect fit for the Bat suit.  The casting people found a man who was in the perfect age range with a solid physique who could handle all the physical aspects of the role, and had perfect emotional timing, when to be dramatic and when to be funny.  The writing and storyline was hardcore, never let up on dramatic build up.  The great thing about the special effects is they never looked like special effects, the action always looked real, without all the stylized crap.  So, until the next remake, it is very safe to say that The Dark Knight Rises rose past the point of superior and will be an iconic cinematic achievement for decades to come.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Entertainer Profile - Charlize Theron

Welcome to the 1st of many Entertainer Profiles from the Critic of Southeast Texas.  These blogs are going to profile a certain actor (kind of an Entertainer of the Month type of situation) plus I will be reviewing their roles in some of their past roles. I will focus on movies and/or television projects past and present. Also, my favorite roles and go back in time with how he/she grew up and throw in some interesting trivia on that person that you may have never known. 

So, lets get to it.  My Entertainer of the Month for July 2012 is........


It is no secret at all that Charlize Theron is an incomparable beauty, hailed at times as one of the most beautiful faces ever to grace the silver screen.  I certainly do agree.  However, this is a review of her incomparable talent, and this beauty is loaded with massive amounts of acting talent. This Oscar winning actress has built an impressive and very versatile resume over the past 16 years.  She stars in two of the most anticipated movies of the summer, Prometheus and Snow White and the Huntsman.  Her roles are generally on the darker side and these two movies are no exception.  Her portrayals of Meredith Vickers (Prometheus) and Ravenna (Snow White and the Huntsman) were evil at its best.

Her first role was in 1996 in a film called Two Days in the Valley. It was not a commercially successful movie but her portrayal of Helga Svelgen opened eyes in Hollywood.  I actually enjoyed the movie. It follows a eccentric group of characters over a two day period in Los Angeles and also has one of the best onscreen catfights ever, between Theron and Teri Hatcher.

At first glance, you would think she'd be the face of the romantic comedy world but she has chosen more dramatic, serious roles.  Honestly though, it doesn't matter the role for the talented Theron, she charges in and owns the character she is portraying (for example, Aileen in Monster).

Charlize was born near Johannesburg, South Africa and became a ballet dancer in her early teenage years and after a knee injury, started modeling at 18 then made her way to Los Angeles to embark on a movie career.  It wasn't long before an agent gave her a business card, then the juggernaut that was and still is an awesome career began.  A couple of things you may not know about her, she turned down Kate Beckinsale's role in Pearl Harbor and auditioned for Elizabeth Berkeley's role in Showgirls.

The Devil's Advocate (1997)

Mighty Joe Young (1998)
The Astronaut's Wife (1999)
The Cider House Rules (1999)
The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)
Sweet November (2001)
Trapped (2002)
The Italian Job (2003)
Monster (2003) - won the coveted Best Actress Academy Award and the Golden Globe for her portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos.  Theron gained over 30 pounds for the role and completely transformed her appearance.  However, she was not the original choice. Kate Winslet was the first considered for the role.  Winslet is definitely a fine actress but Charlize Theron made it one of the finest and almost legendary performances in history.

North Country (2005) - nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award and Best Actress in a Drama Golden Globe.
Arrested Development (2005) - Theron did a several episode stint on the cult classic television show playing Rita, a child like adult who has a relationship with Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman). It was such a brilliant comedic departure from her darker motion picture roles.
In the Valley of Elah (2007)
Hancock (2008) - her first stint in the major summer blockbuster territory. I personally enjoyed her more than Will Smith. I am so ready for the sequel.
The Burning Plain (2008)
Young Adult (2011)
Prometheus (2012) - see my review
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) - see my review. In my opinion, should be her third Oscar nomination.

Millions of people went out this summer and watched the last two movies on the list.  I urge you to check out some of her earlier work and if you haven't already of course.  If it has been several years since seeing any of them, then watch them again.  It is a treat every time to see this timeless beauty stare into the camera, usually with a sinister glare, because sinister is what she does best.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012



If you go into this movie never having seen Family Guy then you will not know what it is like in the mind of Ted's writer/director/creator Seth MacFarlane.  Now I do realize many people have never seen the series about the misadventures of the dysfunctional Griffin family, but I guarantee, those people have heard or read about it.  I am personally a fan of the show but I do understand it is not for everyone and the same will be for this movie.  It is 106 minutes of raunchy, foul-mouthed depravity and I am not sorry to say, I loved it!!!!

Ted is the story of John Bennett (played with comedic brilliance by Mark Wahlberg) who as a young boy received a teddy bear as a Christmas gift and made a very special wish to make his bear real so he could have a best friend forever.  Jump 27 years later and John is a middle-aged man in a go-nowhere job with his bear still at his side, living in an apartment with John's girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis).  John and his best friend Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) share a bond so strong yet so vulgar, it would make even the filthiest pair of frat boys blush.  However, the pair keep their comedic train on the tracks the entire time, never stalling for a minute.

First of all, Ted is a grade A, primo adult comedy; and I emphasize ADULT.  I only do that because of  some remarks I have heard about how offensive the movie is.  Seriously people, that is why we have ratings and this is America, if you are offended, DON'T GO SEE IT!  I give this movie major props though for one really big reason: originality.  We all know the summer blockbuster season the past several years mostly shows the audience remakes (and now remakes of remakes), sequels, prequels, and now all the super hero movies.  I applaud MacFarlane for giving the audience this year a hundred million dollar blockbuster based on an original idea, and what a hilarious idea it has turned out to be.  All I can hope for now is, Ted will spawn a sequel of its own, or the very least, make a very special wish.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman


It's like Lord of the Rings meets Sleepy Hollow meets Pans Labyrinth.  Now, how awesome does that sound?  I was so surprised by this film.  Upon seeing the trailer for the first time, I was really looking forward to seeing it but had no idea how much I would enjoy it.  Just to let all of you and your kids know, this is not the fairy tale from our childhoods.

As of the July 4th weekend, one of the best movies of 2012 I have seen thus far. What a tour-de-force in everything: acting, writing, special effects, and especially, CASTING! Charlize Theron gives an Oscar worthy performance (but I know she will not be nominated) as the evil queen. Let me tell you, evil is not even the word for this woman; Theron transforms her into a bonafide monster (LOL, get it, monster, you know the movie she was in).  You definitely do not need to see this movie in 3D to feel her intensity explode from the screen.  This evil queen would take the evil queens of the past movies, slit their throats then set there corpses on fire and laugh while watching them burn and Charlize Theron is absolutely brilliant in the execution, so to speak.  Kristen Stewart punches Bella Swan in the face and tosses her out the window for this role. This Snow White is hardcore and Stewart beefs up her acting chops ten fold and shows the audience she can lead the charge.  Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman was an awesome choice, being the audacious protector at one time then kicking major ass at all the other times but did not just turn it into another Thor.  He made this role his own.

Seriously dark, yet enchanting. Action-packed yet emotional. Snow White and the Huntsman has the villain of all villains, the hero we all want, and the princess that will whoop yo ass but these characters are not frolicking in any  meadows.  It definitely pushes the limits of it's PG-13 rating with the fantasy violence and the special effects are inspiring. I realize as of the writing of this review, everyone is watching either Ted, The Amazing Spiderman, or Magic Mike but this one has been out for a while so many have already seen it and if you want to ditch those crowded theaters, see this one.  Also, throw out your common notions, the fairies in this tale are much more sinister.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Woman in Black


I had such high hopes for this movie.   Now, we as moviegoers are all aware of how the makers of movie trailers pick the best parts of a movie for their previews and so many times when we go to see the actual film, the trailer was very misleading.  This is one of those times.

Granted I did not see this movie until it came out on DVD, so a few friends had already seen it.  A great deal of them commented how it creepy it was and that it really was a great film.   I was very excited when I saw the trailer because everyone who knows me knows I love an awesome haunted house movie, especially when they take place in a time like the nineteenth century.  The Woman in Black started off well enough with a creepy storyline and a dark, ominous setting: a haunted mansion in 19th century England, completely surrounded by water with the exception of a causeway that links it to the mainland.  It even comes complete with the two scariest elements (in my opinion) a horror movie can have: lots of shots of dollfaces and creepy, spine tingling ghost children running amok. Those little bastards always give me the willies.

Daniel Radcliffe was adequate.  His performance was solid but if the movie would have met its own potential and grew in intensity like it could have, then I do believe his acting would have matched that intensity.  All the elements were there for a proper scare fest, it just wasn't executed properly.  The movie grows tired and a little lame with cheaply effects.  So, if you watch The Woman in Black and think you are going to be immensely scared, you will just be disappointed viewer on couch.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

Monday, July 2, 2012



 I have ran into a lot of mixed reviews on this movie, before and after seeing it.  About half the people I know who have seen it thought it rocked and the other half though it blew chunks.  However, I have to say, Prometheus was far from making me loose my lunch.

It is a film directed by the great Ridley Scott (Aliens, Bladerunner, Gladiator) but he does say that it is not a prequel to Aliens but an original film in itself.  The movie centers on a group of scientists and researchers traveling through the universe, trying to discover clues to the origins of humans.  They land on an alien planet in their impressive ship, named Prometheus of course, where they get stranded and they run into much of what they are looking for and of course, a lot of what they never wanted to find.  The movie as a whole is impressive, especially in the beginning with some awe inspiring scenery during the opening credits.  The only reason I gave it three stars is the movie did take a little time to get off the ground.  After it did though, Prometheus becomes much more than all the Aliens sequels and what I like to call, pseudo sequels.

The cast is comprised of a group of extremely talented actors and actresses. Idris Elba is commanding as always in his role as Janek, the ship's captain.  The enigmatic Michael Fassbender (whom I becoming a fast fan of) portrays the android David in perfect sterile stoic fashion.  Guy Pearce, who had a versatile string of great movies in the mid to late nineties, seems to be back to  beefing up his even more versatile resume these days.  Lets just say, if it weren't for his distinct voice, he would be completely unrecognizable in his role which, in my opinion, is award worthy.  Then, there is the stunning  talent that is Charlize Theron.  Her performance as the cold and soulless Meredith Vickers was haunting and dead on.

The cast is impressive, the writing is far from predictable and cheesy, and the cinematography and production design is dazzling.  Ridley Scott does not fail us again as far as I am concerned and even though this is a new, original movie in itself, by the time the film reaches its incredible ending, you will be in familiar territory.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Raven


First thing I need to say of this early hidden summer gem, best performance of John Cusack's career.  In the nineties and very early 2000s, we saw a string of great cat and mouse, serial killer thrillers (Seven, Copycat, Scream, From Hell, The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, Saw).  However, it is something we as moviegoers, do not see anymore and that is a shame.  I personally love the serial killer genre.  So, when I first saw the trailer, I got very excited.  I mean come on, a serial killer thriller and Edgar Allen Poe.  I knew this was going to be a great movie; and I was right.

The name of the movie refers to one of Poe's most infamous poems, The Raven and of course, most of us who went to any high school in America, know of The Tell-Tale Heart.  The film takes place in 19th century Baltimore not long before the death of Poe when a serial killer begins committing murders based on the stories and poems of the famed American writer.  The police, led by Detective Fields (Luke Evans, Clash of the Titans, Immortals) enlist the help of Poe to get into the head of the madman and help catch him before time runs out for someone he loves.

The Raven has a large ominous cloud of sinister suspense running through it's veins.  I can describe it as Sleepy Hollow meets CSI (the Las Vegas one during it's first 7 seasons when it was great).  I actually the similarity to Sleepy Hollow, which is mostly in the cinematography.  When murder occurs in the tiny upstate New York town, Tim Burton puts a dark cloud in the skies because of the darkness on the ground, as is what happens to the city of Baltimore when it gets it's own madman.  There's almost a Gothic haze throughout both films which adds to the suspense.   John Cusack is definitely at the top of his game portraying the infamous American writer, poet, and literary critic.  Edgar Allen Poe was known for being very narcissistic, pampas, and the quite the drinker toward the end of his life in 1849 at the age of 40 when his literary river was quickly running dry.  Cusack portrays his intensity and vulnerability of the situation in an Oscar caliber performance. So, if you are like me and enjoy the ultimate, who-dun-it cat and mouse game then check out The Raven or you will become quite the mental oyster (watch the movie and then this will make much more sense).

Thank you and see you at the next blog. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Avengers

*I do apologize for the length of time between some of these posts.  I've just been very busy but now it is summer and it is time to watch the big summer movies starting with this one, which to date, has already surpassed $1 billion in ticket sales.*


The term blockbuster was coined in the early 1970's during a surge of big budget disaster movies that packed movie theaters. Among the most infamous are Airport (1970), The Poseidon Adventure (1972), Earthquake (1974), The Towering Inferno (1974), Airport '75, and then there was Star Wars (1977).   These were big, loud, action packed movies loaded with the latest special effects of the time and they had star-studded casts.

Nowadays, we all know that the big blockbuster movies come out during the summer and they rock the multiplexes of the world.  Yahoo Movies just released a slide show of 12 movies that have achieved $1 billion in ticket sales world wide.  Well, now it is 13.  The Avengers hit $1 billion less than 2 weeks after release and people, let me tell you, there is a reason for that.  I can pretty much guarantee you that this is not going to be that movie that the entire world loves for the month it is released and by the time it comes out on DVD, we will be asking ourselves, what in the hell was I thinking?.  This movie is not only an orgasm for the eyes and ears, it is smart, smartly written and acted.

The acting and dialogue is in no way cheesy.  All the actors play off each other as if they had already made a trilogy together.  You will laugh your ass off, gasp more than a few times, and basically just sit in awe of what Joss Whedon has put together.  Most of us know there was some controversy at first when casting of Bruce Banner/The Hulk was happening.  Edward Norton wanted the part since he played it in the last movie and it ultimately went to Mark Ruffalo who was sensational.  I will admit, when I heard it was him, I was very skeptical, but he did the part of Bruce Banner much justice.  As far as the rest of the cast, most excellent. Now, I realize most of you have already seen this movie, but avenge that right away and see it again, 2-D or 3-D, just go.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Game of Thrones (Season 1)


"Sensational! Epic! Every episode is a major motion picture event for the small screen."

Now, I do have a confession to make.  This is the first time, and probably only time I will write a review for a show before I actually finish it.  I am only two episodes away but I just couldn't hold in my thoughts any longer.  I had to share them with you.

Game of Thrones is a no holds barred, pull no punches, in your damn face drama series on HBO that premiered on April 17, 2011. The series in based on a series of books by George R.R. Martin called A Song of Ice and Fire. Game of Thrones is actually the name of the first book in the series.  This is a sprawling epic, loaded with so much raw intensity, it is as if you are genuinely watching a 561-minute, big budget motion picture masterpiece on the big screen.  The cinematography, special effects, and production design are nothing short of stunning.

The number of characters and story lines are vast.  So I do recommend, keep your face off the facebook and glued to the television screen.   I have another admission, I did go back and watch the first two episodes and that helped get certain story lines and characters make a little more sense.  If you do not pay attention, it is easy to get lost.  I say, though, that adds to it's utter brilliance.  You definitely have to possess a brain to view Game of Thrones and appreciate it.

I am not giving any of the premise away.  If you have been under a rock lately, or you are like me and have been waiting to view it on DVD, then you know something about what it is about. I say, go into this spectacle fresh and a little uninformed. So, get your bowl of popcorn, turn off the puter, silence the phone, and put in Game of Thrones. Just play the game and enjoy the ride.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Silent House


I had a bit of a difficult time with one when it came to my rating system.  I maybe a little too generous, as far as many of my friends are concerned of course.  Silent House is another addition in a long line of a recent genre I like to call terror films.  I think we can distinguish between terror and horror films.  I put the "found footage" films like the extremely exceptional Paranormal Activity movies and The Blair Witch Project in that category.  Where horror movies are meant to scare us with machete waving psychopaths, butcher knife holding mental patients, killer dolls, and monsters who invade our nightmares all the while, large breasted bimbos run about screaming and screwing (Yes, I am a huge horror fan); terror movies inflict exactly that, terror.  The main character(s) are inflicted with so much terror that we, as the audience, can feel it in our bones, if done right of course. 

Silent House accomplishes quite a bit in a short amount of time and with a very minimal cast.  Elizabeth Olsen gives a tour-de-force scream queen performance.  She portrays Sarah, a young woman spending a weekend at her family's lake house with her father.  The duo are renovating the lakeside mansion, getting ready to sell it.  It is out in the middle of nowhere, there is no electricity, and the windows are boarded up which , as we know, are the makings of a not so good time for the family.  Sarah and her father are terrorized by unknown intruder(s), and I do emphasize terrorize.  The following events are not jumping out of your seat, covering your eyes terror but there were a few times I grabbed hold of the armrest a little harder than I normally would.  That is, about as much to expect from someone like me anyway.  However, everything is captured in real time which I like and it is all film is shot in one continuous take which is very impressive, I think.

The ominous, creepy factor is there and Olsen does an extremely talented job of carrying this movie.  I have to say I was impressed by the twist at the end.  As you are watching, any seasoned movie goer knows there is something more sinister at work here.  The ending events are much more real life than, say, the astroprojection in Insidious.  There maybe more terrifying scenes on film than what you will see in Silent House, but just remember, this movie is a great reminder to beware what goes bump in the night.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

CST's 2012 Oscar Predictions

Of course, this is pretty much who I think should win.

Best Picture: The Help

Best Director:  Martin Scorsese (Hugo)

Best Actor: George Clooney (The Descendents)

Best Actress:  Viola Davis (The Help)

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer (The Help) or Jessica Chastain (The Help)

Best Supporting Actor: Max Von Sydow (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)

Well, those are my hopes and predictions.  We will see how correct I am tonight.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fireflies in the Garden


Ryan Reynolds                         Emily Watson               Hayden Panettiere
Carrie-Ann Moss                     Willem Dafoe               Ioan Gruffudd            and Julia Roberts

Everyone who knows me, knows I love sitting down to a nice dysfunctional family drama and/or comedy.  I first came across Fireflies in the Garden a couple months ago when the trailer appeared on the Yahoo movies page.  I knew this was a movie that was right up my alley.  Also, as you can see from my list above, this film has quite an impressive cast.  But have you ever noticed that these sorts of movies, the dysfunctional family all getting together for a holiday or tragedy plots always has an impressive cast? Some examples: Home for the Holidays, The Family Stone, Eulogy, Little Miss Sunshine, This Christmas, Death at a Funeral.

Fireflies in the Garden follows the Taylor family, past and present.  The film begins with the family coming together to celebrate the matriarch's, Lisa Taylor (Julia Roberts), late-in-life college graduation, when a major tragedy strikes.  We are introduced to the abusive Taylor patriarch, Charles, who is portrayed in all his nasty glory by Willem Dafoe, a man who shines in these sorts of roles and did again in this role.  Then there is the eldest Taylor son, Michael, played beautifully and with so much soul by Ryan Reynolds.  Michael's aunt and also Lisa's younger sister, Jane (Emily Watson), is very intricate to the plot which follows the Taylor family, not only in the present day, but flashes back to one particularly stressful summer when Jane is visiting her sister.  In the flashbacks, Hayden Panettiere plays young Jane and for the first time, I see real dramatic chops in this actress.  She exudes all the dread and sorrow needed for her small, but pivotal role.    

Now, this movie was made in 2008 but, because of reasons unknown to me, was released straight to DVD in February 2012.  I wish I could have a why oh why conversation with the person in charge of that decision because there was some serious award winning performances in this movie.  However, I have to choose two stand-outs: Emily Watson and a serious tour-de-force performance from Julia Roberts.   I haven't seen that much intensity from her since Erin Brockovich.  Ryan Reynolds proves once again that he can win in a dramatic role (please rent Buried!).

Fireflies in the Garden, which get it's title from the Robert Frost poem of the same name, is a fine American drama.  The film shows a seriously broken family, trying to piece its self back together, not only after this one tragedy but after decades of cracks and breakage.  The acting is flawless, the writing and storytelling is intense.  However, from the middle to the end, the movie starts to wane a little.  It is still a great drama, but the hold it had on me in the first 30 to 45 minutes started to loosen.  But I still highly recommend this film, if for anything, to see some powerhouse performances by a powerhouse cast.  If anything, the Taylor family will make your own family seem far less broken.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Being Human (The UK Version) - Seasons 1 - 3


I have yet to use the expression diamond in the rough but in this case, it isn't only needed but extremely necessary.  I have to say I am loving this resurgence of the horror/supernatural television series.  In the past there was The Twilight Zone, Dark Shadows, and more recent, the incredibly amazing The X-Files.  Some people considered Buffy and Angel in there.  I never really became enthralled in those shows but the episodes here and there I saw, they seemed a little goofy to me.  Now, we have Fringe, The Vampire Diaries (a little campy at times but I enjoy it), American Horror Story (which I have not seen yet but looking forward to it), and of course the awesome True Blood

I of course first came across the US version of Being Human on Netflix just a short time ago.  The storyline was intriguing to me so I watched Season 1 and enjoyed it.  I like the actors and the characters, some surprisingly awesome special effects, and some creepy scenes, especially towards the end of the season.  Then, some friends told me to watch the original version from the UK that airs on BBC.  Well, let me tell you people, even though I enjoyed the US version very much, I have to say the UK wins in this match up. 

Being Human is the story of Mitchell, George, and Annie, three twenty-somethings sharing a flat in Bristol.  However, these are not your ordinary roommates.  Mitchell is a vampire, George is a werewolf, and the awesome Annie is a ghost.  These three genuine souls work their collective asses off to just live in the world and be human.  Well, of course to produce an interesting drama series, that would just be plain boring, and boring this show is not.  Mitchell, the smoldering, yet tortured century old vampire. George, the loveable, optimistic teddy bear who, for one night a month is a ferocious werewolf.  Of course there is Annie, the naive ghost who, even though she is dead, still wants the world to be magical and happy place.  The main word for these three is genuine.  They share their lives together and because their lives are so difficult to live (living being the operitive word), they forge a bond I haven't seen between characters in years.  The casting is phenomenally good  and I love the addition of the cute as a button (but do not make the mistake and underestimate her) Nina.  These actors, of course unknown to US audiences, are so good in every episode, whether they are being comedic (and there are many of those moments), scared, or sad.  I mean hell, during many of the episodes, I felt their emotions.  The show is also very dark, sinister, and no holds barred creepy which I find to be great entertainment.  Of course, the BBC gets away with a lot more adult content than the SyFy channel where the US version is aired, and this is definitely an adult show.

Now, I am reviewing seasons 1-3 because even though the season 4 premiere is a week away, I have read ahead that there are a lot of changes in store for the show and I want to let as many people know about the first 22 episodes as possible.  Without giving too much away, when you are watching this show and start to get closer to the season 3 finale, KEEP WATCHING!  It builds to such a triumphant and dramatic climax, I was literally looking at the screen speechless which is why I waited til the next night to write this.  I will tell you though, grab the Kleenex because Mitchell, George, Annie, and Nina share a scene in the season finale that is so unbelievably emotional, even a blood sucker would weep.  But the acting chops on these young stars in the making soared in that heart wrenching scene, and throughout the rest of the series.  So, with all that in mind, cozy up under a blanket with a bowl of popcorn and check out Being Human  because missing this wonderful series would be, well, inhuman.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Help

Review #2 for my And the nominees are..... series.  The Help is nominated for 4 Academy Awards including Best Picture.


This is one of those movies that should be listed in the dictionary in all bold caps under the definitions for inspiring and heartfelt. I guess this could be the 21st century's Norma Rae.  Sometimes a good social change movie can bring just the right amount of tears to your eyes with poignant moments but a great social change movie will force you jump and cheer all the while those tears are rolling down your cheeks, not that I would know anything about that damn it.

As far as I am concerned, some of the stand-out performances of 2011 are in this movie, and three of them are nominated for acting honors. In the first frame of the movie, Viola Davis' (Abileen) performance is haunting, yet electrifying throughout the rest of the running time.  She is nominated for the coveted Best Actress honor. You can find Octavia Spencer (Minny) playing some background character or guest role in so many movies and television shows.  According to her IMDb page, her first role was playing Sandra Bullock's nurse in A Time to Kill.  I recently saw her in a multi-episode guest role on Ugly Betty.  Now, she has won a Golden Globe and is nominated for the best supporting actress Oscar for her superb comedic/dramatic role in The Help.  These two incomparable talents play best friends and their chemistry is dead on.  The Help is also just one stop on the roller coaster ride that was 2011 for the talents of Emma Stone and Jessica Chastain.  Chastain is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her turn as the precocious, loveable, yet just a bit naive at first, Celia Foote.  I have to say the folks involved with casting this movie put together one of the finest group of actresses I have personally seen in years.  And kudos to putting in the great Cicely Tyson!

I am not even going to go on and on with a synopsis of this movie.  But, if you haven't seen it yet, go rent RIGHT NOW!  There is a reason why, out of the ten nominees for Best Picture, this is the number one movie in box office earnings with over $170 million in the United States alone.  Do yourself a favor on this big football weekend, rise up out of that damn chair, and help your eyes experience a tour de force film in The Help.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Tree of Life

NOTE: This is the first of the ten Best Picture Nominees for the 2012 Academy Awards I am reviewing in my And the nominees are..... series. Hoping to get to see and review all the nominees before the telecast on February 26th.

NO STARS - The sky is black on this one.

I really did give it my all when watching this movie people, but in the end, it just did not work out for me at all.  I can still remember seeing the trailer for the first time and thinking, wow this movie looks beautiful.  And I thought it had the whole dark, dysfunctional family thing going which is one of my favorite themes in movies, and of course it has one of my favorite actors of all time: Brad Pitt.  So, we've all seen movies where after they were over, we told ourselves and/or others, "There's three hours of my life I will never get back."  So, there ya go.

Honestly, just go to he IMDB page to look up the synopsis and watch the trailer.  I really wouldn't know where to begin.  I can give it my best shot though.  It begins with Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain playing parents to two little boys in the 1950's.  Then it fast forwards to present day, where one of the boys, played by Sean Penn, is apparently hating his life. Then, and this is no lie whatsoever, we are taken to at least an hour worth of images from the beginnings of Earth, including dinosaurs roaming the land.  Now, I really did open my mind for The Tree of Life and I really dug deep and tried to channel my inner deep, dark, I am more enlightened than you will ever be, coffee drinking, non-bathing, banning anything mainstream in my life because it actually makes sense goth child but, alas, in the end it did not work.  Sorry people, I need to bathe and I do enjoy a good summer blockbuster.  I do understand what director Terrance Malick (awesome director of The Thin Red Line but also a known recluse) is trying to say with the film but I just wish the execution was a bit different, maybe some actual dialogue and not just the background voices would have been nice.

However, this is certainly all my opinion because the movie has won a number of awards already and it is now nominated for Best Picture by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (Oscars).  But I am sad to say, even with the beautiful images and awesome cast, this tree should fall on Oscar night.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

The Grey


If you are looking for an honest to goodness original (and these days, there has to be emphasis on the word original) action thriller, then The Grey  is the movie you have been looking for.  This is not a second hand sequel, or comic-book based with a some superhero in tights or based on based on based on something that can be equally idiotic.

This movie is brilliantly haunting, thrilling, and intense as hell.  Serious character depth is immediately felt in the first twenty minutes as the audience is introduced Ottway (Neeson).  This guy is seriously damaged as he is working on the edge of the world.  Also, when you watch this movie (and you better go and see this on this big screen if you haven't already), you need to realize that the truly awesome and bad ass Liam Neeson turns 60! this year.  This guy is in every frame being the stud he has truly been all these years and I am seriously ready for the upcoming Taken sequel.

Alrighty then, the plot goes as follows: an oil drilling team working in the cold and frigid Alaskan tundra, boards a plane for Anchorage and the plane crashes.  A race for survival ensues but it's not your normal The Edge, Alive, A River Wild generic kind of race for survival.  These are real, hard core, in your face moments by a top notch cast.  I was shivering in the theater.  Oh, and did I mention, the race trying to get away from the big ass wolves.  These are the characters in the movie that give a definite, almost, horror factor.  And speaking of the cast, these guys put their stone cold hearts and souls into their roles.  There are definite award winning performances from Neeson, Dallas Roberts (A Home at the End of the World, Walk the Line) and Durmot Mulroney (The Family Stone, My Best Friends Wedding).  On the poster it reads, Live or Die On This Day, however if it's the ladder, make sure you tune into The Grey.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.