Tag Archives: Colm Meaney

Con Air (1997) Review

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Con Air

Time: 115 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Violence & offensive language
Cast:
Nicolas Cage as Cameron Poe
John Cusack as U.S. Marshal Vince Larkin
John Malkovich as Cyrus “The Virus” Grissom
Steve Buscemi as Garland “The Marietta Mangler” Greene
Ving Rhames as Nathan “Diamond Dog” Jones
Colm Meaney as Agent Duncan Malloy
Mykelti Williamson as Mike “Baby-O” O’Dell
Rachel Ticotin as Guard Sally Bishop
Director: Simon West

Cameron is a wrongly convicted prisoner who is going to be released when his plane is hijacked by other criminals. While they seize control of the plane, he attempts to wrest control and return home.

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When it comes to the 90s and especially for Nicolas Cage, Con Air is one of the quintessential action movies, even if I wouldn’t consider it one of the all time best. I rewatched it after many years after seeing it for the first time, and it was even more enjoyable than I remembered it being. It is absurd, yet thrilling, and constantly entertaining from beginning to end.

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One thing that everyone will say is that Con Air is very over the top and ridiculous, it is almost insane that this movie was made at all. It just runs with whatever ridiculous happens, no matter the absurdity, and it just keeps escalating and escalating. Its very noisy, and nothing about the movie is subtle. It is helped by a light tone and the simplicity of the plot, which is basically Die Hard on a plane. Nicolas Cage is a prisoner going home on a plane full of convicts, and the convicts take over the plane. This movie is always moving, with rarely a dull or boring moment. I also love how confident this movie is, there is an earnestness to the movie, even with the tongue in cheek and self-aware moments, which gives it a real personality. There are even certain choices that are played completely straight, but come across as unintentional comedic, and that adds to the movie if anything. Its really hard to criticise the writing of the movie because any negative you could find in it also serves as a positive (on an entertainment level at least). What I will say without spoilers is that once everything with the plane is done, there is a final action segment to conclude the movie. It is still enjoyable, but does feel a little tact on.

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There is a stacked cast with plenty of recognisable names here, and everyone delivers in their parts. They know what kind of movie they are in and are committed to the film despite the goofiness. Nicolas Cage leads this movie with long hair and a wonky Southern accent. Even though its not one of his all time best action roles, its one of his most memorable. He’s likable, easy to follow, and has some memorable moments and delivers some fun one liners. John Cusack is also good as a US Marshal who helps Cage along the way. The standout is John Malkovich as a menacing and great villain, I really don’t think the character and movie would’ve worked as well without Malkovich. Supporting villains including Ving Rhames and Danny Trejo are solid, and Steve Buscemi is a scene stealer.

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Something that also helps the movie is the direction by Simon West. Its so overblown yet well filmed, stylistically it is the epitome of 90s action cheese. The action is entertaining and intense, the camera movements are great, and everything from the fight scenes to the shootouts are crafted well. The score is wonderfully bombastic, and is operating at the right tone and feel for this movie.

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Con Air is the most Michael Bay movie that isn’t directed by Michael Bay. It has the right amount of absurdity, earnestness, and self-awareness, made even better by Simon West’s solid direction, and an ensemble of enjoyable performances led by Nicolas Cage. It is a lot of fun, and is a great candidate for the ultimate popcorn movie. If you like action movies especially those which are incredibly over the top, I think Con Air is worth checking out.

Layer Cake (2004) Review

Time: 105 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, offensive language, drug use and sex scenes
Cast:
Daniel Craig as XXXX
Colm Meaney as Gene
Kenneth Cranham as Jimmy Price
George Harris as Morty
Jamie Foreman as the Duke
Michael Gambon as Eddie Temple
Marcel Iureş as Slavo
Tom Hardy as Clarkie
Tamer Hassan as Terry
Ben Whishaw as Sidney
Burn Gorman as Gazza
Sally Hawkins as Slasher
Sienna Miller as Tammy
Director: Matthew Vaughn

An unnamed mid-level cocaine dealer (Daniel Craig) in London makes plans to step away from the criminal life. Before he can cut ties, the dealer’s supplier Jimmy Price (Kenneth Cranham) draws him into a complicated pair of jobs involving kidnapping the teenage daughter of a rival gangster (Michael Gambon) and brokering the purchase of a large shipment of ecstasy pills from a dealer known as “the Duke” (Jamie Foreman), leading to a series of elaborate double-crosses from all corners.

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Layer Cake was Matthew Vaughn’s first movie, before then he produced some of Guy Ritchie’s movies. It was very well received and put him on the map as a director to watch, with him very nearly directing the third X-Men movie afterwards. Although I saw it already years ago, I wanted to check it out again, since I was already rewatching some of Matthew Vaughn’s movies recently. It’s even better than what I remembered it being from my first viewing.

Layer Cake is written by J.J. Connelly, adapting his book of the same name for the big screen. It’s a pretty standard British crime thriller, albeit a very good one with some twists and turns. One could compare this to Guy Ritchie’s crime movies (especially seeing as how Vaughn was involved with Ritchie’s early movies), although there are some similarities, there are plenty of distinct differences between them, especially when it comes to the tone. Vaughn’s other R rated movies generally has a lot of dark comedy to it, Layer Cake on the other hand is more serious, more like a crime thriller and doesn’t have as much comedy. It for sure has some brief dark comedy at points however. It’s actually pretty riveting over the hour and 45 minutes runtime. I think the main reason that this all works really well together though is because of the lead character, which I’ll get into in a bit.

As good as a bunch of all this is, Layer Cake wouldn’t have been as great without Daniel Craig, who honestly makes this movie. Craig is outstanding as the unnamed lead character (not exactly sure why his name is never revealed), who in this movie is more of a businessman than a gangster, in fact he hates gangsters and violence. He also shows a very wide range of emotions as he’s thrown into so many situations that he’s struggling to keep alive in, and through his performance you can really root for the lead character. You can definitely tell why Daniel Craig was picked for James Bond, there’s a lot of Bond that you can see in his performance here. One of Craig’s best, if not his best performance. The rest of the cast also played their parts really well. The rest of the cast including Colm Meaney, George Harris, Michael Gambon, Tom Hardy, Ben Whishaw and Sienna Miller all play their roles very well. Gambon in particular was great as a ruthless and villainous sort of character, quite different from other roles that he’s had.

For a debut, Matthew Vaughn did a great job, it doesn’t look like his first movie at all. It’s all filmed and edited very well, the music choices were also perfect, he’s got a real great handle over the whole movie.

Layer Cake is an outstanding directorial debut from Matthew Vaughn, a well written and directed crime thriller, with Daniel Craig’s great lead performance really making the movie. It’s an underrated little flick that definitely deserves a lot more praise and really worth a watch if you haven’t seen it already.

Norm of the North (2016) Review

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Time: 90 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1]
Cast:
Rob Schneider as Norm
Heather Graham as Vera Brightly
Maya Kay as Olympia Brightly
Ken Jeong as Mr. Greene
Colm Meaney as Grandfather
Loretta Devine as Tamecia
Gabriel Iglesias as Pablo and Stan
Michael McElhatton as Laurence
Bill Nighy as Socrates
Director: Trevor Wall

A polar bear of many words, Norm’s greatest gripe is simple: there is no room for tourists in the Arctic. But when a maniacal developer threatens to build luxury condos in his own backyard, Norm does what all normal polar bears would do he heads to New York City to stop it. With a cast of ragtag lemmings at his side, Norm takes on the big apple, big business and a big identity crisis to save the day.

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I heard plenty of horrible things about Norm of the North, I however had some morbid curiosity and wanted to check it out. After viewing it I can say that Norm of the North is not only one of the worst movies of the year, it is also one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. It was painful within the first 5 minutes, and this movie is 90 minutes long. It’s honestly hard to imagine how this film ended up being shown in theaters, with the poor writing and atrocious animation.

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I know that this film is a kids movie but I don’t even think kids would be able to enjoy this. This movie is not interesting at all. It tries to express a forced message about protecting the environment but the film is so distracted by attempting to be funny and it’s very hard to care about what’s going on. Plenty of things don’t make sense in the movie. For example, the corporation wants to build houses in the arctic, which no one in their right mind would actually do. Also, when Norm is in the city, most people think that he’s just a human in a Polar Bear costume, it’s actually astounding. There are countless moments with unbelievably horrendous decisions. Also the humour in this movie is so terrible. Childish humour, including piss jokes and even in one instance a gay joke. And the film thinks it’s funny, for example there’s a moment where the Lemming characters take a leak in a fishtank and it lasts at least 30 seconds, it’s like the filmmakers assumed that what they did was hilarious. None of the jokes were funny at all, it was just loud noise. There’s so many things wrong with this movie. A combination of script faults and the cringe comedy made this film absolutely painful to sit through.

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There’s not much to like about Norm as a character. He’s got little to no characterisation and is so basic. Oh, and he’s also voiced by Rob Schneider, just to make matters worse. A lot of the characters were entirely pointless, not adding to the film that much. The villain was an over the top business guy that have been seen in countless other films. Also, this film has little Lemmings as the comic relief, they were like the minions in Despicable Me except they were somehow worse, they got annoying really quick.

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Even though the writing is horrendous, the thing that gets me the most is that the animation was horrible, it makes me wonder how a movie this badly animated made it into the cinemas. The character designs were so lazy and simple, they are just so uninspired and uninteresting, both for animals and humans. Also, the movements are so unnatural and weird, especially from the villain, who often looks like he’s going to turn into Mr Fantastic.

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Norm of the North is hands down the worst animated film I’ve ever seen. Everything from the animation, to the story, the characters, the writing, everything was done so incredibly poorly. There is nothing to enjoy with this movie, not even in a ‘so bad it’s good’ kind of way. It was somehow worse than I thought it would be.