Tag Archives: LIam Neeson

Is Liam Neeson Really A Racist?

In the heat of moment, we all say and do something that we end up regretting.

Earlier today, actor Liam Neeson admitted that a few years ago, he considered attacking an African-American male in revenge for the rape of a friend.

In response to the admission, the outrage is palpable and expected.

Is racism wrong? Absolutely. I don’t know him personally, but it sounds like it was an emotional, knee jerk reaction that under normal circumstances might not have happened. I am not African-American, so I cannot and will not tell someone who is how to react in this situation. From my perspective, he sounds contrite and remorseful. While his apology may not make up 100% for what the actions he was thinking of undertaking, it goes a long way in showing that he is changed man. For that, it is enough for me.

 

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Widows Movie Review

The heist movie genre can be boiled down to two specific words: guns and cars. I’m not usually a fan of this genre, but sometimes a movie that falls within this genre surprises me.

In the new movie, Widows, Veronica (Viola Davis) lives an idyllic live with her husband, Harry (Liam Neeson) in Chicago. Their marriage is picture perfect. That perfection is about to be revealed as a mirage. Harry earns his living via less than lawful means and is killed in the process. The man who Harry stole from, Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry), not only wants his money back, but is also trying to go legit at the same time. Jamal’s brother and go to henchman, Jatemme (Daniel Kaluuya) is more than willing to help his brother get his money back.

Veronica soon learns of her late husband’s illicit activities and turns to the women whose husbands were killed with Harry to get Jamal his money back. Linda (Michelle Rodriguez), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki) and Belle (Cynthia Erivo) are at first reluctant to join Veronica, but they change their mind. At the same time, there is a local election going on. Jack Mulligan (Colin Farrell) is career politician whose father, Tom Mulligan (Robert Duvall) was also a career politician. With the election coming up and the plans for the heist underway, what truths will be revealed?

This movie is brilliant. It’s much more than the standard heist film, at least from my perspective. The movie talks about complicated issues such as class, money, politics in such a way that it does not feel like a lecture. I also loved that the four female leads were not the typical wife/girlfriend/love interest of the male characters that are usually seen in this genre of film. They were strong, capable and completely willing to do what needed to be done to ensure their success.

I recommend it.

Widows is presently in theaters. 

 

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Thoughts On The 25th Anniversary Of Schindler’s List

Oskar Schindler was a complicated man. He was a German industrialist and a member of the Nazi party. He was not exactly loyal to his wife. But he was also responsible for saving the lives of 1200 Jewish prisoners during The Holocaust.

This year, the film based on his life during the war, Schindler’s List, turns 25.

If there ever was a Holocaust film, Schindler’s List is that film. Liam Neeson played the title role. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the supporting cast includes Ben Kingsley and Ralph Fiennes. Filmed in stark black and white for 99% of the film, the movie pulls no punches. It forces the audience to keep their eyes on the screen and screams out that this is what hate and prejudice leads to.

This film is hard to watch, but it is hard to watch for a reason. It is still relevant 25 years later not only because hatred, prejudice and genocide are still happening, but also because there are some who continue to deny that The Holocaust is anything but historical fact.

May this film live on for eternity, as a reminder of what human beings can do to each other and why we must find a way to accept one another, even if one is different.

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Throwback Thursday-Horror Double Feature-The Haunting (1999) and The Fog (2005)

The basic gist of a horror is to scare the audience. Unfortunately, some horror movies fail at this basic task.

In the 1999 movie, The Haunting, Dr. David Marrow (Liam Neeson) and Theo (Catherine Zeta-Jones) are part of a team whose job it is investigate the rumors of a haunted house through a sleep study. What starts out as a sleep study becomes more than they bargained for.

Six years later in 2005, The Fog hit theaters. On a small island off the coast of Oregon, a fog full of spirits has enveloped the island. Starring Tom Welling and Maggie Grace, the residents must learn of the island’s dark past and find a way to stop the fog and the spirits that dwell within it.

The problem with both of these movies is that neither holds up to the premise or the chills promised by the trailers.

Do I recommend them? Not really.

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Thoughts On The 14th Anniversary Of The Release Of Love Actually

14 years ago today, Love Actually hit theaters.

Set in London a month before Christmas, the movie is about eight couples whose narratives and lives are loosely entwined. Daniel (Liam Neeson) has recently lost his wife and is trying to figure out how to raise his stepson. Mark (Andrew Lincoln) is in love with Juliet (Keira Knightley). Juliet is married to Mark’s best friend Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Karen (Emma Thompson) and Harry (the late Alan Rickman) are a long time married couple. Harry’s eyes are starting to wander towards his secretary. Karen’s brother, The Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) has a crush on his assistant. I could go on, but I will let the trailer speak for itself.

What I love about the movie (besides the fact that part of the cast have been in Austen adaptations) is that this movie is neither overly romantic, overly corny, nor does it bash the audience over the head that it’s Christmas. It’s about love, relationships and the need for a human connection, none of which are confined to the Christmas season or to those who celebrate Christmas.

If you have not seen this movie, I highly recommend it. It is one of the few Christmas movies, that in my opinion, are worth watching.

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The Critics Were Wrong (Maybe)- Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace

In 1999, it had been sixteen years since Return Of The Jedi premiered. Fans all over the world were clamoring to see where George Lucas would be taking his characters after a nearly 20 year absence from the big screen.

Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace was the first prequel that would eventually connect the story lines started in 1977.

Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) is a hotheaded, eager, young Jedi who is eager to spread his wings. But his wiser, older master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) knows that his pupil is not as ready as he thinks he is. The evil Trade Federation is slowly taking over the galaxy. Traveling to Naboo with their new friend Jar Jar Binks (voiced by Ahmed Best), they try to warn Queen Amidala, who has already escaped  (Natalie Portman), but her planet has already been taken over.

Eventually finding their way to Tatooine, they meet a a boy named Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd). Qui-Gon Jinn cannot put his finger 0n it, but there is something special about this boy. Now they must get to Coruscant, solve the trade dispute and return the Queen to her throne. But there is something hiding in the shadows, something far more serious and dangerous than any of them realize.

Is it me, or did George Lucas nearly screw up cinema perfection? Episodes 4, 5 and 6 are examples of what fantasy/scifi movies and their sequels should be. George Lucas became just another filmmaker who relies on 3D to keep the audience interested. Which is a shame because he is one of the most respected filmmakers alive. He has some of the best actors in Hollywood in this movie (Portman, Neeson and McGregor) and they are nearly wasted.

Any good filmmaker worth their salt knows that it is not special effects that keep the story moving forward and keeping the audiences interested. It is a good script with interesting characters and a story line that is one step ahead of the audience. Let’s not forget the stupidest character created (Jar Jar Binks) and the use of racial stereotypes that I would have hoped would not be part of Lucas’s writing.

Were the critics wrong? No.

In Fanboys (which I highly recommend), as the characters are waiting to go into the movie theater all decked out in their costumes, one of them asks (please pardon the paraphrasing).

“What if it sucks?”.

While George Lucas partially redeemed himself with episodes 2 and 3, episode 1 will is not a part of the series that I relish.

I do not recommend this movie.

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Throwback Thursday-Schindler’s List

Oskar Schindler  was many things. A womanizer, a sometimes less than honest business man and a Nazi. But he was still responsible for saving the lives of Jews who were headed to the crematorium of Auschwitz.

The 1993 Oscar winning movie, Schindler’s List, starring Liam Neeson in the title role is stark, black and white and unflinching. It dares the movie going audience to not look away, to see what unchecked prejudice, hatred and murder looks like.

If there was ever a Holocaust movie, this is it. I have seen many Holocaust movies, but this one consistently ranks at the top of the list. With an incredible supporting cast that includes Ben Kingsley (Itzhak Stern), Ralph Fiennes (Amon Goeth) and Embethz Davidtz (Helen Hirsch), this movie leaves a mark on the audience. Steven Spielberg, as the director, leaves no stone un-turned.

This movie should be required viewing, not just for school children, but for adults all over the world.

After the Holocaust, the phrase “Never Again” became a battle cry to remember the victims. “Never Again” has happened again. This movie is a reminder of what becomes of us when we let hatred and prejudice take over.

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