Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Jane’

This week’s releases include: a Chinese legend about a knife; a reality-check; a Bollywood crime flick; a ‘70s saga; a series of get rich quick plans; a less sexy gigolo; a clash of belief systems; two sequels in a successful horror franchise; and a classic story brought to the screen. (more…)

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The Ghost Writer
When a successful British ghostwriter, The Ghost (Ewan McGregor), agrees to complete the memoirs of former British Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan), his agent assures him it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. But the project seems doomed from the start – not the least because his predecessor on the project, Lang’s long-term aide, died in a suspicious accident. But the day after The Ghost arrives to work on the project, a former British cabinet minister accuses Lang of authorizing the illegal seizure of suspected terrorists and handing them over for torture by the CIA – a war crime. The controversy brings reporters and protesters swarming to the island mansion where Lang is staying with his wife, Ruth (Olivia Williams), and his personal assistant/mistress, Amelia (Kim Cattrall). As The Ghost works, he begins to uncover clues suggesting his predecessor may have stumbled on a dark secret linking Lang to the CIA and that somehow this information is hidden in the manuscript he left behind.

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Hung Season 1 on Blu-rayThomas Jane’s actor’s résumé includes roles as a vigilante (The Punisher), gumshoe detective (Give ’em Hell, Malone), town sheriff (The Tripper), shark wrangler (Deep Blue Sea) and futuristic gunslinger (Mutant Chronicles), but last year he added the ultimately masculine male gigolo to his list of pretend occupations.

Ray Drecker (Jane) is a down-on-his-luck high school coach who finds a new calling in the world’s oldest profession. With the help of his free-spirited business partner, Tanya (Jane Adams), Ray manages his up-and-coming career while juggling the demands of his ex-wife, Jessica (Anne Heche), and kids, Darby (Sianoa Smit-McPhee) and Damon (Charles Saxton).

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There have been many attempts to recreate and modernize the 1940’s detective film, but most fall flat; Give’em Hell Malone ranks a few levels above that.

Malone (Thomas Jane) is a private eye with a reputation of being so tough he can’t be killed. Hired to retrieve a briefcase from a seedy hotel, Malone walks into a trap set by the city’s most notorious crime boss. To protect the contents of the case a bombshell client (Elsa Pataky) that can be nothing but trouble, Malone battles the hulking Boulder (Ving Rhames) and an army of thugs.

The picture attempts to evoke a Will Eisner style, using ‘40s detective language and ‘50s cars; the men wear suits, ties and fedoras, and the women are in high heels and A-line skirts. The feel is right, going as far as to only use revolvers instead of automatic weapons. Furthermore, Jane delivers the lines like a classic gumshoe, managing to avoid being laughable for the majority. The one improvement would have been a grainier aesthetic to match the gritty atmosphere.

Sadly, even though a lot of effort was put into the appearance and sound of the movie, the actual plot is lacking. The story has several twists, but the connections and motivations are not concrete. In addition, the femme fatale is not very genuine and the villain is a cheap imitation of Batman’s Two-face. With a cast wholly capable of pulling off this style of film, it’s unfortunate they didn’t have better material with which to work.

Special features include: interviews with Jane, Pataky and Doug Hutchison.

Aliens, mutants, swords, guns – Mutant Chronicles provides all you could ask for in a sci-fi fantasy picture.

For decades, a seal has kept the world safe from a horde of violent, mutated killers. War between two of the four corporations that rule the world damages the seal, causing it to break. Instantly, hundreds of these creatures scour the earth. Mankind’s only hope lies with Brother Samuel (Ron Perlman) and the small group of elite soldiers (Thomas Jane, Devon Aoki, Benno Fürmann, Tom Wu and Pras) he gathers to fulfill an ancient prophecy to stop the giant underground machine that feeds on and creates these disfigured humans.

It is often difficult to determine if a film is purposely playing certain bits for camp value or if they actually intended for the scene to be wholly serious. I would like to venture that this film aims for the former; otherwise, the macho action hero lines uttered by Jane are pitiful. However, viewed as camp, the scenes are more than enjoyable.

Even though the year is 2707, war has left the world in ruins causing it to regress. Rather than resembling the high-tech shiny futuristic world of most sci-fi pictures, this world runs on coal and steam and everything is filthy. Furthermore, the weapons are a combination of advancement and reliability, much of it harking back to World War I.

The magnitude of the set design that would have been necessary to accomplish the desired aesthetic makes shooting in front of a green screen and creating the world in post-production via CGI the obvious choice. As a result, the grimy surfaces, devastated locations, and impossibly large mechanisms are given striking life. The only drawback is it sometimes resembles a videogame; especially when the characters are engaged in combat.

All the actors appear to embrace their roles as world-saving warriors. Perlman, Aoki, Fürmann and Anna Walton give admirable performances; Jane specially lives up to the iconoclastic role of his character. Unfortunately, the decisions of their characters do not always agree with their mandate and contradict previous judgments, which can be a bit nagging.

Without putting too much thought into the experience, it’s easy to take pleasure in watching this visually captivating picture.

For Frank Castle, there’s right and there’s wrong – there is no in between.

However, the theatrical release of The Punisher (2004) did not really convey this inflexible aspect of his personality. Castle was simply a man out for revenge. But the addition of previously unreleased scenes attaches a new aspect to the story arc that speaks to Castle’s attitude.

Castle (Thomas Jane) was a decorated marine-turned-undercover FBI agent. When crime lord Howard Saint’s (John Travolta) son is killed in a sting, he seeks incomparable retribution. Castle’s entire family is slaughtered and he is left for dead. When the justice system fails, Castle takes matters into his own hands ensuring the severity of his punishment matches the ruthlessness of their crime. In the meantime, Castle’s base of operations is in an apartment building that houses society’s unwanted – a trio of misfits (Rebecca Romijn, Ben Foster and John Pinette) that remind Castle there are still things worth fighting for.

The 17-minutes of additional footage sets up Quentin Glass (Will Patton) as Castle’s friend and the man who saved his life in Iraq; thirteen years later, he wishes Castle the best for his retirement then serves him up to the Saints. Castle’s handling of this intimate betrayal is very revealing of his character and moral servitude.

The DVD also includes a four-minute animated intro that was never shot but establishes the relationship between Glass and Castle and Castle’s dedication to the law. The Marvel comics are showcased in a covers gallery that begins with Punisher’s introduction in the 1970s and goes straight through to the 2000s, each with a summary of the issue’s contents.

The MistFrank Darabont’s collaborations with Stephen King have not failed to date, achieving acclaim nearly 15 years ago with The Shawshank Redemption, then The Green Mile in 1999 and now The Mist. Darabont has the ability to transfer the core of King’s stories to the screen without diminishing the horror. David Drayton (Thomas Jane) was only going to the supermarket for essentials after an intense electrical storm the night before; his eight-year-old son and obstinate neighbour accompanied him. In the meantime, a strange mist is rapidly rolling in over the lake. Soon, the shoppers are holed-up in the supermarket while hungry creatures emerge from the soup-like mist seeking food and shelter. However, it is not just the monsters outside they have to worry about but also the fear-crazed ones that begin to materialize inside.

The creatures developed by KNB Effects and CafeFX are noteworthy and explored in two separate featurettes. Furthermore, the short feature introducing movie poster artist (and occupational-basis for the Drayton character) Drew Struzan is intriguing.

Those that have read King’s novella will appreciate the closeness of Darabont’s screenplay to the original narrative but if you are wondering where a couple of scenes may be in the theatrical version, they are likely in the deleted scenes section with an explanation of their exclusion. On the other hand, Darabont’s feature commentary will only appeal to those interested in the minutia of filming this picture.

An interesting inclusion on the second disc is “The Director’s Vision: The Complete Feature Film in Black & White.” This extra will please admirers of the anti-realism of mid-60’s black and white creature features.

The real horror of The Mist comes not from what is waiting in the parking lot but what is lurking inside the store. Marcia Gay Harden is brilliant as the religious doomsayer and the addition of a scene later in the film reinforces the idea that people can be scarier than anything that lurks in the dark. Conversely, the ending differs from the literary one and is controversial but memorable.