a few mini reviews

★★1/2 (R)

I had a few problems with last year's "Prisoners", most of which having to do with its pacing and its total resemblance to most of David Fincher's filmography. It was as if director Denis Villenuve was trying to out-Fincher Fincher, which we all know is impossible. Nevertheless the film was interesting and so well shot by Roger Deakins that it earned him another Oscar nomination. Being a big fan of Villeneuve's previous pictures - especially the Oscar nominated"Incedies"- it still came off as a major letdown. Of course "Enemy" which again stars Jake Gyllenhall is a more moody and ambitious picture even if it has one of the more ambiguous and confusing endings I've seen in recent memory. Gyllenhall plays a Toronto professor that finds out he has an exact look alike living in the same city. It’a film very much inspired by Cronenberg but that also lets Villeneuve bring his own voice to the picture. This is smart, sexy, mysterious filmmaking that bites more than it can chew. My personal advice is just go along with it and don't let yourself ask any questions until the house lights come back on. It is another addition to the doppelgänger genre which has existed in cinema since the very beginning with "The Student Of Prague" in 1913.

★★1/2 (PG-13)

It's really no surprise that Liam Neeson is starring in yet another action vehicle, it seems like that's all he's been doing as of late, what's most surprising is that his new film "Non-Stop" is actually not that bad. It's a murder mystery whodunit set on a plane that is relentless in its action, although I could have done without the convulted finale which just had me rolling my eyes in anger. Then again the thrills that came before it were never less than thrilling. Neeson has become a real natural in this game, his tall, imposing, everyday-man presence the right fit for what has become a stalled genre in the movies. The action movie has just not really been the same for, oh I'd say, 20 years? And it doesn't look like Arnold will really make a successful comeback plus don't get me started on Sly who's jingoistic attitude towards the action movie is repulsive at best. Who else do we have? Jason Statham who's limpingly carried the torch since those Crank movies jolted audiences more than 8 years ago. Neeson is in a class by himself: a mature, professionally trained actor with, shock, charisma. In "Non-Stop" he more than takes hold of the screen, he commands it. He plays an Agent that is sent texts by an unknown villain who threatens to kill off one passenger every 20 minutes if 150 million dollars is not deposited onto a bank account. Yeesh talk about a dilemma but all joking aside I'm a sucker for whodunnits and there are plenty of suspicious characters on that plane. It is a real shame that Julliane Moore signed up for this though, she is highly under utilized and it feels like she just doesn't belong here. Dear Julianne, PLEASE stick to what you do best and make movies that invigorate and provoke. In other words just let Neeson do his job alone, ever since he starred in 2008's Luc Besson penned "Taken" -still the best action film he's done-  he's proven he's the best a this game.