Tag Archives: liam neeson

COLD PURSUIT (2019) – My rating: 8/10

Cold Pursuit is a dark/black comedy action film directed by Hans Petter Moland (in his Hollywood debut), written by Frank Baldwin from a screenplay by Kim Fupz Aakeson and based on the 2014 original Norwegian vigilante film, “In Order of Disappearance (Kraftidioten)”, also directed by Moland. The story follows a snowplow driver who seeks revenge on a local drug cartel following the murder of his son.  While the concept of one man against a cartel is highly unbelievable and added to the racist remarks Liam Neeson spewed regarding the rape of a friend by a Black person, I decided to see Cold Pursuit anyway.  Oddly, I liked the movie despite all the negativity and critical bad mouthing. I believe people should say what’s in their heart, that way we know who they truly are.

Nelson “Nels” Coxman (Liam Neeson) lives a quiet life as a snowplow driver at the Colorado ski resort in Kehoe. Life was good as Nels was just honored with the “Citizen of the Year” award. His life takes a crooked turn when he gets news of his son, Kyle Coxman’s (Micheál Richardson) death, caused by a heroin overdose, even though his son never used drugs. Nels’ wife, Grace (Laura Derm) has a psychotic breakdown due to their son’s death and leaves Nels in grief.

Depressed, Nels is about to commit suicide when he learns from a buddy of Kyle’s that he suffered a brutal murder at the hands of Speedo (Michael Eklund), a member of the local drug cartel. This causes him to craft a custom sniper rifle, become a vigilante and kill three members of the cartel, sinking their bodies in a nearby river. He gets additional insight into the criminal network from his brother, Brock “Wingman” Coxman (William Forsythe), who was a former hitman for the cartel. The cartel’s leader, Trevor “Viking” Calcote (Tom Bateman), suspects these deaths are the work of the Native American drug lord and member of the Utes tribe, White Bull (Tom Jackson), with whom he has always avoided conflict. Viking abducts and murders White Bull’s only son, Little Hawk which sparks a war between the two gangs. When Viking contacts Brock about the recent hits, Brock takes responsibility to protect his brother, as he is dying of cancer anyway.

So far, Cold Pursuit has been pretty exciting and from this point on, it gets even more exciting as well as a lot more interesting. This crazy plot of twist and turns will have you on the edge of your seat. The idea of displaying the names of the dead with cross swords every time Nels successfully kills a cartel member was brilliant and funny.  On the negative side, I found that a lot of the Indian characters were not listed on IMDB or Wikipedia, so there is no credited name listed for Little Hawk, however Liam Neeson’s real life son, Micheál Richardson, who played Liam’s son in the movie, was the third name listed in the cast of characters on IMDB, even though he had a little less screen time than Little Hawk.  I’m just saying.  The film has grossed over $58 million worldwide and received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the action sequences and the dark humour. Again, I think the movie is unbelievable but Check It Out anyway, it’s quite entertaining.


THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS (2018) – My rating: 8/10

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a western anthology written, directed, and produced by the Coen brothers.  When you hear Coen Brothers, you know you’re in for a wild ride.  The Ballad of Buster Scruggs lives up to the legend of these brothers, as it tells the tale of six short stories that appear to have no rhyme or reason. I liked some of the stories, some were just too pointless and crazy for me.

“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”Buster Scruggs (Tim Blake Nelson), is a cheerful singing cowboy who arrives at an isolated cantina full of outlaws where he exchanges insults with another patron before effortlessly shooting everyone as they reach for their guns. This first story is as bizarre as they come. The series of events will have you laughing and may leave you somewhat confused, however, I like this title the best.

“Near Algodones” – A young cowboy (James Franco) robs an isolated bank on the prairie. As he is fleeing, the jabbering bank teller (Stephen Root) shoots at him, forcing him to take cover behind a well. He returns fire, but the teller charges at him while wearing a washboard and several pots and pans as armor, which deflect all the cowboy’s bullets as the teller repeatedly cackles “Pan shot!” The teller knocks the cowboy out with his rifle butt, and when the cowboy regains consciousness, he is sitting upon his horse under a tree with his hands tied and a noose around his neck.  This story is particularly confusing, as it ends badly after a series of simultaneous events that will surely have you scratching your head.

“Meal Ticket” – An aging impresario (Liam Neeson) and his artist Harrison (Harry Melling), a young man with no arms or legs, travel from town to town in a wagon that converts into a small stage where Harrison theatrically recites classics such as Shelley’s poem “Ozymandias”; the biblical story of Cain and Abel; works by Shakespeare, in particular Sonnet 29; and Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.  The impresario collects money from the audience at the end of each performance, with profits dwindling as they visit increasingly remote mountain towns with smaller and more indifferent audiences. This story is one of the most bazaar to me, as I have no suggestion for the moral of the story nor do I understand the point.  This doesn’t mean someone else cannot figure it out or enjoy it, it just means I didn’t care for Meal Ticket.

“All Gold Canyon” – A grizzled prospector (Tom Waits) arrives in a pristine mountain valley and decides to dig for gold in a grassy meadow beside a river. Over the course of several days, he pans through shovelfuls of dirt to count the gold specks, and then begins digging a deeper hole once he has identified their likely source. After his first night camping at the site, he spots a great horned owl tending its treetop nest at the edge of the valley. When he climbs up and reaches the nest, the mother owl’s watchful gaze from a nearby tree causes him to replace three of the four eggs he has taken for his meal.  On his third day, he digs out gold nuggets of increasing size before finally reaching “Mr. Pocket”, a large gold vein running through the quartz he has uncovered.  This story was quite entertaining with a moral I think everyone could understand.

“The Gal Who Got Rattled”Alice Longabaugh (Zoe Kazan) and her older brother Gilbert (Jefferson Mays), an inept businessman, are journeying in a wagon train across the prairie towards Oregon, where Gilbert claims a new business partner will marry his sister. Gilbert dies of cholera shortly after they embark, and the wagon train’s leaders, Mr. Billy Knapp (Bill Heck) and Mr. Arthur (Grainger Hines), help Alice bury her brother. Though she has no definite prospects in Oregon, Alice decides to continue the trip rather than return east. This story was sad, bizarre and while it has a point, I’m not sure the message served a purpose.

“The Mortal Remains” – At sunset, five people, an Englishman (Thigpen – Jonjo O’Neill), an Irishman (Clarence – Brendan Gleeson), a Frenchman (René – Saul Rubinek), a lady (Mrs. Betjeman – Tyne Daly), and a fur trapper (Chelcie Ross) ride to Fort Morgan, Colorado in a stagecoach. Thigpen says that he and Clarence often travel this route “ferrying cargo”, alluding to a corpse on the roof, but he does not specify the nature of their business. The Trapper rambles about his past relationship with a Native woman in which neither knew the other’s language, but communicating through understanding each other’s emotions led him to conclude that people are all alike in their basic needs, just like the animals he traps. This story had the most bizarre ending of all despite much valuable information being exchanged. Maybe that’s all we were suppose to get out of The Mortal Remains since I don’t think the final scenes attributed anything more to the story. It definitely left you wanting more.

Overall, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs may have been the most bizarre of all the Coen Brothers movies I’ve seen.  I’m not sure why the title is Buster Scruggs when only one story included that character but I’m sure someone can explain it.  I tried to find good in all the stories.  Some are funny, most are bizarre and some delivered a strong message.  I enjoyed The Ballad of Buster Scruggs anyway, which can be seen on Netflix.  Check It Out!

[The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is Oscar nominated for Best:  Adapted Screenplay, Original Song and Costume Design]


WIDOWS (2018) – My rating: 8.8/10

Widows is an action drama directed by Steve McQueen from a screenplay by McQueen and Gillian Flynn, based upon the 1983 ITV series of the same name. Widows is a British-American co-production. The plot follows a group of women who attempt a heist in order to pay back a crime boss after their criminal husbands are killed during a botched job.  I was thrilled to see Widows, as I heard it received raved reviews and 93% rotten tomatoes.  They were right, Widows deserved every good review it received.

Harry Rawlings (Liam Neeson) is a renowned thief who is killed alongside his partners, Carlos Perelli (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), Florek Gunner (Jon Bernthal) and Jimmy Nunn (Coburn Goss), during a botched robbery. Harry’s widow, Veronica Rawlings (Viola Davis), a Chicago teacher’s union delegate, is threatened by crime boss turned politician, Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry), from whom Harry and his partners robbed $2 million. Jamal is running against Jack Mulligan (Colin Farrell), the son of the incumbent, Tom Mulligan (Robert Duvall) and needs money to help win the election.


Veronica discovers Harry’s notebook, which contains a detailed plan for what would have been his next heist, worth $5 million. She decides to carry out the heist to repay his debt to Jamal who has his blood thirsty brother, Jatemme (Daniel Kaluuya) watching the women’s every move.  Veronica recruits two of the other widows, Alice gunner (Elizabeth Debicki) and Linda Perelli (Michelle Rodriguez), to assist her. Since the fourth widow, Amanda Nunn (Carrie Coon), didn’t show to their initial meeting, Veronica visits her and learns she has a newborn child, so she opts not to mention nor include her in the heist. Alice is responsible for buying the getaway car and guns, while Linda is tasked with deciphering the blueprint in Harry’s plan.  Alice uses David (Lukas Haas), a real estate executive who identifies the blueprint as a  safe in Jack Mulligan’s home. In the meanwhile, looking for information, Veronica’s chauffeur, Bash O’Reilly (Garret Dillahunt) is murdered by one of Manning’s men. Linda recruits Belle (Cynthia Erivo), her children’s babysitter, to be their driver and Veronica visits the Mulligan home to ask Jack for protection from Jamal and to case the premises in advance of the heist, while the other women investigate the external security.

Obviously, I really enjoyed Widows.  The cast were the crème de la crème of actors who played their roles with outstanding precision.  The plot heats up with an intensity that will keep you guessing to the very surprise ending.  Widows has more twist and turns than you can imagine.  The style and flow of Widows reminds me of “How to Get Away With Murder”, only much more understandable.  I recommend this film to anyone who wants to see a good suspense feature with lots of twist, action and excitement.  Check it Out!!!


SILENCE (2016) – My rating: 8.7/10

silenceSilence is not for everyone.  It is a heartbreaking story about Jesuit priest whose job was to spread the Gospel (Good News).  In 1587, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Imperial Regent of Japan and Unifier of the country banned Catholicism.  Japan, who chooses Buddhism as their nation’s religion.  Hideyoshi proclaimed Christianity as dangerous and executed 26 Christians in Nagasaki as a warning to those who went against Japanese customs.

After an Italian Jesuit priest, Father Alessandro Valignano (Ciarán Hinds) receives news that Father Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson), a Portuguese Jesuit in Japan, renounced his faith after being tortured. Ferreira’s two young pupils, also Portuguese, Fathers Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver), set off in disbelief to find him. Kichijiro (Yōsuke Kubozuka), an alcoholic fisherman who fled Japan (later revealed to be a Christian who renounced his faith to save himself), agrees to guide them. At the Japanese village of Tomogi, the priests are surprised to find the local Christian population driven underground. They eagerly welcome the priests, who administer long-awaited sacraments and confessions to the people. A samurai searching for suspected Christians, whom the villagers refer to as “the inquisitor” (Issey Ogata), straps some of the villagers to wooden crosses on the beach and places them in the ocean, where the tide eventually kills them. The bodies are then cremated on a funeral pyre so that they cannot be given a Christian burial.

Garupe leaves for Hirado Island, believing that their presence forces the shogunate to terrorize the village. Rodrigues goes to Gotō Island, the last place Ferreira lived, only to find it destroyed. Wandering around Gotō, he struggles over whether it is self-centered and unmerciful to refuse to recant when doing so will end others’ suffering. He eventually reunites with Kichijiro, who betrays him into the hands of the samurai. An old samurai, who had earlier accompanied the inquisitor to Tomogi, tells Rodrigues that other captured Christians will suffer unless he commits apostasy.

Rodrigues is taken to Nagasaki, where he is imprisoned with the captured Christians from Gotō. At a tribunal, he is told Catholic doctrine is anathema to Japan. Rodrigues demands to see governor Inoue Masashige (Issey Ogata), who he learns to his dismay is the old samurai. Rodrigues is returned to prison, and Kichijiro arrives. He explains that court officials threatened him to give up Rodrigues, then says he is a Christian and asks to be imprisoned to be absolved of his betrayal through a confession, which Rodrigues reluctantly grants him. He later is released after agreeing again to step on a fumi-e (a crudely carved image of Christ), an act symbolizing rejection of the faith. Rodrigues is brought to witness a famished Garupe, and three other prisoners (who have apostatized) about to be drowned. Garupe refuses to apostasize, and the prisoners are drowned.

While Silence is not based on a true story it is based on true events.  Japan used the above mentioned methods to get Christians to renounce their religion and did in fact, kill 26 of them as a warning.  55 more were killed in 1632 through out the missionary period on Mount Unzen and approximately 1000 were killed overall.  The ban was lifted in 1873.  There are roughly 500,000 openly practicing Christians in Japan today.  Silence was directed by Martin Scorsese and is a historical drama worth your attention.  It’s an incredible film with incredible acting and an incredible story to tell.

[SILENCE is nominated for Cinematography]


A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES (2014) – My rating: 8/10

AWalkAmongTheTombstonesAnother Liam Neeson movie.  Out of all the movies Liam made last year, I thought this was one of his best.  A Walk Among the Tombstones isn’t the same old plot, it’s actually different enough to be interesting and not so predictable.  A retired cop, Matthew Scudder (Liam Neeson) turned private investigator, ends up taking on a bazaar case that gives him a chance to somewhat redeem himself for a past blunder.  Matthew ends up befriending a young boy TJ (Astro) who is homeless, ambitious and anxious to help out.  The case involves the kidnapping and murder of the wife of a drug dealer.  I was enlightened and entertained.  The murder of the wife and all murders that followed were quite gruesome.  Despite the murderers being completely insane,  the movie was well acted and had lots of action.   If I had seen this movie in the theater, I would not have been unhappy — but since it’s now on DVD you really can’t go wrong.  I recommend checking it out.

RUN ALL NIGHT (2015) – My rating: 7.5/10

RunAllNightHollywood  may be fearing redundant movie plots.  Run All Night is not the same old thing but I have a problem with all the “Taken” films Liam Neeson has starred in.  I couldn’t stop relating Run All Night to his Taken character.  Lately, Liam Neeson seems to star in the same types of movies.  Aside from that, Run All Night has a decent plot.  A mobster, Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris) and his gang of thugs, including professional hit man Andrew Price (Common) go after hit man, Jimmy Conley (Liam Neeson) and his son Michael Conley (Joel Kinnaman) because Jimmy was forced to shoot Shawn’s son, Danny Maguire (Boyd Holbrook) as Danny was about to shoot Jimmy’s estranged son, Michael.   Michael has a pregnant wife and 2 children and drives a limousine for a living.  Because of this shooting, the two men have to team up for their survival.  Shawn is hell bent on killing Jimmy and Michael as revenge for the death of his son, even if his son was totally in the wrong.  The action is pretty good and the direction is thorough.  I enjoyed Run All Night but didn’t find it fantastic, just interesting with lots of excitement.  It has nothing to do with the Taken movies.   Overall, you wouldn’t be missing anything if you wait for the DVD.


TAKEN 3 (2014) – My rating 7/10

Taken3Not a bad sequel.  Taken 3 is your typical violent, familiar story about a family member, kidnapped, killed, or harmed in some way as a drawing out card for the purpose of seeking revenge on some highly trained agent.  There are so many of these stories around, the only saving grace is how well the story is told, how good the car chases are or how big fights are and how violent the film becomes.  In the end, the task is successful, the revenge is flipped and stuck up the butts of the evil and the point is well taken.  No matter how many times Hollywood takes on these types of stories, the audience is drawn into all the hype and all’s well that ends well.  Since the actual death of his wife, Liam Neeson who plays ex-government operative, Bryan Mills, has certainly emerged himself in movie after movie.  His pace is phenomenal.  I’m surprised at the level of interest, the plot and the end results,  which I think set us up for Taken 4.  I don’t think these kind of sequels will ever end.  After all, how many new ideas are left?  Taken 3 is a pretty good movie and definitely entertaining.  No surprises here!

A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST (2014) – My rating: 9/10

AMillionWaysToDieInTheWestA Million Ways to Die in the West is one of the funniest movie to hit the theaters since “The Wedding Crashers”.  I genuinely laughed my head off.  I grant you, the entire movie wasn’t rip roaring funny but the many scenes that were funny, were really funny.  A dorky sheep farmer/cowboy (Albert played by Seth MacFarlane) who is cowardly and afraid to defend himself in any gunfight, is in love with a society seeker who eventually breaks up with him.  She (Louise played by Amanda Seyfried) moves on immediately to a semi-quasi wealthy owner of a local store (Foy played by Neil Patrick Harris).  In the meanwhile, Albert meets the wife (Anna played by Charlez Theron) of the fastest gun in the west (Clinch played by Liam Neeson) and they fall in love.  Of course I can’t reveal what happens but you’re in for some good entertainment.  Since this is a comedy, anything I say will give away what makes this movie so great so I will just say “check this one out”  it’s worth the time and money.