Tag Archives: Patrick Wilson

The Conjuring 2 (2016) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

The Conjuring 2 Review

Director: James Wan
Writers: Chad Hayes (screenplay by), Carey W. Hayes (screenplay by)
Stars: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Madison Wolfe

Plot:  Ed and Lorraine Warren travel to North London to help a single mother raising 4 children alone in a house plagued by a supernatural spirit.

Running Time: 2 Hours 14 Minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 79%   Audience 81%

Why I Watched It: Saw the first one and of course I was interested in what James Wan was going to do next with the franchise.

Random Thoughts: The Conjuring has very quickly created their own world, or shared universe if you will and I will say they’ve done it very naturally not heavy handed the stories flow into different things.  Now I will say I didn’t care for the first Conjuring film, it was fine but it left me cold and I’m not sure why but it didn’t connect with me.   I also think it’s nice that James Wan has done bigger non horror films but comes back to horror cause he really seems to like the genre and that shows in his films, he’s not slumming by doing these films.

What I Liked:  Off the top I liked this one a lot better than the first, not sure why because at it’s core it’s a very similar story, like the first one this is an old time haunted house/possession story and for whatever reason this one really worked for me.

The ghosts and the demons in this film are not only scary but they’re unsettling and I can see why a couple of these are going to get their own films. I did find this film scary and very spooky but the thing that keeps this film going is Wilson and Farmiga, you not only by them as a couple but as a team and they ground the film.  Without them I don’t think this works as well and I do think Patrick Wilson is becoming a go to genre guy.

The haunted house/demon stuff we’ve seen a million times but the family made mostly of kids, the standout being Madison Wolfe, is why you care and add the fact that it’s scary and you do actually fear for this family does help with the stakes, you are worried not very one will make it.

The Conjuring 2 does a very good balancing act of being a slick Hollywood horror film but also being very grounded and scary, they don’t rely on jump scares they build the scares, they don’t rush it and they build it through the fear and unease of the characters.  I give James Wan a lot of credit cause this could have been a typical horror sequel, which means it could have been a cash grab and everyone just picks up a cheque but they told a different story, the same idea but a different spin.  I do think setting it in London helped change it up as well.

What I Didn’t Like: It’s too long, I complain about this all the time but come on a horror sequel being over 2 hours is silly, granted the second half moved pretty well but the first third did drag. It would have been better if it was tighter.

The acting was good across the board except for Frances O’Connor as the mother she was a little over the top with her accent and her performance, and also they wasted Franka Potente in a nothing role, well not nothing but a really stock and cliched role.

Final Thoughts: A very well made and scary horror film.

Rating: 8/10

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The Commuter (2018) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

The Commuter Review

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writers: Byron Willinger (story by), Philip de Blasi (story by)
Stars: Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson

“The Commuter” really took me by surprise in how long it would keep me interested. The trailer already showed us that Liam Neeson’s character Michael MacCauley an ex-cop now working in selling insurance is met by stranger Joanna played by Vera Farmiga who offers him a proposition to carry out one task and he could walk away with $100,000 if he succeeds. If he fails, his family will die. Yes, sometimes trailer can annoy me in this sense where they really show you everything. In this case though to sell the movie it was essential to show the good bits.

If not handled well can become stale and uninteresting. Speed managed to do this correctly set on a bus, but unfortunately its sequel was a massive flop, hey Keanu Reeves didn’t even want any part in that one, Under Siege is another example of predominantly being set on a ship which worked even though I’m not the biggest Steven Segal fan. It’s sequel just like “The Commuter” is set on a train but was terribly made and relied on a cardboard cutout villain and what looked like “blue screen central” everywhere.

“The Commuter” manages to keep you enthralled and in the first 15 minutes the ground work is set and one of the reason for that is Liam Neeson’s character Michael MacCauley isn’t the man he used to be. Now 60 years old, he is selling insurance, has two mortgages and is about to send his son to college. Unfortunately for Michael he has been given a severance package and basically he thinks his day can’t get any worse. It’s worth mentioning that we get to see a bit of Michael’s day to day interactions and patterns that he does on a daily basis for the last 10 years. We get to see a bit of interaction with Michael and other commuters which serves the storyline later on.

Dejected and desperate Michael whilst reading a book on his way home to face the music is approached by a lady named Joanna. There is a little back and forth small talk between both characters until the Ex-Cop comes out in Michael and asks bluntly what is it she wants. Joanna, offers Michael a tempting offer to find a commuter on the train or face the consequences. This is how the next 90 minutes plays out on this train with Michael against the clock to figure out who the target is and why this organisation wants this person and what they are carrying.

Now I don’t really want to delve into the reasons for their actions nor do I want to reveal any twists as I am basing this review as a non spoiler to an extent as I enjoyed a few of the reveals. Mostly what I have already said was in the trailer anyway so there is nothing spoiled here. “The Commuter” is a clever written film and the events in the movie will keep you entertained as the story is one big puzzle solver.

Liam Neeson again doesn’t let us down. His character has the tendencies of an honest and moral ex policeman who left all that behind and became an insurance salesman. You can sense a regret in the character on some of his life style choices and career choices and comes across as a man who would do anything for his family. I’m glad they gave the character a little back story in his previous work as the film plays out you understand why he can think the way he does and how to handle intense situations. Neeson despite being a “serious” actor in his younger days made the transition to action star way back in his “Taken” days, heck go further back to his “Jedi” days in The Phantom Menace (1999) unlike the Bryan Mills character from the former, MacCauley is flawed. He doesn’t have the confidence within himself to be able to conquer his insecurities or be be decisive as perhaps he once was.

Vera Farmiga is terrific in her limited screen time. As the supposed villain of the movie I think I can say that its more the people she works for that are the bigger villains but nonetheless delvers in a cold and calculating way. Joanna from the kick off doesn’t beat around the bush with her intentions. Yes there is a little small talk in there that MacCauley cuts does very quickly, but I sensed she was about to explain what she was doing on that train anyway. Farmiga for the most of the movie is then on the phone and although it makes sense for her to be dictating the situation you couldn’t very well have her presence there and you will realise why in the movies climatic finale.

Patrick Wilson is cop Alex Murphy (not the Robocop one) and is Michael’s ex partner. Murphy comes across as a younger version of MacCauley. He appears to have the same work ethos and moral values of Michael and comes across as a guy who learned a lot from him. Wilson is one of my favourite actors of the past 10 years and I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with his screen time. That’s not to say that his presence at any point isn’t impactful. He appears at the films first 15 minutes and we don’t get to see him again until the last 20 minutes or so.

Overall “The Commuter” is a thrilling rollercoaster of a ride and I’m always happy to see Liam Neeson in a successful and entertaining movie. The pacing and direction by Jaume Collet-Serra is great. At no point does the movie slow down, within the first 15 minutes you know and understand the main characters and you get to understand why MacCauley ends up doing what he does. The look of the film and the camera movements within a close proximity on the train works for me, especially during the fight scenes which where brilliantly and realistically executed. Jonathan Banks, Sam Neill and Elizabeth McGovern all play smaller roles than they would normally but add to the weight of the characters. If you haven’t yet watched “The Commuter”

Stretch (2014) Movie Retro Review by Darrin Gauthier 

STRETCH

Director: Joe Carnahan
Writers: Joe Carnahan (screenplay by),  Jerry Corley (story by)
Stars: Patrick Wilson,  Ed Helms,  James Badge Dale

Plot:  A hard-luck limo driver struggles to go straight and pay off a debt to his bookie. He takes on a job with a crazed passenger, whose sought-after ledger implicates some seriously dangerous criminals.

Running time: 1 hour 34 minutes

Rotten tomatoes score: Critics 86%    Audience 64%

Why I watched it: I heard decent things about it and the trailer looked fun and crazy plus the cast is very good.

Thoughts: So this film was made for 5 million dollars and I guess it was more of a pet project for director Joe Carnahan, he shot this is 21 days.  Plus I think Chris Pine is unbilled in this.

What I liked: This film is close to vibe and feel to Joe Carnahan’s Smokin Aces, lot’s of characters, crazy crap going down and and a frantic pace.  Another thing linking the two is the mix of humor and violence, though Stretch is more of a flat out comedy.

The film is shot well and I will say they nail the tone and the pacing this film doesn’t stop very often and it keeps throwing weird and different situations at you.  For a film shot keeping and quickly it looks and sounds very good all the tech stuff is good to better than good.  You could also tell everyone was having fun on this.

This is a film where’s there’s a lot of name actors in it but most of them are in either real small roles or cameos.  The two stand outs are Patrick Wilson and Chris Pine, Pine steals the movie, to me this is the most fun I’ve see Pine have, he’s all over the place and he’s very funny and charming here plus he’s totally insane.  Wilson is the anchor of the movie he’s pretty much in every scene, I feel Wilson gets short changed cause he’s one so much genre work but he’s a very good every man, he’s likable but can handle himself and is funny as well.

This to me is a throw back film, it does remind me a bit of After Hours, crazy characters with situations getting weirder and weirder.  I like that they didn’t take the violence too far, they struck a very good balance of humor and the violence.

What I didn’t like: Some of the cameos don’t work and it does take you out of the film at times.  Also this is a film where lots of things happen and all for the best in the long run, they kind of hit the audience over the head with the themes of fate, and the ending is very cheesy and really doesn’t fit that well tonally with the rest of the film.

Final thoughts: This was just a fun film, not mindless but crazy, sit back and enjoy.

Rating: 7/10

The Hollow Point (2016) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

HOLLOW POINT

Director: Gonzalo López-Gallego
Writer: Nils Lyew
Stars: Lynn CollinsIan McShanePatrick Wilson

Plot:  A new sheriff of a small town along the U.S. & Mexico border investigates a drug cartel deal that went horribly wrong.

Running Time: 1 hour 37 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics  31%    Audience 32%

Why I Watched it: Mainly the cast, I hadn’t heard about this film until it debuted on Netflix Canada.

Random Thoughts: A little trivia to start off Patrick Wilson replaced Timothy Olyphant, it would have been a Deadwood reunion with Ian McShane, that would have been cool nothing against Patrick Wilson.  This is an odd film, not exactly what I thought it would be and going in this isn’t a drug cartel movie per say they’re moving bullets not drugs.

What I liked: This is going to be a hard movie to review cause there’s a lot of stuff to like but right beside it is stuff that just doesn’t work at all, it’s a love/hate movie for sure.  The acting is good across the board, honestly Ian McShane might be one of the most watchable actors working today, he reminds me of John Hurt no matter what they do, role genre they just own it.  He’s good in here and I kind of wish the film was about him.  I like Patrick Wilson he’s a solid actor and he’s done some very good genre work and he’s good here but the script and direction does his character no favors.  The action is violent and sudden I will say I was surprised at a couple of things, I rarely jump but it got me.  Leguizamo plays a scary killer in this for like ¾ of the film he doesn’t talk.  Spooky character, very driven.  Jim Belushi is a good slimy bad guy, he looks terrible and is clearly having fun.  The set up of this small border town is nicely done.

What I didn’t Like: There’s a lot wrong with this film and it’s too bad it has some good stuff in it and it had some promise but the script and direction is not very good here, it’s a case where the film didn’t cut together so much stuff is stilted or uneven, scenes don’t make sense together.  The one character hurt the most is played by Lynn Collins, an actress I like but here she doesn’t have a character, she has two things, she should leave town and she was in a relationship with Patrick Wilson, that’s all we know, why did they break up?  Why did she get involved with another guy?  Does she still care for Wilson?  Same with Wilson’s character he is from the small town and has come back, we don’t know why he left or why he’s back.  When I say scenes don’t cut together here’s a prime example McShane is trying to get info from Belushi, Belushi shoots him, McShane walls over in his chair, Belushi stands over him.  End of scene.  So we assume McShane is dead, wait for it, later McShane is shown with his shirt open with a bullet proof vest on, he’s talking to Wilson about Belushi shooting him, now Belushi isn’t arrested, so the question is how did McShane get out of that spot, he’s shot by a guy in the guy’s office yet gets out without either one being dead?  So Belushi just let him leave and then they go back after each other.  Also the big smuggler the bullets and the whole money thing is never fully explained.  By the end everyone is trying to kill each other for $250,000.

Final Thoughts: It has it moments and I would say see it for Ian McShane alone, but this is a bit of a mess, it doesn’t hang together very well.

Rating: 5/10

Watchmen (2009) Movie Retro Review by Stephen McLaughlin

WATCHMEN.png

Director: Zack Snyder
Writers: David Hayter (screenplay),  Alex Tse (screenplay)
Stars: Jackie Earle Haley,  Patrick Wilson,  Carla Gugino

Coming in at just under 3 hours “Watchmen” in my opinion is a must view for anyone who hasn’t watched it. Before 2009 I only knew Director Zack Snyder for his work on “Dawn of the Dead (2004)” and “300 (2006)” In fact, “DOTD” is still one of my favourite horror movies from that time and I felt the Direction of that movie was a stand out in its style and look.

Giving Zack Snyder the chance to direct a Gritty and Dark Superhero movie like Watchmen is a match made in heaven and a sound piece of business by the studio in hiring him.

The movie begins in an alternate 1985 where former superheroes exist and are well known to the public. But when the murder of a former colleague “The Comedian” played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan sends active masked vigilante “Rorschach” into his own sprawling investigation, uncovering something that could completely change the course of history as we know it.

As the story unfolds and concerned former masked heroes begin to surface to warn their fellow superheroes they begin to realise their past hasn’t left them and they must uncover the truth behind the death of “The Comedian” and who is responsible for his murder.

“The Comedian” was part of “The Minutemen” who were a collection of heroes fighting crime in the 1960’s and 70’s and the “Watchmen” somewhat took up their mantle when time took its toll on the older generation. “The Comedian” in his later years steered the “Watchmen” before his retirement.

One of the things I enjoyed about all the characters was that they all had flaws or baggage of some sort. Here wasn’t any squeaky clean do-gooders who believed in right and wrong. All the superheroes had grey areas in their past. Even “The Comedian” had some darker moments during the Vietnamese war that are unforgivable and unforgettable.

“Rorschach” for me was the star of the movie masked and unmasked. Jackie Earle Haley portrayal of the masked vigilante was both terrifying and humorous simultaneously. Earle Haley scenes were the most enjoyable and particularly in the prison scenes showed the character a force to be reckoned with and it was confirmed in the prison canteen after a brawl with a fellow inmate “Rorschach” declared that “I’m not stuck in this prison with all of you, you are all stuck in this prison with me”

Patrick Wilson as Dan Dreiberg /  Nite Owl was a great piece of casting for this role and in a particular the introduction scene with Hollis Mason (Stephen McHattie) who was the original “Minutemen’s” Nite Owl you understand that Dreiberg doesn’t miss his old life and is trying to lead an ordinary existance.

Laurie Jupiter also know as Silk Spectre II is portrayed by Malin Akerman and is the connection between all the characters. Her love for Dr. Manhattan is complex and is also heartbreaking as Manhatten is becoming more distant towards relationships and basically human interactions as the character is moving onto more spiritual and intellectual plains since his accident.

Jupiter’s longing for a normal life sees her make a connection with Dreiberg and besides reminiscing over the old days form a bond that appears to be missing from her relationship with Manhatten. Jupiter is also the daughter of former “Minutemen” Sally Jupiter /  Silk Spectre played by Carla Gugino who incidentally is only 7 years older than Akerman, but with the aid of prosthetics and cgi portrays her convincing mother. Akerman to her credit performs with a maturity beyond her years and is key to some of the most pivotal scenes in the movie.

I’ve always been a somewhat fan of Billy Crudup ever since I saw him in “Almost Famous” and more recently in “Rudderless” Crudup as Dr. Manhattan /  Jon Osterman
Is both fascinating and at the same time annoying. This isn’t a criticism on the actors part but the character is soulless in appearance and has an underwhelming tolerance that begins to annoy me until the backstory of the character goes from Osterman to Manhatten and you begin to feel sympathy for him.

Matthew Goode as Adrian Veidt /  Ozymandias does a great job but I felt until the last third wasn’t utilised correctly and felt his sparse appearance in the first couple of hours was a wasted opportunity.

Zack Snyder should be applauded for adapting a very complex and Dark toned Graphic Novel onto the big screen as I felt that it’s the best you are going to get for this Novel and unlike “300” may confuse any first time viewers. Snyder’s style is all over this movie and the fighting sequences are perfect and a joy to watch visually. Without spoiling the plot too much one shot that sticks in my mind is the lasting sequence with “The Comedian” before he meets his doom is beautifully shot and is Snyder’s trademark. As well as the visuals, the soundtrack for the movie has some of the most famous and memorable songs written in the 1960’s and 1970’s from “Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel to Bob Dylan’s “The Times Are A Changin”

Watchmen is a must watch for anyone who hasn’t watched it yet and although the movie requires the audience member to dedicate 3 hours of their life, I can assure you that you won’t feel those 3 hours have been robbed from you. Give it a watch…man.

Bone Tomahawk (2015) Movie Review by John Walsh

BONE TOMAHAWK

Director: S. Craig Zahler
Writer: S. Craig Zahler
Stars: Kurt Russell,  Patrick Wilson,  Matthew Fox

I’m going to state right off the bat that I enjoy good westerns, something of a guilty pleasure of mine, and also a slow burning, psychological horror. With that in mind, it would be fair to say that I highly enjoyed the perfect blend of both those genres in Bone Tomahawk by S. Craig Zahler. It’s got something rare to find in most modern films and that’s originality. It’s not the most complicated story you’ll ever encounter, but it’s extremely well written and features some fantastic performances across the board.

It gets the introductions of the quartet we’ll be following for the overwhelming majority of the film out the way early, but not before opening with a gut wrenching, gruesome, throat slitting scene carried out at the hands of a brigand double team. The brutal violence, not in any way suitable for children I hasten to add, and punchy dialogue perfectly setting the tone for the rest of the film. One of the men enquiringly pondering “why do they always wet themselves?”, before being given a lecture and then eventually setting off with his more elderly partner in crime on a death march straight into a savage, troglodyte settlement.

The troglodytes, a particularly nasty branch of cannibalistic ones nonetheless, are the main villains of the piece if you will and their murder of a stable boy, abduction of three ‘civilised’ folk from an unnamed town on the frontier of the Wild West acts as the catalyst for the story. As previously mentioned, we meet the leading protagonists prior to this daring attack, which include; Sheriff Hunt (Kurt Russell), Arthur (Patrick Wilson), Brooder (Matthew Fox) and Chicory (Richard Jenkins). They quickly decide that with time against them, a hasty departure is necessary if the lives of the abductees are to be saved, during a tense meeting at ‘The Learned Goat’ (the local bar) and with the helpful advice of a Native American guide/expert, they are soon made aware of the settlement location before heading out almost at once.

The vast majority of this film encompasses the groups journey out into and through the Wild West and the variety of challenges they encounter throughout. It almost harkened up memories of the Lord of the Rings books/films in a strange way, with its likewise ton of travelling, interrupted by intermittent, but regular enough, bouts of violence. I can assure that this doesn’t get boring at any stage, at least not for me, which is in no small part down to the consistently excellent dialogue and chemistry shared between the four men. This isn’t a fast paced film, but the slow burning nature works well, with the dialogue heavy scenes and well developed characters really allowing an effective bond to be created. I honestly cared about these men by the end when things took an inevitable nasty turn.

Kurt Russell was just fantastic in this film. You come to expect these performances from the man and, as I’ve previously written whilst reviewing Hell or High Water, I don’t think there’s another actor on this planet that can do realistic, grisly, hard as nails, characters like Kurt. Matthew Fox’s was actually my favourite performance in this film, however, with his portrayal of Brooder. His cynical outlook on life and deadpan delivery of dialogue was hilarious, but he also had quite a sad backstory which gets fleshed out as the film progresses. Richard Jenkins was hilarious as the slow witted, but well meaning, Chicory. His character provided regular laughs with his often inappropriate ramblings, which helped lighten the tone of what is a pretty grim film. Finally, Patrick Wilson also shone as Arthur; a man on a mission, who displays real determination whilst battling through emotional and physical pain.

It’s funny in a way, because throughout the film we continuously hear remakes about how the civilised folk are smarter than the troglodytes and yet when it finally comes to the confrontation, the shit well in truly hits the fan, as the supposed dumb, savages, mount some fierce, quick-fire attacks that startle and quickly overpower the group. Their sheer size and muscular builds are intimidating, whilst the eerie, ear piercing alien-esque calls they make lend to the horror aspect of the film nicely. Without giving much else away, I’ll just say that there’s a particular scene around this point that is up there with some of the most gruesome that I’ve witnessed and the vengeance meted out afterwards is deeply satisfying. I actually fist pumped when Hunt got tore in. That’s all I’ll give away, because this film needs to be enjoyed in the moment if you haven’t seen it before.

If you’re a fan of westerns, horror or even Kurt Russell then get this watched immediately. Zahler, between both his direction and writing, has produced a really, really good film here. I’m only sorry that it’s taken me so long to watch it, despite having it recommended to me around its release. I’ll give a quick honourable mention to the understated, almost muted, string heavy score which really worked well in this film and also the beautiful cinematography, not to mention, immaculate period costume design prevalent throughout. One particular wide shot was incredibly cool as the quartet headed out into a dusty, desert horizon with Chicory questioning whether the earth was really flat or not. Anyway, without rambling on any more, I once again implore you to watch this excellent western.