Let me start by saying how much I loved Kyle Newman’s love letter to Star Wars the brilliant 2009 picture Fanboys, so obviously upon hearing Newman was involved in directing a new picture with a whole bunch of his acting mates on-board I was giddy with excitement.
Barely Lethal is one of them movies that could have & should have been so much better – I’m not saying Newman is out of his film making depth but presenting us with an action movie with little bite, characters that have no chemistry, music from Matteo Messina that’s just horrible & a picture that fails to get the best out of it’s talented cast does not help the arguement – maybe the film is a victim of previous and much better executed versions of teenagers trained to be assassins, kicking ass whilst balancing everyday life style of movies but whatever the excuses Kyle Newman has delivered a real stinker of a picture, lets hope his next effort (Chewie or the planned Fanboys sequel) is better and he does not wait for another six years to do either.
Overall – In my opinion Barely Lethal should have committed to it’s darker, grittier premise, for me there should have been far less Mean Girl and much more Hit Girl – don’t get sucked in by it’s stellar star cast, Newman’s Barely Lethal is one big letdown, save your dollars and check it out when some TV channel shows it for free ★★½
The Homesman (2014) – Movie Review ★★★★½
“I Wish You Would Say One Kind Word To Me”
Director: Tommy Lee Jones – Cast: Hilary Swank, Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep, Hailee Steinfeld, John Lithgow, Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, William Fichtner and James Spader – Synopsis: Three women who have been driven mad by pioneer life are to be transported across the country by Mary Bee Cuddy (Swank), who in turn employs low-life drifter George Briggs (Lee Jones) to assist her – Overall: Hilary Swank gives a towering performance as Mary Bee Cuddy a no-nonsense, independent farmer from Nebraska, Swank manages to humanize her character, capturing her weaknesses, her overwhelming loneliness but also her ability to stand up as equal to the male characters in the movie, it’s Swank who ignites The Homesman it’s a truly remarkable and haunting display that burrows deep beneath your skin – it’s a level of performance I feel that only a handful of today’s actresses could actually pull off – along with starring as the quirky drifter George Briggs Tommy Lee Jones orchestrates masterfully behind the camera delivering us a Grimm, Unusual yet Enthralling Western, it’s a film stacked with brutal realism, a dark subject matter & without being over exploitive it succeeds in shocking & surprising allowing its powerful message to be told with an intelligent hand – The movies stunning cinematography is captured by Rodrigo Prieto (Brokeback Mountain) who brings the vast emptiness of the West alive and adds to the pictures devastating and overall bleak narrative, this combined with Marco Beltrami’s wonderful & at times heart wrenching score, loads of wonderful cameo’s the best being James Spader’s arrogant Irish Hotel Owner unwisely pissing off Briggs being one of the best and possibly one of the craziest (didn’t see that coming) moments in cinematic history makes Tommy Lee Jones The Homesman a must watch and one of the best western’s for many a year !!
3 Days to Kill (2014) – Movie Review ★★★¾
Director: McG – Cast: Kevin Costner, Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld, Connie Nielsen, Richard Sammel, and Eriq Ebouaney– Synopsis: After being told he has months to live, CIA agent Ethan Renner (Costner) decides to quit the agency, mend some bridges and build a closer relationship with his estranged wife and daughter before checking out – but his past wont let go and when’s he’s offered a deal to take an experimental drug that could save his life in exchange for one last assignment Ethan has no choice but to step back into the line of fire and track down the world’s most deady terrorist – Verdict: McG can be quite the filmmaker, he knows how to deliver action to the screen with thunderous results, they’re usually fast flowing, with big set pieces and pretty entertaining affairs such as Charlie’s Angels, Full Throttle and Terminator Salvation – but sadly McG can also direct the odd dud like 2012’s comedy This Means War that had a superb cast but was the worst film by a distance that year and sucked in every department – luckily for us 3 Days to Kill sees the director return to form, it’s smart yet simple script written by the French maestro Luc Besson is played out by a stella cast including the class act that is Kevin Costner, the eye candy Amber Heard and Ender’s Game actress Hailee Steinfeld all giving the movie a solid footing, making the movie enjoyable to watch and bringing believability to their characters and scenarios – I believe most of the outside shots were on location in Paris and Belgrade and this lent to the feel of a European thriller, typical of McG the action scenes are crisp, exciting & at times explosive and the wry humor throughout is delivered with masterclass by Costner who seems to be getting to an age like Eastwood did ten years back where you can see the swagger of an aging acting pro oozing confidence and looking great doing so – yes at times it maybe cliched and predictable, and yes Steinfeld and Heard were underused but Overall I had fun with 3 Days to Kill McG has delivered an energetic action thriller, that’s funny, sentimental and so so enjoyable….
With the brilliant Hatfields & McCoys, Man of Steel and next years Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit it seems Kevin Costner is back headlining the movie world once more and that makes me a happy man – in 3 Days to Kill he plays Ethan Runner a secret agent trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter whilst eliminating the bud guys – the film is directed by McG who’s credits include Charlie’s Angels, Terminator Salvation and We Are Marshall and starring alongside Costner is the gorgeous Amber Heard, the ultra talented Hailee Steinfeld and the Danish beauty Connie Nielsen – the film has a dark comic feel to it with Costner rocking the action scenes & Amber Heard looking deliciously sexy as always – check out the trailer…. Enjoy!
3 Days to Kill – US (21st February) – UK (N/A) – Australia (13th March)