Mini-Reviews: “Escape Plan” & “Carrie”
Today, here are quick mini-reviews for: Escape Plan and Carrie.
Directed by: Mikael Håfström (Derailed, The Rite)
Starring: Sylvester Stallone (The Expendables), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Terminator), Jim Caviezel (The Count of Monte Cristo) and more.
Rating: Rated R for language and violence
Synopsis: ”Escape Plan follows Ray Breslin (Stallone) who is the world’s foremost authority on structural security. He’s analyzed every high security prison and has gained a vast array of survival skills. But all Ray’s ingenuity and knowledge are about to be put to work in the most challenging test he’s ever faced: escaping from the master prison of his own design.”
Previously titled “The Tomb,” Escape Plan is an action thriller with two of the action movie greats of decades past in another film together that is fun and full of fists, fights and one-liners. Reminding me a bit of the 1992 film that no one remembers called Fortress starring Christopher Lambert, Escape Plan takes place almost completely inside of the incarceration facility but still does a decent job in keeping events and characters outside of the prison still of interest. Places and Persons of Interest, if you will (followers of Caviezel’s tv career will appreciate that statement!)
The characters keep the level of believability going in this thriller that has plenty of the staple prison characters ranging from the competitively controlling and prepared warden to the sadistic guards to the segregated groups of inmates and warring factions. The best aspect of the film is the chemistry between Stallone and Schwarzenegger who look as if every day on set was just fun and enjoyable.
Though underused to a degree, Curtis “50cent” Jackson, Vincent D’Onifrio, Sam Neill and Amy Ryan round out the supporting cast and keep the film down to earth. Escape Plan is not as captivating as other action films, but does carry a degree of reality along with disbelief that makes films like these more enjoyable. In the whole grand scheme of films such as this, Escape Plan is, by far, one of the best. Plus, who knows how many more years we will be able to watch Stallone and Schwarzenegger on screen, mumbling through their lines, and slinging their steroid/geritol powered fists towards one another all the while cracking jokes.
This is a fun film and fans of the cast members and genre will enjoy it undoubtedly. Though its plot is a tad bit silly and its reveals can be seen from early on, it’s still not a waste of time. I enjoyed it, especially seeing/hearing the inner monologue narration and following Stallone’s character’s process of breaking out of prisons. Check it out.
SCORE: (3/5 stars)
Directed by: Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry)
Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz (Hugo), Julianne Moore (Magnolia), Gabriella Wilde (The Three Musketeers) and more.
Rating: R for strong language, sexual content, bloody and disturbing images, violence and more.
Trailer: Click HERE
Synopsis: “A reimagining of the classic horror tale about Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz), a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother (Julianne Moore), who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom. Based on the best-selling novel by Stephen King, Carrie is directed by Kimberly Peirce with a screenplay by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.”
Review: “Prom plus Puberty proves to be a powerful potion…period!” (see what I did there?)
So, I learned that Chloë Grace Moretz filmed this movie without ever watching the original film. I decided to go into the theater and watch her performance with the same perspective. That being said…I now look forward to watching the original as I am sure it will be much much better than this recent addition to Hollywood remakes. (sadly)
First off, I have to say that Moretz does a great job at creating empathy for the title character. Audiences will feel for her and be happy in the few moments that she is and also be upset or angry right alongside her. Her innocence is greatly portrayed in a way that continues to set great expectations for the future of this young and already successful starlet. This “coming of age and out from under oppression” film focuses not only on the development of Carrie, but also a little bit on the characters around her. But that development remains rather stale and insufficient when compared to the larger picture.
With a pace and feel that is all over the place, director Peirce seems uncertain of (1) her target audience and (2) her desired genre as the film (retold with today’s technology infused into the story) makes audiences laugh more than expected in a horror film. Fans of the original have been advised in numerous reviews to just stick with it and I am sure that upon watching the original, my opinion will mirror that statement. Julianne Moore gives an undeniably strong and real performance as the overbearing mother with definite issues. The camera angles used in the film add to its overall appeal, but the film as a whole lacks.
When things begin to really take off, they do so only after cutting short the only real connection onscreen (that of Moretz and co-star Ansel Elgort who plays Tommy Ross, her date to the prom) and without any gravity. Leading to an ending that turns out to be full of further cliche moments and reveals, Carrie disappointed far more than desired. Remakes often do. I suppose this is a decent film for a younger generation unaware of the story and will serve well on an anti-bully campaign, but, much like Chronicle (which was better), this film remains less than memorable…unfortunately.
Carrie (Score: 2/5)
(Remember, to read this review of mine and over 250 more, check out THE ARCHIVE of movies I have reviewed anytime. Know before you go…or rent…or buy!)
Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!
-T, The Focused Filmographer
up next: Finally, my delayed final recap of the White Sands International Film Festival!