Thursday, November 25, 2010

“Movie Review: Faster (Starring Dwayne Johnson) -” plus 1 more

“Movie Review: Faster (Starring Dwayne Johnson) -” plus 1 more

Movie Review: Faster (Starring Dwayne Johnson) -

Posted: 25 Nov 2010 02:39 AM PST

Faster is enigmatically everything and nothing of what you would hope it to be. In the film, Dwayne Johnson (aka 'The Rock') finally gets back into an action role where he is not dressed up in a tutu or wearing Speedos yelling, "Do you smell what the Rock is cooking?" Things start off with hard-hitting sound design and complimentary high octane visuals, which rev you up for an adrenaline infused murder at point blank range. Just when you're about to jump out of your seat in excitement, Faster takes a speedy fall off of a precipitous paper-thin plot cliff. Unfortunately, Johnson's return to action comes with a heavy price. The charismatic actor stars in a movie where he is hardly given any lines until the very end of the film. Supporting cast members Billy Bob Thornton (Monster's Ball), Carla Gugino (Entourage, Watchmen, Californication), Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter) and Oliver Jackson-Cohen have equally trivialized roles and shoddy motivations. Even the fight scenes in this purported action flick seem to lack any worthwhile action.

The film begins with Driver (Johnson) being released from prison after ten years. Yes, he is only known as Driver. Perhaps if he were allowed to talk he would be given a more respectable name. He's a wheelman with a vendetta and a bad attitude. Think Vin Diesel in The Fast and the Furious. A botched bank robbery left Driver in prison and his brother dead. Now, he's out to take down the rival crew who killed his big brother. It's like watching James Cagney on steroids in the 1931 film Taxi, except Johnson doesn't get to say cool lines like, "You dirty rat, I'm going to get rid of you just like you gave it to my brother."

The opening shots do an excellent job of building up his character. In the first ten minutes, you'll hear the heavy sounds of chains and bars clanking in prison followed by the mechanical grinding of gears and the motor of Driver's new car. Sharp zooms and camera cuts as Driver turns on the ignition in his new "whip" will prepare you for a film that could have been intense. Shortly after, Driver claims his first victim without taking any precautions in hiding his identity or getting rid of the security camera footage. Tough guy motif established.

Cicero (Gugino) is called in as the lead detective on the case, but a doped up Cop (Thornton) in the twilight of his career shows up to steal her thunder. Subsequently, we're introduced to the Killer (Jackson-Cohen). He's a computer mogul turned assassin, who's had some sort of problem walking when he was growing up. Now, he can do a handful of Yoga positions that only ten people in the world are able to do. His girlfriend Lily (Maggie Grace, Lost) is fully supportive of his new clandestine life. Killer has been hired to kill Driver and protect the people involved in the botched robbery so many years ago. If all of this sounds like way too much going on for one character (who isn't the main character) then it's because that is exactly what it is. Strangely, Killer has more character build up than Driver, but nobody cares about Killer. He feels like an intense thrown-in afterthought. From there, the story tries to be a mystery as Driver seeks out everyone involved in his brother's death, while we as viewers speculate over who hired Killer and was the leader of the crew that killed Driver's brother. By the way, the mystery is telegraphed so don't exert too much brain power hoping for a twist.

The story doesn't become interesting again until the last twenty minutes of the movie when we are introduced to The Evangelist (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Lost & The Thing). This is the first time Driver really gets a chance to speak. "Surprisingly," having the main character talk actually makes the scene more entertaining. We finally get a sense of who Driver is outside of being a one-man killing machine. By the same token, The Evangelist is the first supporting character that really has a clear set of ideals and character arc. Driver has been following his sermons as he travels on his cross-state killing spree. Their scene adds the spark needed to give life to the killer and Thornton's Cop. But, it's a case of too little too late.

Faster isn't a terrible movie; it's just convoluted. Too many side characters are introduced before we ever get a sense of the main character's story. There's actually a personality there that would have been nice to explore.

Faster Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Carla Gugino, Jennifer Carpenter, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Directed by: George Tillman Jr.
Screenplay by: Tony Gayton, Joe Gayton
Studio: CBS Films
Theatrical Release Date: November 24, 2010
Rating: 5.5/10

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Sideshow: Joss Whedon bewails new 'Buffy' movie; Billy Bob Thornton says movies are worst ever - Philadelphia Daily News

Posted: 25 Nov 2010 12:01 AM PST

Posted on Wed, Nov. 24, 2010

The entertainment industry is lame, bad, evil. So say two of the nation's most respected pop-culters. First up, TV wunderkind Joss Whedon, 46, says he's appalled that his show Buffy the Vampire Slayer - which was loosely based on the '92 vampire-killer-with-a-killer-Valley-accent flick - is being made into a film without him.

"This is a sad, sad reflection on our times," Joss tells E! News, "when people must feed off the carcasses of beloved stories from their youths - just because they can't think of an original idea of their own."

And Billy Bob Thornton, whose new action pic, Faster, is getting some very negative reviews, bemoans the cynical, nihilistic ethos that pervades cinema.

"We're living in a time when we're making - in my humble opinion - the worst movies in history," he tells Metro World News. "They're geared toward the video-game-playing generation. And these video games . . . are people killing for fun."

Sheen: It's extortion!

Charlie Sheen has dismissed claims by Capri Anderson (born Christina Walsh) that he assaulted her during his infamous Oct. 25 hotel-room freakout in New York.

Capri on Monday said she plans to sue Sheen for battery and false imprisonment, saying he insulted her with racial slurs and grabbed her by the throat. Capri said the $3,500 fee she earned that night was to join Sheen for dinner, not for sex.

Sheen on Tuesday called Capri "an opportunistic pornographic film star" who tried to shake him down to the tune of $1 mil after the pair had "a consensual encounter." The thesp also claims Capri nicked his $165,000 watch.

Celebs and the law

New York jeweler Jacob & Co. is suing Courtney Love, claiming the troubled Hole frontwoman never returned $113,700 worth of bijoux she borrowed Sept. 21. Love claims she lost the stuff. (Or did her dog eat 'em?) A lawyer for the jeweler says according to their agreement, Love is responsible for the items "regardless of loss or damage." Love has yet to comment.

In Los Angeles, U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer has ruled that makers of giallo master Dario Argento's latest giallo, Giallo, can't use Adrien Brody's (lovely) image to promote the film until they pay him the $640,000 he's still owed for his work. (He costars with Emmanuelle Seigner, which, in our book, is payment enough.) A giallo, by the way, is an Italian genre of crime/mystery/noir film.

Quote du jour

"Hollywood doesn't provide you with tons of opportunities if you're a woman," Shameless star Emmy Rossum tells USA Today. "I don't want to go run around in my underwear and be chased by a guy with a knife. When you're 22 and 23, there's not much that's not either, like, silly teen comedies or horror movies." Emmy is 24.

A Swiftian breeze comes our way

Wyomissing's own Taylor Swift will embark on a gargantuan 19-country world tour in 2011, starting Feb. 19 in Singapore. Circle the date, Swiftians: The country-pop princess will play Lincoln Financial Field on Aug. 6, one of a half dozen stadium shows she'll do as part of an 87-date trek.

In case you hadn't heard, Swift's third album, Speak Now, sold more than a million units the week it went on sale this month. Her Thanksgiving special is on at 8 on NBC Thursday night, before Beyoncé takes over at 9 on ABC. No word yet on when tickets for the Linc go on sale.

A side note: Taylor, who shocked us with her straightened hair Sunday at the American Music Awards, was back to her signature curls Monday night on Jay Leno's The Tonight Show.

- Dan DeLuca

Bruce Willis, banker

"Trust is just like me, but a bank." So read posters bearing Bruce Willis' mug, plastered this week all over Moscow. The posters are part of an ad campaign for a midsize Russian bank named Trust that is paying Bruce, 55, an undisclosed sum for the ads. The bank's former celeb face, Russian weightlifter Vladimir Turchinsky, unexpectedly died last year at 46. The bank says Bruce's characters embody the same "trust and dignity" that defines Trust.
This article contains information from Inquirer wire services and websites. Contact "SideShow" at

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