Rampage (2018)

Director: Brad Peyton
Writer: Ryan Engle, Carlton Cuse, Ryan J. Condal, Adam Sztykiel
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Akerman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jake Lacy, Joe Manganiello, Marley Shelton, P.J. Byrne, Demetrius Grosse, Jack Quaid
Seen on: 11.5.2018

Primatologist Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) works at the San Diego Zoo. In particular he is responsible for George, a white gorilla, whom he has taken care of for many years. But one night, something falls from the sky into George’s enclosure – and George suddenly changes, growing bigger and more aggressive. And he is not the only animal affected that way. Davis knows that he has to find a cure for what ails George – and soon before he destroys too much or is destroyed himself.

Rampage promises a film where Dwayne Johnson beats up giant animals and it absolutely delivers on that. If you feel that this sounds like a good concept, then Rampage is a must-see. Personally, I definitely enjoyed it.

Film poster showing Dwayne Johnson in front of a huge gorilla, wolf and crocodile, walking purposefully, gun in hand.
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Solace (2015)

Director: Afonso Poyart
Writer: Sean Bailey, Ted Griffin
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Abbie Cornish, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Colin Farrell
Seen on: 5.1.2016

Psychic John Clancy (Anthony Hopkins) used to work for the FBI a lot, but he hasn’t done so in years. But then Joe Merriweather (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who used to work closely with John, and his partner Katherine Cowles (Abbie Cornish), who is more the sceptic about John’s abilities, knock on his door: a serial killer has been evading them and they need his help. John agrees and soon realizes that the killer can also see into the future – and much better than John himself.

I feel like Solace is one of the stupidest films I have seen in a long while. The script is atrocious, the cast is squandered, the story doesn’t make any sense and the entire thing is only bearable if you have alcohol.

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The Possession (2012)

The Possession
Director: Ole Bornedal
Writer: Juliet Snowden, Stiles White
Based on: Leslie Gornstein‘s article “Jinx in a Box”
Cast: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Natasha Calis, Kyra Sedgwick, Madison Davenport, Matisyahu

Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick) recently separated and are now trying to work things out for the sake of their two daughters Em (Natasha Calis) and Hannah (Madison Davenport). To decorate their rooms at his new house, Clyde takes the two girls to a yard sale where Em finds a box with apparently Hebrew writing on it. And that box starts to have quite an effect on Em, with ever more mysterious and scary things happening around it and her.

I didn’t expect much from this movie and I was quite surprised by how good it was. Is it great? No. But it is tense, very well done and really entertaining.

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The Resident (2011)

The Resident
Director: Antti Jokinen
Writer: Antti Jokinen, Robert Orr
Cast: Hilary Swank, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lee Pace, Christopher Lee

Juliet (Hilary Swank) just broke up with her boyfriend Jack (Lee Pace), so she’s looking for a new apartment. And she can barely believe her luck when she finds a huge apartement at a very low prize and with the really sexy landlord Max (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). But things that seem too good to be true often are and so it quickly turns out that Max isn’t only into Juliet, he’s completely obsessed with her and watches her at every moment.

The movie has beautiful art direction and a great cast but it unfortunately fails to create any kind of tension whatsoever.

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The Losers (2010)

The Losers is the adaptation of the comic by Andy Diggle and Jock. It was directed by Sylvain White and stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Columbus Short, Óscar Jaenada and Jason Patric.

Led by Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the Losers are a team of highly trained military men working for the US. When a mission of theirs in Bolivia goes haywire and someone called Max (Jason Patric) starts giving them orders, the Losers start to disobey and finally have to fake their own death. A short while later, they meet the mysterious Aisha (Zoe Saldana) who promises that she can bring them back to the US and will even help them find Max – if they kill him for her.

The Losers is not an artful masterpiece. But it’s a movie filled with wisecracking characters who deliver a new one-liner every two minutes (alternating them with the explosions). It’s mostly well-acted and it’s quite frankly pure fun.

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Taking Woodstock (2009)

Taking Woodstock is Ang Lee‘s newest movie, starring Demetri Martin, Imelda Staunton, Emile Hirsch, Jeffrey Dean MorganLiev Schreiber and Paul Dano.

Taking Woodstock is based on the real life story of Elliot Tiber (Demetri Martin), an out of luck interior designer who has to move back to his parents’ motel and of how he gets the Woodstock festival to be in his small town after Woodstock (and a neughbouring village) both pull the permits for it to be held there.

Taking Woodstock is a funny and heartfelt movie but most of all, a movie that manages to capture the spirit of the time (or at least it seems that way to someone who wasn’t alive then). It’s a captivating coming of age story set in slightly crazy but definitely special times that is told with a lot of humour and respect. Loved it.

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The Accidental Husband (2008)

The Accidental Husband is a RomCom, as typical as they come. Starring Uma Thurman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Colin Firth and Isabella Rosselini, it has a rather strong cast, and all in all, is above average, qualitatively. Unfortunately, it starts with a rather strained premise and invokes cliché after cliché.

Emma is a successful relationship coach with her own radio show and a few books. She’s engaged to her publisher, Richard. During one of her shows, she advises a caller to break up with her fiancé Patrick, who also hears the broadcast. Patrick decides that he wants revenge and hacks the computer files of New York City: He “marries” himself to Emma. She finds out and seeks him out to have the marriage anulled. Turns out that maybe the relationship coach isn’t so firm in her own relationship. RomCom ensues.


The Good Stuff:

  • It is very rare to actually have two hot guys in a RomCom. This one does, although Jeffrey Dean Morgan is slightly hotter, at least in my book.
  • It has some very nice jokes.
  • If you don’t think too much about it, it’s good entertainment.

The scene they shamelessly stole from My Best Friend’s Wedding. And honestly, Rupert Everett was better.

The Bad Stuff:

  • Could the characters be any flatter? I don’t think so. Especially Colin Firth’s Richard suffered from the “my whole personality is summed up with one word”-syndrome.
  • Cliché, cliché, cliché.
  • Where did the Bollywoodness* suddenly come from? And where did it go to again?


Summarising: Pretty average, but could have been a lot worse.

*I can’t stand the typical Bollywood movies that make it to Austria – meaning: pure kitsch, a lot of dancing and singing that doesn’t make any sense and so many plot twists and new developments that you can hardly keep up. I realise that those aren’t the only movies made in India. Or at least I really, really hope so.

All-but-Irish Men in Ireland and Non-American Cowboys

P.S. I Love You was exactly as it should be: wonderful. Funny and sad and full of gorgeous guys. I mean, I knew Gerard Butler was hot, but then getting Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a bonus was perfect. The only thing a little weird was that it was set in New York. K. said that it’s an Hollywood law that RomComs can only play in NY but honestly, the ending seemed a little strained because of that. I can only assume that Hilary Swank can’t fake an Irish accent. Interestingly enough, neither Gerard Butler nor Jeffrey Dean Morgan are from Ireland (GB: Glasgow and JDM: Seattle). At least for someone like me (non-english-native and never been to Ireland), their Irish accents were very believable.
Richard LaGravenese brought us a perfect chick flick. (This time there’s not too much pathos as in Horse Whisperer or the we’ve-all-seen-that-before effect from Freedom Writers…)
K. will lend me the book tomorrow, can’t wait to read it.

Before I start talking about 3:10 to Yuma, a little disclaimer: I was never a Western fan. I never watched the classics and am not that interested to do so in the future. Therefore, I might lack a little understanding for the genre and the cultere within. But the ending just left me puzzled.
(Warning, spoiler ahead!)
Why the hell did Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) help Dan Evans (Christian Bale) in the end? I mean, you are in the middle of strangling someone then he tells you he’s never been a hero but can’t let his kids know and suddenly you stop and make him a hero? That just doesn’t really make sense to me.
(Spoiler end.)
Maybe, apart from a lack of understanding for Westerns, I also have a severe lack of testosterone to understand them anyway.
K., who has a profound education in Spaghetti-Westerns, told me that it cited a lot of movies (like exploding horses and the such). Therefore, it gets a little more credit but altogether there was too much “huh?” for me.
Things I enjoyed about it: Well, watching Christian Bale (looks and talent) and Russell Crowe (looks and I know there is some talent buried deep down somewhere) is always a treat. Luke Wilson‘s brief appearance (not necessarily because of him but because of the whole scene). Doc Potter (Alan Tudyk‘s character). Ben Foster‘s acting (seriously, this guy knows how to act. 10 minutes in the movie and I already thought: Psycho! Judging from his performance in X-Men: The Last Stand I wouldn’t have thought that possible).
Interesting: Neither Christian Bale nor Russell Crowe are Americans (CB: somewhere in Wales and Russell Crowe: Wellington [New Zealand, damn, I thought he was from Australia… It’s probably good, he’ll never read this blog…]).
The whole thing is based on a short story by Elmore Leonard who I thought I didn’t know and K. mistook for some other writer. A little research shows: not only have I seen movies which were written by him or based on one of his novels (Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, Out of Sight) but I actually have a book by him (Mr. Paradise). I can only excuse this by blaming, first, the size of my private library and second, the fact that I haven’t read it yet and third, that I am a bad human being.

I’m sorry that this isn’t very coherent but there are really many things worth noting in this film and it’s one of those which get better the more you think about it. I really enjoyed everything up to the ending, I think it was beautifully done (but James Mangold already proved himself before so that was no suprise) and well played. It didn’t shrink from the violence nor did they have to show everything in all gory details. But I’m no Western fan and this film won’t change my mind. Maybe I will understand the ending someday but until then I’m afraid it’s number three of worst Christian Bale movies (Number 2 being Reign of Fire and Number 1: American Psycho [so much potential – great book, great actor – just going to waste]). I’d only recommend it to male Western fans.