Tag Archives: Danielle Panabaker

Mr. Brooks (2007, Bruce A. Evans)

The scariest thing about Mr. Brooks, ostensibly a serial killer thriller, is what if it’s not an absurdist comedy. What if we’re really supposed to believe Demi Moore is a millionaire cop who’s out to get the bad guys….

Thankfully, between William Hurt’s performance (he gleefully chews scenery like his omnipresent gum) as Kevin Costner’s imaginary friend and then Costner’s silly nasal voice, it’s impossible to take seriously. And I’m not even mentioning when the movie obviously lifts scenes from Manhunter and Silence of the Lambs… or makes fun of Demi Moore being married to Ashton Kutcher.

The first half of the film maintains this absurdist approach—some of the dialogue between Moore and Lindsay Crouse is so funny, it’s hard to believe Crouse could keep a straight face. Unfortunately, writers Bruce A. Evans and Raynold Gideon can’t keep up the farcical nature and eventually feel the need to insert narrative. There’s actual potential, but it’s problematic given the film as it exists so far.

For example, Hurt sort of disappears and Moore becomes prevalent.

Dane Cook’s around too, as Costner’s erstwhile sidekick and Moore’s suspect, and he’s awful. Marg Helgenberger, as Costner’s unknowing wife, isn’t much help either. She sells some of the absurdity in the first ten minutes, but then her presence becomes troublesome. A lot of the plot threads go nowhere.

When it finally gets to the inevitable twist ending, Mr. Brooks has lost the momentum. But, in a certain frame of mind, it’s not exactly worthless.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Bruce A. Evans; written by Evans and Raynold Gideon; director of photography, John Lindley; edited by Miklos Wright; music by Ramin Djawadi; production designer, Jeffrey Beecroft; produced by Kevin Costner, Gideon and Jim Wilson; released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Starring Kevin Costner (Mr. Earl Brooks), Demi Moore (Det. Tracy Atwood), Dane Cook (Mr. Smith), William Hurt (Marshall), Marg Helgenberger (Emma Brooks), Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Hawkins), Danielle Panabaker (Jane Brooks), Aisha Hinds (Nancy Hart) and Lindsay Crouse (Captain Lister).


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The Ward (2010, John Carpenter)

The Ward takes place in an Oregon mental institution in the late 1960s and doesn’t have a single good Cuckoo’s Nest reference. I’m not sure one would have helped—writes Michael and Shawn Rasmussen are fairly tepid (they play toward director Carpenter’s eighties weaknesses in fact). Maybe if they’d modeled the film on Cuckoo’s Nest, things would have been better.

The film is Carpenter’s first feature work in a decade. It’s his first work for hire project since even longer… it shows.

There’s very little in the way of imaginative casting. Lead Amber Heard is terrible. I assume he couldn’t recast her. She handles the screaming parts better than the talking parts.

Some of the supporting actors are good—Mamie Gummer, Laura-Leigh, Jared Harris and D.R. Anderson. The Ratched stand-in, played by Susanna Burney, is awful.

Mark Kilian’s score is all right. At times, it reminds of an old Carpenter synthesizer score, enough so I almost thought Carpenter pulled the double duty. But he didn’t. Because he didn’t care about The Ward.

His composition is still strong. The film features some of his first ever CG work and it’s not poorly done. It’s pointless and a waste of time (and a surprising sequel to Ghosts of Mars due to the effects crew), but it’s not poorly done.

If one can get past the weak acting, it’s a decent enough waste of time. The intentionally convoluted, twist filled plotting compels.

The Ward doesn’t pay off, but it’s not worthless.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by John Carpenter; written by Michael Rasmussen and Shawn Rasmussen; director of photography, Yaron Orbach; edited by Patrick McMahon; music by Mark Kilian; production designer, Paul Peters; produced by Peter Block, Doug Mankoff, Mike Marcus and Andrew Spaulding; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Amber Heard (Kristen), Mamie Gummer (Emily), Danielle Panabaker (Sarah), Laura-Leigh (Zoey), Lyndsy Fonseca (Iris), D.R. Anderson (Roy), Susanna Burney (Nurse Lundt) and Jared Harris (Dr. Stringer).


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THIS FILM IS ALSO DISCUSSED IN SUM UP | JOHN CARPENTER, PART 4: THE MUNDANE YEARS.

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).


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