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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Bettany’

Legion” (2010) — movie review
Well, I’ve had this bundle for ages now and I’ve finally finished viewing the “Fallen Angel 3-Movie Collection” which I bought on Vudu.  The first movie I watched was “Priest“.  I had already seen it at the theater and offered my thoughts (review here) several years ago (2011).  I bought the “collection” (on discount) quite awhile back, and re-watched “Priest“, but just never got around to the other two.
So, I finally watched “Gabriel” (review here) this week and posted my comments (“so-so”), and now I’ve (again) finally watched the last film: “Legion“.
Legion” stars Paul Bettany as the “fallen” Archangel Michael, Kevin Durand as the “obedient” Archangel Gabriel, Lucas Black as Jeep Hanson (the “protector”), Tyrese Gibson as Kyle Williams (a random guy who helps), Adrianne Palicki as Charlie (the mother of the “savior” baby), Kate Walsh as Sandra Anderson (a “bad” mother), Willa Holland as Audrey Anderson (the “bad” daughter with the heart of gold), and Dennis Quaid as Bob Hanson (Jeep’s dad and the owner of a diner / gas station in the middle of nowhere).
Charlie is 8-months pregnant and God is unhappy with humanity and wants to wipe everyone out and start again.  (There’s no reason why.  Just go with it…)  God commands Michael to kill the unborn baby and Michael refuses and goes to Earth to protect the mother / baby.  God sends angels in the form of possessed / zombified humans to kill all of humanity.  Blah, blah, blah.  Motley crew gathers at the diner (“Paradise Flats”) and fights off the zombies with machine guns, anti-tank weapons and hand-to-hand combat.  It’s not “really” a martial arts movie as much as a horror / drama.  Blah, blah, blah.  Baby is born, Michael and Gabriel have the big final showdown and happy ending: “Keep the faith!”
So, is this movie any good?  How about he action / horror?  What about the religious aspects?  Was it at least entertaining?  Yes, so-so, laughable, but strangely, yes, it was entertaining.  Did I mention strangely?  (I think so…  Yes, I did.)  I’m not sure why, but the movie felt better explained overall than “Gabriel“, nothing specific.  Maybe, just maybe, I liked it because I think I enjoy watching Bettany.  I can’t figure out if he’s a good actor or if he’s just John Wayne, playing John Wayne again.  Of course I mean Bettany playing Bettany again.
Final recommendation: moderate but not quite strong.  I enjoyed this movie, but it wasn’t a “good” movie.  It’s a much better movie than “Gabriel”, but not as good as “Priest”.  I will say Gibson and Quaid were very good in their supporting roles.  I was surprised to see two more “big-name” actors in this kind of movie.
So, not a strong horror movie.  An okay action movie with some above average (for this genre) supporting actors / roles.  Not advisable for children or impressionable youth.  Language, too violent and bloody gore.  It’s rated: “R”.
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On This Day In:
2018 Nothing To Build On
2017 This One Is…
2016 Happy Is…
2015 Dare Yourself To
2014 Damned If You Do…
2013 On A Rainy Sunday
2012 Not Sure Anymore
2011 But What Does It Cost?
2009 Another Day, Another Diet…

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Gabriel” (2007)  —  movie review
Today’s review is for a “religious” based action / martial arts / horror film along the lines of the TV shows “Lucifer” or “Supernatural” or the movie “The Crow“.  This review is probably a lot longer than the movie deserves, so unless you really enjoy my writing, feel free to come back later…  You’ve been warned.
Gabriel” is Australian movie and therefore has (mostly) folks I’ve never heard of in the starring roles: Andy Whitfield as Archangel Gabriel (hero / good-guy), Dwaine Stevenson as fallen Archangel Sammael / Michael (evil villain / bad guy) and Samantha Noble as Jade / Archangel Amietiel (former good-girl / now “love” interest).  I understand Whitfield went on to play the lead in the series: “Spartacus”, but he developed a fatal illness and died before the second year of the series.
Basically, there is a place between heaven and hell where human souls go to await their final judgement.  It wasn’t clear why this was (waiting or judgement) or when it (judgement) was supposed to happen – the end of the “real” world or just some arbitrary time for each person.  Strangely, the “dead” who are there can still “die” and then they are “really” dead and (I guess) don’t go anywhere.  [Exposition to create drama…]  This is the fate of any of the Archangels who happen to die while in this place.  The place is called: “Purgatory”, but it doesn’t seem to be the same place / purgatory I was raised (I am a Roman Catholic) knowing about.  It’s kind of a permanently dark, gloomy and raining Los Angeles.
Anyway, the film is supposed to be a battle between the “good” Archangels and the “bad” Archangels (called: “The Fallen”).  While the battles involve a lot of martial arts, they also have a fair amount of gun and knife action.  It’s not clear how any of this is relevant, you just kind of have to go with it…  Like I said: anyway, the good angels have to kill the bad angels to restore “light” to Purgatory and then they (the good angels) can go back to heaven (the light).
And therein lies the basis of the the film’s problems: none of it (Purgatory) makes any sense and none of the exposition helps make it (the film) make any sense.  The exposition mostly is just an early warning that the plot is going somewhere.
So, is this movie any good?  What about the martial arts scenes?  The religious aspects?  Was it entertaining?  So-so, so-so, more confusing than the plot and only marginally (entertaining).  I think the film was meant to be some type of morality play.  It just didn’t work for me.
Final recommendation: poor to moderate.  The fight choreography was okay.  The acting was kind of okay (sometimes), but almost too over the top, to the point of being a send-up.  The plot (as explained) made no sense.  The ending, also made no sense.  I understand the original movie was well over three hours long and the release version was cut down to just under two hours.  If you like your movies dark (screen black, sound, but you can’t see anything) and foreboding (when you can see something) with a couple of fights thrown in to keep you awake, you should be entertained.  Otherwise, you probably need to give this one a miss.
And one last thought: I should have known better…  I got this movie as part of an “angel” three-pack with “Priest” (a vampire movie) and “Legion” (not yet viewed) for a tenner.  I saw “Priest” in the theater and thought it was ok (even though I don’t usually like – or watch – vampire films).  It starred Paul Bettany, as did “Legion“, so I thought I could “risk” the third movie being a dud.  This movie (“Gabriel“) isn’t really terrible – it’s just not to my taste and the martial arts scenes don’t really save it for me.  And, yeah…  I should have known better.
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On This Day In:
2018 A Gift
2017 Unless You Genuinely Are Small
2016 B1
2015 Five Things
2014 Have Faith
2013 Found In A Mine
2012 Two-Sided Coin
2011 Passionately Scorned Rules

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Margin Call  (2011)  —  movie review
Today’s movie review is for a movie I originally saw parts of on YouTube and have been wanting to watch ever since.  It finally came down to $5 at Vudu, so I now have the rights to stream it anytime I want to.  This is not the same as “owning” a copy, but that’s a subject for another blog post.
This movie is an attempt to portray dramatically “something” like what “probably” happened at a number of banks, investment companies and other financial trading companies during the financial meltdown of 2008.  As such, the title (“term”) Margin Call is a bit of a misnomer.
A “margin call” can happen when something (anything) is purchased with “leverage”, ie. a loan, you only put up a portion of the perceived value of the item, AND promise that if the value of the item decreases by some amount agreed as part of the leveraged purchase, you will add more money.
For example:  You “buy” something with 10% of its value, so you have 90% leverage.  If the price goes up 10%, you make 100% of your money on the 10% of the value.  If, however, the price drops more than the agreed amount – which is always less than the amount you “invested”, you will get a call from the broker who arranged the leverage (loan of the the difference) and you will be asked for more money.  This is the “margin call”.  If you cannot bring more money to the table to answer the call, you lose your entire initial investment.
The above situation is NOT what is happening in the movie.  What is “described” in the movie appears to be temporary financial exposure caused by holding investments of undetermined value during a period of market volatility.  At least that is what I think they were describing.  Basically, they hold mortgage back securities of questionable value, and, for some reason not fully explained, must hold the securities for 30 days to establish the value.  However, due to market volatility during the hold period, the value of the securities can decrease below the call value and the amount on call would be greater than the total capital of the entire company BECAUSE the company is a leader and position setter in this market.  In fact (in the movie), this has happened multiple times in the prior two weeks, but the market recovered before the end of the day closing so (fortunately) calls were never issued.  But the potential exposure remains.
Anyway, the problem is – there is trouble in River City and it’s right now.  Eric Dale (played by Stanley Tucci) is a Risk Analyst at some big money firm.  (We never find out if it’s a bank or investment firm or what.)  He is fired and instead of “just” leaving, he passes on a file describing the problem to his junior, Peter Sullivan (played by Zachary Quinto).  Because he was educated as a “Rocket Scientist”, Peter figures out the problem and kicks the information upstairs to his new boss – Will Emerson (played by Paul Bettany).  Blah, blah, blah — same to Sam Rogers (played by Kevin Spacey) to Jared Cohen (played by Simon Baker) and Sarah Robertson (played by Demi Moore), until it finally reaches the big Kahuna: John Tuld (played by Jeremy Irons).
The decision is made to clear the market and dump everything before the rest of the world discovers the questionable value of the securities.  The three rules for making money in investment: Be First, Be Smarter, or Cheat.  While the dumping is technically not “cheating”, it is lying to their customers.  But, hey, survival of the fittest…
Does the movie work?  Is it interesting?  Is it realistic?  And, is it any good?  So-so.  Yes.  Yes.  And, so-so.  If you don’t have financial background, you will only “get” that this movie is about screwing the other guy before the collapse.  I found it interesting, particularly in contrast with “The Big Short“, another movie dealing with the 2008 bubble burst and the two “Wall Street” movies.  As I really wasn’t sure what the problem with the securities was, it was hard for me to decide if it was realistic there.  Was it an accurate portrayal of “screw the other guy and get ours first” attitude – 100% realistic.  So, is it a good movie?  Well, I enjoyed it, so I guess that means yes.  Even if I question the ethics of the results…
Final recommendation: strong.  I doubt the average person will understand background “why” any more than I did.  I think the average person watching this will think: “This is how the little guys get screwed by Wall Street”.  I think they’d be justified in thinking this.
One more note: having personally been through several lay-offs (as a “survivor” and a victim), I found this portion of the movie to be VERY accurate as a depiction of corporate America.
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On This Day In:
2017 Distant Goal
2016 More Lives
2015 Go Shopping More
2014 Say What?
2013 Accepting Beauty
2012 Transitional Choice To Ride The Wave
2011 Freedom Isn’t Always Perfect
Just That Simple

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Movie Review:
James and I went to the movies this afternoon to see “Priest“.  This was a movie I thought I wanted to see for some time.  It’s been advertised as a coming attraction for several months now.  Then, last night and this morning I lost my taste for it because I’d read some reviews and they were pretty bad.  Well, we went anyway and it was a pretty good movie!  Not terrific.  Not life-changing.  But definitely a good, entertaining summer action movie.
I gather the movie is based on some graphic novel and the movie is clearly set up to be the start of a franchise (which I would definitely see at least one more of).  I wanted to see it because I recognized the star (Paul Bettany) from the movie: “The DaVinci Code“.   I thought he was weird in the role of a monk-assassin, but it was strangely suitable.  I wanted to see this movie to see if that was a fluke or if he is an actor I want to watch out for.  After “Priest“, I think I need to see a lot more of his work, because he was again excellent in this role.
Now, don’t get me wrong, vampire movies are not normally my thing (although I have enjoyed the “Underworld” series).  But, this was (for me) an interesting and entertaining movie.  Like most “comic” book adaptation, it doesn’t bear close logical scrutiny – but for the price of a matinée ticket, it is a good way to spend an afternoon.
Book Review:
Today, I also finished a book: “If Not Now, When?“, written by Colonel Jack Jacobs (Ret.) and Douglas Century (2008).   Colonel Jacobs is a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient for action during the Vietnam War.  The sub-title is: “Duty and Sacrifice in America’s Time of Need“.
The book is autobiographical and it is incredibly funny, touching and up-lifting —  all at the same time.  This was another of the $2 books I’ve gotten at Half-Price books and I can honestly say this was among the two of the best dollars I’ve ever spent in my life.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the type of person America and the U.S. military can produce – and what type of man goes on to earn a Medal of Honor.
I will be using the book as a source for many quotes.  Just a terrific read!!
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