Tag Archives: D.B. Sweeney

Taken 2 (2012, Olivier Megaton), the unrated version

Besides a truly excellent real time (or very close to it) sequence where Maggie Grace avoids being kidnapped in order to help already kidnapped parents Liam Neeson and Famke Janssen, there's not much to Taken 2. Even the action-packed finale is a disappointment. I had been hoping it'd match that long sequence–which goes from a foot chase to car chase, with action moments throughout–but it's like everyone gave up and truncated the ending.

Maybe Neeson had it in his contract the movie could only run so long. A major part of his performance is his visible distain for the film; he incorporates the world weariness into the part well, but one can't help notice he doesn't run very often and many of the complicated action choreography happens when he's offscreen.

Still, director Megaton does a perfectly adequate job. Taken 2 is fast and dumb, no one seems to disagree. Writers Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen don't even try to fill the runtime with action and intrigue–there's a long first act setting up Janssen and Grace visiting Istanbul with Neeson. The writers pretend spending time with the characters will make the audience care, but really… no one cares. Not the writers, not the actors. They all do okay enough–even Grace, who looks about twenty-two as a teenager (which isn't bad, considering she was twenty-eight or so during filming).

Maybe it'd be better if Rade Serbedzija's villain weren't so lame, but why bother caring. Like I said, no one else does.

1.5/4★½

CREDITS

Directed by Olivier Megaton; written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen; director of photography, Romain Lacourbas; edited by Camille Delamarre and Vincent Tabaillon; music by Nathaniel Méchaly; production designer, Sébastien Inizan; produced by Besson; released by EuropaCorp.

Starring Liam Neeson (Bryan Mills), Maggie Grace (Kim), Famke Janssen (Lenore), Leland Orser (Sam), Jon Gries (Casey), D.B. Sweeney (Bernie), Luke Grimes (Jamie) and Rade Serbedzija (Murad Krasniqi).


RELATED

Advertisements

Swamp Shark (2011, Griff Furst)

It’s hard to explain why Swamp Shark is watchable. The primary reason–besides seeing what weathered professionals D.B. Sweeney and Kristy Swanson–is the Louisiana location shooting. Cinematographer Lorenzo Senatore really brings out the greens. Besides the terrible, digitally aided day for night scene, Swamp Shark looks better than it should. Even though the casting director forgot black people live in Louisiana too.

Furst isn’t much of a director, but he knows what to mimic and he rips off a couple memorable moments from Jaws and, in particular, Jaws 2. He also seems to understand the only way to make Swamp Shark palatable is to pace it like a traditional TV movie (it plays like an abbreviated miniseries) and not a film. The abbreviating works a lot better because the supporting cast is so terrible. There are a bunch of college kids in danger and they’re all awful. Well, mostly just Dylan Ramsey.

In the main cast, Jeff Chase and especially Richard Tanne are bad. Furst can’t direct actors, but it’s okay, because his editor, Matt Taylor, can’t cut dialogue scenes together.

Sweeney holds it together admirably, as does Robert Davi–even though Davi loses his accent after a while. Swanson never attempts an accent; she’s agreeable without being believable. She comes off way too smart.

Jason Rogel is amusing in a smaller role. Sophie Sinise leaves no impression.

Wade Boggs is awful; he doesn’t seem to get the movie’s laughing at him.

Swamp Shark is garbage, but surprisingly digestible.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Griff Furst; written by Jennifer Iwen; director of photography, Lorenzo Senatore; edited by Matt Taylor; music by Andrew Morgan Smith; production designer, Jayme Bohn; produced by Kenneth M. Badish and Daniel Lewis; aired by the Syfy Channel.

Starring Kristy Swanson (Rachel Bouchard), D.B. Sweeney (Tommy Breysler), Robert Davi (Sheriff Watson), Jeff Chase (Jason Bouchard), Sophie Sinise (Krystal Bouchard), Jason Rogel (Martin), Richard Tanne (Tyler), Charles Harrelson (Noah), Natacha Itzel (Sarah), Dylan Ramsey (Scott), Lauren Graham (Laura), Thomas Tah Hyde III (Marcus), Ashton Leigh (Amber) and Wade Boggs (Deputy Stanley).


RELATED

Speak (2004, Jessica Sharzer)

I love reviewing the unexpected film, I love finding new filmmakers to watch. Still, I find Speak odd choice. I only bookmarked the film because D.B. Sweeney and Elizabeth Perkins play a married couple (I have a soft-spot for both)….

I first read about the film because of its broadcasting–it’s not a TV movie, but IMDb lists it as such. Showtime and Lifetime picked it up off the festival circuit and showed it simultaneously. I’m having a hard time constructing a review of the film (and hey, it was one I was going to simul-post on Blogcritics too), just because I don’t know how to talk about it without giving “it” away and the film does try to keep the viewer in a reasonable dark. Except it’s an adaptation of a young adult novel, but I’m not sure how many of my readers keep up with that medium.

I can say, nice and easy, that the lead, Kristen Stewart, is great. The only thing else I’ve seen her in was Panic Room and I don’t know if she was in the fifteen minutes I stayed in the theater for that one. Steve Zahn is not great. He’s trying way too hard and I had to look it up to remember that Out of Sight made him. Director and co-writer Jessica Sharzer has a great feel for directing. There are nice echoes throughout the film–which could, I suppose, be from the book, but I doubt it, because they seem so reflexive. Some people just know how long to hold a shot, how long to keep the music going, Sharzer seems to be one of those folks. Sometimes, however, the running time–ninety minutes–starts bumping into what the film wants to do and it hurts. But Sharzer tells a whole school year in ninety minutes and I buy it. There’s a lot in the film I don’t (and it’s not just because I’m a stickler about long present action), and that’s when the acting and Sharzer’s feel for directing come in.

Speak‘s a rewarding experience to be sure–there are just too many beautiful, quiet moments in it for the film not to be, particularly the relationship between the Stewart and her parents (Sweeney and Perkins). It reminds me of something I read about Rebecca Miller’s Personal Velocity, an online critic calling it a “Lifetime movie,” which made me think I need to see more Lifetime movies then. Speak isn’t exactly a Lifetime movie and it’s no Personal Velocity, but it’s good.

2.5/4★★½

CREDITS

Directed by Jessica Sharzer; screenplay by Sharzer and Annie Young Frisbie, based on the novel by Laurie Halse Anderson; director of photography, Andrij Parekh; edited by Peter C. Frank; music by Christopher Libertino; production designer, Laura Ballinger; produced by Fred Berner, Matthew Myers and Matt Myers; released by Showtime Networks.

Starring Kristen Stewart (Melinda Sordino), Michael Angarano (Dave Petrakis), Robert John Burke (Mr. Neck), Hallee Hirsh (Rachel Bruin), Eric Lively (Andy Evans), Leslie Lyles (Hairwoman), Elizabeth Perkins (Joyce Sordino), Allison Siko (Heather), D.B. Sweeney (Jack Sordino) and Steve Zahn (Mr. Freeman).