Entries tagged with “John Cusack”.


Having any of Nicolas Cage or John Cusack in the cast is enough to make me curious to see a movie in which one of them appears,even more when they play together, so I did not have much hesitation in deciding to see ‘The Frozen Ground‘ despite the rather unfortunate cinematic experiences I have had in recent years with the bizarre roles chosen by Nicolas Cage. Critics and viewers who rate movies on IMDB have not even been enthusiastic either, and yet Scott Walker‘s film (at his first and only feature film so far, also the script writer) did not disappoint me.

 

source https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2005374/

source https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2005374/

 

‘The Frozen Ground’ is based on true crime cases in Alaska in the 1970s and 1980s telling the story of the investigation that led to the arrest of a serial killer and rapist named Robert Hansen (the role played by John Cusack in the film). It is one of those cases where the criminal is known to the audience since the beginning of the film, and the story focuses on the details of the investigation and the legal and procedural aspects that allow the suspect to be arrested and accused. The suspect was apparently what is called a “normative citizen” and the American legal system as well as the social conveniences were on his side. The investigation conducted by the police officer (played by Nicolas Cage) had as witness a young prostitute, whose testimony was questionable because of her social status. Reality does not always provide enough real data for fiction films, and some more fiction should be built around it. In this case, screen writer Scott Walker focused on the relationship and confidence building between the policeman and the only surviving victim of the criminal who kidnapped, raped and murdered young women.

 

(video source Movieclips Coming Soon)

 

The criminal procedural elements in ‘The Frozen Ground’ are quite trivial and familiar to viewers from many other similar movies. The film, however, manages to remain on a decent level with a well-built action, with a realistic description of the violent and corrupt environment of the Alaskan border towns during the oil boom, with the cinematography of the frozen landscapes where some of the victims end their lives in a horrific manner. Nicolas Cage acts low key, somehow in a monotonous manner, in the role of the dedicated policeman with a soul, John Cusack has to small a role for an actor of his caliber, but it is worthwhile waiting for the scene of the interrogation at the end of the movie that brings the two together on the screen. Vanessa Hudgens is the acting revelation, as the young vulnerable woman, victim of family and social traumas, and succeeds be on screen more than just a victimized woman. Without any significant sparks, ‘The Frozen Ground’ is a more than just another true crime docu-drama and watching it is no wasted time.

Before I will be hit by the sequel which I hear is much worse than the original, here are my short impressions about this comedy with promising premises but quite a flat and dull execution. Since ‘Back in the Future’ was made in the mid-80s script writers have found little need to invent credible premises for time-travel films, be they thrillers or comedies. So when in 2010 director Steve Pink looked for one more opportunity to cast his preferred actor John Cusack (or maybe the other way, Cusack looked for a pretext to work again with Pink) there was no need to find much smarter excuses than a broken hot tub with golden water in an otherwise out of fashion ski resort in order to put things in motion. Three mid-aged friends from the 2010 universe find themselves plunged back into the times when there was no Internet, and smart phones got no signal, but they were young and thin and all girls had no other dream then bedding them, and yes, incidentally, smarter movies like ‘Back in the future’ were made.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1231587

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1231587

 

Besides holding one of the worst film names ever, Hot Tub Time Machine fell short of my expectations because it could not replace the lack of imagination in playing with the time paradoxes, or the platitudes and so expected jokes about 21st century adults meeting the habits of their youth and living again the experiences of their college years with enough craziness, sex appeal or just comic dumbness to keep me laughing and away from watching my watch despite the fact that the film is not long at all.

 

(video source Trailers)

 

Lacking fun and anarchy makes this retro film easy to forget. Even John Cusack cannot look much better than ‘nice’. Easy entertaining for an evening when you really have nothing else to do. Watch it only if you really have seen ‘Back to the Future’ or ‘Austin Powers’ too many times.  Or if your screen can be seen from the hot tub.

 

 

Maybe too many pictures were already made about that city and that period and they look too much one like the other. Or maybe after Ang Lee made one of them (Lust, Caution) there is not too much to say about this subject, even of that was not even Lee’s best. In any case Shanghai made by Swede director Mikael Hafstrom does not succeed to be more than routine and confusing, and looks much less authentic than other attempts which were part of the same stream.

 

source en.wikipedia.org

source en.wikipedia.org

 

 

The story is set in the few months before the entry of the US in the war against Japan, and actually the heroes (some of them American agents) seem to discover preparations about Pearl Harbor and the breaking of the war in the Pacific, but they do not seem to care very much, as they are busy with their personal intrigues and revenge, as well as romantic stories, none convincing, all confusing, and certainly lacking the burning eroticism in the film by Lee. Actually never had John Cusack looked to me so uninvolved emotionally as in this film! I personally have a lot of sympathy for this actor, but he really seemed by himself unconvinced about what his character is supposed to do, so he failed to convince us as well.

 

(video source ClipsFever)

 

Besides Cusack we have in this movie Li Gong, one of the greatest stars of the Chinese-speaking screens who makes all efforts to create something credible and worth remembering but eventually fails as well because of the lack of clarity of directing intentions. Ken Watanabe on the other hand is such huge an actor and has so much charisma that he looks convincing and deadly dangerous all over the film, with a human twist by the end. He may be actually the only reason for which the sentimental turn taken by the story towards its end does not look so bad despite the (bad) cartoonish Shanghai in flames.