February 2010 Reviews
By Shawn McKenzie 2/5/2010
Here are my reviews of the movies that were released in February of 2010. Check back later as the month progresses for more reviews.
When James Reece (Jonathan Rhys Meyers)…a personal assistant to U.S. Ambassador Bennington (Richard Durden) in Paris as a cover for his junior officer work in the CIA…little did he know what he’d be getting into when he asked for more exciting responsibilities. Currently, he does menial jobs like switching license plates on other agents’ vehicles and planting bugs within the Embassy. He does have a good-looking French girlfriend named Caroline (Kasia Smutniak), who decides to give him an engagement ring that was given to her by her father. One day, he gets his chance when he is assigned to partner up with fellow American agent Charlie Wax (John Travolta), an experienced agent who is a bit trigger-happy and is very unorthodox in his ways. At first, Charlie tells Reese that the niece of the Secretary of Defense overdosed on a Chinese gang’s cocaine (they just shot up a Chinese restaurant and gathered up a bunch of their cocaine in a vase), and it was his job to shut them down. Reese eventually finds out that their mission is to hunt down a terrorist cell that is planning an unknown operation in Paris. Reese finds himself over his head in a dangerous mission that he wasn’t prepared for. I was anticipating the heck out of this movie, because it was directed by Pierre Morel…the man who directed my favorite movie of 2009, Taken (he also directed the excellent 2004 French action movie District 13.) In addition, it helps that Luc Besson, the co-writer of the movie, was also the co-writer of Taken and all three Transporter movies. What I should have known was that Adi Hasak wrote the screenplay based on a story by Besson. While Morel made the action very exciting, the writing he was basing the dialogue on was Hasak’s. I loved Travolta’s psychotic performance (it seemed like he never got out of the mind frame of the character he played last year in the remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3), but some of his lines were just bad. I realized that Hasak was trying to put in an in-joke with Wax’s love for “Royale with Cheese” (famously uttered by Travolta in his Oscar-nominated role in 1994’s Pulp Fiction), but it just came across as cheesy (no pun intended.) If you can get past some of the dialogue and enjoy the action, you won’t be sorry to take this trip to Paris.
Jayne (Parker Posey) and Laura (Demi Moore) are two very different sisters living in San Francisco who have to take care of their seventy something-year-old father Joe (Rip Torn) living in Pittsburgh who is suffering from dementia. Laura is an environmental scientist with three kids, and she is the responsible one. Jayne is the irresponsible daughter who married a rich art-dealing man named Jackson (Christian Camargo), who himself is dealing with the legacy of his late famous artist father. Joe plays his guitar and lives with his “girlfriend” Shelly (Ellen Barkin), a woman who claims to be a nurse but is really just a crack-head. He wants to find a buried treasure in his backyard, and he has the help of Ray (Billy Magnussen), a hunky teen neighbor whom Jayne has a crush on. As Joe’s condition worsens, the sisters try to figure out what to do with him…and with their own lives. When I watched this movie, it felt like the 2007 movie The Savages…but trippier and not as funny. Neither Moore nor Posey were remarkable here, but Torn and especially Barkin gave the most memorable performances. I’ve never seen writer/director Mitchell Lichtenstein’s first movie, the 2007 black comedy horror film Teeth, but it doubt it was as plain as this movie. I didn’t hate the movie, but I certainly didn’t cry any happy tears.
SEE THIS MOVIE!
Catch this movie at the theater if you can...
Wait until it comes out on video...
Wait until it plays on HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc...
Demand your money back, even if you saw it for free!