A HANDFUL OF STRANGERS STOOD AROUND videotaping a man on fire. The man was in a car accident that caused the car to catch on fire. A passerby saw what was happening and raced over to the burning man. He grabbed his coat and began slapping the accident victim, to snuff out the flames. Luckily the fire department showed up in time, extinguished the flames and rushed the victim to the hospital. It was reported later that the man survived with the help of the good Samaritan. The group of strangers captured it all on their phones. This was a true story that was reported recently here on the news. The idea of people being more concerned about filming an accident, to either share or post on one of their media sites, instead of helping a person in need is something I find appalling. There was a time where people would help those in need. It eventually diminished as more people withdrew, preferring not to get involved. I have seen this very thing on public transportation, where an altercation takes place and the nearby passengers scurry away from it. I could see if they ran to get help, but now people just want to leave as fast as they can. WITH THE INCREASE IN VIOLENCE BEING reported currently I believe this isolation preference or desire is a contributing factor. It is so much easier to ignore a problem than deal with one. However, when the problem is a human being there can be consequences if the troubled person continues without getting some type of helpful treatment. The recent tragedies that have taken place across the country I find especially horrific. The shooting takes place, the news reports it, people question how it could happen and more times than not the parent of the perpetrator states their child was a good kid. Excuse me but I have a hard time with such a statement. It makes me wonder if the parent has been an active participant in the child’s life. One of the conversations I have been on posed this question: did we always have these troubled individuals around us and we just now are hearing more about them or are people getting crazier (someone else’s words)? I honestly did not have an answer. If someone begins displaying odd behavior traits I believe it needs to be investigated. I remember as a child there were a couple of people in the neighborhood who were labeled “crazy.” Luckily, they were harmless but I do not recall anyone questioning it. It appears the same thing was taking place in this film festival winning crime drama. AFTER BEING KICKED OFF OF HIS bankrupt property Lester Ballard, played by Scott Haze (Midnight Special, Thank you for Your Service), had to figure out how to survive. His method took him further away from rational thought. Written and directed by James Franco (The Disaster Artist, Spring Breakers), I found this DVD disturbing. Scott was excellent in the role but I had the hardest time understanding him. It seemed like the other cast members Tim Blake Nelson (Fantastic Four; O Brother, Where art Thou?) as Sheriff Fate, Jim Parrack (Battle Los Angeles, True Blood-TV) as Deputy Cotton and Brian Lally (As I Lay Dying, L.A. Confidential) as Greer had no such issues. Based on Cormac McCarthy’s (The Road, All the Pretty Horses) novel I assume the story is better in print form; as a movie I felt the story dragged on. It certainly was thought provoking for me as the scenes turned darker and darker. But I must tell you I wanted the film to end; not because of the subject matter, but due to it not being entertaining. There still are parts of this story lingering in my mind; for example, is Lester the result of people’s inactions?
1 ½ — DVD
IF THE ADULTS DO NOT ACT RESPONSIBLY how in the world will their children be able to act it? I have seen some bizarre things take place between a parent and a child. First off, I still remember being at a park and watching a woman fill up a baby bottle with soda pop to give to her toddler. One of my favorite contradictions is when a parent scolds a child for bad language, you know a swear word; though the son or daughter was only copying the foul mouth of their mother or father. What I imagine to be more traumatic is when the adult in the family is either drunk or high while taking care of their offspring. We had here recently a news report about a family that was driving in a car that drove off the road into a lake. It turns out the parent was drunk. I have a friend who lost a nephew due to this same type of scenario except it was a car collision instead of a lake. Childrearing of itself is already a challenging experience and then some children having to deal with these added types of circumstances is just horrifying. LUCKILY NOT EVERYTHING IS A DOOM or gloom situation; there are things I have seen between family members that were amazing. Listening to a parent explain discrimination gives me hope that the next generation will be better than the one before it. I firmly believe education is fundamental to the healthy growth of a child. Just think about it; if a child sees their parent acting afraid around a certain race or ethnic group of people, the child will instinctively become cautious around the same group. If the adult’s issues had been addressed before they manifested into fear, that adult could have stopped the cycle from being handed down to their offspring. I remember exactly where a very young me was, in a museum down in the city, when I asked about a person I saw who did not look anything like me or the people around me. Part of the explanation given to me was about countries and continents; there was no fearfulness or negative feelings put into the talk I was given. So, you see there are adults in this world who can be good examples for responsibility, thoughtfulness and compassion. The main character in this drama tries her best in the middle of rising racial tensions. AS THE TRIAL IS TAKING PLACE about the police beating of a black man single mom Millie Dunbar, played by Halle Berry (Kidnap, Kingsman: The Golden Circle), is trying to keep her children safe from the tensions building in the neighborhood. With Daniel Craig (Logan Lucky, Skyfall) as Obie Hardison, Lamar Johnson (Home Again, The Next Step-TV) as Jesse Cooper, Rachel Hilson (The Good Wife-TV, Cass) as Nicole Patterson and Callan Farris (Brothered Up-TV movie, Square Roots-TV movie) as Ruben; this movie’s story revolved around the Rodney King trial back from the 1990s in California. I thought this was going to be an intense, thought provoking crime drama but the director and writers missed the mark—by a wide gap. The script was such a mess going from ill-placed humor to drama to action to sadness; there appeared to be no thought put behind doing a complete story. As for the filming I found it annoying that the director would continually cut to aerial shots of roof top houses. There were so many predictable scenes and I thought the sudden love angle was ridiculous; yes, that is right, in the middle of a riot let us kiss. This was a waste of actors and film. What a shame for such a newsworthy event to be told by a poorly written script.
1 ½ stars
IT HAS BEEN YEARS SINCE I thought about a game we had to play in PE class. My adult self cannot believe we had to play what now looks like a brutal, archaic competition. The class would be split in half by whoever the gym teacher chose to be team captains for that week. There was a green line that was painted down the center of the gymnasium which neither team could pass. With 3 balls placed equal distance apart on the line the gym teacher would blow a whistle to start the game. The fastest running students from each side would sprint to the center to retrieve one of the balls. From there utter chaos would take place. You see the point of the game was to hit a student from the opposing side with the ball, to kick him out of the game. No matter where the ball touched the student, they would be eliminated and have to go sit in the bleachers until the game was over. The aggressive students or to be more accurate, the mean students would purposely try to hit the students in the head with the ball; this was usually followed with a cheer or laughter. As I am writing this I still have no idea how this game was promoting good health. THE GYM TEACHER CALLED THIS game “Bombardment.” I do not know if that is the real name or if in fact he just made this game up for his own enjoyment. It floors me that an activity like that was even approved by the principal, school district or whatever agency oversees school curriculum. You should have seen how hard the ball was thrown at the heads of kids by the “rougher” students; you could actually see their heads snap back by the force of the ball. The more timid students would stay all the way in the back, right up against the wall to avoid getting hit. However the downside of doing this was opening up the possibility they would be one of the last standing, giving the opposing team the opportunity to grab all the balls and pummel the poor student at the same time. I thought the whole thing was barbaric then as I do now. There was no purpose as far as I could tell in participating in such a violent game. In today’s world I am sure this game would have been banned from all schools. It needs to stay in the past, just like this sequel should have done. UNDER A GOVERNMENT PROPOSAL A small Canadian town would become part of the United States. This meant the Canadian Mounties were being replaced by the Super Troopers. Not everyone was on board with this transition to the point they wanted to sabotage the plan. This comedy starred Steve Lemme (The Origins of Wit and Humor, The Slammin’ Salmon) as Mac, Eric Stolhanske (Club Dread, Beerfest) as Rabbit, Brian Cox (Troy, Adaptation) as Captain O’Hagan, Jay Chandrasekhar (Beerfest, Speechless-TV) as Thorny and Kevin Heffernan (The Dukes of Hazzard, Club Dread) as Farva. After 17 years this group returns in a story that was weak right from the start. I do not remember the first film so maybe diehard fans will appreciate this movie. I found it painful; the so called humor was dated, cheap and offensive. I felt like I was surrounded by those students I described above; that is how infantile some of the characters were in their scenes. Honestly I could not wait for this film to be over since I felt like I was being beaten by the barrage of dated material. If this is the best the writers could come up with after 17 years then I vote for Canada to annex this franchise and put a stop to it.
1 ¼ stars
THERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT get better with age and there are others that get worse. I am a big fan of leftovers because I have found some foods taste better to me the next day. This may gross some of you out but I love cold pizza on the 2nd day as much as when I originally ordered it. Not being an alcohol drinker I have heard some wines and liquors taste better the longer they sit. When it comes to shoes I definitely feel they get better with age; my feet are much happier in an old pair of sneakers than a brand new, store bought pair. Having watched people around me go through the aging process I feel I can say some of them got softer with age. What I mean is they lost some of their intensity and rigidity. Things that used to annoy them do not have the same effect as they have grown older. On the other hand there are some folk who have become less accepting or maybe I should say less open to new experiences. They want things in a particular order with no deviation, becoming more argumentative if things are not to their liking. ALONG THESE SAME LINES I have noticed that the feelings of love and hate have altered through the years. Love for all intents and purposes has stayed steady through the years. Sure there are more ways to show one’s love these days, but overall it pretty much has stayed intact in its pureness. Hate to me has become more of a hungry beast that wants to devour things whole. Years ago when two people broke off their relationship they stopped seeing each other. Yes there may have been yelling and name calling; but eventually the participants moved on with their lives. Now we have people becoming stalkers and killers when their love goes unanswered. Hatred to me has become more volatile where groups of people form over a common hate towards some other group. The things I see on the news are hard to comprehend sometimes. People being poisoned as they walk down the street, vehicles exploding in highly populated areas, beheadings being recorded; there is only so much one can see before they get depressed by it all. You would think with the way technology has helped advance society there would be a way people could learn to embrace each other’s differences instead of using them to fuel their hatred. Though the story in this dramatic, crime thriller took place in the 1970s it could easily have taken place today. LOOKING FOR A WAY TO achieve their mutual goals a group of radicals hatch a creative plan involving an airplane. To the individuals who would be affected by their plan, it meant they would have to come up with something just as creative if they wanted to save lives. Inspired by true events this film starred Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl, A United Kingdom) as Brigitte Kuhlmann, Daniel Bruhl (The Zookeeper’s Wife, Rush) as Wilfried Bose, Eddie Marsan (Happy-Go-Lucky, 21 Grams) as Shimon Peres and Lior Ashkenazi (Footnote, Walk on Water) as Yitzhak Rabin. The story was an intense one and for it to succeed it needed a solid script, but that did not happen. The cast was certainly capable to handle it but I found the script uneven; there were some riveting scenes but then others fell flat. I actually did not like the way the movie ended with the 2 story lines. Maybe if there was more back story to the characters I would have gotten more into this film; however, what I watched only made me sad on many levels.
1 ¾ stars
AT FIRST I THOUGHT IT was due to the amount of gifts a child received, but I am not so sure anymore. I have attended children’s birthday parties where the number of toys being unwrapped was almost obscene. The child would get so worked up into a frenzy that they were just shredding the gift wrapping paper, going from box to box. I do not know if they even spent 10 seconds focusing on the unwrapped package before they went on to the next one. For the longest time I assumed a child who gets showered with gifts appreciates them less than a child whose parents could only afford to give one or two items. There just seemed to be a sense of boredom that settled in with the children of wealthier parents. I remember one party where the birthday boy received a remote controlled race car and proceeded to race it into the walls until the car broke; it did not faze him at all. In fact, he just left the broken pieces right where they were and walked away. MAYBE IT IS JUST ME but it appears the amount of toys and electronic devices marketed to children has dulled their imaginations. There was a time where a stick and a garbage can cover would be all one needed to have a sword and shield for King Arthur’s court. A pile of fallen, autumn leaves would be the domain of a king you wanted to depose. These days I see more and more kids getting plugged into electronic games. I used to make believe with my friends that we were a combat unit sent out to fight the enemy. We needed imagination as we used whatever we could find as props. I once used an empty dishwater detergent bottle as a flame thrower, except it was filled with water that would spew out when I squeezed the bottle. We had to pretend and sure one of us would die at each battle, but no one ever got harmed; none of us ever wanted to see an injury. These days it is hard not to see some form of real violence on the internet, television and video games. Heck, how many times have I complained about parents bringing their 5 year olds to an R rated movie; it upsets me. After constantly being exposed to violence I am sure it numbs a person to the reality of it. I think that is what was going on in this film festival winning, dramatic thriller. CHILDHOOD FRIENDS LILY AND AMANDA, played by Anya Taylor-Joy (Split, The Witch) and Olivia Cooke (The Signal, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), reconnect after several years. At first they seemed at odds until Lily expressed her dislike for her stepfather Mark, played by Paul Sparks (Midnight Special). Now there was something the two friends could focus on. This bloody crime movie also starred Anton Yelchin (Green Room, Star Trek franchise) as Tim and Kaili Vernoff (Café Society, The Path-TV) as Karen. I know this film has been getting a lot of good press and I can see where it is deserved. The filming style, the acting and the look of it were all done well. However the story dragged for me; I never felt connected to the characters. I had a feeling where the story was going and admit I was surprised in the twist, but I left the theater feeling blah about the whole experience. And this was despite the scenes with blood. Maybe I need to see this again but I would rather go do something outside.
THOUGH I WOULD LIKE EVERYONE to act in an honest and ethical way, I am sure there is a lot that goes on in the business world that would shock me. Not just big corporations, I am sure it trickles down to small shop owners. I have a couple of friends who ran a medical practice and I used to get surprised by the things they told me they encountered during the average work day. Drug salespeople were constantly dropping in hoping to catch a quick meeting with the doctor. If they could not meet on their first attempt, some would try to bring in lunch for the staff. I assume they were hoping they could entice the doctor to meet them over a meal. There was one salesperson who would stock their cabinet with trial size packages of the drug they were representing; however, they always either pushed back their competitor’s product to the back of the shelf or even took some of it away. Through my friends’ years at the medical practice I was astounded by the amount of free products the drug reps would try to leave at the office. I had to wonder if the drug company eliminated the free trial size portions would they lower the prices of their drugs. THE PAST WEEK A FORMER pharmaceutical executive was sentenced to prison for fraud. I think the verdict is just since he broke the law; but this is the same person who raised the price of a life-saving drug from $13.50 a pill to $750.00. Now I am all for everyone making a profit but gouging the public is simply wrong. The percentage of that price increase covers the price of inflation for centuries. Granted having the product billed as a lifesaver makes it worse, but I would feel the same way if a company increased the price of their bread by some exorbitant price. The difference is they would never do it because one can always buy a loaf of bread from a different company. People in business who only think of themselves and are willing to sacrifice the consumer to get ahead are no different in my opinion to those malicious email attachments seeking your bank information. And as a side note the latest statistics show those emails increased by 300% in the last quarter of 2017. Despite the crooked and unethical things I have mentioned, I was shocked by what I saw in this action crime comedy. WANTING TO BE THE FIRST to come to market with a brand new drug medical executive Richard Rusk, played by Joel Edgerton (Red Sparrow, The Great Gatsby), was willing to do anything to succeed. This would put his employees in a precarious predicament. With Charlize Theron (Atomic Blonde, Mad Max: Fury Road) as Elaine Markinson, David Oyelowo (A United Kingdom, Queen of Katwe) as Harold Soyinka, Thandie Newton (Crash, 2012) as Bonnie Soyinka and Amanda Seyfried (Dear John, Mamma Mia!) as Sunny; I felt the cast choices were way better than the roles they were given to play. The script started out promising to me but as time went on I thought the addition of multiple story lines and the under developed characters bogged it down. I actually do not recall anything funny in this film. Instead I thought the story was a generic version of several “chase” films I have seen before. Even with the acting I felt Charlize was the most authentic; I can only assume David wanted to do something totally different, but it did not work for me. This movie has to make one wonder if all involved producing it were sampling the drug that was coming to market in this story.
1 ¾ stars
IT WAS ONE OF THE HOTTEST Broadway shows touring the country and I had tickets for it. Because it was so popular a friend of mine wanted to scalp his ticket. Just my opinion, I thought it was rude of him to even suggest it since the group of us had planned to go out to dinner after the show. On the day of the performance we all met up at the restaurant and got seated quickly, so we would not have to rush to get to the theater. After dinner we walked over to the theater which when built was one of those old movie palaces with ornate terra cotta reliefs and large chandeliers. As I entered into the lobby there was a large board set on an easel that listed the actors that were cast for that day’s performance. Right at the top of the cast list on the first line it showed the understudy would be playing the star attraction’s character. I was devastated; the famous actor was one of the reasons I wanted to see this show and now I was stuck with the understudy. Not that he did a poor performance, in fact he was excellent; but I really wanted to see that famous actor perform in this production. IF THERE IS SOME WAY TO avoid feeling disappointed when you are expecting to get what you paid for, I am not familiar with it. Now granted in regards to that Broadway production, all of us enjoyed the show with its excellent cast and incredible staging of the sets. However I could not help feeling letdown because I did not see the main actor that everyone had been talking about being the perfect actor for the role. I guess the feeling is similar to going to your favorite restaurant for your favorite dish and discovering they ran out of it. At that point it is unlikely you would leave; instead you would find something else to eat, just not as satisfying. Now I do not want this to sound like I am a snob, but there have been times where I have tried the generic version of a product and disliked it. There was a dessert I was preparing for a party where I used raisins that were the grocery store’s brand. They turned out to be these tiny, shriveled raisins that still had some stems attached; I never bought them again, wondering why I did in the first place. I asked myself the same question after I saw this action, crime drama remake; why see this when I could rent the original? AFTER HIS FAMILY WAS BRUTALLY attacked in a home invasion Paul Kersey, played by Bruce Willis (First Kill, Die Hard franchise), got tired waiting for the police to solve the crime. He took things into his own hands. With Vincent D’Onofrio (The Magnificent Seven, Ed Wood) as Frank Kersey, Elizabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas, Adventures in Babysitting) as Lucy Kersey and Dean Norris (Total Recall, Breaking Bad-TV) as Detective Kevin Raines; there was absolutely nothing new in this film compared to the original. The only difference was there were less thrills, tension and good acting. I found the script odd and not quite believable. If you did not see the original movie then you might enjoy this picture more than I did. The strange thing for me was the audience around me during the film’s showing. I had to wonder if some of the people who were watching this movie were thinking they wanted to do the same thing as Paul; it was creepy. As I mentioned earlier if you never saw the original this may interest you, but not something that one needs to rush out and go see.
1 ½ stars
I DO NOT THINK I would ever be accused of being a game snob; at least I don’t think so. Games provide two important functions in my opinion: they activate the brain and instill a sense of pleasure and fun in the individual. When one can assemble a group of willing participants into playing a game, they should consider it an achievement. I say this because I have been a part of several game nights where there were players who made sure everyone knew they were not having fun. Or worse yet I knew this man (a friend was dating him) who was one of the worst game players I have ever encountered in my entire life. He would yell, scream and belittle any of his teammates if they were not doing what HE thought they should be doing to win the game. It was so awful to sit there and have this guy dramatically, yes dramatically, talk down to someone for making a move that did not help their team’s score. I finally told my friend I would never play with them again; gratefully she stopped dating him soon after. ON THE OTHER HAND I have played with some people who were so disinterested that you had to literally tell them what to do throughout the whole game. They would not pay attention to when it was their turn, the rules or what their teammates were doing when it was their turns; it made one wonder why they agreed to play a game in the first place. Now I do not have an issue with anyone saying they are not interested in playing something; if they want to sit it out I am fine with it. But if you agree to play a game I feel one should at least show an effort and if need be become a team player. When you have several people on one team with one person who is not engaged with everyone else, it does throw the game off. I remember when I was participating on a bowling team and one of the players made no effort in playing; I mean they would just pick up a bowling ball and throw it down the alley without any concern if they hit a pin or not. The rest of the team you could tell was not happy they had this person as a teammate. It just made for an uncomfortable time and that is not something I want to be a part of; the same could be said for either of the teams in this mystery crime comedy. THE GAME NIGHT HOSTED BY Annie and Max, played by Rachel McAdams (Spotlight, The Notebook) and Jason Bateman (Bad Words, The Family Fang), was in for a surprise when Max’ super competitive brother Brooks, played by Kyle Chandler (Manchester by the Sea, Friday Night Lights-TV), showed up and decided to take the competition up a notch with a murder mystery game. Even when there was an actual kidnapping the players continued on with the game. With Sharon Horgan (Imagine Me & You, Man Up) as Sarah and Billy Magnussen (The Big Short, Into the Woods) as Ryan, this cast was exceptionally well suited for the script. I particularly thought Jason and Rachel were perfect playing off of each other. The story seemed familiar to me, but at least there were a few good laughs in the movie. I actually liked seeing Kyle in a different type of role for himself and thought he handled it well; his fight scenes were really good. There are some twists to the plot and those who have a sibling might relate to the sibling rivalry angle. The odds are tipped in favor of having an easy, fun time watching this film.
2 ½ stars
IT IS BEST TO TREAD carefully when you have interactions with a person who has a blurred line between their personal and business life. I am not saying such an individual is a “bad” person; but I have found they tend to react and think differently in social settings and relationships. There are some people whose job becomes their life; the role they play at work continues after hours. At a party I attended there was an individual who was employed in a managerial position. This person was used to having the final say; in other words, they always got their way. If you tried to have a discussion with them they pretended to listen to you, nodding their head up and down at certain points while you talked, but they would quickly make up their mind before you even finished stating your point. Granted this was only one example but I have been a witness to many other similar situations and yet I do not think all managers act this way. It is a particular behavior that I have noticed more than once. DO YOU THINK IT IS safe to say a person who is a control freak or hungry for power would easily change by deferring to another individual? I do not see it happening or at least not easily. Even in a love relationship relinquishing control takes a lot of effort for some people. I admit I am a person who likes to be in control; if for no other reason I have no one to blame for anything that may go wrong. I kid my friends that I wish everyone would follow my rules because it would make life so much easier to navigate. Realistically I know this cannot happen; however, I have been around some individuals who almost desperately try to exert their will on other people. It makes for an uncomfortable situation. These individuals I have noticed tend to compartmentalize all aspects of their daily life, more so at their place of employment. This only feeds into their control issues. And if you want to see an example of this, feel free to view this action crime drama. ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL group of bank robbers has set their sights on something bigger. Their actions are really getting to Officer Nick Flanagan, played by Gerard Butler (Geostorm, Olympus Has Fallen franchise) and his special unit within the Los Angeles Sheriff’s department. With Jordan Bridges (Mona Lisa Smile, Frequency) as “Lobbin Bob” Golightly, Pablo Schreiber (13 Hours, Vicky Cristina Barcelona) as Merrimen, Evan Jones (The Book of Eli, 8 Mile) as Bosco and O’Shea Jackson Jr (Straight Outta Compton, Ingrid Goes West) as Donnie; this movie had some intense moments throughout the story. The director kept the script going with a decent amount of tension throughout. Gerard was good with his character though it did appear to be similar to some of his other roles. I was trying to figure out why I enjoyed this film more than I expected since the story appeared to be your typical bank heist, good guys vs. bad guys type of story and what dawned on me was the audacity of the crimes. With the steady tension and intense characters this picture kept my interest, though the 2 hour and 20 minute running time was not necessary. There will be a chance some viewers will have a problem with the story’s ending. In a test for control I would lose to either group in this movie.
2 ½ stars
WHAT I AM ABOUT TO tell you is not written in any rule books. It is observational, helpful guidelines I have made over the years while riding trains in different cities. There is something about trains that has always attracted me. They are not as fast as planes but sitting back and literally seeing the countryside pass by is a thrill for me. I remember on one vacation a friend had told me to make sure I sat on the left side of the train car for a better view on a scenic train ride through the mountains and they were absolutely right. This train was geared more towards tourists so all the train cars were clean inside and out. On public transportation systems I have sat in seats where the windows were smeared with something I preferred not knowing what it could be; so make a note to yourself, you never want to lean your head against the window even if you should happen to doze off. When you are sitting in a train car where there is an agitated passenger talking nonsense it is best to exit the train car and go to another one. IF YOU ARE CURIOUS to learn about the local cuisine of a new city, I suggest you never sit next to a passenger who is eating. Chances are you will have crumbs or liquids spilled on you; it is best to sit across from the person if you want to ask about the food balanced on their lap. I have walked onto some train cars where there was such a strong stench of stale food that I immediately turned around and found a different car. On one trip I was sitting in my seat trying to listen to the conductor calling out each train stop. After some time I found the conductor to ask him how much longer to the stop I needed. They looked at me with concern as they told me I missed my stop and I better stay with him for the rest of the trip, until he could put me on another train to take me back to where I needed to belong. It was an odd exchange at the time but I soon realized what the conductor was implying as the neighborhood we were traveling through was changing. From what I have told you now, do you want to take a chance by riding on the train in this dramatic, crime drama? BY RIDING THE SAME train to work every day Michael MacCauley, played Liam Neeson (Run All Night, The Grey), was familiar with most of the passengers in his train car. However when the stranger Joanna, played by Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air, Orphan), sat next to him she struck up a conversation that would change his life. Along with Liam and Vera the cast included Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring franchise, The Phantom of the Opera) as Alex Murphy, Sam Neill (Tommy’s Honour, The Piano) as Captain Hawthorne and Jonathan Banks (Gremlins, Breaking Bed) as Walt. As this passenger train rolled down the tracks the story and script got loonier and loonier. Liam played the exact same character he has portrayed in most of his recent films. The beginning of the story interested me but soon scenes were becoming farfetched and not making much sense. I did not connect to any of the characters. In a way this film was a cross between Liam’s Taken film franchise with Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. One would have been better off to have taken a different train all together.
1 ¾ stars