COPSHOP (2021)

Directed By: Joe Carnahan
Written By: Kurt McLeod & Joe Carnahan 
Story By: Mark Williams & Kurt McLeod 
Cinematography: Juanmi Azpiroz 
Editor: Kevin Hale

Cast: Frank Grillo, Gerard Butler, Alexis Louder, Toby Huss, Chad L. Coleman, Ryan O’Nan, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Kauai Lyman 

On the run from a lethal assassin, a wily con artist devises a scheme to hide out inside a small-town police station-but when the hitman turns up at the precinct, an unsuspecting rookie cop finds herself caught in the crosshairs.


This film came across as a welcome surprise. At first, I was interested in the cast and director but when I heard that the director was upset at the cut used upon release. I tried to stay away but my curiosity got the better of me.

Though I know director Joe Carnahan is upset with this cut of the movie. If this is the cut that he is disappointed with I would love to see his cut, because this cut constantly breathes life into certain cliches and keeps the action moving and the scenes exciting.

This is why it is upsetting to a degree that Joe Carnahan is one of the best action directors out there. Whose films feel tough, full of life, vital, and still manage to usually be exciting and surprising. Seems to have to try and get by while higher-profile projects he attaches himself to would be great but rarely seem to work out. Even though he does his best with lower budgeted films. There is always that what if. He got bigger budgets. Because he certainly gets the actors and his scripts are always character-driven with the action.

Though you have two action powerhouses on each side by Frank Grillo and a surprisingly likable hardass played by Gerard butler. What really amazes me in the film is the lead played by Alexis Louder, as she is all gusto. She can be rough and tough one minute and funny the next but always in a serious manner. She is no pushover and here she makes a kick-ass action debut that hopefully, we will see her in more of these types of films. As she damn near steals the whole movie. 

It also is nice to see an African American female in an action movie leading a role. She more than holds her own against these two known action movie veterans.

The film has minor weaknesses like it would have been nice to learn a little bit more about Frank Grillo’s character. As both actors are mysterious at first and slowly their true natures come to be shown. It would have been nice if there was still some mystery to them after a bit. As like the main character at first, you don’t know entirely who to trust and it keeps us on our toes.

Eventually, the film becomes a kind of siege movie as it seems everyone wants either into the police station or that certain prison block. Though considering the importance of everything that is on display you would think there would be more involved rather than the few that are eventually shown. 

Although Toby Huss does provide laughs and chills as a rival contract killer who seems to enjoy his job a little too much. Who is as diabolical as he is Goofy. 

While there is plenty of action and double-crosses what works for the film is how much the double-crosses are character-driven and feel more personal overall. Not easily forgettable even as it seems half the characters are at the end of their ropes. 

It manages to be a memorable crime thriller. That is also a lot of fun as it goes along. It never gets boring and uses its one location wisely and to the most extent. As it makes it feel vast rather than secluded. 

Maybe the reason why it is enjoyable is that it has a feel of ’80s and 90’s action. Thrillers with a modern-day flair. So that while not seen it feels like a throwback to those straight to video action films that were little hidden gems because they never tried to be more than what they knew they were. The type that seemed more like B-Movies that would air on HBO on Friday nights as their action offerings of extravaganza. 

This is a film best to go blindly into. Though definitely worth your time. As it doesn’t rewrite anything but works well within its genre and with its time 

Grade: B

COWBOYS & ALIENS (2011)

Directed By: Jon Favreau 
Written By: Robert Orci, Alex Kurtman, Damon Lindelof, Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby 
Story By: Steve Oedekerk, Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby 
Based On The Graphic Novel By: Scott Mitchell Rosenberg 
Cinematography By: Matthew Labitque 
Editor: Dan Lebantal, Jim May 

Cast: Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, Harrison Ford, Paul Dano, Adam Beach, Clancy Brown, Sam Rockwell, Abigail Spencer, Ana de la reguera, Toby Huss, David Carradine, Walton Goggins


The Old West.. where a lone cowboy leads an uprising against a terror from beyond our world. 1873. Arizona Territory. A stranger with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don’t welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde. It’s a town that lives in fear. But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these monsters challenge everything the residents have ever known. Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation. As this gunslinger slowly starts to remember who he is and where he’s been 


This film you get exactly what you would expect from the title. A fun filled action extravaganza. That delivers the thrills. It is the very definition of a popcorn movie. It’s big loud and dumb and passes the time in a entertaining way. Impressive considering how much of a disaster it could have ended up being. It’s competently directed. Instead of feeling like it is based on a popular graphic novel. The film plays out instead more like a video game adaptation with familiar clichéd stories of proving yourself.


The effects certainly make the film lead that way and half the time it feels like you are playing a video game while watching it. The film feels overblown and just a genre mash-up with little other reason for its creation or to exist.

Strangely for such a big extravaganza it also oddly feels rushed.
 

This is the first time I have really seen Daniel Craig as a true lead and action star. He brings the Tall dark and quiet qualities that the led character of this film needs. He reminds you of a later day Steve McQueen. Craig is Mysterious dangerous and moral to a point.

Harrison Ford is nice to see giving a supporting performance. Rather then a lead one. It gives him a chance to play a character. Not an icon or heroic lead. It gives him more of a flavor then the vanilla he usually plays.  Olivia Wilde while very beautiful and nice to look at has a role that makes no sense.
 

Paul Dano is a good actor. Who I am starting to get annoyed with always playing the dweeb characters. Certain actors have their schtick when playing characters. As this seems to be his in particular usually in big-budget movie supporting roles. While he has an odd look, He is certainly better then the roles he plays. look at TAKING LIVES he is dangerous in. In THERE WILL BE BLOOD he holds his own against Daniel Day-Lewis of all people.  

Wait for Cable

 
 GRADE: C

HORSE GIRL (2020)

horsegirl

Directed By: Jeff Baena
Written By: Jeff Baena & Alison Brie
Cinematography: Sean McElwee
Editor: Ryan Brown 


Cast: Alison Brie, Molly Shannon, John Ortiz, Debby Ryan, Toby Huss, Angela Trimbur, Paul Reiser, Aaron Stanford, Robin Tunney, Matthew Gray Gubler, Dylan Gelula, John Reynolds, David Paymer, Jay Duplass 

Sarah, a socially isolated arts and crafts store employee, finds herself more content in the company of horses and supernatural crime shows than people. But when a series of strangely surreal dreams upend the simplicity of her waking life, Sarah struggles to distinguish her visions from reality. A darkly humorous psychological thriller about a woman’s search for the truth, however abstract it may be.

Continue reading “HORSE GIRL (2020)”

DESTROYER (2018)

destroyer-nicole-kidman

 

Directed By: Karyn Kusama
Written By: Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi
Cinematography: Julie Kirkwood
Editor: Plummy Tucker 

Cast: Nicole Kidman, Sebastian Stan, Bradley Whitford, Tatiana Maslany, Toby Kebbell, Toby Huss, Scoot McNairy, James Jordan, Beau Knapp, Jade Pettyjohn 


The film follows the moral and existential odyssey of LAPD detective Erin Bell who, as a young cop, was placed undercover with a gang in the California desert with tragic results. When the leader of that gang re-emerges many years later, she must work her way back through the remaining members and into her own history with them to finally reckon with the demons that destroyed her past

Continue reading “DESTROYER (2018)”