Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of May 16, 2022

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of May 16, 2022

Rated R for violent content
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 12%
In Theaters and Streaming on Peacock

In 1984, this horror film, based on the book by Stephen King, was met with mediocre reviews, but managed gain an audience and propel the career of its main star, then child actor Drew Barrymore. Now in 2022 it is getting a reboot, with even worse reviews and proof that the filmmakers learned no lessons at all from the first outing. The film tells the story of a young girl with special telepathic abilities, including the ability to ignite any target with her mind. Her father (Zac Efron), having some special powers himself, attempts to save her from being a government target, but forces are at hand to capture her and her talents. There is plenty wrong with this film including some horrific acting and poor production values. Efron was not bad, but he looked out of place amongst the B movie cast on display here. To drag the film deeper through the mud, they chose to have John Carpenter write a cheesy score and the lousy special effects would have looked crappy in 1984. The book, from what I remember, was riveting and scary, but for some reason a second film has now failed in delivering anything close to its original vision. C-

Rated PG-13 for language, thematic elements, drug content and some suggestive material
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%
Available on Disc and Streaming

Channing Tatum stars and co-directs this buddy comedy about a soldier who is tasked with driving a dog down the Pacific Coast in order to attend a fellow soldier’s (and the dog’s trainer’s) funeral. The dog turns out to be quite the handful and gets him in a lot of trouble and danger along the journey. We’ve had a lot of these sorts of films in recent years, so making the film seem fresh and nuanced is a really challenging feat. But fortunately there is a lot of skill at hand here and the film manages to both touch and entertain in equal amounts. With both human and dog suffering from PTSD, the narrative finds a way to grab your heart just when you think things are taking a silly turn, grounding the story in a way that proves necessary in order to keep its authenticity alive. Ultimately it ends up being an organically sweet yet fun road movie that is actually worth the trip. B+

Senior Year
Rated R for brief drinking, drug use, sexual material and language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 29%
Streaming on Netflix

Rebel Wilson heads up this adult comedy about a young cheerleader who goes into a coma for 20 years after a tragic cheerleading accident, only to wake up as middle-aged woman who still feels the need to fulfill her high school dreams. Returning to her high school to complete her senior year, she sets out to become captain of her cheer squad and the homecoming queen, and she will do anything to accomplish this life-long goal. I have mixed feelings on this one. There are some genuinely funny moments here and Wilson goes over the top in both good ways and bad. While I laughed plenty of times, I cringed even more, especially during the multitude of choreographed dance sequences that did nothing for the film but strip away what little dignity it had. By the end, my eyes couldn’t roll any further into the back of my skull as I tried to refrain from turning the channel. C

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of May 2, 2022

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of May 2, 2022

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Rated PG-13 for frightening images, action, intense sequences of violence and some language
Rotten Tomatoes Score 80%
In Theaters

Continuing the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s constant stream of content is this sequel to 2016’s Doctor Strange, which now places Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in the newly evolving multiverse. When he discovers a young girl (newcomer Xochitl Gomez) with the power to move between multiverses, he attempts to save her from the evil presence trying to kill her and steal her power. Since this new wave of MCU films is obviously focusing on the multiverse, I guess I have to go along with it, even though I am convinced that it’s essentially stealing from Sony’s Spider-verse plot line. But aside from that, this film really does break out into something unique and interesting, largely due to director Sam Raimi taking over the reins. If you recall, Sam Raimi, after making some of the best horror films of the 80s and 90s (Evil Dead, Army of Darkness) went on to make three of the highest grossing films of all time with Spider-Man 1, 2 and 3. With Spider-Man, though, he moved away from his horror roots. With this new Doctor Strange, the old Raimi is back. His twisted sense of humor along with his focus on the macabre is in full force here, adding a different and fun vibe to the somewhat dry super hero. And with a script by Loki creator Michael Waldron, there is a nice synergy of weirdness that should be attractive to a rabid audience looking for more of the same, but with a touch of abnormal. The cast is largely the same as before, and that’s okay given the level of talent. If there is one misgiving it is the casting of Gomez in the new character, who seems very out of place. She is quite ordinary and honestly kind of boring. In such a crazy universe, she doesn’t really fit in and her acting chops are not nearly good enough to keep up with the regulars here. A better actress in that role could have made this a stronger movie. One thing I should also note is that this is the first MCU film that relies heavily on the Marvel television programs. If you haven’t seen What If…?, WandaVision or Loki you might not be too lost, but there will certainly be a greater understanding of what is going on if you have. There isn’t a lot of exposition, so the filmmakers expect and challenge the audience to simply keep up. B+

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of April 18, 2022

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of April 18, 2022

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Rated R for violence, drug use, some sexual references and language throughout
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%
In Theaters

For a very long time, Nicolas Cage was the hottest actor in Hollywood, with huge tentpole films like The Rock and Gone in 60 Seconds, as well as little Indies like Leaving Las Vegas, which won him the Oscar. But in the early 2000’s his clout started to slip away and he started making films for the paycheck and most of them were pretty lousy. In the last few years he started making some excellent, highly reviewed films, and then came this one. The movie stars Cage as Cage, a busy working actor who wants to make great cinema, but alas a man who can’t catch a break to make it back into the A-list spotlight. So his agent talks him into heading to Spain to make a birthday appearance for a rich dude (Pedro Pascal) who wants his company for a few days. He slowly starts to develop a friendship with the guy when the CIA appears to tell him that he is an arms smuggler who has kidnapped a politician’s daughter, thus recruiting Cage to help rescue her. What transpires next is just a funny, exciting and exhilarating comedy full of self-reflection and knee-slapping hilarity. With Cage’s recent introduction back into important independent cinema, there is a desire to like the guy again and that really works for him here. He is self-effacing and vulnerable and you can’t help but cheer for him as the story develops. And by the end you get a brilliant buddy comedy that seems to hit all the buttons and manages to get everything right. While Cage is certainly the draw of this film, perhaps the biggest winner is relatively new writer/director Tom Gormican who puts on a serious show here, making a smart, lovable movie like a true pro, which should only propel his career to new heights. A

The Northman
Rated R for strong bloody violence, some sexual content, and nudity
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%
In Theaters

Writer/director Robert Eggers (The Witch, the Lighthouse) has truly made a splash in Hollywood with his unique and mysterious style of horror which leaves behind nightmares from his perverse vision. For his third film, he takes that style to Iceland for a movie that can only be described as a disturbing version of Hamlet set amongst vikings. Perhaps the most perfect-looking viking in movie history, Alexander Skarsgard plays a young prince who seeks revenge for the killing of his father and king (Ethan Hawke) and mother (Nicole Kidman) from an uncle trying to seize power. In a raw, bestial manner, he pretends to be a slave to his uncle only to slowly claw his way to the final act of vengeance. Stylistically the film is special and unusual, making you think you can predict the next action only to find out that you have no idea what will happen next. In that way it is a worthwhile journey to go on. That being said, the film is not mainstream and it will turn off much of its audience. It is weird and far from straightforward, with off-putting visuals and disturbing plot points. It’s the kind of material that critics and film snobs chew up but mainstream audiences might not be able to connect with. It’s like watching Braveheart on an acid trip, and personally, I dug that and will probably go see it a second time, maybe next time with a stiff drink in hand. A-

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of April 11, 2022

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of April 11, 2022

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Rated PG-13 for some fantasy action/violence
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 59%
In Theaters

In this third installment of the Harry Potter prequels, Gellert Grindelwald (now played by Mads Mikkelsen since Depp was forced to disappear) attempts to seize control of the wizarding world and thusly the Muggle world around it. In order to stop him, Professor Dumbledore (Jude Law) assembles a team consisting of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) and a couple of new wizards determined to keep him from reaching power. The last film in the series was an absolute mess, leaving this one a lot to clean up. There were jumbled plots, confusing storylines and even if you made it to the end without dozing off, you still probably had to watch a YouTube synopsis to figure out what was actually going on. This one, thankfully, is clearer in its vision and much easier to understand. It still has a similar problem in that this is far less “fantastic beasts” and far more about sorting out what happened pre-Harry. But at least the narrative is more carefully crafted and Mikkelsen does a fine job of covering up the replacement. Honestly, while he’s not as eclectic as Depp, he is a far better actor. Aside from its many problems – and there are plenty – director Yates and writer Rowling create a decent enough piece of canon that might not make the critics happy but should appease the fans, for now. The biggest head scratcher to me is at the end, I couldn’t actually recall any of Dumbledore’s big secrets. Since it’s the name of the film we should have had some major revelations and not just a few minor ones. Someone told me it was that he was gay, but we found that out in the last outing, so maybe it’s possible his secrets aren’t good for more than just a marketing slogan. B-

Spider-Man: No Way Home
Rated PG-13 for sequences of action/violence, brief suggestive comments, and some language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Available on disc and paid streaming (not Disney+)
After the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home, the whole world now knows Spidey’s true identity and it’s too much for Peter Parker to bear. So with the help of Doctor Strange, he attempts to cover up the secret with magic. But in the process, he opens up a portal to other universes, allowing original series’ baddies like Green Goblin, Dock Ock and others to enter his world and wreak havoc. Due to some solid writing and fast-paced directing, the film turns out to be a very decent edition to the MCU. It has the right amount of action, drama, romance and adventure, and in spite of being a little too long, manages to provide for a fun journey. It is far too similar to Sony’s 2018 Oscar-winning Into the Spider-verse, but since it is live-action, audiences found forgiveness in their hearts and went to see it in droves. Growing up, my favorite hero was Spider-Man, and I love all of these films, but I fear we might be getting a little too much. I hope they can continue the string of good movies, but at this pace we might just start to see an over-dose occur if they aren’t careful. B+

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of April 4, 2022

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of April 4, 2022

Rated PG-13 for some frightening images, intense sequences of violence and brief strong language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 17%
In Theaters

While not part of the Kevin Feige MCU universe, The Marvel comic book character is getting his theatrical debut thanks to Sony and their pre-Disney deal. Jared Leto plays the crippled scientist Dr. Michael Morbius who uses vampire bats to try to put his broken body together again. Unfortunately this turns him into a vampire. This seems to be okay as long as he can keep it a secret, but when his childhood buddy with the same disease (Matt Smith) gets ahold of the formula, he becomes the murderous type, and Morbius must try to stop him. It’s not a bad idea for a marvel hero and there are some interesting bones here. But the whole thing is a sloppy mess from start to finish. It feels like a really long trailer that just won’t end, with one action sequence after another but hardly a shred of character development and actors who can’t seem to pronounce their dialog correctly. They try to make it a bit scary, which would be nice if it was, but instead it comes off as silly and unnecessary. At this point I would rather leave this character out of the MCU (there is no plan to add him) until Disney and Marvel can resurrect him under better circumstances, years form now. One thing to keep in mind is that this film was supposed to be released 2 years ago, and while I wouldn’t blame Covid for its failure, it certainly didn’t benefit from its time to marinate. They would have been better off sending it straight to streaming during the pandemic and blamed that for its failure rather than the bad filmmaking. D

Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood
Rated PG-13 for injury images, some suggestive material and smoking
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%
Streaming on Netflix

Writer/director Richard Linklater, using his distinctive animation style, tells the story of what it was like to be a child growing up in Houston during the 60s with the space race as the backdrop. Creating the narrative of NASA needing a young boy to go up due to creating a module that was too small for adults sets up a beautifully told story of what the day-to-day was like in a fashion that can only be described as nostalgic bliss. For 90 minutes you are whisked away to a childhood that most will find familiar enough to their own, with Jack Black as the narrator giving the play by play. This film kind of snuck up on me and when I started watching, it immediately put me in a happy place. In my opinion, it is certain to be a frontrunner for Best Animated Picture next year and would have probably beat Encanto had it seen a release date last December. It will definitely be one that you start recommending to friends, especially if they grew up in the Houston area at or near that time. A

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of March 21, 2022

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of March 21, 2022

The Lost City
Rated PG-13 for suggestive material, language, some bloody images, partial nudity and violence
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%
In Theaters

Sandra Bullock is a romantic novelist who, along with her books’ cover model, played by Channing Tatum, find themselves on a real adventure on a remote island after an eccentric rich kid, played by Daniel Radcliffe, kidnaps her in an attempt to locate a hidden treasure. Along the way, a former navy seal, played by Brad Pitt, steps in to try to help with the dangerous rescue. As expected, the movie is charming and fairly entertaining, largely due to the larger than life actors on screen playing the story out. There are some nice laughs and a few thrills with plenty of sexual tension thrown in. Unfortunately the adventure isn’t really that adventurous and there are so many plot holes and inorganic plot devices that by half way it is hard to take the film seriously. Aside from the fact that it is way too reminiscent to Romancing the Stone, and the filmmakers were too concerned with just getting to the next big joke or set piece, giving the film a lack of originality and forcing it to be overly predictable when it is just trying to make the audience to not have to think too terribly hard. Luckily there aren’t a ton of these kinds of films, so they are nice to take in once in a while. That being said, last year’s Jungle Cruise was a way better example of the sub-genre, and it performed horribly at the box office, so we will have to wait and see if audiences will be kinder to Bullock than they were to The Rock and Disney. B-

Rated R for language throughout and some violence
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 55%
Streaming on Netflix

Jesse Plemons is a tech billionaire who is looking forward to a quiet weekend with his wife, Lily Collins, at their vacation home when they discover someone has broken in (Jason Segel) with plans to steal from them. When things don’t go as planned, he decides to hold them hostage until a large sum of money is delivered for him. With only three actors and a fourth bit part, the movie feels like it could have been more successful as a play than a movie. They go out of their way to keep it simple and straight forward with some nice touches in the cinematography and music departments. The problem is that while the characters possess some of the raw elements that make a film like this work, those elements don’t materialize and by the end you just wait it out so you can move on. With better dialog and richer character development, this might have been a much more interesting project. C

The Godfather Trilogy: 50th Anniversary 4K Edition
Available on Disc and Paid Streaming

Every few years we get a new addition of The Godfather and if you are like me, you look to upgrade. From tape to DVD, from DVD to Blu-ray, and now from blu-ray to 4K, each usually coming every 5 years. Is it worth buying it again? If you are like me, you want to dig through the new special features, for which there are plenty here. In addition, this version has been meticulously remastered and restored. Did my eyes see much of a difference? Did I learn that much more knowledge about one of my favorite films? Not really, but these features are there. Probably the best reason to shell out the bucks is that the third movie has been offed and replaced now with The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone, a far superior and way shorter recut of the less than stellar Godfather Part III. The suggestion I would give would be to forgo the physical copy which is almost three times more expensive than the streaming version, and even better, Apple TV tends to update your version when you purchase and a new one comes out in a few years. I bought the trilogy years ago, and when I go back to watch now it automatically pops up in 4K. It’s almost like future-proofing your favorite classic movies. #godfatherhacks

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of March 14, 2022

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of March 14, 2022

The Adam Project
Rated PG-13 for language, violence, action, and suggestive references
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 68%
Streaming on Netflix

Netflix went all out in this straight to streaming sci-fi adventure starring Ryan Reynolds, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Garner and Zoe Saldana, which tells the story of a man from the future who goes back in time from 2050 to 2022, only to find himself teaming up with a 12 year old version of himself in order to rescue his dad and set the future straight. From the very start, the film is charming and funny with a sense of danger and thrills, just like you would expect from a Reynolds movie. The plot is fairly simple but works well and does a very good job at dumbing down the science enough for you to stop asking questions about feasibility while avoiding too much over-thinking about how ludicrous the whole thing is. Perhaps what works the best is having Reynolds alongside a 12 year version of himself, played by an excellent child actor, Walker Scobell, making the film twice as fun. Overall it’s an enjoyable family sci-fi comedy that should have had a theatrical release, but that we are lucky enough to enjoy at home right off the bat. B+

Turning Red
Rated PG for language, thematic material and suggestive content
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%
Streaming on Disney+

Another film that should have opened in theaters rather than start with streaming is Disney and Pixar’s latest animated feature about a young Asian Canadian girl who discovers that, as she enters puberty, she turns into a giant red panda when she gets upset or emotional. At first you get the sense that Pixar is trying to make a clever, maybe off-color movie about menstruation, and they even throw you a few hints to lead you down that path. But you quickly find out that she really is a red panda and it gets even crazier than that when her friends love both her and the giant furby she becomes. Pixar loves to make odd little films with unique story telling and this is no different. Showing us the geographical and cultural similarities and differences is a great way to relate, learn and appreciate. This one is really quirky but still fun and enjoyable. Its only fault is that the girl and her friends can be annoying. But I’m pretty sure all young teenage girls can be annoying at times, so if anything, it’s just more believable. B

Red Rocket
Rated R for pervasive language, graphic nudity, drug use and strong sexual content
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%
Available on Streaming and Disc

From writer/director Sean Baker (The Florida Project) comes this dark comedy about a washed up porn actor, Simon Rex, who comes back to the South Houston area to hustle up enough money to find himself a post-porn life. But when he falls in love with a girl in a donut shop, played by newcomer Suzanna Son, he begins to formulate a plan to get his former world back again. Filmed in Texas City, Kemah, The Golden Triangle and Galveston, the film provides for a great representation of Southeast Texas from a talented filmmaker with a unique perspective. While some of the acting is sub par and feels a little too indie at times, Rex and Son are terrific with amazing chemistry, elevating the project quite a bit. That being said, you can’t help feeling sad for them as they meander through life without a goal or a clue. In that regard it’s probably more real than most of us give it credit for. B-

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of February 28, 2022

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton
Week of February 28, 2022

The Batman
Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material, drug content, strong disturbing content, strong language and strong violent content
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%
In Theaters

In the latest major reboot of the Batman franchise, Writer/Director Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) presents Robert Pattinson as a dark, broody billionaire lost soul who acts as a vigilante at night as a means to find solace and seek justice for the murder of his parents. He is the same tough crime fighter basically, but with a more gritty and vulnerable side that we aren’t used to, and a lot fewer cool toys. He’s not a womanizing playboy by day, but rather a sad young man trying to figure himself out. But when a strange new serial killer named The Riddler (Paul Dano) begins to kill prominent leaders in Gotham in order to expose their crimes, he addresses clues to The Batman, shedding light on both current and future crimes. So needless to say, this isn’t your daddy’s Batman. It is a dark noir crime thriller with a mystery slant and a much more organic look and feel to it, rather than the flashier versions we’ve seen until now. Rather than the supervillains we’ve watched in this franchise previously, The Riddler is almost like a more sociopathic-like version of The Peacemaker, a villain who thinks that he is doing the right thing by using extreme violence to thwart the evil-doings of the leaders of Gotham. It’s as if he thinks he is like Batman, with a darker edge. Like he’s trying to possibly team-up somehow. This kind of plot works well and turns out to be a very interesting take on the storyline. And when you add in Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz), a cat burglar who is also willing to do what it takes to bring down the mob, you get a memorable version and a worthwhile place to take the franchise. There is honestly a lot to like here with great acting, a strong production and a serviceable script. Sure the score by Oscar Winner Michael Giacchino (Up) sounds like a western version of the Imperial March by John Williams, but when you consider that batman sounds like he is wearing spurs when he mysteriously walks into rooms, it all starts to make sense. What doesn’t make sense is the 3 hour runtime. Some films earn their 3 hours, but this one sadly does not. It is an overly long bladder-buster that could have used a major edit. There is a lot of wasted space in this film and that bloat takes focus off of what could have been a better movie with just less of it there. B+

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of February 21, 2022

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of February 21, 2022

Studio 666
Rated R for strong bloody violence, gore, sexual content and pervasive language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79% at time of writing
In Theaters

The Foo Fighters are trying to figure out what to do for their 10th album, hoping that a special retreat might help the magic happen. When their manager suggests a creepy mansion with a violent history, they jump in and start creating. But once in, lead singer Dave Grohl finds himself under the influence of the evil presences in the home, threatening both the album and the lives of his bandmates. Since the Foo Fighters hit the scene almost 30 years ago, they’ve always managed to make the most creative of music videos, collaborating with award-winning filmmakers to tell fun and silly stories set to their loud arena rock. Personally, I’ve been a fan since day one and look forward to every new release and especially every new video. This film basically has the feel of a two hour video, filled with graphic but hilarious violence, sex (also hilarious) and some really, really bad acting that you actually tolerate quite well. It’s not a great film, but it is far more entertaining than you would think it would be. If you aren’t a Foo fan, you probably won’t understand, but since their fans are numerous worldwide – the film has potential to become a cult-classic amongst those who like to fight the foo. B

American Underdog
Rated PG for thematic elements and some language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%
On Disc and Streaming

Since I’ve never been a pro football fan, I sadly had little concept who Kurt Warner was or what he was famous for. But I must admit, I am quite impressed by the story of this small college quarterback from Iowa who went on to work for minimum wage in a grocery store only to later become one of the most famous football players in the history of the sport. Zachary Levi (Shazam) plays Warner while Anna Paquin (True Blood) plays his wife Brenda in this fairly star-studded faith-based sports flick that chooses to inspire rather than preach, making it far more accessible than most films from the genre. What could have a been a cheeseball Warner worship-fest turns into a pretty compelling story worth watching, and even cheering for. Levi and Paquin are a bit over-the-top at times, and the story gets a little dramatic too often, but that doesn’t make it much less enjoyable and only gives you more to like about the characters. On top of that, it is an incredible family film that should be interesting enough to teach the kids a solid lesson in never giving up on your dreams. B

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of February 7, 2022

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of February 7, 2022

Death on the Nile
Rated PG-13 for violence, some bloody images and sexual material
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 68% at time of writing
In Theaters

From director and star Kenneth Branagh (who just happened to get a full set of Oscar noms for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay this week) comes this sequel to the 2017 Agatha Christie mystery Murder on the Orient Express where the world-famous detective Hercule Poirot finds himself on a boat on the Nile at the same time a gruesome murder takes place. While not quite as A-list star studded as the first film, the cast here is at least very recognizable with Gal Gadot in the lead as a wealthy businesswoman with a new husband and lots of people who seemingly hate each other along for the ride during their honeymoon. The first hour is at times beautiful to look at but still tedious to sit through as you try to figure out the crime before it takes place. But once it does, the plot picks up full steam ahead until the crimes are fatefully solved. I found the last outing to be quite annoying, so I was refreshed that this one was less so, and by then end it even comes off as pretty enjoyable. There are lots of problems with the script and the acting, especially in the first hour, but smoothing things over are the impressive production values, especially the set design, cinematography and a lovely score by Branagh’s long-time friend and collaborator Patrick Doyle. B

Rated PG-13 for action, strong violence and language
In Theaters

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: Liam Neeson plays a government-trained fixer who goes after the men that threaten his daughter’s and granddaughter’s lives. Okay – close enough. You would probably be surprised if it weren’t Neeson in the role. Being that it is directed by Ozark creator Mark Williams, you would expect a surprise here and there with maybe enough twists that you forget its lack of originality. But you’ll only be disappointed by that expectation. Instead, all we get here is a paint by numbers government thriller where the actors are either misdirected, completely phoning in their parts, or probably both. The cardboard characters get zero help from Neeson or his boss/enemy Aidan Quinn, who both throw their talents out the window, along with the forgettable supporting cast. But it’s not all bad – at least I have a solid candidate for worst picture of the year, if I don’t scrub it out of my mind come December. F