Tag Archives: Jerry Jameson

End of Days (1999) Review

Time: 97 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Violence
Arnold Schwarzenegger as Jericho Cane
Robin Tunney as Christine York
Gabriel Byrne as Satan’s host/The Nameless Banker
Kevin Pollak as Bobby Chicago
Rod Steiger as Father Kovak
Director: Jerry Jameson

On December 28th, 1999, the citizens of New York City are getting ready for the turn of the millennium. However, the Devil (Gabriel Byrne) decides to crash the party by coming to the city, inhabiting a man’s body, and searching for his chosen bride, a 20-year-old woman named Christine York (Robin Tunney). If he bears her child between 11:00 PM and midnight on New Year’s Eve, the world will end, and the only hope lies within an atheist ex-cop named Jericho Cane (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who no longer believes in God because of the murder of his wife and daughter.

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When you hear the premise “Arnold Schwarzenegger vs the devil himself” its easy to get hyped. By the late 90s, Schwarzenegger was a huge star. So it seems only natural that he would eventually be pitted against the devil. Unfortunately End of Days doesn’t quite live up to its potential. It is entertaining however and as long as you have an idea what sort of movie you’re getting into, it should be fine.

I think the main problem with End of Days is that it’s neither completely ridiculously over the top or serious, nor is it a mix that works. On the whole, End of Days takes the story seriously but it does have its fair share of ridiculous moments, some of them unintentional. There are certain aspects which are meant to be taken seriously but are kind of silly. For example, there’s a moment where a priest says that when you flip 666 it becomes 999 and since the film is set in 1999, that means that’s the year that the devil returns, which is a really big stretch. On the whole though, the story was acceptable enough, it’s goofy at times and I wouldn’t exactly call it good, but for a simple supernatural action flick it’s fine enough.

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the clichéd alcoholic cop with a tragic past, nothing really special about his character. Schwarzenegger always does his best with the material that he’s given and this is no exception, he does a pretty good job at the action and even some of the scenes that require a little more emotion. Gabriel Byrne is playing the devil and to his credit, Byrne seems to be having a great time playing him. I’m glad that he’s clearly enjoying this role because otherwise there would be nothing to offer with this character. The devil here isn’t a cliched take over the world devil but for the most part he doesn’t feel powerful and he’s not very interesting either. A lot of the time it feels like the Devil isn’t that threatening, he’d get incredibly injured and than just re-appear totally normal, he’s more the T-1000 than the actual Devil. Other supporting actors like Robin Tunney and Kevin Pollak are fine, they aren’t bad but they aren’t anything special either. It doesn’t help that they have no characters to work with.

Some of the action is entertaining but at times there are action sequences that have way too many cuts. Also some of the CGI is really dated and doesn’t hold up from like 30 years ago, so whenever big visual effects moments happen, it looks bad (however that could just end up being more entertaining in a guilty pleasure way). The direction overall isn’t anything that good but its competent enough that the movie can be enjoyable.

End of Days is by no means a good movie but it is very entertaining. I wish it committed to either being a dark and violent supernatural action film or being a purely cheesy and ridiculous Schwarzenegger vs the devil film. We really don’t get neither and instead we get a mildly entertaining flick. If you love over the top Arnold Schwarzenegger action flicks, give this a go. It’s a guilty pleasure for me and I had a fun time with it, even if it’s not one of Schwarzenegger’s best or even most entertaining flicks.

Captive (2015) Review

Time: 97 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
David Oyelowo as Brian Nichols
Kate Mara as Ashley Smith
Michael K. Williams as Detective John Chestnut
Leonor Varela as Detective Carmen Sanchez
Jessica Oyelowo as Meredith MacKenzie
Mimi Rogers as Kim Rogers
Director: Jerry Jameson

Brian Nichols (David Oyelowo) becomes the subject of a citywide manhunt after breaking out of a courthouse jail and killing four people. His frantic escape brings him to the apartment of Ashley Smith (Kate Mara), a single mother and recovering methamphetamine addict. Held hostage by Nichols in her own home, the scared woman looks for guidance from “The Purpose Driven Life,” Rick Warren’s best-selling, inspirational book. As she reads aloud, Ashley and her would-be killer come to a crossroad.

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Honestly, I didn’t really think Captive was going to be that good of a movie, the trailer honestly looked terrible. The main reason I decided to see it were the leads with Kate Mara and David Oyelowo. Watching Captive, I have to say that it was better than I thought it would be but its still only decent at best. The performances are impressive enough but aside from that, there isn’t many good aspects about this movie. The story isn’t very ‘captivating’, the direction for the most part just feels basic, and the film doesn’t have the emotional impact that its trying to deliver. The lead actors really made this movie at least somewhat interesting to watch.

I think I should mention first of all that this movie is based on a true story, so any clichéd moment in the film I can’t really criticise because it (likely) happened. However, they could’ve done a better job at making it feel more real. Overall the story is passable enough but the only reason that some of the scenes had me interested are because of Mara and Oyelowo, take away their performances and those scenes just really aren’t interesting at all. Those two really made this movie kind of work on some level (I’ll get to that later). One of the things that I dreaded with this movie was something in the trailer for Captive, it seems to have this incredibly ham fisted religious message. Fortunately in the actual film it doesn’t beat you over the head as much as it seems from the trailer. It’s a small aspect of the film, it doesn’t really work within the film but its distracting at worst. Honestly there’s not much to say about the story itself except that its not that interesting but Mara and Oyelowo made it somewhat work.

Kate Mara and David Oyelowo are both great and their performances were the best parts of the movie. They share great chemistry and the interactions with them were the highlights of the film. Kate’s character Ashley is recovering from a drug addiction and while that is often a cliché in a lot of movies, Mara portrayed that very well and made it feel real, I’d probably say that this is one of her best performances. There is a bit of an arc with Ashley recovering from drug addiction and attempting to meet her daughter the same day that she comes into contact with Oyelowo’s character, and while this arc isn’t great, it’s done decently enough. David Oyelowo is really good as well, he’s both incredibly intimidating but also has a human side which Oyelowo effectively conveys. I’m glad that David brought that out because to be quite honest, the redemption arc for his character Brian… wasn’t very good. We are supposed to get the feeling that Brian is changing, but I just didn’t get that. It is so messily done and they don’t clearly convey why he makes certain decisions and goes through certain changes, it feels like the people working on the film couldn’t themselves figure out why he did what he did and so they just didn’t give him reasons. That’s not necessarily on David though, he does a good job with what he has, he’s actually more effective at giving his character humanity than the writers and the director. The supporting cast are also good, with actors like Michael K. Williams involved but its Mara and Oyelowo who are the stand outs.

The direction by Jerry Jameson is fine, there’s not really a whole lot to say about it. Most of the time it feels like a TV movie, its so basic and simple and there’s not much to it. With that said, whenever the film is supposed to be tense, especially during the early scenes with Mara and Oyelowo inside Ashley’s house, it is very effective. It makes you feel claustrophobic and tense as to what Oyelowo’s character might do next.

Captive is not that great of a movie, it just manages to reach the level of passability. Mara and Oyelowo were for me the stand out parts of the movie and prevent this movie from sinking into mediocrity, aside from that, there’s not much reason to check it out. The direction is mostly simple (aside from some admittedly well done tense scenes), the emotion that the movie is going for doesn’t land, the story is average and not always investing, the character arcs aren’t always done effectively, it’s got a lot of problems. If you are curious I suggest checking it out for yourself, but outside the performances, don’t expect anything great.