Tag Archives: Daniel Pearl

Pathfinder (2007, Marcus Nispel), the unrated version

If Pathfinder weren’t so long, it might be more amusing. For the first hour, it’s actually rather tolerable. It’s not any good, of course, but the story of this Native American tribe encountering invading Vikings does look good. There’s decent photography from Daniel Pearl and director Nispel, for all his problems, does compose the wilderness shots well.

But then the Vikings, led by the Kurgan–Clancy Brown in the film’s “best” performance–capture the hero (Karl Urban) and his lady friend (Moon Bloodgood). The sequence goes on forever, with Nispel borrowing action thrills out of Predator, Cliffhanger and probably Commando, only without knowing how to direct them.

Nispel’s inability to shoot action–he thinks making it gory covers him–is one of the biggest problems with Pathfinder. Another big problem is how stupid it gets. Having the Vikings be the villains sounds like an action figure play set from the seventies–Vikings vs. Indians–but, if the filmmakers played it straight, might at least be interesting as a “what if” thing. Instead, as my wife pointed out, they turned the Vikings into Klingons, complete with vicious dogs.

Will the hero–I forgot, Urban was a Viking lad stranded during their previous invasion who grew up with the Native people–battle Kurgan of the Klingons? Will he save Bloodgood? Will the movie ever end?

Urban’s got a terribly written part but he’s better than Bloodgood. No one’s worse than Russell Means. Jay Tavare’s nearly okay.

Pathfinder’s a terrible movie. Boring too.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Marcus Nispel; screenplay by Laeta Kalogridis, based on the film by Nils Gaup; director of photography, Daniel Pearl; edited by Jay Friedkin and Glen Scantlebury; edited by Jonathan Elias; production designer, Greg Blair; produced by Mike Medavoy, Arnold Messer and Nispel; released by 20th Century Fox.

Starring Karl Urban (Ghost), Moon Bloodgood (Starfire), Russell Means (Pathfinder), Ralf Moeller (Ulfar), Jay Tavare (Blackwing), Nathaniel Arcand (Wind In Tree), Kevin Loring (Jester) and Clancy Brown (Gunnar).


RELATED

Advertisements

Invaders from Mars (1986, Tobe Hoober)

Invaders from Mars, while it’s occasionally obvious it’s a comedy, can’t seem to decide. For a while, Hooper directs it absolutely straight–which doesn’t do the film any favors. Hooper’s composition is excellent (he and cinematographer Daniel Pearl have some great Panavision shots) but there’s no menace. Hunter Carson plays a kid convinced aliens have landed and are taking over the townsfolk, including his parents, but Carson never seems too out of it.

The other acting in those scenes is the big problem. Laraine Newman is bad as Carson’s mom, even if she is somewhat likable. Timothy Bottoms is a little better, but still no great shakes. As Carson’s evil schoolteacher, Louise Fletcher is awful. For the scenes when Fletcher has to act really crazy, she’s even worse. It’s like Hooper told her to play it as a comedic role and she just couldn’t figure out how to do it.

Karen Black’s great as Carson’s only fellow human. It’s a thankless role for her, but she’s got some excellent scenes.

Just over halfway through, when Mars is really dragging, the military comes in and things get funnier (and better). James Karen’s great as the general who Carson and Black enlist to fight the aliens. The accelerated pace even makes up for the previously unexplained Mars space shuttle mission. Hooper really should have opened with that detail.

Christopher Young’s score helps a lot, as do good supporting turns in the latter half.

Mars is confused. Its lack of commitment sinks it.

1.5/4★½

CREDITS

Directed by Tobe Hooper; screenplay by Dan O’Bannon and Don Jakoby, based on a screenplay by Richard Blake; director of photography, Daniel Pearl; edited by Alain Jakubowicz; music by Christopher Young; production designer, Leslie Dilley; produced by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus; released by Cannon Films.

Starring Hunter Carson (David Gardner), Karen Black (Linda Magnusson), Timothy Bottoms (George Gardner), Laraine Newman (Ellen Gardner), James Karen (Gen. Climet Wilson), Louise Fletcher (Mrs. McKeltch), Eric Pierpoint (Sgt. Maj. Rinaldi), Christopher Allport (Captain Curtis) and Bud Cort (Dr. Mark Weinstein).


RELATED

Friday the 13th (2009, Marcus Nispel), the extended version

I don’t know what I was expecting from Friday the 13th, but whatever it was, I didn’t get it. It’s not particularly gory, it’s not at all scary, it’s not stupid enough to be funny; I do understand why producer Michael Bay walked on it due to the level of sex. It’s like they traded violence for nudity in terms of pushing the limits.

I was expecting gore, just because it was supposed to be more “realistic” and scarier. Marcus Nispel can compose a Panavision shot. It’s one of the better looking Friday the 13th movies I’ve seen. They’re crappier movies (the fourth one is somewhat well-made). But this one, it’s well-photographed. Daniel Pearl does a good job shooting it. Does it look any better than the direct-to-Sci-Fi Man-Thing movie from a few years ago? No. Is it scarier? No. Is it less scary? Probably.

There’s an absence of any quality to Friday the 13th, which might be admirable. Jared Padalecki is not as amusing a leading man as any of the previous ones. Danielle Panabaker is the love interest. She’s lame, but not as bad as some of the other female performers.

Ryan Hansen from “Veronica Mars” is in it. In some ways, he’s the most respectable actor in it. He’s not in it for long.

Amanda Righetti from “The Mentalist” is one of the leads. She’s not very good but better than anybody else.

Richard Burgi is wasted in a small role.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Marcus Nispel; screenplay by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, based on a story by Shannon, Swift and Mark Wheaton and characters created by Victor Miller; director of photography, Daniel Pearl; edited by Ken Blackwell; music by Steve Jablonsky; production designer, Jeremy Conway; produced by Michael Bay, Andrew Form and Bradley Fuller; released by New Line Cinema.

Starring Jared Padalecki (Clay Miller), Danielle Panabaker (Jenna), Amanda Righetti (Whitney Miller), Travis Van Winkle (Trent), Aaron Yoo (Chewie), Derek Mears (Jason Voorhees), Jonathan Sadowski (Wade), Julianna Guill (Bree), Ben Feldman (Richie), Arlen Escarpeta (Lawrence) and Ryan Hansen (Nolan).


RELATED