REVIEW: The Commuter [2018]

“One little thing” If the timeline is to be believed, the fourth meet-up between director Jaume Collet-Serra and Liam Neeson entitled The Commuter was the result of the latter rather than the former. Byron Willinger and Philip de Blasi‘s story went through the hands of at least two other stewards as well as a rewrite by Ryan Engle before finally going in front of the cameras. So one could hypothesize Collet-Serra was brought in as someone familiar with the genre, tropes, and especially the lead actor to bring things home.…

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REVIEW: The Shallows [2016]

“The island of the pregnant woman” Not all shark movies should be compared to Jaws—not even The Shallows. If you were to make any type of correlation cinema-wise it should be Cast Away meets Gravity or All Is Lost. The idea here is to put a character in isolation during a survival moment where hope can be lost in an instant. Will he/she prevail? Will he/she give him/herself the opportunity to live? Most of us would give up as soon as that shark’s vice-grip tightened around our thigh. Kicking and…

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REVIEW: Run All Night [2015]

“Me and you” There’s something to be said about knowing exactly what you’re getting and Jaume Collet-Serra is proving consistent enough to deliver that promise through his films. Whereas Luc Besson spins a revolving door of directors to helm his actioners—mostly tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top fare (besides the original hit-maker Taken) he doesn’t deem worthy of his own eye behind the lens—Collet-Serra has carefully chosen a series of scripts from disparate scribes to supply him serious thrills with which to place his visual stamp. The common denominator between them being Liam Neeson…

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REVIEW: Non-Stop [2014]

“Status?” This film could have just as easily been called Deflection as Non-Stop because screenwriters John W. Richardson, Christopher Roach, and Ryan Engle (none of whom instill a stellar track record for Hollywood blockbuster success) have a lot of fun making sure to inject as many red herrings into the mix as possible. Even at start we wonder if our prospective hero Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) could be the perpetrator despite trailers leading us towards a frame job. His U.S. Marshal is an alcoholic, hot-tempered, and forlorn. A semi-threat to…

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REVIEW: Unknown [2011]

“And that’s where I first saw Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man” I have it on good authority from a friend that Jaume Collet-Serra’s Unknown, as well as Didier van Cauwelaert’s French-language novel it’s based on, is uncannily similar to Roman Polanski’s Frantic. Unfortunately, to my chagrin, I have no opinion on the accusation, having not seen the 1988 film, but I’d lie if I didn’t admit my view of the new release is a bit tainted now. The premise of both are definitely eerily similar and my friend knows what he’s talking…

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REVIEW: Orphan [2009]

“Look at the snow orphan—snorphan?” Surprise, surprise, Orphan actually isn’t that bad. Who would have thought something that appeared to be a bad rehash of The Omen could truly entertain? I guess the ability to acquire the services of a couple on the cusp of A-list status actors in Peter Sarsgaard and Vera Farmiga should have raised an eyebrow, but honestly I still had many reservations. In fact, I knew the “twist” before sitting down in the theatre—something that I believe enhanced my enjoyment rather than lessened it. Perhaps this…

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