Screen Junkies » russel crowe http://www.screenjunkies.com Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Thu, 11 Dec 2014 22:13:01 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3.1 Review: The Next Three Days http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-review/review-the-next-three-days/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-review/review-the-next-three-days/#comments Fri, 19 Nov 2010 15:27:39 +0000 Fred Topel http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=8708 The Next Three Days is not the next great prison breakout hit. It’s really, really stupid but in the best “so crazy I can’t believe it’s a movie” way.

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When was the last time we saw a good old fashioned priso break movie? We had a great one on TV until it flew off the rails in the fourth season, but movie-wise, was it The Rock? And that was really a prison break-in movie. The Next Three Days is not the next great prison breakout hit. It’s really, really stupid but in the best “so crazy I can’t believe it’s a movie” way.

Lara Brennan (Elizabeth Banks) is sent to prison for murder. John Brennan (Russell Crowe) loses her last possible appeal and gets so desperate he plans a prison break. He’s no Steve McQueen though, so he messes up the way a real person might if he were trying to act out a movie plot.

I guess the craziest part is early enough in the film and fundamental enough to the plot that it’s not really a spoiler. John gets his plan from the ultimate prison escapist, Damon Pennington (Liam Neeson). He found Pennington through the public library because he wrote a book about his seven escapes. It gets better though. John learns how to pick locks from YouTube videos. I guess this is a prison break for the YouTube generation.

It’s so weird because there are just enough trappings of legitimacy that you can’t believe it’s actually so silly. They’re subtle about the details of the case because it really doesn’t matter why she’s in prison. That’s the MacGuffin. They establish the family well enough with John’s humor in domestic situations, and Lara’s reactions to his plans are surprising. Making it all a Don Quixote metaphor was a big Paul Haggis-y. By the way, Paul is a community college professor, so he talks about literature once.

Damon basically lays out the boundaries of the breakout, where John has to get in the first 15 minutes, and then the first 35, so we can count down as it gets down to the wire. John starts collecting his supplies, going to street hoods for fake IDs and making his homemade skeleton keys (to be fair, I did find bump key videos on YouTube for real.) He cases the joint, tests out his bump keys and toughens up on the street because he’ll need to be hardcore to pull this off.

Creating suspense requires major lapses in paying attention. I know Paul is stressed, but he makes blatantly careless mistakes. Yeah, the point is he’s not Mr. Cool Heist but he should still read his own plans in their entirety. Then the story ignores basic laws. Let’s just say that drivers in The Next Three Days don’t respond to road incidents like you or I would.

Both John and Lara make bold, dramatic declarations, creating emotional turns from scene to scene. Those are movie moments, not real feelings. There’s no value to one if it’s undone in the next immediate scene. Brian Dennehy is hired to play John’s dad so he can bring a little believability to his mostly wordless scenes. Lt. Nabulsi (Lennie James) shows up out of nowhere to become the lead lieutenant chasing the Brennans. He would have been a good character if he’d existed before the breakout started.

I kind of love that it’s that kind of movie. The Next Three Days is bad but you can totally enjoy watching it, not on an ironic level but on the level of “I wonder what they’re going to pull to get out of the next corner they paint themselves into.” I’m especially surprised that Crowe and Haggis made this. They’re usually so serious but it seems they just went WTF.

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Review: ‘Robin Hood’ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-review/review-robin-hood/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-review/review-robin-hood/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Robin Hood PG-13, 131m., 2010 Cast: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Mark Strong, William Hurt, Mark Addy, Danny Huston, and Max Von Sydow Directed by Ridley Scott Screenplay by Brian Helgeland Robin Hood, the new retelling of the famous legend points its arrows at being a nitty-gritty throwback epic but misses its mark with too many characters and not enough story.In this prequel version from the slam-your-fist-into-the-mud-team of director Ridley Scott and actor Russell Crowe, Crowe stars as Robin Lonstride, a 12th century archer in King Richard's army who by way of action and accidents is mistaken for the knight Robert of Luxley. This gives him the opportunity to steal from the rich and give to the poor people of Nottingham, while King Phillip of France and evil-knight Godfrey (played by Mark Strong in his usual sneering jackal performance) plan to invade the shores of England.  Director Scott, working from a script by Brian Helgelanger seems to be having shifts into what movie they want to portray, ending up with too many arrows and no sharp tips.More after the jump...

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Robin Hood
PG-13, 131m., 2010
Cast: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Mark Strong, William Hurt, Mark Addy, Danny Huston, and Max Von Sydow
Directed by Ridley Scott
Screenplay by Brian Helgeland 

Robin Hood, the new retelling of the famous legend points its arrows at being a nitty-gritty throwback epic but misses its mark with too many characters and not enough story.

In this prequel version from the slam-your-fist-into-the-mud-team of director Ridley Scott and actor Russell Crowe, Crowe stars as Robin Lonstride, a 12th century archer in King Richard’s army who by way of action and accidents is mistaken for the knight Robert of Luxley. This gives him the opportunity to steal from the rich and give to the poor people of Nottingham, while King Phillip of France and evil-knight Godfrey (played by Mark Strong in his usual sneering jackal performance) plan to invade the shores of England.  

Director Scott, working from a script by Brian Helgelanger seems to be having shifts into what movie they want to portray, ending up with too many arrows and no sharp tips.

More after the jump…

They give us one story about the gruff  and tough Crowe playing a solider of fortune and battling it out with Godfrey and his men, then Crowe plays it light and dashing with Maid Marian (played by Cate Blanchett as best as she can with the half-baked material), while both are getting too old to play screen heartrobes, and then Crowe’s Robin of the Hood is removed entirely and becomes a Tudorsesque battle royal about the new King John and his corruption of power.  

All the stories are well acted by the large cast of characters, especially by Oscar Issacs as King John, but when  the movie is title Robin Hood, it’s best to stick to one story about the title character and play it out from there.  

One major act of treason against the filmmaking gods is committed by Cinematographer John Mathieson, who compensates for the trite action sequences by using the zoom lens far too often. At times the off-putting technique is applied for no dramatic purpose or direction, making you feel like you’re on the sidelines instead of in battle.   

The real sparks of fun in Robin Hood come from his merry men played by Scott Grimes, Alan Doyle and Kevin Durand, who have quite a…merry time in Nottingham drinking honey mead and playing 12th century pop songs on their lutes. At this point though it’s the halfway mark of the film, and one would rather see their adventures in Nottingham then the creakiness that surrounds them.  

The adventure of Robin Hood is nowhere to be seen in this movie and instead much of the action seems to be from the stock footage pile of recent war epics, which is director Scott’s signature, but we’ve seen him be much more creative and exciting before. His so-called road show version cut of  Kingdom of Heaven shows how this can be done quite well and enthrallingly. Not forgetting to mention Gladiator and the fierce battles fought by Maximus, who, in comparison, makes Robin Hood look like a nervous, sausge-fingered archer at summer camp.   

So the legend begins for Robin Hood at the end of the movie, and we’re left wondering why so much time was spent on trumped-up preamble that misses the mark.   

Grade: C

 

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