Sunday, January 24, 2010

01-23-10: Legion of Crazy Measures

LEGION (2009) **1/2
D: Scott Stewart. S: Paul Bettany, Josh Lucas, Dennis Quaid.

God has lost faith in man and has decided to bring about the apocalypse.  However, the angel Michael disagrees and seeks to save mankind.

This passable yet predictable thriller derails as it races towards its conclusion.  

A group of strangers are holed up in a diner in the middle of nowhere when the apocalypse begins.   The angel Michael arrives to help them.  He is not there to protect them.  Only one, an unmarried woman with a fatherless child that is about to be born.  To the film's benefit, this child is not the second coming. 

The film is a mash up of Terminator, Dawn of the Dead and The Prophecy.    It has it's moments but overall it really is hurt by the action packed conclusion.   You can't help but watch it and say, that's from this movie and that's from that movie.   The conclusion of the fight between the two archangels is incredibly underwhelming.

If you're into apocalyptic films there's much better out there.  Check out The Rapture.

CRAZY HEART (2009) ****
D: Scott Cooper.  S: Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall.

Crazy Heart follows Bad Blake, a country singer legend who's trying to recapture his past glory.  

This is basically The Wrestler of country singer films.

It doesn't have the emotional impact that Aronofsky's film had but it is a fine film nonetheless. 

Bridges is phenomenal and is assured an Academy Award.   He does his own strumming and singing and is pretty good.  This is another role where the actor disappears and all you see is the character.

Maggie Gyllenhaal is the woman who against her better judgment falls for him, Farrell is the country superstar that Blake taught everything he knows and Duvall is Blake's wise old friend.

The film took some shortcuts in the latter half that probably should have been fleshed out.  Instead it comes off as a footnote and doesn't leave as much of an impression on the journey Blake must take.

Overall, a very good film with great performances and great music.

D: Tom Vaughan.  S: Brendan Fraser, Harrison Ford, Keri Russell.

The first film to be released by CBS Films clearly shows its TV movie roots and there's no escaping that moniker.  This is essentially a made for tv movie that got a bigger budget and bigger stars.

John Crowley is desperately seeking a cure for the terminal disease that has inflicted two of his children.   He reaches out to Dr. Robert Stonehill, a research scientist whose findings show promise.

The film is "Inspired by True Events" so this is not an entirely true life drama.  

It does get sentimental sometimes but doesn't lay it on thick like other dramas of a similar nature.

It doesn't spend enough time explaining the science of it which I would have found more interesting.

Fraser looks like he's attempting to do some quality acting whereas Ford is just phoning it in.

As a TV movie it works as a major feature film not so much.

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