Tag Archives: Kevin Costner

3 Days To Kill (2014) Movie Retro Review by Darrin Gauthier

3 DAYS TO KILL

Director: McG
Writers: Adi Hasak (screenplay), Luc Besson (screenplay)
Stars: Kevin Costner, Hailee Steinfeld, Connie Nielsen

Plot:  A dying CIA agent trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter is offered an experimental drug that could save his life in exchange for one last assignment.

Running Time: 1 hour 57 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score:  Critics 28%    Audience 43%

Why I watched it: Well I like Costner and it’s kind of an action film, i know that’s weak, sorry.

Random Thoughts: While I was watching this film I thought Costner is a bit old to have that young a daughter, but I looked it up and he would have been in his 40′s it helps his onscreen wife played by Nielsen is ten years younger. This was co-written by Luc Besson and I have to say this has Besson all over it, shot in Paris and making no plot sense what so ever.

What I liked: Say what you want about Kevin Costner, he’s had huge ups and downs but he’s a good actor and he’s likeable, plus he has that every man thing down pat.  The only reason to watch this film is for him, he’s not great but he’s fun and he’s trying this isn’t a mailed in performance he’s invested.

The action is decent the opening bit is pretty good, Costner handles himself well. I also thought he had decent chemistry with Steinfeld, he’s a not great Dad but trying and that comes across he’s earnest about it.

What I didn’t like:  This is a dumb movie pure and simple and one thing you could get on your soapbox about, and I will for a bit, this is such a man’s wish fulfilment story, guy in his 60′s has a 20 year old daughter hasn’t been around, hasn’t been a good Dad, hasn’t been a good husband to his wife who is ten years his junior, he’s an assassin travels the world does his own shit and leaves his family waiting for him to come back when he feels like it then he finds out he’s dying and whats to make things right in Paris, then a women thirty years younger who flirts with him all the time has a magic potion to say him.  Really?  It’s easier to believe King Kong lives on Kong Island than to buy this.  The whole tone for this is off, I didn’t mind him with his daughter but the action and the whole getting his life back didn’t gel for me. Everything is surface here, there’s cliches about feelings but no real ones on display. I think it’s hard to combine real life melodrama with an over the top action movie, one hurts the other.

I want to touch on tone and running time, I go off on both of these all the time, these two things are my biggest pet peeves with movies, if you can’t nail the tone you can’t tell the story pure and simple and for goodness sake if you’re movie is almost two hours have two hours of story to tell.  This films fails on both of these things. You have Costner’s character kidnap and torture someone for information but in the middle he gets a call from his daughter on how to make a good pasta sauce so of course he gets the guy he’s beating to help him.

In a dark comedy maybe this works the sad thing is they do this gag about three times in this film.  The tone is all over the place and really hurts the film.  The goofy stuff hurts the drama and the drama really bogs down the action story. So what we have is the worst of two words. I want to mention Amber Heard she brings nothing to the table here except that she’s pretty, I don’t buy her in the role and frankly she’s miscast.

Final Thoughts: It’s a watchable bad movie, you have some good actors trying but it’s a silly story that never finds it’s tone.

Rating: 4/10

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Criminal (2016) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

CRIMINAL

Director: Ariel Vromen
Writers: Douglas Cook, David Weisberg
Stars: Kevin Costner, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot

Plot:  In a last-ditch effort to stop a diabolical plot, a dead CIA operative’s memories, secrets, and skills are implanted into a death-row inmate in hopes that he will complete the operative’s mission.

Running Time: 1 hour 53 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Scores:  Critics 30%       Audience   47%

Why I watched it: The cast alone, that is a deep cast and now you add into the fact how hot Gal Gadot is it’s even better.

Random Thoughts: Two things hit me while I was watching this: 1. Did they need this big name cast for the movie they were doing and 2. this is like  Self/Less that Ryan Reynolds was in he just switched roles.

What I Liked: This is a slick looking film, and all the technol stuff is good, it’s shot well, the sound is good.  Yes I’m reaching there’s not a lot to like about this film but by the cover it’s a good looking film.  I will say out of all the name actors in this Kevin Costner is very good here and why he stands out is because he truly is the only thing making this movie watchable, he’s not only having fun but he seems to be the only one invested in the story and his character.  All the other character’s in Criminal are types but Costner fleshes out some things, he might be over acting at times but i’ll give him that, he’s funny and also makes the most from a truly badly written script.

What I Didn’t Like: This is a waste of some very good actors.  This is one of my pet peeves with bigger Hollywood movies they get big names to play small parts and small parts that aren’t written well but by putting a name in the role it will hide the fact that the role is under written.  There was no need for Tommy Lee Jones in this movie, if you’re a fan of his don’t bother he’s barely in it and really does nothing except be Tommy Lee Jones. Poor Gal Gadot is just playing the wife in peril role a bit of a step down from Wonder Women, she’s fine but this is just such a cliche.  Alice Eve and Michael Pitt must have lost bets cause I can’t figure their careers have fallen this badly, they are playing supporting roles and have not much to do, you might not even notice Eve.

Pitt plays his role up big time gives him way more ticks than the script had probably, he’s trying. I have to say this about Gary Oldman, he’s real bad in this, he screams most of his lines, you can tell he has nothing to play in the script and he resorts in bad over acting, he’s unlikable and he plays like nails on a chalkboard,  he plays his character with one speed, he’s a cliched character type to the max.  I will say this I love Gary Oldman but this is the worst performance I’ve seen him give.

Watching this film and seeing good actors struggle really hits home how important a script is, a plot outline is one thing, but the script and a director’s vision are the two most important things for making a film.  I do blames the director for this, Ariel Vromen, how do you get a bad performance from Gary Oldman?  This film just has no hook for the audience, it seems like we’re watching an idea, a first draft.

You might think I forgot to mention Ryan Reynolds, I will warn you he’s barely in it, so if you’re a fan and just watch this movie for him don’t bother go watch Deadpool again, he’s not bad but it’s a cameo, the lead is Kevin Costner, don’t let the trailers fool you.

Final Thoughts: Criminal is an bloated boring film.  I will add that it’s a tough watch at almost two hours.  It’s all flash and almost no subsistence.

Rating: 3/10

Man of Steel (2013) Movie Retro Review by Stephen McLaughlin

MAN OF STEEL

Director: Zack Snyder
Writers: David S. Goyer (screenplay),  David S. Goyer (story)
Stars: Henry Cavill,  Amy Adams,  Michael Shannon, Russel Crowe, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Laurence Fishburne

Back in 2013 the “Man of Steel” opened the DC / Warner Brothers expanded universe doors and with a slight bump in the tracks regarding Batman versus Superman and Suicide Squad although it looks like they are on the right road again with this summer’s release of Wonder Woman directed by Patty Jenkins.

I was almost convinced back when “Man of Steel was released that it wasn’t originally being set out as the first in this universe. Yes we spotted the LexCorp and Wayne Security Easter eggs planted throughout the movie but probably right up to a month ago I stubbornly refused to believe that DC and Warner Brothers had this planned back then. It convinced me even more this was the case when not until the last couple of years that the studio have gone full pelt on their comic book universe. But I have now been told that I am wrong (and even did a bit of research in secret shhhhh) and that of course “Man of Steel” is DCs what “Iron Man” is to Marvel (enough with the comparisons)

So we Kick Off the movie with Russel Crowe portraying Jor-El (Superman’s father) debating with the Kryptonian Council that he is convinced the planets core is unstable and the planets existence will cease in a matter of weeks. Falling on deaf ears, Jor-El and his wife Lara Lor-Van (Ayelet Zurer) decide to take action of their own and save their child Kal-El (Superman) by sending him to the nearest inhabitable planet for his survival and the survival of the Kryptonian people. The sequence itself is just an updated version of the now legendary scenes starring Marlon Brando as Jor-El and Susannah York as Lara from “Superman: The Movie” from 1978.

I had always enjoyed rewatching the original movie back in my childhood. The John Williams score, the special effects had us believe a man could fly and the awesome casting of Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Ned Beauty, Jackie Cooper and upcoming stars in Margot Kidder and the late great Christopher Reeve who incidentally does not appear in the original movie until a good hour into it. “Man of Steel” on the other hand introduces the main players very quickly and at this point I think it’s only fair to say that I will not be making anymore comparisons between “Man of Steel” and “Superman: The Movie” from now on.

Michael Shannon is fantastic and ruthless as the military leader of Krypton “General Zod” and from that opening 10 minutes we realise how passionate and loyal he is to the people of Krypton in his own mad way. Zod and his Crew are captured and sentenced to the Phantom Zone (a solitary dimension) by the Council.

The scene involving Kal-El’s launch into the unknown is heartbreaking for Jor-El and Lara and you can sense the moral dilemma the father and mother endured to save their child. Kal-El’s arrival on earth is quick and effective that we don’t have to go into any great length or detail into his arrival into the small town of “Smallville” and Snyder’s  direction and Goyer’s writing allows us to focus more on the emotions of the characters throughout the movie without being bogged down with obvious exposition. The planet’s implosion visually is stunning and tragic and baby Kal-El is sent hurtling in space towards his new planet (plotted on some Kryptonian sat nav)

It is at this point we are thrown forward in time to the present and we are introduced to Henry Cavill as Clark Kent (Superman’s disguise) on a ship in his late twenties. The movie jumps back and forth throughout Clark’s younger years but it is done in a way that doesn’t interrupt the flow of the movie nor confuse the audience members. It is also a great way to introduce Clark’s earth parents Martha and Jonathan Kent played by veteran actors Diane Lane and Kevin Costner. Martha and Jonathan’s role throughout the movie cannot be ignored or underestimated as they are essential to the upbringing and moral values that Clark has inherited and defines his character.

Another particular scene that has to be mentioned is Jonathan Kent’s beliefs
and willingness in guiding Clark in his growth as he develops his “special powers” and keeping them at bay for his own good and only using it when the time is right is powerful. For anyone who hasn’t watched this film yet I won’t spoil it but there is a moment during a hurricane sequence that in a brief moment is sad yet poignant to Jonathan’s relationship to Clark. This is storytelling and character development at its best and can never be taken for granted. The look Costner gives Cavill will hit you right in the feels.

Zod’s return is of course predictable and after Krypton’s doom it was inevitable and to be honest pointless sending him and his crew to the Phantom Zone to begin with as once the planet imploded it released them and Zod’s mission was to track down Kal-El and extract components from his DNA to give Krypton a rebirth using planet earth as a base.

Amy Adams as Lois Lane appeared to be a great casting decision and I always saw Lois as an earthy Princess Leia back into day. Headstrong and a leader in every sense. Adams manages to portray this character very quickly and is key to earth’s understanding of how we come to understand Superman and how the human race must trust this one man who is clearly their only chance against the General.

The climatic battle between Superman and Zod is shattering to say the least and if DC / Warner Brothers have one thing over their competitors that is their cinematography. Visually “Man of Steel” is shot uniquely and Zack Snyder’s hands are all over it, in a good way. The imagery is so crisp and precise and the choice of colours throughout the movie depending on the mood of the scene is vivid and stunning.

Overall, “Man of Steel” is a Superman movie in its own right. Yes it does retell the origins story and yes it does rely on a well known villain but Snyder and Goyer take the movie from a different angle and set the tone for the DC / WB cinematic universe going forward. Highly recommendable.