Mini-Reviews: “The Call” & “Dead Man Down”

Greetings all,

Today, here are two quick mini-reviews for the day of Halle Berry’s The Call and Colin Farrell’s Dead Man Down.

Enjoy. (Trust me, reading the reviews are more fun than watching the movies themselves.)

The Callcall

Directed by: Brad Anderson (The Machinist)

Starring: Halle Berry (Gothika), Abigail Breslin (Zombieland), Morris Chestnut (Think Like a Man) and more.

Rating: R -for violence, language, frightening sequences.

Trailer:Click HERE

Synopsis: When veteran 911 operator, Jordan (Halle Berry), takes a life-altering call from a teenage girl (Abigail Breslin) who has just been abducted, she realizes that she must confront a killer from her past in order to save the girl’s life.

Review: First, I must get something off my chest. I had a phone call with Halle about The Call (and about her hideous hair in the movie). I wasn’t supposed to share it with you, but I am breaking the rules to share with you a snippet of what that call was like:halle

Someone had to say what we were all thinking! Okay, so, did you watch the trailer? If you did…then you saw the movie. Save yourself the $10 or so. Thrillers intend to be exactly that, although oftentimes they thrill at the expense of common sense and reason. Such is the case with The Call. Here is my mini-review of this film:

Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin star in this thriller about a veteran 911 phone operator in Los Angeles who stops at nothing when it comes to saving the life of a kidnapped girl on the other end of the phone. As tense as a few of the moments in this film are, if you anticipate this being one of the best films of the year or one of Berry or Breslin’s best roles, rest assured, you are making the wrong call.the-call-michael-eklund
Director Brad Anderson (“The Machinist”) directs this thriller that follows a “paint-by-numbers” plot full of expected events and predictable twists and turns. “The Call” teases with danger, mystery and suspense yet only fulfills in disappointment as it turns out to be nothing short of a “been there, seen it” sort of thriller. Casey (Breslin), the most recent kidnap victim of a violent serial kidnapper, calls 911 and receives instruction from operator Jordan Turner (Berry) who, due to past calls, is wary and dubious about her own abilities to help the girl in need. Determined nonetheless, she overcomes her self-doubt and the helpless become the enabled as both she and Casey work together to put an end to the horrible ordeal.the-call-movie-poster-17
Mixed with bad distracting computer generated imagery, unnecessarily forced relationships and highly implausible investigation results “The Call” takes a turn for the worse in the final act as one of the most disappointing aspects of the film is the lack (or loss) of common sense. Full of clichés, the one thing that actually does make this story slightly salvageable is the “unknown” villain himself. He and his ruthless acts keep the interest in an otherwise rather dull story with an even duller ending to boot.thecall
If your friends call you to go see this movie, do yourself a favor and hang up on “The Call.”The_Call_2_1_14_13

SCORE: (1/5 stars)


Dead Man Downdead_man_down

Directed by: Niels Arden Oplev (the original The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)

Starring: Noomi Rapace (the original The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Colin Farrell (Total Recall), Terrence Howard (Crash), Dominic Cooper (The Devil’s Double) and more.

Rating: R -for language, nudity, violence…and “R”efund “R”equired!


Synopsis: Dead Man Down centers on a brave enforcer Victor, played by Farrell, right hand man to an underground crime lord in New York City. He seeks to avenge the death of his wife and daughter caused by his boss. When his employer is threatened by a mysterious killer, Victor also becomes detective. Victor is seduced and blackmailed by Beatrice, played by Rapace, a victim turned avenger whose intense chemistry leads them spiraling into payback delivered in violent catharsis….

Review: Attention-getting and exciting in both the beginning and the end…with nothing in the middle to hold it together. The film would’ve been greater had it skipped the middle 90 minutes where nothing of any consequence seemed to happen at all. The movie trodges along with the multiple angles and stories that serve little to no purpose.


Definitely interesting seeing Noomi Rapace in a victim type of role, weakened by her past, as opposed to the stronger female characters we are used to seeing her play (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Prometheus, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows). Terrence Howard’s acting ability is lost in this role that could just as easily have been played by someone like Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson…and don’t get me started on Colin Farrell.dead-man-down-640x426

Bad acting (yes, even with Terrence Howard), dreadful pacing, storytelling and mix of plots. If you like the original The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo then you will appreciate the same style of pacing here. I did not as it was diluted with meaningless events, people and cliche sub-plots. It would seem that the entire film’s budget rested in the explosion special effects as opposed to anything worthwhile in making the film any good.

dead_man_down_ver3 (1)

Dead Man Down is as lively as the title sounds in all but the beginning and end of the film. The trailers, posters and featurettes were far more entertaining than the movie itself. 😦

Dead Man Down (Score: 1/5)


Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

T, The Focused Filmographer

up next: Trailer Time Thursday!


  1. I agree, the call was terrible. You make a good point in pointing the finger at the last act of the movie. It was terrible. Completely wrecked what ever little quality the rest of the movie had…

    I didnt even go see Dead Man Down! 😯


  2. I still have yet to see The Call, but I have a feeling I’m going to agree with you (The Trailers for it are among the worst I’ve seen all year). I didn’t hate dead man down quite as much as you did but I definitely won’t defend it, it’s just an entirely mediocre experience that I have no wish to repeat


    • Thanks. yeah, I’d advise you against seeing The Call, but if you must, you must.

      I really wanted Dead Man Down to be better. I really felt robbed of my time having watched it, unfortunately. Thanks for stopping in and commenting


  3. Oy, two terrible movies, such a bummer T! I still might give Dead Man Down a chance though, I quite like Colin Farrell & Dominic Cooper, but maybe I’ll wait ’til it’s free on Netflix streaming, ahah.


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