Tag Archives: Aaron Eckhart

Incarnate (2016) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

INCARNATE

Director: Brad Peyton
Writer: Ronnie Christensen
Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Carice van Houten, Catalina Sandino Moreno

Plot: A scientist with the ability to enter the subconscious minds of the possessed must save a young boy from the grips of a demon with powers never seen before, while facing the horrors of his past.
Running Time: 1 hour 31 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 15% Audience 23%

Why I watched it: It’s a horror film, but I will say I’m always nervous about possession and exorcist films cause I find them the most cliched and badly done horror sub-genre but I watched it with crossed fingers and the cast.

Random Thoughts: Here’s a big thing they list it has a 2016 film but it stayed in the can for almost three years, I can only assume they final released it because of director Brad Peyton’s success. Before going into the whole review I want to make a comment on Aaron Eckhart, he’s a good actor but he has what i call the bride’s maid career, great in support but not great as a lead. He’s done a lot of genre that sadly are pretty bad, he keeps trying.

What I like: I’ll give Incarnate a little credit they try to to do a traditional possession story by trying to down play religion and go with more of a “Dreamscape” approach. So they use wacky science, Eckhart who’s in a wheelchair goes into the mind of the person possessed and tries to get them out of the state. Not perfect but at least it’s a twist on the ordinary. Eckhart is fine here, he’s rumpled and of course has a tragic backstory. The idea isn’t bad taking two movie sub genres and throwing them together sometimes that works. All the tech stuff is fine, it’s shot pretty well and all that. The film moves pretty well at just over 90 minutes.

What I didn’t like: Just not a very involving film, I blame a few things first Brad Peyton is not a pure genre director and it shows here, he’s not great a horror, it moves well and the action is handled alright but we’re not invested in the characters and the tension isn’t their, he hasn’t built up the stakes enough. The other main problem is the script it relies on horror cliches and once we find out that the demon is really after Aaron Eckhart we know where this is going, this is a second rate movie of films like Insidious, and many others. We have characters we should care about, the boy that they’re trying to save his mother but they’re not fleshed out, we don’t know them or care for them.

Final Thoughts: This good have been a decent B-Movie a horror film version of Dreamscape I would have been fine with that but it didn’t have me invested and at times it’s boring and silly.
Rating: 4/10

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The Dark Knight (2008) Movie Retro Review by Stephen McLaughlin

THE DARK NIGHT

Director: Christopher Nolan
Writers: Jonathan Nolan (screenplay),  Christopher Nolan
Stars: Christian Bale,  Heath Ledger,  Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy

Christopher Nolan really did leave us hanging at the end of Batman Begins (2005) with the Jim Gordon / Batman scene at the very end teasing the audience with the “has a taste for the theatrical, like you. Leaves a calling card.” with what we could look forward to in the next instalment of “The Dark Knight Trilogy”

Within those three years slowly but surely little pieces of information began to leak online on who would portray “The Joker” and it’s no great secret that when Health Ledger was announced it caused a bit of backlash amongst the fans that hadn’t been seen since pre-internet days of Tim Burton’s announcement that Michael Keaton was portraying Bruce Wayne in the 1989 version of the caped crusader. In fact, we as fans still haven’t learned our lessons for in 2013 a similar backlash happened with the announcement of Ben Affleck taking the Wayne mantel in the upcoming sequel to “Man of Steel” that would soon becoming title “Batman Versus Superman”

We need not worried as most folk know about Ledger’s now iconic portal of “The Clown” and more importantly the tragedy surrounding the actors untimely death on 22nd January 2008 aged 28, six months before the premier of “The Dark Knight”

The hype and publicity surrounding the release of the movie in the summer of 2008 probably would have tainted the movie in a way that with all the publicity into Ledger’s death may in fact leave a massive shadow hanging over the sequel. Going into the theatre to watch the follow up to Batman Begins, any fear of this was put to bed within the first 10 minutes of the movie as we watched a bank heist taking place and The Joker’s reveal was straight to the point was also shocking as we see and hear this portrayal say “I believe whatever doesn’t kill you, simply makes you stranger” the theatre may have been in complete darkness but you couldn’t sense the audience rubbing their hands knowing what was in store for the next couple of hours.

One thing I noticed and have always applauded Christopher Nolan for was the focus is taken away from Bruce Wayne in the movie. Batman Begins was always about Bruce Wayne and the development of that character so much so they didn’t give us one of the “main” villains in the opening instalment (although The Scarecrow was excellent) as the Director was in every sense rebooting the franchise. In “The Dark Knight” this was never going to be the case. Here we saw a man “Who just wanted to watch world burn” in The Joker and also we see the Rise and Tragic Fall of Harvey Dent who went from “Gotham’s White Knight” to “Two Face” gradually and even more so tragically.

The pacing of this movie is something that has always impressed me, from those opening IMax designed shots moving over the city to the end is so consistent and the tone never changes although there are some lighter tones of dialogue, particularly with Bruce and Alfred or Bruce and Lucius Fox but overall the darkness of the film accompanies the audience throughout its duration.

Christian Bale did receive a little flak for his Batman “voice” in this movie and I can understand that on the first viewing you might miss a few of his lines due to his voice but overall it really is just nitpicking as Bale’s Wayne is really finding it difficult to deal with a man who has no plan and has nothing to lose. Also his portrayal of the billionaire’s personal life an in particularly the relationship between him and Rachel Daws continues to develop. The actor again shows us all why he was cast as Bruce Wayne in the first place and barely puts a foot wrong throughout.

Health Ledger as previously mentioned, it is very difficult to say where after this performance would have taken him. Receiving posthumously an Oscar for best supporting actor in his portrayal of the The Joker was bittersweet and heartbreaking as his performance was up there with the best of them and to this day his lines are still as memorable as they were 9 years ago. Ledger takes the character in a different direction from previous incarnations of the legendary villain. Not as much theatrics or parlour tricks but a more edgier and gripping portrayal is witnessed as the actor turns “The Clown” into a really disturbing figure that even the “Mob” fear.

Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent. Could I think of anyone else to portray the new DA in Gotham? Well no. In fact I don’t think Eckhart has come close to reaching these heights before or since this movie was released. Eckhart’s performance matches Christian Bale’s scene for scene and the character gives Bruce Wayne hope that the day of Batman being Gotham’s saviour is coming to an end, much to the delight and relief of Wayne. Eckhart’s performance is terrific is his almost whiter than white portrayal of a good man wanting to better his city and rid Gotham of the disease that was slowly dragging it back down to the days of Falcone. Eckhart’s “turn” is almost as tragic after losing everything becoming “Two Face” I have to admit I was excited when it was announced that “The Joker” would be the villain in this instalment, but admittedly I was concerned that having Two Face in there too may be a little overkill. My fears were put to bed after the first viewing of the film as the handling of the character was more sympathetic and tragic than the out and out villain of the movie.

Again the supporting cast of Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy was very similar to Batman Begins with all these characters playing their parts for the right amount of time and used correctly. Even Maggie Gyllenhaal replacing Katie Holms for the part of Rachel didn’t really distract in anyway and that’s down to good writing and obviously the acting of Gylenhaal who had a larger part to play than Holms did in Batman Begins.

Overall this movie is perfection and I didn’t think Batman Begins could be topped if I’m being honest. The tone of this film is trademark Nolan and Hans Zimmer’s collaboration with James Newton Howard is a piece of art itself adding to the already darker tones and adding to the feel and texture of the movie. As most of you know this is the middle part of the trilogy, but I couldnt help but feel at the time how this movie would be equalled or bettered with a concluding part to it as in 2008 I really felt this movie hit the Dark Knight’s peak and I have to be honest and say in 2008 I didn’t want another one after this as I did regard this as a masterpiece and anything after it would be inferior. If you haven’t seen this movie yet I can’t recommend it enough as it is in my all time top 5 movies to see.

Bleed for This (2016) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

BLEED FOR THIS

Director: Ben Younger
Writers: Ben Younger (screenplay),  Ben Younger (story)
Stars: Miles Teller,  Aaron Eckhart,  Katey Sagal

Bleed For This is a movie based on the courageous and resilient real life experiences of boxer Vinny Pazienza.

Pazienza (Miles Teller) was the World Champion Boxer who was involved in a near fatal car accident causing severe spinal damage and left not knowing whether he’d be able to walk again afterwards.Rather than let it defeat him, Pazienza aimed to get back in the ring, setting in motion one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history ever. Pazienza said the thing that frightened him the most was giving up, because it was so easy to do.

The biggest draw of “Bleed For This” are its performances, particularly given by Miles Teller (Footloose 2011, Fantastic Four 2015). He never loses the sharpness of Pazienza, even when he faces a life without boxing and turns him into such a remarkable character.

Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight, Olympus Has Fallen) having his head shaved back and adding a few pounds portrays Kevin Rooney the former trainer to Mike Tyson who is now the tired cliché of the boxing trainer. To be honest the writing for the character is never up to par, which makes his performance seem a little overzealous. But to be fair I enjoyed the onscreen pairing of Teller and Eckhart as his trainer, Rooney and felt there was a good relationship in their scenes together.

Ciarán Hinds (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Frozen) playing the tough love father brilliantly and Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy, Futurama) although under-utilised delivers a fine performance as Vinny’s mother. If you are familiar with the work of both Hinds and Sagal I think we can all agree that their almost unrecognisable much like Eckhart. Other supporting roles with Ted Levine (Shutter Island, Monk, Ray Donovan) and Jordan Gelber (The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Boardwalk Empire) play their part as boxing promoters Lou and Dan Duva who basically pick Vinny up and put him down in a typical promotor fashion whenever they see or don’t see an opportunity to make money off the boxer.

One of the best aspects of this movie is by Ben Younger (Boiler Room, Prime) the Director (who up to this point only has a handful of directorial credits to his name) manages to capture the emotion that Pazienza is going through and my only gripe is the pacing during the recovery part I felt was slightly rushed compared to the first 30-40 minutes that introduced us to the characters at a nice pace.

I felt the script lets him down a little just after the car accident happens and the movie kind of skims past Pazienza’s recovery, which I felt should have been more in depth and more the focus on the movie. But as I previously mentioned that’s just nitpicking on my part as Younger still manages to capture the emotional struggle Pazienza is going through. Younger chooses to focus on the man mostly outside the ring and how driven an individual he was to get back to his best in the ring against the odds, physically and mentally.

Younger also delivers some energetic fighting sequences to be fair, using quick edits and excellent sound mixing to almost feel like you’re taking the punches at times. However, the moment that would have the audience viewing uncomfortably would be when Vinny has the metal halo removed from his head six months after the accident. Younger manages to capture in sight and sound how excruciating this would have been for Pazienza and especially as the boxer insisted on no anaesthetic during the procedure and believe me the screws in his head where in deep.

If you’re a fan of boxing films, “Bleed For This” is a film you should see. and if you aren’t a big fan of boxing films I wouldn’t dismiss it entirely because there is plenty to admire in this portrayal of one of the most inspirational comebacks in sporting history.