Tag Archives: Dwight Yoakam

Panic Room (2002) Review

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Panic Room

Time: 112 minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence and offensive language
Cast:
Jodie Foster as Meg Altman
Kristen Stewart as Sarah Altman
Forest Whitaker as Burnham
Dwight Yoakam as Raoul
Jared Leto as Junior
Patrick Bauchau as Stephen Altman
Director: David Fincher

Trapped in their New York brownstone’s panic room, a hidden chamber built as a sanctuary in the event of break-ins, newly divorced Meg Altman (Jodie Foster) and her young daughter Sarah (Kristen Stewart) play a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with three intruders – Burnham (Forest Whitaker), Raoul (Dwight Yoakam) and Junior (Jared Leto) – during a brutal home invasion. But the room itself is the focal point because what the intruders really want is inside it.

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Panic Room is generally regarded as one of David Fincher’s weakest movies, but that doesn’t mean it should be disregarded entirely. A tense and well made thriller, it’s likely his most accessible movie, and it’s well worth the watch for sure.

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Panic Room as its core is a pretty standard home invasion thriller, with the usual tropes and clichés that you’d expect from it. There’s not much to the story beyond the premise, there’s not really any depth to the characters or plot, and I wouldn’t exactly say its unpredictable or does anything special. Also, some of the characters also make some dumb decisions, although at times they do address some of this, and are a little ahead of the audience when it comes to that. What makes the movie work is that the material is elevated by the acting and the directing. With that said, despite the familiarity and the clichés, the written material with the script from David Koepp is surprisingly stronger than expected. Once the robbers get into the house, it’s tense and has you engaged all the way through to the end. I do have a bit of a complaint with the ending, as in the last scene. I generally liked where the story went, but the final moments of Panic Room feel tact on and don’t really work with the rest of the movie, the probably should’ve cut that last scene or replaced it or something else.

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The talented cast involved are pretty great in their roles. Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart do a great job at playing the mother and daughter duo, they are definitely vulnerable yet smart at the same time, and find ways to stay alive through the whole movie. The three thieves played by Forest Whitaker, Dwight Yoakam and Jared Leto all work really well, with each character being quite different from each other. They do fit some familiar villain archetypes that we’ve seen before, but their performances manage to overcome that, making them quite effective antagonists. Whitaker particularly is great, giving this collection of thieves a little more depth.

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David Fincher’s direction is great as usual, and it was perfect for this thriller, it really encloses you in this house that the movie primarily takes place in for the whole movie. The cinematography is great, typically Fincher-esque, with the dark shadows and the like, all of it worked for this movie. One of the highlight moments of the movie is when it pans around the whole house in seemingly one shot. However it’s not just restricted to that one scenes, there are a number of the camera pans and transitions that really showcase the house and rooms effectively that work seamlessly. Additionally, the score by Howard Shore is quite fitting and raises the tension and keeps it going when it needs to.

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Panic Room is one of David Fincher’s weakest movies, but it is still quite good for what it is. While it’s pretty familiar, the script (despite some faults) is reasonably strong and entertaining throughout, if simple. Additionally, it is elevated by the acting from the great cast, and especially by David Fincher’s fantastic direction, making this an effectively tense thriller. Definitely worth seeing.

Crank: High Voltage (2009) Review

Time: 96 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Graphic violence, sex scenes, drug use and offensive language
Cast:
Jason Statham as Chev Chelios
Amy Smart as Eve Lydon
Clifton Collins, Jr. as El Huron
Efren Ramirez as Venus
Geri Halliwell as Karen Chelios
Dwight Yoakam as Doc Miles
Art Hsu as Johnny Vang
Bai Ling as Ria
Reno Wilson as Orlando
David Carradine as Poon Dong
Director: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor

After surviving an incredible plunge to near-certain death, Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) is abducted by Chinese mobsters. Waking up three months later, Chev finds that his nearly indestructible heart has been replaced with a battery-operated device that requires regular jolts of electricity or it will fail. Chev escapes from his captors, reunites with his lover, Eve (Amy Smart), and sets out on a frantic chase through Los Angeles to get his real heart back.

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The first Crank was an enjoyable over the top action flick, it’s not by any means a great movie (I don’t even know if I’ll call it a good movie) but it was very entertaining for what it was trying to be. The sequel seemed to be something incredibly entertaining, with it being even more over the top than it’s predecessor (I mean Statham literally needs to charge up his heart with electricity this time). While the sequel is even more over the top (as expected), I don’t know if I can call it very entertaining, or even enjoyable at all. It feels forced in the worst possible way and gets very tiring very quickly. Such a step down from the first Crank, and the original film wasn’t even that great, so that’s saying a lot.

While at times the film is entertaining and funny, the jokes and sequences at times feel incredibly forced and random. It almost feels like a bunch of people (who aren’t the creators of the original) tried to do Crank 2 and recapture the original Crank and doing it poorly. The sad thing is that the same people did the sequel. The one thing I can guarantee is that it is absolutely insane, I guarantee you that you will be wondering what is going on at times. To a degree I’ll give credit to them for going all out. Aside from that there’s not much to really like. It goes too far at times with how crazy and offensive it could be, to the point where at times it felt downright unpleasant and painful to watch. Also there was sort of a mid-credits scene that was put into a movie for some reason and I have no idea why. With that said, a pointless mid credits scene is the least of High Voltage’s problems.

Jason Statham is effortless to watch. He definitely threw himself into this movie and had a lot of fun doing a lot of these insane things. He was really of the best part of the whole movie, if not the best part. Everyone else… not so much. Amy Smart has even less to do than in the previous movie and so her performance was even worse. The other supporting actors, I don’t really have much to say about them. Nobody else from the rest of the cast stand out, except that most of them were downright terrible and at times insufferable.

The direction style here returns from the original Crank and it does still work. It feels completely insane and frantic, especially during action sequences. There was a very bizarre visual sequence that involved Statham in a fight in the third act that is so strange that it was actually quite entertaining. I don’t really think that it was the direction of the scenes that was so wrong with this movie, it’s the actual content itself.

I can’t call Crank 2 a good movie at all. Its entertaining at times and seeing Jason Statham doing a bunch of insane and crazy things is fun but that’s it. It is way too forced, downright obnoxious at times and even at points felt a little unpleasant. If you didn’t like the original, you will absolutely hate the sequel. If you liked the original Crank, give High Voltage a shot, but its very possible that you may not like it.