Tag Archives: Liam Neeson

The Grey: Blu Ray review

Liam Neeson battles the cold wilderness in The Grey. Courtesy of eOne Films

Liam Neeson has proven to be quite the box office draw in the last few years. In fact, movies he has a bit part in will feature him prominently in the trailer (Battleship). It is true however, that he has chosen some solid parts and delivered performances to warrant this attention. The Grey proves to be one more stepping stone to greater acclaim for Mr. Neeson.

The Grey tells the story of a plane filled with rough lumber workers crashing into a snow-ridden wilderness with only a handful of survivors left to fight the harsh conditions and a unique pack of territorial wolves.

What makes this an incredible film is the development of the misfit characters who feel remarkably real thanks to fantastic performances from its cast, including Liam Neeson, Dallas Roberts, Frank Grillo and Dermot Mulroney.

Joe Carnahan with Ian Mackenzie wrote the screenplay wielding an unforgiving world and crafted the characters credible backgrounds, making this more than your basic survival movie. Carnahan’s direction adds an immense level of tension and suspense, which had me propped up on the edge of my seat, even during my second viewing.

For the home release, the audio and video quality has its ups and downs. The audio is very immersive, but the video featured obvious added grain, which was distracting at first. Once you get past it, you tend to ignore its intrusion.

The special feature set isn’t bountiful and features some poor additions. The six deleted scenes are interesting, while two of the three featurettes felt more like advertisements than a means to deliver more insight into the making of the movie. There are also Clips, the kind you see when an actor is being interviewed about the movie they’re starring in, and horribly constructed Interviews with the cast and director. The Audio Commentary features the director and editors providing insights on the process of making the movie while they sip on scotch.

Not a bad way to enjoy this amazing movie.

Bottom Line: The main feature is worth every penny, but don’t expect too much from the extras.

Movie Grade A+
Blu Ray/DVD Grade B

Runtime: 117 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Battleship: Good old fashion explosion porn

John Tui, Taylor Kitsch, and Rihanna star in Battleship. Courtesy of Universal Pictures

For the past two decades, Michael Bay has been “King of the explosion”, “Master of destruction”, “Terror to critics who flat out hate him”, etc. We’ve reached a milestone in Hollywood today with the release of Battleship, whose director, Peter Berg, has finally dethroned Bay with his movie which could have been alternately titled, “Life of an Explosion”.

In Battleship, Alex Hopper, a guy going nowhere in life, reluctantly joins the Navy and falls for the admiral’s daughter. Then, aliens are signaled to Earth and they do battle, much like the board game from Hasbro of which the movie is based.

That’s right folks, the story is about as thin as brothers Erich Hoeber (Red) and Jon Hoeber (Red) could possibly make it. Their script celebrates clichés and cheesy dialogues, leaving plenty of time for the director to blow everything up.

The cast is pretty much dreadful to watch. A lot of the attempted humor falls flat and there was no chemistry between any of the actors – Especially between Taylor Kitsch and Brooklyn Decker as the “love struck” couple. Kitsch better do something worth watching soon or he may find himself stuck in the “B” movie zone. What’s really sad is that the only person worth watching, Liam Neeson, was given very little screen time, even if the trailers would have you think otherwise.

However, if you’re in the mood for endless action or enjoy explosion “porn”, this movie has the goods to satisfy your every need. Some of the Transformers inspired CGI is crude, but at least the movie is shot nicely which allows the audience to see the ballistic action in its entirety.

Bottom Line: With your finger on the fast forward button, this is a great piece of demo material for your home theatre.

Grade C-

Runtime: 131 minutes
3D: No

Wrath of the Titans: Slight improvement over predecessor

SAM WORTHINGTON as Perseus and LIAM NEESON as Zeus in the mythical Greek action adventure, WRATH OF THE TITANS. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Do you ever wonder how a movie that was panned by critics and the public, like 2010’s Clash of the Titans could possibly receive a sequel? Grossing nearly $500 million worldwide was more than enough incentive for Warner Bros. to green light another godly battle in Wrath of the Titans.

In this sequel, Greek demigod (half human, half god) Perseus treks down to the depths of the underworld to rescue his imprisoned father Zeus.

Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, and Ralph Fiennes reprise their roles and are able to deliver better performances with the improved script from a fresh trio of writers. Of the entire cast, the only memorable performance came from Bill Nighy as the comically, albeit slightly insane blacksmith to the gods.

Jonathan Liebesman (Battle Los Angeles) was brought in to take the reins as director and gives the screenplay better flow than his predecessor.

Everyone who, in 2010, watched Clash of the Titans in 3D will remember the horribly rushed treatment (simply used as a cash-grab after Avatar’s astonishing success). This movie has also received a post-production 3D treatment which surprisingly turned out better than the first film. However, the inconsistent depth and multiple jumping-out-of-the-screen effects do not equal a worthwhile 3D experience.

Last but not least, beware of the poorly mastered dialogue, which is difficult to comprehend during a number of scenes.

Bottom Line: There is some entertainment to be had from this sequel, but nothing worth more than a rental to enjoy in the comfort of your own home.

Grade C+

Runtime: 99 minutes
3D: Yes