Saturday, March 30, 2013

"The Sapphires" - Film Review

“The Sapphires” - Film Review

Based largely on a true story, “The Sapphires” follows four young and talented Australian Aboriginal girls from a remote location on the island continent where they learn about love, friendship, family, music and a war next door.

The movie starts in 1968 when they are discovered at a less than welcoming talent contest by a man from Melbourne named Dave who is a perpetual good natured talent scout with a kind heart who agrees to be their manager on the condition  they change their musical taste from Country Western to Soul music. Their hard work pays off resulting in Dave booking the four women to their first true gig giving them their first taste of independence, stardom, money and acceptance as they travel throughout Vietnam during the war to sing and entertain the American troops.

“The Sapphires” has its clichés, its conventional dramatic moments and its somewhat predictable funny lines. And, its direction is played out with a straight, safe and by the book no real risk story telling style. Still in spite of these minor flaws the movie made me smile, mostly from the revisiting of some great R & B classic music done very well in the movie, the effervescent talent of the principle five actors in the story and ultimately watching all of them in the story achieving their dreams against truly trying circumstances.

3 - Stars

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

“Murph:The Protector” – Review

“Murph: The Protector” – Review

“MURPH: The Protector” is a documentary based on LT Michael Murphy's life as a small boy in Patchogue, New York, a college student at Penn State University and his joining the U.S. Navy to serve and achieving his goal to being in the SEAL Teams.

The film revolves around the testimony of family and friends about Michael’s early life and his sense of honor, respect, courage and commitment to others and ultimately his well known virtue of unbridled selflessness to all, resulting in Lt Murphy giving his life for his men in 2005 in Afghanistan and culminating in him posthumously being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

This film is a testament to how one man lived every moment with lust for life and always wanting to be the best at his goals with humility and integrity.

This is a fine film portrait of an American soldier and his heroic legacy.

3 – 1/2 Stars

Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Spring Breakers" - Review

“Spring Breakers” – Review

Is a story of four attractive college girls desperate to get away for their spring break getaway in Florida. However there is one major problem, they are short on cash, so early on in the film they decide to steal a college professor’s old car in order to unhesitatingly burglarize a local restaurant to secure the additional money.

But their story is just getting started in the noir like film ”Spring Breakers”; an edgy underbelly portrayal of teenage life who deliberately allow themselves to be lost in the underbelly world of money, guns, hyper sexuality, drugs, alcohol, debauchery, decadence, violence, and moral bankruptcy.

Starring James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine the central moment of the film is the four teens random meeting of a soft spoken and gentle local thug named “Alien” (Franco) a silver teeth clad local “player’ of the drug trade. Their chance meeting turns the film for the four girls into a willingly hypnotic juxtaposition of a poignant bewildering relationship with “Alien’s” daily immersion into a life of guns, drugs, money and violence and at the same time momentary displays of innocent naïve sweetness manifested by the four girls respective reassuring calls to their mothers back home that they are having quote “a really great time, everything is OK and they will be home soon”.

Similar to the cult classic “Natural Born Killers”, “Spring Breakers” offers neither a real plot point nor any real justification for the teen’s decisions taken, nor does it offer up any moral stands, apologies or judgment for their reckless filled summer’s journey together. Instead what it does offer is an unflinching look at unhinged teen life whose moral barometer is completely and utterly broken or ignored at best. Right and wrong decisions for the four principles are calibrated very slowly, and in most cases not at all. For them the ephemeral pursuit for all things that feel good is their only priority in life and especially the only real thing that matters to them not in spans of time but rather from moment to moment.

3 – 1/4 Stars

Saturday, March 23, 2013

"Olympus Has Fallen" - Review

Olympus Has Fallen” – Review

The principle plot of ‘Olympus” is about a Korean terrorists who manages to stage a well designed attack on the White House with the express purpose of taking the President and his staff hostage with one lone slightly disgraced Secret Service agent Mike Banning to save the day.

Now, if you have seen any of the “Die Hard” films or any of the two “Under Siege” films then you have seen “Olympus Has Fallen” And while the first 20 minutes of the film were rather exciting and held my attention, even though the  plausibility of it all was a bit much, the film takes a turn away from the break neck action to transition into a slower more predictable procedural paced film that you have undoubtedly seen many times before in the theater or TV or both.

“Olympus“ is not boring, its just that it is burden with an under developed plot, which resulted into too many under developed characters who delivered lines at various stages that sounded more cliché than being clever or having any genuine wit and sophistication.

2 – 3/4 Stars

Friday, March 22, 2013

Lester's Top Films - 2011

Lester's Top Films  - 2011

1. The Descendants
2. Incendies
3. Money Ball
4. Drive
5. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
6. Point Blank
7. Hugo
8. Shame
9. War Horse
10. (Tie) - The Artist
10. (Tie) – A Separation
12. Mission Impossible IV – Ghost Protocol– Drama – Action - Thriller
13. Margin Call  – Drama – Wall Street
14. Barney’s Version – Drama – True Story
15. Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene – Psychological - Cult - Drama
16. Bridesmaids – Comedy
17. Warrior – Action – Drama
18. The Ides of March – Political Drama
19. The Lincoln Lawyer – Drama
20. Water for Elephants – Drama
21. My Week With Marilyn – Drama – True Story
22. Thirteen Assassins - (Japan – Subtitles- Martial Arts) - Drama
23. Jayne Eyre – Theatric Drama
24. Take Shelter - Psychological Drama
25. A Damaged Method - Sexual Drama
26. The Whistleblower – Drama – True Story
27. In a Better World  (Swedish – Subtitles) - Drama
28. Everything Must Go – Drama - Comedy
29. Contagion – Science Drama
30. Crazy, Stupid, Love – Drama Comedy
31. How to Die Oregon – Documentary
32. Rise of the Planet of the Apes - Drama
33. Page One: Inside the NY Times - (Documentary)
34. Fright Night- Drama – Comedy – Horror – Vampires
35. The Help - Drama - Comedy
36. Win Win - Family – Drama
37. Our Idiot Brother - Drama - Comedy
38. The Guard  - Drama – British - Dark Comedy
39. Beginners  - Drama - Romance
40. The Last Lions  - Documentary
41. African Cats   - Documentary
42. The Conspirator - Drama – True Story
43. Cedar Rapids - Drama -Comedy
44. Higher Ground  - Drama
45. Iron Lady  - Drama – True Story - British
46. Another Earth  - Psychological Drama – Sci - Fi
47. Captain America - Action – Drama
48. Rango - Animation
49. Certified Copy - Drama – (Italian – English – French)
50. Source Code - Drama – Science Fiction
51. Winter in Wartime - (Netherland – Subtitles) – Drama
52. Carnage - Drama  
53. Meeks Cutoff - Drama – Western
54. Thor – Drama - Action
55. The Tree of Life – Psychological Drama
56. Albert Nobbs - Family Drama – Sexual Theme
57. We Bought a Zoo - Light Family Drama
58. Cowboy and Aliens – Drama - Action – Sci-Fi
59. The Debt – Drama
60. Kill the Irishman –   Drama – True Story
61. Midnight in Paris  – Drama - Comedy
62. A Better Life  – Drama 
63. Young Adult - Drama
64. Super 8 -- Drama – Science Fiction
65. Pariah - Drama – Sexual Content
66. Battle: LA - Drama – Science Fiction – Action   
67. J. Edgar - Drama – True Story
68. Horrible Bosses - Comedy
69. Paul - Comedy –Science Fiction
70. Fast Five – Action –Drama
71. Hanna – Action - Drama
72. The Adjustment Bureau  - Drama
73. Pitoche - (French – Subtitles) – Drama – Comedy
74. Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy– Drama – British
75.  Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame – Subtitles- Martial Arts) – Drama
76. Pirates of the Caribbean 4  - Action - Drama
77. The Beaver - Drama
78. Drive Angry - Action –Drama
79. Submarine  - Drama – British                                  
80. Of Gods and Men  (French - Subtitles) –Drama
81. The Hangover 2  – Comedy – Action                                      

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Favorite Movie Scenes - Part 3

Some of My Top Movie Scenes

  1. The Natural – Iris stands then Roy Hobbs hits home run;
  2. The Godfather – Michael shoots Sollozzo and a cop in restaurant;
  3. Predator – Commandos mow down an entire jungle as they chase the Predator;
  4. Star Wars – X Winged fighters assault on the Death Star;
  5. Aliens – Ripley fights female Alien with yellow mechanized loader;
  6. Dance With Wolves – John Dunbar rides horse in front of Rebels with arms wide;
  7. Sleepless in Seattle – Sam, Jonah and Annie meet at top of Empire State Bldg;
  8. For A Few Dollars More – Colonel Mortimer and Indio duel to musical watch;
  9. 2001: A Space Odyssey – HAL 9000 reads the astronauts lips;
  10. Kill Bill 2 – Buried, Black Mamma recalls lessons learned from Master Pie Mai;
  11. When Harry Met Sally – Fake organism -  I’ll have what she is having;
  12. Rocky – Rocky runs through Philadelphia towards city hall steps;
  13. Unforgiven – Sheriff Little Bill confronts British Bob about no guns in town:
  14. Seven – Detective Mills asks his partner what’s in the box;
  15. The Gauntlet – Ben Shockley and his fugitive caught in crossfire on a bus;
  16. Wizard of Oz – Movie changes into color as Dorothy’s house lands on witch;
  17. Godfather – Michael saves his father from assassins at the hospital;
  18. Godfather –  Michael at christening has his men take care of family business;
  19. Rosemary Baby – Rosemary looks into baby crib for the first time;
  20. Pulp Fiction – Vincent and Jules discuss burgers in France;
  21. Bullet – Car chase with Ford Mustang;
  22. Wizard of Oz – Rhett Butler tells Scarlett O’Hara  “frankly my dear”;
  23. The Birds – Melanie is attacked by Birds in attic;
  24. Raiders of the Lost Ark – Instead of fighting Indiana shoots man with sword;
  25. The Fugitive – Being chased by Det. Gerard, Dr Kimble jumps down dam;
  26. Basic Instinct – Catherine being police interrogated uncrosses her legs;
  27. Reservoir Dogs – Mr. Blonde dances to song as he mutilates cop’s ear;
  28. Jaws – Captain Qunit talks about the sinking of the Indianapolis;     
  29. The Shining – Jack chases his son in snow covered maze;
  30. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – Chase through the top of bamboo forest;
  31. No Country for Old Men – The coin toss at the gas station;
  32. To Live and Die in LA – Car chase on the wrong side of the expressway;
  33. Drive – Opening, :the driver evades police by parking in garage at arena;
  34. Speed – Jack and Annie get off bus and watch it hit plane that explodes;
  35. Apocalypse Now - Colonel talks about surfing and what napalm smells like; 
  36. Master and Commander / TFSOTW – British & French ships final battle;
  37. The Patriot – Militia Benjamin & two sons attack Red Coats at side of the road;
  38. The Last of the Mohicans – Ambush attack on British Army by native Magua;
  39. Inglorious Basterds – Lt. Raine grills German soldier before Donny uses his bat;
  40. Inglorious Basterds – Lt. Hicox meets British spy in German basement bar;
  41. Inglorious Basterds – Lt. Raine grills Bridget Von Hammersmark after shootout;
  42. Platoon – Sgt Elias is chased by Viet Cong after being left behind;
  43. Apocalypse Now –Beach attack to the classical  music of  Wagner;
  44. King Kong – King Kong battles planes at  top of Empire State Building;
  45. Jason and The Argonauts – Jason and his men fight skeleton army;
  46. The Wedding Crashers – Gloria strategically massages Jeremy during dinner;
  47. Silver Streak – Grover teaches George to act black to get past police;
  48. Anchorman: T L of Ron Burgundy – Ron plays jazz flute on date with Veronica;
  49. The Wedding Crashers – Jeremy is tied up in bed by Gloria’s brother;
  50. Risky Business – Joel and Lana have sex on the train.
  51. The Professional - Detective Stansfield grills Methilda's father for his drugs;
  52. The Professional - Detective Stansfield and Leon shoot it out to the end;

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Stoker - Review


Director Chan-wook’s  the Korean director of the 2003 cult film Oldboy brings us his first American film by the title of “Stoker”; a perpetually unnerving and  compellingly strange psychological thriller starring Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Dermot Mulroney, Jacki Weaver and Nicole Kidman.

The story revolves a teenager named India's (Wasikowska's) whose father has died from the onset in an auto accident. Shortly after his death, India’s Uncle Charlie (Goode), who she never knew even existed comes to live with her and her emotionally unstable mother (Kidman). Soon after his arrival, India comes to suspect her mysterious Uncle, charming as he may be, as having some ulterior motives by living with her and her mother. But instead of India feeling fear by his presence, the shy and friendless teenage girl becomes increasingly drawn to him to the point of infatuation by his odd charisma and good looks.

This movie’s pace has an unusually syncopation about it.  It leaves you unsettled at each turn as to what people’s motives are? Why do they do strange things seemly without warning? Why their reactive emotions are out of align to the moment? Who is actual friend or foe in the film? But this off kilter style of direction fascinated me and while I am almost certain this odd quirky little film is not everyone’s cup of tea, it worked creepily well for me

"Stoker" (Official Selection at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival) is a hybrid of some great classics that we all know, but I don’t dare mention as not to give anything away. But if you want a bit of a clue, think a mix of Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch (Twin Peaks) and Steven King. 

3 -1/4 Stars

Friday, March 15, 2013

“Oz, the Great and Powerful” - Review

“Oz, the Great and Powerful”
Sometimes the technology used today to create or recreate movies and their imaginable scenes are so ingenuous, it borders on being simply mesmerizing; amazing beyond belief. Sometimes the level of detail and color richness is even better than the way nature intended. And sometimes wonderful color, in this Disney effort of “Oz, the Great and Powerful”, is not enough, or in this case all there was to two hours of a flat and uninspiring story that on top of that included flat performances as well.
Based on the original book, and presumably a prequel to its more highly acclaimed family classic favorite “The Wizard of Oz”, this Oz seemed to do what a lot of film makers do today, which is mix an array of fabulous actors with a heavy special effects foot print, then hope you the audience won’t ever notice what attributes of talent are missing from the film, especially if it is compared to what made the original film far more memorable and enduring.
The Oz film of today seems satisfied to just saturate our senses with color, pretty faces and spectacular events, but leaves out the necessary infusion of fantasy, charm, wonderment and magic to appeal to the entire family – Mom and Dad, Son and Daughter.
As a small boy I remember being filled with both joy and some dread as I journeyed with Dorothy, the Lion, The Tin Man and The Scare Crow down that yellow brick road; thrilling me with both magical tales and musical song with Dorothy as our guide as they danced they’re way to Emerald City in the hope of her finding her way back to Kansas.
Oh, did I say music? Remember, “lions tigers and bears oh, my”, ding dong the witch is dead”, “if I had a heart” and “courage”. In this Oz there was no attempt at all to having a least a few original tracks of music for us to share in and for the principle characters to appear to be a bit more personable by. But I digress.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention James Franco as the Wizard. I like him a lot as an actor. He was brilliant in the TNT television move “James Dean”. But here he seemed ill-suited to provide the right mix of gentle con man and generous romantic hero. Every time he smiled or uttered his lines I felt his performance was more similar to his weed infatuated stoner character in the film ‘Pineapple Express”.
Ultimately, the film misses its mark. Instead of making an enduring film that works for both kids and adults and the family as a whole, it felt more like a by the technical book movie that catered its attention to adults who were kids once.
2 -1/2 Stars 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Favorite Movie Scenes - Part 2

Some of My Favorite Movie Scenes:

  1. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid – Butch - Sundance shootout in Bolivia;
  2. Sling Blade – Karl hits Doyle with blade then eats mustard biscuits;
  3. Deliverance – Lewis shoots mountain man with arrow;
  4. Godfather 2 – Young Vito disposes broken pieces of gun on roof top;
  5. Out of Africa – Denys and Karen fly plane over African vista;
  6. Braveheart – William Wallace rides into village to exact his revenge;
  7. The Crying Game – Moment when Fergus discovers Dill’s secret;
  8. The Pianist – Szpilman discovered by German Officer plays piano after 4 years;
  9. Apollo 13 – Flight control waits to hear if the Apollo crew survived re-entry;
  10. Saving Private Ryan – Final battle in village to keep German’s away from bridge:
  11. Sideways – Miles gets Jack’s wallet from home of one night stand;
  12. True Grit – John Wayne’s Rooster Cogburn riding and shooting at Ned Pepper;
  13. Bridge Over on the River Kwai – Colonel falls on lever blowing up bridge;
  14. Lawrence of Arabia – Man on his Camel in desert riding into view;
  15. To Kill a Mocking Bird – People in balcony stand as Atticus leaves court room;
  16. Shindler’s List – Yong boy in concentration camp hides in bottom of toilet; 
  17. The Graduate – Ben watches Mrs. Robinson put her panty hose on;
  18. Blazing Saddles – Men eating beans around camp fire;
  19. Blazing Saddles – Fight scene goes from Western set to cafeteria to parking lot;
  20. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape – Family burns house down after their mother dies;
  21. Godfather- Sonny beats up Carlo in the street using trash can;
  22. Godfather- Sonny is killed at toll booth;
  23. Dog Day Afternoon – Sonny yells Attica, Attica, Attica, Attica;
  24. Wall Street – Greed is good speech;
  25. Raging Bull – Jake tells his brother Joey to hit him in his face repeatedly;
  26. Places in the Heart – Blind Mr. Will shoots at night riders in the barn;
  27. Hoosiers – Jimmy Chitwood hits winning shot;
  28. Untouchables – Agent Ness and Stone shoot out at train station with mobsters;
  29. Untouchables – Capone plays baseball at dinner table;
  30. Glory – Former slave Private Trip cries defiantly as he is being whipped;
  31. Cape Fear – De Niro’s Max Cady fights family on sinking boat;
  32. Saturday Night Fever – Tony wears iconic white suit to dance at club;
  33. Philadelphia – Andrew dying with his family and friends by hospital bedside;
  34. Pulp Fiction – Vincent and Jules cleans the car as Mr. Wolf drinks coffee;
  35. Pulp Fiction – Vincent takes Mia to drug dealer after over dose;
  36. Pulp Fiction – Vincent -  Mia dinner date -  talk about Tony Rock-a-horror;
  37. Thelma and Louise – Fly their Thunderbird convertible into canyon;
  38. The Sixth Sense – The doctor discovers he is “dead people”;
  39. Cast Away – Chuck cries as his only friend Wilson floats a way;
  40. Zero Dark Thirty – Seal team lands in middle of the night to get OBL
  41. Wizard of Oz – Dorothy sings  “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”
  42. Cool Hand Luke – Luke eats the eggs contest;
  43. Dr. Strange Love – Major King Kong Rides nuclear bomb like a cowboy;
  44. West Side Story – Anita dances to “America” song;
  45. Godfather – Movie Director finds horse in his bed;
  46. Godfather 2 – Michael watches as Fredo is killed in fishing boat:
  47. Network – Howard Beale screams from window he is “mad as hell”;
  48. Close Encounters of the Third Kind – Roy see’s Alien ship on mountain top;
  49. Ghost – Sam as a ghost kisses his wife Molly goodbye;
  50. Carrie – Carrier is drenched with blood at prom then become angry; and.
  51. Oldboy - Fight scene in basement with hammer.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Favorite Movie Scenes - Part 1

Some of My Favorite Movie Scenes:

  1. The Godfather - Opening - Vito Corleone grants request on wedding day;
  2. The Godfather -  Michael settle’s all family business with Carlo;
  3. Alien - Kane’s chest burst;
  4. Alien - Ripley discovers Alien on shuttle craft;
  5. True Romance - The Sicilian discussion;
  6. Patton - Patton American Flag speech ;
  7. Inglorious Basterds – Colonel Landa’s  visits French farm house;
  8. Heat - The two former Godfathers share coffee;
  9. Heat.-  Neil and Vincent shoot it out in downtown LA;
  10. Tombstone –Doc Holiday makes fun of Ringo with a tin cup;
  11. Tombstone – Doc Holiday challenges Ringo at the Oak Tree;
  12. Titanic – Jack and Rose on vertical Titanic before finally sinking;
  13. Pulp Fiction – At the apartment - say what again – scripture quote;
  14. Pulp Fiction – Butch saves Marseilles Wallace from basement assault;
  15. Open Range – Final shootout in the center of town;
  16. French Connection – Car chase under subway tracks;
  17. The Deer Hunter – Russian Roulette
  18. Dusk Till Dawn – Opening where Sheriff enters the liquor store;
  19. Kill Bill I – Black Mamba dispatches the Crazy 88s.
  20. The Exorcist – Regan turns her head 360 degrees – raises from the bed;
  21. Jaws - Shark sinks the boat and picks the Captain as his lunch;
  22. Bonnie and Clyde – Couple are ambushed by the road;
  23. Taxi Driver – Travis looks in the mirror to ask “you talking to me”;
  24. Psycho – Shower scene;
  25. Saving Private Ryan – Troops storm the beach at Normandy;
  26. Midnight Cowboy –  “I’m walking here, I’m walking here”;
  27. The Raiders of the Lost ArkIndiana chases truck - fight scene;
  28. The King’s Speech – The King gives his war time speech;  
  29. The Shawshank Redemption – Red read’s Andy’s letter under the tree;
  30. Joesy Wells – You a bounty hunter;
  31. Unforgiven –Saloon  final shootout with Sheriff Little Bill
  32. Scent of A Woman - The Tango dance scene;
  33. Batman - The Dark Knight – The Joker make a pencil disappear;;
  34. In The Heat of The Night – Tubbs slaps southern businessman back;
  35. The Shining – Here’s Johnny;
  36. Forrest Gump – Forrest tells Jenny what he saw when he was running;
  37. Forrest Gump – Forrest discovers he is a father;
  38. Michael Clayton – Clayton asks, “Does it look like I am negotiating”;
  39. Star Trek – Wrath of Khan – Spock dying says goodbye to Kirk;
  40. Bound – Corky and Violet hook up;
  41. The Seven Year Itch – Marilyn Monroe’s dress flutters at subway vent;
  42. Scarface – Say hello to my little friend;
  43. A Few Good Men - You can’t handle the truth;
  44. The Ten Commandments – Moses splits the Red Sea;
  45. Jurassic Park – T-Rex appears for first time after power goes out;
  46. Silence of the  Lambs – Hannibal Meets agent Starling for the first time
  47. Silence of the Lambs – Hannibal grills Clarice about her past in library cell;
  48. 2001 A Space Odyssey – Hal 9000 is turned off by astronaut;
  49. The Great Escape – Steve McQueen rides motorcycle in his escape; and
  50. Aliens – Ripley rescues little girl Newt before LV426 facility blows up.
 And what are yours? 

Emperor - Movie Review


The true story of General Douglas MacArthur (Tommy Lee Jones) as Supreme Commander of Japan shortly after its surrender in World War 2 and his top aid General Bonner Fellers (Matthew Fox aka “Lost” ) who is specifically charged by MacArthur to covertly investigate and bring evidence to the looming question (as America rebuilds devastated Japan) all those criminally complicit of war crimes including if the evidence shows it Japanese Emperor Hirohito's, who is worshiped by his people with reverential unquestioning God like loyalty.

So, should the Emperor be punished or saved is the prevailing plot point throughout the film, with a passionate back story of General Feller’s secret  search for a mysterious Japanese school teacher he fell in love with just before the war’s start.
The historical aspects of this story and film are fascinating, but the telling of it played out largely through the scenes of Fox’s character General Fellers falls unfortunately flat mostly because Fox seemed ill-equipped into carrying this film on his back as a leading man in my estimation.

While Tommy Lee Jones is always great at what he does, this film could of – maybe have been a bit better with a better written script and a better known counter weight Hollywood actor to play Feller against Jones’s MacArthur.

2-1/2 Stars

Dead Man Down - Review

“Dead Man Down” - Review

“Dead Man Down” is an European style crafted film with a deliberate escalating plot of twist and turns all mixed with a metaphoric crossfire of deception and mayhem.

Taking place In NY City, the film stars Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace (Prometheus) as two dispirited souls caught in a subculture web of crime whose characters “Victor” (Farrell) and “Beatrice” (Rapace) are suddenly drawn together by their separate motivations. And while their coincidental connecting circumstances are hardly amicable, they do share desires for revenge with an exacting rigorous urgency.

With a 2 hour running time I really want to like this film a lot. I love these styles of films (The American) where you have laconic, moody and brooding suspicious characters and where the camera work makes people look sexy even getting on and off elevators. .But, in the end I just felt the movie falls a bit short in doing the one thing it must always do to seal the deal with the viewing audience. MAKE ME REALLY CARE.

In the 1995 movie “Heat”, we root for Neil McCauley even though he is a murderous bank robber who kills a lot of people through out the film.  Some where in Dead Man Down, the writing, editing or directing failed to subtle infuse the story with it’s necessary emotional sympathetic or empathetic DNA to bring this story together in a tight taut convincing package. And while this film had so much potential to make an old plot of revenge into an effort with modern freshness, instead it was like me watching a decent story that was devoid of anxiety for anyone’s real life or death outcome. . .

So, should you see it? Well, I would suggest you wait to rent it.

Finally, note to the Director Niels Arden Oplev, technical details are very critical when trying to tell a story of this nature. Here a few things to consider in the future.

One, it's normal in the beginning of a film to hold secrets back to be later revealed in the body of the movie, but when I literally don't undertstand the conversations beween certain characters something is terribly wrong, especially in the first 30 minutes. Two, if you are going to do a crime thriller in NY City you can not have protracted combinations of loud shootouts with subsequent loud chases – crashes and then have NYPD virtually absent from those scenes. And finally you can not have 7 criminals in NY City walking in broad day light with large assault weapons openly draped over their shoulders, only to pause at a cross walk to sign a name to receive a letter package and then have the background pedestrians in that scene move past them calmly and nonreactive to their armed prescience; or worse as if people being completely oblivious to openly armed thugs in NY is a benign normal thing to do.


2 - 3/4 Stars