Posts Tagged ‘Colin Farrell’

Humor, horror put bite in ‘Fright Night’

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
Colin Farrell and Anton Yelchin in "Fright Night" Jerry the vampire (Colin Farrell) teaches Charley the teenager (Anton Yelchin) a lesson about crucifixes in the horror remake “Fright Night.”

Craig Gillespie’s “Fright Night” isn’t just a clever and entertaining remake; it takes the nuts and lightning bolts of Tom Holland’s 1985 comically scary horror film and tweaks them into something fresh and bold.

Holland, who directed and wrote the original film — starring the late Roddy McDowall and Chris Sarandon — refurbished the storyline himself.

This, no doubt, is why the update works so well. (Holland also wrote the respectable sequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s classic “Psycho,” so the guy knows the genre.)

Plus, Gillespie has just the right off-kilter sensibility to pull off this remake, as evidenced by his quirky 2007 romance “Lars and the Real Girl,” in which Ryan Gosling takes up romance with a mannequin.

A third and major reason “Fright Night” is so watchable: Colin Farrell’s ingeniously engaging performance as Jerry the neighborhood vampire.

Chris Sarandon played the original Jerry (he has a cameo as Jay Dee here) with cool, GQ aplomb.

Farrell’s Jerry becomes a merry prankster who’s so amused by teenage Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin, replacing William Ragsdale) and his pathetic attempts to stop him, he taunts and toys with the poor guy for a while.

Then things get nasty. (Read more…)

Comically abused workers plot against ‘Horrible Bosses’

Friday, July 8th, 2011
Charlie Day and Jennifer Aniston in "Horrible Bosses" Dental assistant Dale (Charlie Day) can’t stand sexual harassment from his nymphomaniac boss (Jennifer Aniston) in the comedy “Horrible Bosses.”

This is the chortle-inducing comedy that “The Hangover Part 2” should have been: a wild, unpredictable romp riddled with sex, violence, vulgarity and characters too intelligence-inhibited to do much beyond hanging on for their diminished lives as the icky stuff hits the fan.

Seth Gordon’s succinctly titled “Horrible Bosses” offers an inebriated story that winds all over the narrative road, bumping into mistaken identities, peanut allergies, sexual indiscretions and quasi-dark jokes that, frankly, don’t go far enough to milk the insane and ridiculous premise for all it’s worth.

Yet, “Horrible Bosses” has high points of hilarity provided by its trio of well-wrought office villains and the charismatic snap between its three principal protagonists, none of whom will ever win points for good judgment.

Reasonable, subservient company man Nick (Jason Bateman) can’t believe that his insensitive boss (Kevin Spacey on acerbic overdrive) would dangle an office promotion in front of him for months, then take the job (and extra pay) for himself. (Read more…)

‘Way Back’ is not-so great escape drama

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011
Ed Harris in "The Way Back" Ed Harris, left, leads a cast of refugees escaping from a Siberian gulag in 1940 in Peter Weir’s “The Way Back.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to think that if you’ve seen one torturously dangerous escape-from-a-Siberian-gulag movie, you’ve kinda seen them all.

“The Way Back” comes from internationally celebrated Australian filmmaker Peter Weir, who directed such notable movies as “Witness,” “Picnic at Hanging Rock,” “The Last Wave,” “The Truman Show” and “The Dead Poets Society.”

Here, Weir directs a meticulously detailed epic escape adventure stuffed with everything but the one element his movie really needs: characters we can empathize with.

The normally charismatic Ed Harris and normally edgy Colin Farrell breathe a little life into their one-dimensional characters, but they’re stuck leading a nondescript group of escapees so generic and banal that it’s tough to worry about them being shot by Russians or dying of hunger in the wilderness or being fried alive in the desert.

“The Way Back” is “inspired by” a book by Slavomir Rawicz, “The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom,” plus other alleged true stories researched by Weir and co-writer Keith Clarke.

Shot in Bulgaria, Morocco and India, Weir’s drama takes place in 1940 during Stalin’s Reign of Terror in Poland.

A young woman, clearly against her will, accuses her husband Janusz (Jim Sturgess), a Polish army officer, of spying and crimes against the state. (Read more…)

Ledger’s last film an imaginative journey

Saturday, January 9th, 2010
Heath Ledger in "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus" The late Heath Ledger appears in his last film role as Tony in Terry Gilliam’s stylish “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.”

Only in a Terry Gilliam movie could a major actor die during production and be replaced by three other actors all playing the same role, and still have the story make sense.

As sense goes in a Terry Gilliam movie.

Gilliam cheerfully credits his “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus” as “From Heath Ledger and Friends,” in tribute to the 28-year-old Australian actor who died of an accidental drug overdose two years ago this month.

Where regular Hollywood productions might have folded or merely recast the role, Gilliam asked three actors to resume Ledger’s enigmatic character, Tony. Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell filled in, and the results are chaotic, loopy and downright enthralling.

Gilliam, the single American member of the British comedy troupe Monty Python, is the poet of mad visions, and he has a history of thriving in anarchy, conflict and bad luck. He is a true artist of the cinema, not because of his hit-and-miss critical track record, or because of his spotty box office receipts. But because he thinks and breathes in pure visual terms, most of them strange and the rest outrageously strange.

So, if you go to see “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus,” remember you’re entering a looking-glass world where the rules governing character, plot and coherence are merely options. (Read more…)