Tag Archives: Anthony Hopkins

Solace (2015) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

SOLACE

Director: Afonso Poyart
Writers: Sean Bailey, Ted Griffin
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Abbie Cornish

Plot: A psychic works with the FBI in order to hunt down a serial killer.
Running time: 1 hour 41 minutes
IMDB Score: 6.4

Why I watched it: Sounded like a good serial killer movie plus a very good cast.

Random thoughts: I had seen the trailer and at first this looked like it was going to be a throwback movie, remember when there were tons of serial killer movies out there and I thought this might be a fun B-Movie with A-Actors.  The other thing about this film with that cast I’m shocked this didn’t get a bigger release.

What I liked: First off I was wrong about tone, this isn’t a slick thriller this is a more grounded drama, sure the plot is about a psychic helping track down a serial killer but it’s not pulpy at all.  Now one thing to get out of the way, it’s brought up in the trailer and this might be a spoiler but the selling point of this film is that the killer is a psychic as well.  One thing I want to praise is that they don’t screw around with Hopkins character being a psychic, there’s no scene where they’re told they can’t go to him for help cause there’s no such thing as psychics, it’s a fact he is what he is and they move forward.

The film reminded me of the Dead Zone TV show they way they dealt with “the gift” of being psychic. The acting as you might suspect is very good here, Hopkins is very good, sad older, Jeffrey Dean Morgan is such an underrated actor, I have no idea why he’s not a star, sure he’s known but the guy just has such an easy charm about him, so charismatic.    He’s good here even though he’s stuck in the Cop role.  Abbie Cornish is playing against type but she’s also playing the one stock role, very under written.

Now let me warn you Colin Farrell is not in it that much, he’s got a key role and he has a couple of good scenes with Hopkins but as far as screen time goes you’ll be disappointed if you’re a fan of his.  Now this film is very tricky cause you think going in that this film is about tracking a serial killer using the gimmick of both the hunter and the hunted being psychic as it’s hook, and it is and isn’t.

The film has bigger fish to fry here and it turns out to also be a very heavy drama with a big social question it wants to pose.  Now I won’t spoil it but it could be a deal breaker for some viewers.  I will say this without spoilers it does ask the question of what it must be like to be a psychic to know things, to have that weight, to touch someone and know.  This is a film that asks some tough questions and it answers some and some they kind of leave open.  It’s a much smarter and deeper film than I thought it was going to be.

What I didn’t like:  Again no spoilers, so let me tap dance, I think the movie hit the tone they wanted but I don’t think this plays like a thriller, now if I order a pizza I don’t want it to taste like a hamburger, I want a pizza even though I like hamburgers, I was in the mood for a pizza.  With Solace I watched it late on Friday night, just wanted to relax and enjoy a popcorn movie, it’s not that type of film, and I agree not the movie’s fault but I do think the film gets hurt by trying to at least be like a thriller cause the first half is them tracking down this killer and it seems like a Manhunter type film, but it gets deep and some twists happen, major twists.

So I was kind of switch my expectations on the fly.  Now I’ve watched a zillion films and I can adapt I just wonder if this was the right direction to go in, it did kind of left me coldish at times.  The film also feels like a lot got cut, Marley Shelton plays Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s wife, and he has a son and it feels like they should have had a bigger part that in fact Morgan at one point had a bigger part.

Also Hopkins at one point describes Abbie Cornish’s character(she’s Morgan’s partner) as Morgan’s girlfriend, now Hopkins character is very straight forward about his ability and doesn’t joke around he’s sometimes can use it as a weapon to keep people off guard so it made me think they’re might have been some sub-plots cut.

The film does feel rushed at times and at times the film seems to be fighting itself, what it is and what it wants to be.

Final thoughts: This is a hard film to judge, I liked the acting and I was digging the serial killer plot and truth be told I liked the film for the most part but it’s one of those I liked it…but, after I watched it I wasn’t sure what I thought, did I like it?

Not sure I kind of respect the fact that they tried to make it deeper and about something human and not just a slick soulless Hollywood thriller but I’m not sure it was successful enough for my liking.

Rating: 6/10

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Blackway (2015) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

BLACKWAY.png

Director: Daniel Alfredson
Writers: Joe Gangemi (screenplay),  Gregory Jacobs (screenplay)
Stars: Anthony Hopkins,  Julia Stiles,  Ray Liotta

Plot:  An ex-logger comes to the aid of a woman who returns to her hometown in the Pacific Northwest and finds herself harassed and stalked by a former cop turned crime lord.
Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes
IMDB Score: 5.2

Why I watched it: The cast.
Random thoughts: Alright we have some work to do before the review, first this was filmed as “Go With Me” and they changed it for the DVD release.  Now I hadn’t heard of this film before it came out on DVD, when I saw the cast I thought hell why is this just being dumped out there.  Now the other thing when you read the plot description, it’s not only misleading it’s lying, Hopkins helps Stiles but he’s not an ex-logger he’s still working.

I wouldn’t call the Ray Liotta’s character a crime lord, he’s a psycho bully.

What I liked: Make no mistake this is a Western, the Liotta character is a stock Western character, an evil man who runs a town cause everyone is too scared to stand up to him. I think why this film didn’t do well is that it’s different it’s billed as a thriller but it’s a very slow paced film and it’s more about character.  It’s an uneven film but i do like some of the characters, Anthony Hopkins is very good here as a guy who does things and says things but we don’t really know why,  it’s hard to do films about quiet men cause we have to guess so much about them.

We learn bits about him but not everything.  I do like that this film is about a logging town that feels like it, people doing hard work and living a somewhat bleak life.  I think Alexander Ludwig does very good work here, he’s the muscle but he’s not a super hero, he’s a sweet guy who may be a little simple, he stutter’s and seems shy but I like his work with Stiles, he’s an honest guy helping out a person cause his father figure tells him to.  He’s a follower but not dumb.

The film unfolds and it’s not a standard thriller, it’s more drama, there’s a final fight but really there isn’t a lot of action, this is a film where our main characters are trying to find the bad guy to stand up to him, so a lot of the film almost feels like a road film.
What I didn’t like: The Blackway character played by Ray Liotta is a tad boring, I love Ray Liotta but here he’s just playing to type and really we know nothing about him except he’s crazy and mean.  Stiles is bland here, she’s the only main character not doing much to show character, we know she has a past that can’t be good cause she’s returning home, and when home is a small town we know the character is running away from something.

She’s not bad here just nothing special.  The pacing does feel more European and some people will get bored, now I stayed with it cause I liked the acting but it could of picked up the pace.

Final thoughts: Blackway is a simple story but one that rubbed me the right way, I liked it and I liked it was only 1 hour 30 minutes, really liked some of the acting and I thought it was interesting.

Rating: 6.5/10

Misconduct (2016) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

MISCONDUCT

Director: Shintaro Shimosawa
Writers: Simon Boyes, Adam Mason
Stars: Josh Duhamel, Anthony Hopkins, Al Pacino, Malin Akerman, Julie Stiles, Alice Eve, Byung-hun Lee

Misconduct is a movie that is about Ben (Josh Duhamel) who is an ambitious young lawyer who is contacted by his unstable ex-girlfriend Emily (Malin Akerman) who has classified incriminating data files about her billionaire boss Arthur Denning (Anthony Hopkins)

Ben takes on the big case against the powerful and ruthless executive of a large pharmaceutical company Denning and soon finds himself involved in a case of blackmail and corruption and his life and career begins to spiral into the absurd and desperation.

When I read a bit about this movie which I normally do before viewing to give me an idea of the storyline and whose who in the film at first glance I see the cast of Duhamel, Hopkins, Pacino and Stiles and my initial reaction was and expected an intense thriller with a deep storyline.

In fact Hopkins and Pacino are bit part characters although important key roles don’t have enough screen time as far as I am concerned. The story itself is a little clunky and disjointed and the pace of the movie is a little slow. My initial feeling was that the storyline is lacking any suspense and depth, meaning that filmmakers have spread the story so thin to reach it’s duration and tuning time.

None of the actors disappoint in terms of how interesting the characters they portray but surprisingly the chemistry between the two veteran actors Anthony Hopkins and Al Pacino appear at times shaky and awkward.

Anthony Hopkins at this time appears to be portraying rich billionaires who are held to ransom again and again (check my review of Kidnapping Freddy Heineken) and although never disappoints looks like he is just topping up his bank balance in accepting these limited screen time roles. I find it frustrating that an actor of his calibre and c.v. “has” to do these roles that I cannot believe for a minute they find interesting as the role isn’t part of the story enough.

Having just watched Al Pacino in Danny Collins (2015) a month or so back i was very disappointed in this as like Hopkins you know what to expect and again its not a big role in the sense of screen time and I understand that both Arthur Denning and Charles Abrams are key characters to the plot but I felt both these actors where there to sell the movie.

Duhamel is decent enough in the lead role but at times his performance is inconsistent in the sense that his character lacks any urgency when the scene requires it.

Julie Stiles as Jane Clemente is strangely cast as the tough female operator but unfortunately appears too cocky at times and for some reason her performance is forced and unconvincing which was disappointing.

Malin Akerman (Emily) and Alice Eve (Charlotte) are sparingly used and it appears they are just there to set up the scene and for the stories execution and that is it. With giving these two female actresses these roles they appear weak an under utilised and without causing offence to either actress this makes the movie appear like an episode of a crime Drama or a TV Movie. Again this is not Akerman and Eve’s fault.

Byung-hun Lee plays the character of the Accountant in a supporting role which is quite intriguing when he makes an appearance, but sadly his character feels under-utilised (a trend throughout the movie) and only serves as a glorified henchman.

Director Shintaro Shimosawa’s movie may be considered choppy and dull and the case presented in the plot are familiar themes of TV Movies of the same nature that wouldn’t look out of place in the 1980’s. Although the cinematography is well done in its visuals and to be fair sets up some very dark scenes that tie in with the storyline.

“Misconduct” lacked a sympathetic main and central character which for whatever reason makes the movie appear to have a cast of supporting actors supporting each other with no main lead and this is no fault of Josh Duhamel who tries his best and carrying the intricate and far fetched plot along. Although this isn’t the worst movie I have viewed. It does lack in the majority of its key elements. Give it a watch, don’t give it a watch. I’m passed caring.