Tag Archives: Liev Schreiber

The Last Days on Mars (2013, Ruairi Robinson)

The Last Days on Mars is nothing if not bold in what it rips off. Director Robinson and screenwriter Clive Dawson don’t even bother disguising the primary influences–Alien, Aliens, The Thing, Ghosts of Mars–the last one is probably coincidental. You can only do so many stories about zombies on Mars and have it be original.

The film does have extraordinary special effects, great music from Max Richter (who also borrows from the mentioned films in tone, without abject plagiarism) and decent photography from Robbie Ryan . A lot of Mars is set in the dark and Ryan does well giving the audience just enough to see.

Oh, I forgot. Star Trek II. They rip off Star Trek II a little bit.

Sadly, Robinson isn’t even creative enough to turn these lifts from other, very famous science fiction films, which makes them odd choices for such obvious lifts, into a wink to the audience. He fully seems to expect his audience not to have seen a film before this one.

Even if one had never seen a single film before, Mars would still be lame. Robinson’s not just unoriginal when it comes to his compositions, he can’t direct actors and Dawson’s script doesn’t give them anything to do either.

I suppose Liev Schreiber and Romola Garai are okay in the leads. Elias Koteas is good as the captain, Olivia Williams is decent as a determined scientist. None of the acting’s actually bad except Yusra Warsama.

Mars’s just a bad film.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Ruairi Robinson; screenplay by Clive Dawson, based on a short story by Sydney J. Bounds; director of photography, Robbie Ryan; edited by Peter Lambert; music by Max Richter; production designer, Jon Henson; produced by Andrea Cornwell and Michael Kuhn; released by Magnet Releasing.

Starring Liev Schreiber (Vincent Campbell), Romola Garai (Rebecca Lane), Olivia Williams (Kim Aldrich), Johnny Harris (Robert Irwin), Goran Kostic (Marko Petrovic), Tom Cullen (Richard Harrington), Yusra Warsama (Lauren Dalby) and Elias Koteas (Charles Brunel).


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Clear History (2013, Greg Mottola)

Besides J.B. Smoove, Clear History does not reunite Larry David with any of his “Curb Your Enthusiasm” costars. David and Smoove have their fantastic chemistry and it’s a little strange not to see them hanging out in the film. Instead, David hangs out with Danny McBride, who probably gives the film’s must mundane performance. He’s fine… he just doesn’t get any of the laugh lines.

The first third of Clear sets the scene. In an alternate reality where the electric car catches on like hotcakes, David’s character gives up a stake in the company. Destitute, he creates a new life in Martha’s Vineyard–unlikely location maybe, but it’s very pretty scenery. Everything goes well until Jon Hamm–as David’s former boss–arrives on the island.

Antics ensue. With a relaxed plotting structure, Clear feels a lot like three episodes of a TV show strung together. David and his co-writers, Alec Berg, David Mandel and Jeff Schaffer, do put in a lot of subplots, but they’re all for joke payoff throughout. Heck, they even miss one involving Liev Schreiber, which is too bad. He’s hilarious.

Great work from Hamm, Kate Hudson and especially Michael Keaton. Keaton gets to do his wacky thing as a local mad at all the changes to the Vineyard. Very funny. Nice smaller turns from Eva Mendes and Amy Ryan. It’s perfectly cast and performed, it’s just slight.

Greg Mottola’s directorial fingerprints are invisible. Besides transition shots, he just lets the actors act.

Clear’s pleasantly mediocre.

2/4★★

CREDITS

Directed by Greg Mottola; written by Larry David, Alec Berg, David Mandel and Jeff Schaffer; director of photography, Jim Denault; edited by Steven Rausch; music by Ludovic Bource; production designer, Sarah Knowles; produced by Monica Levinson, David, Berg, Mandel and Schaffer; aired by Home Box Office.

Starring Larry David (Rolly), Danny McBride (Frank), Kate Hudson (Rhonda), Jon Hamm (Will Haney), Michael Keaton (Joe Stumpo), Bill Hader (Rags), J.B. Smoove (Jaspar), Eva Mendes (Jennifer), Amy Ryan (Wendy), Philip Baker Hall (McKenzie) and Liev Schreiber (Tibor).


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Scream 3 (2000, Wes Craven)

Neve Campbell wanted a reduced presence in Scream 3—she doesn’t really show up in the film’s plot until an hour in—but by not participating, she’s in a worse film.

Her performance is fine. Ehren Kruger’s script is so lame, she can’t do much with the role—especially since she’s got to be suspecting everyone. Except Courtney Cox and David Arquette, of course, and when the three are on screen together it’s the closest Scream 3 comes to working.

Cox gives the film’s best performance. Arquette’s only good opposite her or Campbell. Replacing Campbell for some of the run time is Parker Posey, who’s playing Cox’s character in a movie. Parker and Cox are great together. How Kruger and Craven didn’t realize it is beyond belief.

Craven’s got a couple good set pieces (not the final sequence, unfortunately… it drags forever) but he’s clearly disinterested. Though it’s not like he can be held responsible for the terrible acting.

In no particular order, the laundry list of horrific acting… Jenny McCarthy, Emily Mortimer (she’s real bad), Scott Foley, Patrick Dempsey (he tries to act with his hair) and Josh Pais. Pais is barely in the film but is so bad he’s memorable.

As for good acting? Matt Keeslar is good and Patrick Warburton is funny. And a decent Carrie Fisher cameo. Poor Liev Schreiber looks embarrassed.

The good parts of the film show there’s potential—even with the setting and set pieces.

Terrible Marco Beltrami score too.

It’s surprisingly disappointing.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Wes Craven; screenplay by Ehren Kruger, based on characters created by Kevin Williamson; director of photography, Peter Deming; edited by Patrick Lussier; music by Marco Beltrami; production designer, Bruce Alan Miller; produced by Cathy Konrad, Marianne Maddalena and Williamson; released by Dimension Films.

Starring Neve Campbell (Sidney Prescott), Courteney Cox (Gale Weathers), David Arquette (Dewey Riley), Emily Mortimer (Angelina Tyler), Parker Posey (Jennifer Jolie), Matt Keeslar (Tom Prinze), Jenny McCarthy (Sarah Darling), Deon Richmond (Tyson Fox), Scott Foley (Roman Bridger), Lance Henriksen (John Milton), Patrick Dempsey (Mark Kincaid), Josh Pais (Wallace), Patrick Warburton (Steven Stone), Carrie Fisher (Bianca), Heather Matarazzo (Martha Meeks), Kelly Rutherford (Christine Hamilton) and Liev Schreiber (Cotton Weary).


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X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009, Gavin Hood)

One has to wonder if, had things worked out differently, Harrison Ford would have made a Han Solo prequel in the mid-1980s. I mean, he did reprise Bob Falfa. While the X-Men movies did make Hugh Jackman a star, they didn’t really make him the biggest star in the world. But X-Men Origins: Wolverine does offer something else–it’s gives Jackman a chance to be charming and athletic–it’s got to be the only franchise where the target audiences are teenage boys and women of the age of reason.

The film doesn’t feature Jackman’s best performance by far, but it does reveal exactly why he’s such a singularity. He’s a movie star, one who can make this silly action movie (which is, to be fair, pretty darn violent for a PG-13) seem like a real movie. It doesn’t hurt he’s got Liev Schreiber as his nemesis. The movie could have been–should have been–framed in a long fight scene between the two of them, flashbacks playing through. Schreiber somehow manages to turn in a textured performance and gnaw through the scenery.

There are some bright spots in the supporting cast–Will.i.am is surprisingly good and Danny Huston can make his atrocious dialogue sound all right–and no one’s terrible. There’s not enough personality in the script for the actors to do any better.

The direction’s good, if a little bland. It’s PG-13 gritty.

The special effects are bad. They bring it down.

1/4

CREDITS

Directed by Gavin Hood; written by David Benioff and Skip Woods; director of photography, Donald M. McAlpine; edited by Nicolas De Toth and Megan Gill; music by Harry Gregson-Williams; production designer, Barry Robison; produced by Lauren Shuler Donner, Ralph Winter, Hugh Jackman and John Palermo; released by 20th Century Fox.

Starring Hugh Jackman (Logan), Liev Schreiber (Victor), Danny Huston (Stryker), Will.i.am (John Wraith), Lynn Collins (Kayla), Kevin Durand (Fred Dukes), Dominic Monaghan (Bradley), Taylor Kitsch (Remy LeBeau), Daniel Henney (Agent Zero) and Ryan Reynolds (Wade Wilson).


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