The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (2009)
Director: Troy Duffy
Writer(s): Troy Duffy, Taylor Duffy (story)
Starring: Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, Billy Connolly
The long-awaited, oft-delayed sequel to the overrated (but enjoyable) direct-to-DVD "hit," The Boondock Saints. Though ostensibly a continuation of the first film, it's actually a bit of a remake... and, boy, are its tricks old. Everything that was "cool" or "nifty" in the first film is redone here in the hopes that it's as "cool" or "nifty" the second time. Unfortunately, it is not. Troy Duffy is a hack, and this film proves it. Quite literally, the only good part of the movie is Julie Benz, extraordinarily gorgeous as always. Other than that... lame.
Verdict: SKIP it. Let this franchise die... or, at least, help take it away from Troy Duffy.
Director: Richard Donner
Writer(s): Edward Khmara, Michael Thomas, Tom Mankiewicz, David Webb Peoples
Starring: Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfeiffer
I never knew Richard Donner tried his hand at fantasy until I perused a friend's DVD collection. Though he claims the movie stinks (why it's in his collection, I'll never know), as a fan of Donner and fantasy film, I gave it a shot. And, you know what? It wasn't that bad. The premise follows a warrior who, by night, is a wolf. His lover, by day, is a hawk. As a result, neither gets to spend much time with the other as people. Because, you know, that's what curses do. A bit heavy on its modern feel, the film is nevertheless enjoyable, if short of being great. I can see this being remade.
Verdict: SEE it.
Director: Scott Stewart
Writer(s): Peter Schink, Scott Stewart
Starring: Paul Bettany, Lucas Black, Tyrese Gibson
Hollywood loves its religious thrillers (I believe I've stated this before... many times), but it rarely ever digs deeply into the histories of those religions. As a result, we're often left disappointed in what could have been powerful films, even within the action genre. All that aside, Legion is a very, very interesting concept, if executed rather poorly. Parts of the film are great, while other parts are ridiculous. Often, the shift from great to ridiculous happens sequentially. The religiosity is superficial and the story misses out on any great commentary or analysis. One can reach the conclusion that this was meant to be the Christian version of The Matrix (something that Constantine tried to be, but failed), but Legion lacks even the accidental depth of that particular film.
Verdict: depends on how much you like the genre and lame interpretations of Western religion.
The Lovely Bones (2009)
Director: Peter Jackson
Writer(s): Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Alice Sebold (novel)
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Stanley Tucci
Peter Jackson wants to garner some long-lost "indie cred." So Peter Jackson creates a film based upon the novel The Lovely Bones and tries to copy the tone of his breakout work, Heavenly Creatures (a great film, by the way). But Peter Jackson fails. What he gives us is a beautiful-looking film, but beautiful in the way that glamor models are beautiful: all makeup and no substance. Despite its disturbing subject matter (serial murder, child murder, and hints of pedophilia), Jackson chooses to film this as a "happy" movie, and the result is horribly irritating. The subtext of the film did not match nor complement its context. I guess you could even say that Jackson did such a good job of portraying limbo (or whatever it was), you don't even care that the characters inhabiting it are dead. In fact, you want to go there yourself. The acting is decent, with Stanley Tucci filling his role with twisted zeal. Rachel Weisz is solid while Mark Wahlberg is over-the-top. Oddly enough, Wahlberg's style is a much better fit for this annoying movie.
Verdict: SKIP it. It's an irritating film (I may have mentioned that already).
Quigley Down Under (1990)
Director: Simon Wincer
Writer(s): John Hill
Starring: Tom Selleck, Laura San Giacomo, Alan Rickman
For whatever reason, Tom Selleck has never made his mark on the big screen (probably his fault for backing out of Raiders of the Lost Ark). Still, his occasional forays tend to be rather entertaining (his recent work notwithstanding). An American Western that takes place in Australia, where the American protagonist falls in love with a crazy American woman who somehow wound up in Australia, there's a lot to like about this film. The story is a bit run of the mill, but the characters themselves make this movie. Laura San Giacomo's subplot provides a nice emotional piece, while Alan Rickman plays a delicious villain (but what else is new?). Selleck just fills the screen as a macho cowboy. And, I guess, that's all the movie needs.
Verdict: SEE it. Not great, but entertaining enough.
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