Double Review (That Liam Neeson movie and This is Where I Leave You)

A_Walk_Among_the_Tombstones_posterWe all know the joke by now. Liam Neeson makes the same movie, or plays the same role, over and over again. But there’s a reason we keep watching. Neeson brings a calming grittiness to his roles that make him one of the coolest actors in action films. So no matter how similar the roles may be, we can’t help but at least be intrigued.

Neeson’s newest project, A Walk Among The Tombstones, sees him taking on the role of a geriatric former police officer turned Private Investigator. After a drug dealer’s wife is brutally murdered, Neeson reluctantly sets out trying to track down the uber creepy duo responsible. The story is based off of the novel of the same name, written by Lawrence Block.

Those expecting this to be like Taken, or Non Stop, will be disappointed. The action sequences are few and far between and the pace is much slower than you’d expect, making the film feel about a half hour longer than it actually is. Neeson’s character is also more tranquil than badass, although he does have a few Taken moments. The brightest spot is newcomer Brian Bradley as T.J., a talented young street kid who befriends the old detective. He adds heart and edge to an otherwise sluggishly dull film, void of any real emotion. The cinematography is also splendid in certain spots, for those who might care about that sort of thing in a Liam Neeson movie.



This_Is_Where_I_Leave_You_posterFamily comedy/dramas will always succeed in making me miss being around my own family, no matter how dysfunctional the onscreen group may be. That’s probably one of the points of these types of movies. No matter how much drama your family might go through, you always have each other. If it does nothing else, This Is Where I Leave You, at least manages to accomplish invoking that feeling.

The film (also based off of a book, but what isn’t these days) features an all-star cast that includes Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Rose Byrne, Jane Fonda and many more. Bateman’s Judd Altman takes center stage as a formerly married man going through a mid-life crisis after catching his wife and boss in bed together. Following the death of his father, he returns home to fulfill his father’s dying wish; spending seven days with his two brothers (a stiff and a screw-up), his foul mouthed sister, and their oversexed, author mother.

The characters come off as cliché at times. Adam Driver’s baby brother, Phillip, is the very entertaining exception. And as for drama, there could probably be a bit more. None of their problems seem that bad compared to the families in similar movies like August: Osage County, The Royal Tenenbaums, or Kingdom Come. Nevertheless, their issues are enough to keep your attention, and there are just the right amount of humorous moments to keep you from boredom. These characters and this story were probably better suited for the small screen though.



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