Tag Archive: Thriller

Movie Review: The Town

R (for violence, language and sexual content), Warner Bros, 123 minutes.

Written and Directed by Ben Affleck. Starring: Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Jon Hamm, Chris Cooper, Pete Postlethwaite.

The Town is Ben Affleck’s 2nd directional effort (after 2007s Gone Baby Gone) and is an impressive piece of work. This film could have easily been just another run of the mill crime thriller but it is given a boost by a smarter script than usual and exciting action sequences that keep you on the edge of your seat. My only real complaint is that I felt it a bit too long and thus moved at a slower pace than I would have preferred.

The film is about four men — Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck in good form here), his best friend; Jem Coughlin (a brilliant Jeremy Renner), Gloansy, (Slaine) and Dez Elden (Owen Burke) from the tough streets of Charlestown Massachusetts who rob banks for a living.

The film opens with a bank heist where after a silent alarm is triggered, they take the bank manager Claire Heesey, (Rebecca Hall) hostage, Once they have escaped they let her go only to find that she lives in their same neighborhood. Fearing the cops may get to them through her Jem wants to take her out so Doug says he will handle it himself. Instead of doing this he befriends Claire and they soon begin a relationship.

In the meantime, FBI Agent Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm) is in charge of the case and soon finds out that they all work for a crook called Fergie (Pete Postlethwaite).  Agent Frawley is then in hot pursuit of the gang as they continue to rob banks.

Chris Cooper is grossly underused in this film, playing Doug’s father who is locked away in jail. His scene is literally a few minutes long.

Blake Lively was surprisingly good in her role as Krista Coughlin, the sister of Jem and ex girlfriend of Doug.

There is some very witty dialogue in the film and good performances from all, especially Jeremy Renner and Blake Lively as stated above.

The action sequence are very realistic and executed very well, which is again kudos to Ben Affleck’s directing. There is a particular scene where the gang are escaping a bank robbery dressed as Nun’s that is very thrilling and even has a hilarious finale to it.

This is a solid film, with good writing, good direction and good acting. An entertaining night out at the movies and a film that has me looking out for what Ben Affleck is going to do next. 3/5 stars.


Movie Review: Salt

PG-13, Columbia Pictures, 100 minutes

Director: Philip Noyce, Cast: Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetol Ejiofor

I find it interesting that “Salt” was originally slotted for Tom Cruise to play the leading role in but when he opted out, the script was rewritten for Angelina Jolie. Nothing wrong with Jolie who does a fine job here, but it would have been a great flick for Cruise to have played and more enjoyable than Knight and Day for me, anyway.

Salt escapes the boundaries of being just another cheesy popcorn flick by good performances from the main characters as well as exciting action sequences that used little CGI (unlike Knight and Day).

Angelina Jolie is Evelyn Salt, a CIA Agent who at the beginning of the movie interrogates a Russian Defector named Orlov. He tells her of a plan called “Day X” where the Russians will launch a major attack against the US starting with the assassination of the Russian President who is in town to attend the funeral of the US Vice President. (The idea here is that the Russians will then retaliate on America or something). While the interrogation is underway an FBI Agent called Peabody (Chiwetol Ejiofor) and Salt’s boss and mentor Winter (a solid Liev Schreiber) are listening in. Orlov then tells Salt that the name of the Russian Sleeper Agent who will kill the President is called Evelyn Salt. She tells him that this is her name and he confirms that this means that she is a Russian Agent.

In fear of being wrongly accused, Salt then makes a dramatic escape and goes on the run to try and clear her name. Winter and Peabody are in hot pursuit of Salt , chasing her all across Washington DC. There are several thrilling chase sequences which keep you entertained as well as some plot twists, which although being quite predictable, were still entertaining.

There’s also plenty of close up shots of those sumptuous lips of Angelina Jolie’s which I have to admit, I could not keep my eyes off. That aside, Jolie definitely does prove again here that she is more than just a lavish sex machine. The lady can act and she plays her role well with both a touch of super cool and urgent desperation.

This is an effective Action/Thriller that was worth the visit to the Cinema and better than I had expected.  3/5 stars

PG-13, 148 minutes

Warner Bros. Director: Christopher Nolan, Cast: Leonardo Dicaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy and Marion Cotillard.

Inception is a mind bending roller-coaster of a movie that reminded me of the groundbreaking special effects and originality of The Matrix when it was first released in 1999. I won’t say that this is a better film but I will say that is a far more complex and intelligent one for sure.

A review after just one viewing of this film probably does not do it justice as this is a film that deserves to be watched over and over. What is clear is this: Leonardo Dicaprio plays Dom Cobb a thief-for-hire who has the ability to enter peoples minds and extract information from them while they are sleeping.  The opening sequence gives us a taste of this form of dream invasion and is a thrilling spectacle, yet it is just the tip of the iceberg for what is about to come.

Cobb is hired by a japanese businessman called Saito (Ken Watanabe) to break up a rivals business empire through the use of “inception”,  a very dangerous method of implanting an idea in the mind of another rather than just stealing it. Cobb just wants to go home to his kids but he agrees to do this as his last job, so he forms a dream team: Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) his regular “Point Man”,  Ariadne (a fantastic Ellen Page) the “Architect” who can design the world within the dream and Eedie (a stand out Tom Hardy), the “Forger” who has the ability to morph into other peoples identities in the dream world. Their target is Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy, also a stand out here) , the son of the ailing energy tycoon that Saito is in conflict with.

What ensues is a breathtaking spectacle of special effects, mystery, suspense and non-stop action as they go deeper and deeper into one another’s subconscious. We see Ariadne folding a city onto itself just because she can. There’s also a fight sequence in mid air, involving Arthur and an attacker which is a direct shout out to The Matrix.

Inception can get a little hard to follow at times, but this only makes it more captivating to watch every scene as the film unfolds. To add even more complexity to the storyline, Cobb has a secret of his own concerning his beautiful and haunting wife (a chilling Marion Cotillard), who keeps showing up in his own subconscious mind while he is on the job and attempting to sabotage him. The reason why is just all part of the mystery.

Dicaprio delivers another solid performance here and is backed up by a terrific supporting cast. Michael Caine also has a small role as Cobbs father in law, but is under-used.

However, the real genius behind Inception is Christopher Nolan, who wrote the screenplay in addition to directing it. His breakthrough film, “Memento” was a head turning mystery which looks pale in comparison to the rich texture and complexity of Inception. This is a movie about the layering of dreams within dreams where you never really know what is reality and what is not and that is exactly where the film leaves you. In my opinion, this is the best movie of the year so far, hands down.  5/5 stars