Man on a Ledge: Movie Review
A couple years ago, Sam Worthington burst onto the scene with not one, but three high profile films. The newcomer top-lined AVATAR, CLASH OF THE TITANS, and co-starred in TERMINATOR: SALVATION. Now, Worthington is back with a much smaller film in terms of scope, but a much larger performance than he has previously given us. Prior to MAN ON A LEDGE, I did not think of the film’s star as much of an actor and even though he is still not great, he has improved and does have potential to grow. To make things even better, MAN ON A LEDGE is Worthington’s most solid film to date.
Worthington plays Nick Cassidy, a former NYPD Officer who is in prison because he was accused of stealing a 40 million dollar diamond from powerful business man David Englander (Ed Harris). Cassidy claims that he is innocent and after escaping custody when allowed to attend his father’s funeral, he shows up many months later standing on the ledge of the Roosevelt Hotel on 45th & Madison in New York City. Prior to heading out on the ledge, Cassidy took the time to make sure he cleaned the room of any fingerprints so that NYPD negotiator Lydia Spencer (Elizabeth Banks), who Cassidy personally requested to be on the scene and Detective Jack Dougherty (Edward Burns) could not identify him.
Why would Cassidy go through all of that trouble if he was planning on jumping off the ledge of the building? The answer, he has no intention of jumping. He is simply trying to keep the police occupied while his brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and Joey’s girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez) break into the building across the street to steal the diamond that Nick was originally accused of taking.
While Nick and Lydia are going back and forth as she tries to figure out his true identity. Nick’s friend and former partner Mike Ackerman (Anthony Mackie) is still searching for his fugitive buddy. It becomes quite obvious early on in the film that Mike is hiding something as well.
MAN ON A LEDGE is not very original, especially when it comes to the scenes that take place during the break-in, but it really does not matter all that much, because this is quite a fun film. The chemistry between Worthington and Banks is great and even the moments between Banks and Ed Burns who plays a fellow detective, work well. I always enjoy Mackie, even in thankless rolls like last year’s REAL STEEL. Mackie just has a great screen presence.
This is director Asger Leth’s first feature film directorial effort, if you do not count the 2006 documentary GHOSTS OF CITE SOLEIL. Leth does a very good job, especially when it comes to the scenes that take place on the ledge. The film’s biggest flaw comes in the last few minutes during an absurd moment when Cassidy goes after Englander. In all honesty, I expected that moment to happen but it just did not work for me when it did. Aside from more than a few implausible moments, MAN ON A LEDGE is an entertaining heist-thriller that should please most moviegoers.
By: Marc Ferman
The Grey: Movie Review
THE GREY is a much different film than the last collaboration effort between director Joe Carnahan and star Liam Neeson, which was THE A-TEAM. While the A-TEAM was a big budget, idiotic, and loud mess of a film, I still found it to be quite fun. THE GREY does have some good tension and another engaging performance from Neeson, but the film failed to keep me interested. It’s an extremely depressing and slow film. The interesting thing is that I feel I will probably be in the minority when it comes to most of the critics’ feelings towards the film. I have heard many praise THE GREY and I can totally understand where they are coming from, but unfortunately I just can’t agree with the majority.
Neeson plays Ottway, an ex-con who works as a sharp-shooter for an oil drilling facility in Alaska. Why is a sharp-shooter needed? When the workers are outside the facility fixing pipes, wolves tend to sneak up from behind and attack the unsuspecting men. Ottway is there to make sure that the workers do not become dinner. When Ottway is not working, he is writing letters to his wife and also contemplating killing himself because he is a man that is obviously in pain.
Does the film sound depressing enough to you yet? No? OK, well how about this? Ottway winds up surviving a plane crash with a handful of other not-so-lucky ones on their way to civilization for a break from work. Why are the survivors the unlucky ones? You see, they know that search parties will not find them and they are not only freezing and low on supplies, but they also have a huge pack of wolves hunting them down and picking them off, one by one.
THE GREY is at its most entertaining when the group of men are confronted by the wolves. There is some serious tension but there are also a few moments that did not work because of the poorly rendered CGI wolves that looked like they belonged in the TWILIGHT movies. Not all the wolves are CGI, but the ones that are not real are so obviously fake and the CGI just feels wrong for a movie this grounded in reality.
Most of the film consists of the men walking through the snow and arguing while trying to find safety, constantly looking over their shoulders for the wolves. Carnahan is trying here and he delivers on a few aspects of the film, plus there are some beautiful shots involving the locations. I just wish THE GREY was able to bring me in and hold my attention, even the great Liam Neeson could not save the film for me.
By: Marc Ferman
Albert Nobbs: Movie Review
It’s a tough call when you really like a performance in a film, but you don’t care much for the film that the great performance is featured in. There are two films being released this week which fit into that mold. The first being Liam Neeson’s THE GREY in which Liam is fantastic even though I can’t say the same about the movie itself. The second being Glen Closes’ unforgettable performance in the mostly forgettable ALBERT NOBBS. The film is directed by Rodrigo Garcia, who is best known for working on TV shows like IN TREATMENT and SIX FEET UNDER. Garcia is a more than capable filmmaker but he never seems to bring the screenplay by star Glen Close to life.
The film tells the story of a woman (Close) who has been pretending to be a man named Albert for more than 30 years in 19th century Ireland. Trapping herself in life that feels more like a prison. Working in a hotel, Albert has been saving money over the years in order to open his/her own tobacco shop in which he/she could bring the young hotel maid Helen (Mia Wasikowska) to work in the store with her/him. Not only that, but Albert is in love with Helen, who happens to be in love with Joe (Aaron Johnson), a young man who wandered into the hotel for work.
ALBERT NOBBS is all about Close. She is fantastic here and though I would never buy her as an actual man, her performance is heartbreaking. The film itself has some great moments, which includes a surprising wardrobe change that not only shocks the moviegoer, but surprises Albert as well. It’s my favorite moment in the film. The supporting cast is filled with amazing talent like Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Brendan Gleeson, and James Greene, but they aren’t given a whole lot to do. Meyers is mainly reduced to just walking around and hardly saying a word. It feels like some of his work may have been a victim of the editing room. Another problem with the film is the pacing. At 113 minutes, it feels like it goes on at least a half hour longer. This is one of Closes’ best performances, but not one of her best movies.
By: Marc Ferman