Theatrical Releases: Taken 3

TAKEN 3 || January 9th, 2015

Predestination-poster Ethan Hawke, fresh off his awards haul with the independent film “Boyhood,” leads this time travel thriller titled “Predestination”. Playing a temporal agent sent to stop killers before they can cause any harm, the visuals of the trailer are intense, with some great images of time travel, with windows blowing out and people disappearing in a whoosh of wind, but apart from that, the film itself feels a bit stiff and uninspired, touching on concepts that have been done before with films like “Looper” that were of much more artistic intent.
25% MAYBE
Taken3-poster Liam Neeson and his special set of skills make a comeback in what is being billed at least as the final installment of the “Taken” series, “Taken 3”. This time Neeson’s Bryan Mills faces off against the LAPD, FBI, and CIA in Los Angeles after his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) is found dead in his apartment. What this boils down to is one man versus the world, with no one actually being taken unless you count the set-up of Mills as him getting “taken” in a different sense and not the literal one from the previous films. Melissa George is also back as Mills’ daughter, the only thing he has left to fight for while Forest Whitaker takes on as lead in the investigation against Mills and the one that Mills gets to threaten over the phone as he has become to be known for.
THEATER

BlackNovember-poster Scraping the bottom of the barrel as far as celebrity appearances go, with Mickey Rourke, Anne Heche, and Kim Basinger, “Black November” takes a political thriller and turns it into a hostage crisis where Nigerian radicals from an area oppressed by oil-companies set out to kidnap and threaten a major oil executive on the streets of Los Angeles. Playing out on both sides of the world, with the Nigerian uprising happening in Africa and the hostage situation happening in America, neither feel quite believable enough despite this being based on a true story.
PASS
DarkSummer-poster Stuck at home with an ankle monitor after an incident with his girlfriend, Daniel and his friends face off with a paranormal entity that vows to make Daniel pay for whatever it was that he did. Starring Keir Gilchrist of “It’s Kind Of A Funny Story” as Daniel and Peter Stormare as the officer put in charge of monitoring Daniel, the film follows a few too many horror tropes and offers very little in terms of star power or highlight performances to make this worth it, coming off like an even lower budget version of the terrible 2014 film “Ouija” without the board to back it up.
PASS
FarewellHerrSchwarz-poster An award winning documentary, “Farewell Herr Schwarz” is the ultimate family tree project that delves into three generations of a family split by the Holocaust and the war. A brother and sister of this particular family were set to meet, but when he misses the meeting, his sister presumes him dead. Instead, the brother settles down in a town right next to where he was imprisoned and starts a new life, marrying and having children without ever searching out his previous family members. Three generations later and this film-maker returns to the areas her two families lived in and attempts to put back together her broken family tree.
PASS
ItsAllSoQuiet-poster “It’s All So Quiet” is a great looking foreign film from Netherlands about a farmer’s son taking care of his aging father as well as the farm, after living losing his brother very young and obviously dealing with his sexuality and feelings towards other men, as apparent from the way he looks at the other men in the trailer and how he reacts to certain conversations. Its somber and slow-moving nature almost seems tranquil in an eerie sort of way, with the desaturated colors playing into the mood perfectly. Eric Kohn’s review from Indiewire which is present in the trailer sums it up nicely with: “a tender tale of death and farming”.
PASS
LetsKillWardsWife-poster If you have any desire, at this very moment, to actually see “Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife” then do not watch the trailer, as it literally takes you through the entire film. All except the fall out of course, which considering the comedic nature of the film, is less severe than you would hope. Patrick Wilson and Donald Faison are the faces you will recognize here, as they and a group of guys consider killing Donald’s nightmare of a wife, whose actions involve berating him, not letting him go out with his friends, and forcing him to do everything for her. Think of this as “Saving Silverman” but with more competent dudes.
PASS
Preservation-poster All the pieces of “Preservation” are set up for me to think I can predict the ending but that might just be the director’s best weapon in surprising me. The film turns a deer hunting trip between two brothers and one of their wives into a current day “Running Man” where their stuff is mysteriously taken and they are marked like targets, being hunted. With the stage set for one of the brothers having been discharged from the Army, it begs the question whether he’s the unstable one behind it or if it is someone else in the woods playing games with them. I’m just curious enough to find out.
25% MAYBE
ValleyOfSaints-poster Having made its debut at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, the foreign language film “Valley Of Saints” is finally making it to theaters. Coming out of Germany and with a mostly Indian cast, the film follows the main character as he sets off to get away from his hometown only to be drawn back in when he finds out that the lake in the town is being polluted. You won’t get any of this from the trailer, which is simply beautiful imagery and elegant music, but the synopsis attempts to fill in some of the blanks.
PASS
WhenEveningFallsOnBucharest-poster The opening of the trailer for “When Even Falls On Bucharest or Metabolism” involves a director telling his lead actress that they will be filming her nude scene the following day. She was justification for the nude scene or she isn’t doing it. The rest of the trailer is vague images of the lead actress blow drying her hair and getting makeup done, but the synopsis sets the film up as the director faking an illness to pursue the lead actress on his own, before production can wrap. Coming out of Romania with high praise, there’s still not enough of a draw for me to anticipate this.
PASS
TheWorldMadeStraight-poster If you’ve learned nothing from cinema in the past decade, know that rural Appalachian communities are nothing to fuck with, as they have their own rule of the land. “The World Made Straight” ventures into these neck of the woods again, this time with Jeremy Irvine, Noah Wyle, and Minka Kelly, all dealing with their own messes involving local marijuana dealers and violent women-hating men with nothing to lose. Not quite as powerful as say “Mud”, “Joe”, or “Winter’s Bone,” with a few more supporting players like Haley Joel Osment and Adelaide Clemens, I am slightly intrigued as to where this goes.
25% MAYBE

THEATER

  • Taken 3

RENTAL

MOST LIKELY CATCH ON NETFLIX (75%)

PROBABLY CATCH ON NETFLIX (50%)

MIGHT CATCH ON NETFLIX (25%)

  • Predestination
  • Preservation
  • The World Made Straight

PASS

  • Black November
  • Dark Summer
  • Farewell Herr Schwarz
  • It’s All So Quiet
  • Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife
  • Valley Of Saints
  • When Evening Falls On Bucharest or Metabolism

HELL NO

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