Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Reclaim (2014)

Tagline: You can't put a price on family/ Reclaim what's yours
Cusack plays: Benjamin

I'm calling the movie poster as a little misleading, as at no point are there ever any helicopters hovering over a lit up city...

Rounding off the year by getting up to date with the Cusack challenge and this little action number, which is a step up from my last watch, The Prince.  The blurb for this one is that a couple head to Puerto Rico to adopt a little girl, who has been orphaned as a result of the earthquake in Haiti. They have a jolly holiday on the beach as they wait for their ADORABLE (honestly, I lost track of how many times she was described as adorable) little girl's passport to be processed. They bump into Cusack, apparently holidaying at their result (LOOK OUT HE'S VAPING/SMOKING A GIANT CIGAR) and after the husband (Ryan Phillipe) has a bust up in a bar, the adorbs wee gal goes missing.

As can be ascertained by the trailer, they have fallen victim to a 'reclaim' scam, where the fake adoption agency has taken the child and loads of their money. They really should have guessed, as Jacki Weaver as the adoption agency lady just screams dodgy to me. The story continues by adding another layer, bringing in the couples past etc, with Cusack's role as chief baddie increasing. I am starting to wonder if he is playing the bad guy so he gets to smoke. Or maybe it's just more fun.

So, this isn't a great film, but its alright and  probably worth a watch. Towards the most dramatic parts I even stopped playing Candy Crush/eating Quality Street and gave it my full attention. So y'know, reasonable praise.

Here's a trailer that basically shows you the entire film if you don't have a spare 90 minutes.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

The Prince (2014)

Tagline: Mercy is for the weak
Cusack plays: Sam

Another release which bypassed a cinema release and headed straight to DVD/Netflix/Amazon Prime et al.  Of the 3 men on the poster, Willis and Cusack have really small parts, and only show up 34 and 50 mins into the 90 minute feature. So Jason Patric is the 'star' of this run around, shoot at things, emote, repent barrel of fun.

The film begins with a flashback to crime lord Bruce Willis (seemingly sporting a CGI beard and/or face) seeing his wife and child get blown up in a car.  20 years or so later, mechanic Jason Patric is chatting with his college aged daughter on Skype. She then disappears, and he has to go investigate what has happened to her, aided by his daughter's sexy friend.

*MILD SPOILERS INCASE YOU WANT TO WATCH THIS RUBBISH* So we find out that Jason Patric was the one who killed Willis' family - but he's not a total bad guy, he was only planning to blow up Willis. So I assumed that Willis has kidnapped his daughter as revenge, but this was not the case, so not as predictable as it could have been. Instead shes been 'kidnapped' by Drug dealer 'The Pharmacy' played by 50 Cent. In coming to look for her he reappears on Willis' radar, he gets interested in going after the daughter and ALL THE GUNS come out.

Cusack wanders in at the 50 minute mark, as Patric's old friend (?) who he entrusts with looking after his daughters friend while he goes off to the gun shop etc. Cusack is in serious whisper mode, mumbling something about Hadrian's Wall and why Patric is known as 'The Prince'. Later he shoots some guns and lights up a giant cigar for no reason (cooler looking than the vaping of previous films).

This is just a bad film, full stop. There is nothing and no one to care about, no story to get invested in, and the only mild amusement I found was in them naming a drug dealer 'The Pharmacy', and that the missing daughter was called Beth Brennan - the name of the character Natalie Imbruglia played in Neighbours in the early 1990s. (If only I could empty my mind of useless facts like this, I could take over the world).

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Love & Mercy (2014)

Tagline: The Life, Love and Genius of Brian Wilson
Cusack plays: Older Brian Wilson

After the last two straight to DVD duds, I was cheered by the prospect of an actual UK cinema release and trip to see Cusack on the big screen. The trailer looked promising, and the subject matter of interest. I like a biopic, I like the Beach Boys, fingers crossed I was in for a treat.

And *happy dance* this is a great film. It cuts between 1960s Brian Wilson (Paul Dano) and 1980s (Cusack). The earlier years focus on the Beach Boys successes, Wilson's musical genius and the recording of Pet Sounds and other records. It also documents his emerging mental health problems and troubled relationship with his father. The film continually cuts between the early years and a few decades later - Wilson is under the control of a shady therapist (Paul Giamatti) who keeps him heavily medicated. He meets Melinda (Elizabeth Banks), when out buying a car, and she attempts to pry him away from the Dr's grip.

Dano is fantastic as earlier Brian, embodying the star and even doing some singing. You grin as the familiar songs start to take shape, even if sometimes it's a bit obvious and bordering on cheesy (no prizes for guessing which song emerges after a character mentions animals and moods being affecting by vibrations). I think that's one of the joys of biopics though.

Alas Cusack doesn't sing, but he wonderfully portrays Wilson's struggles, paranoia and empty, controlled life. I knew less about this period of Wilson's life, and while Giamatti verges on the panto villian, he's pretty scary. You are truly rooting for Melinda to come through and rescue Brian and release his muscial genius once more. And you just want to give Cusack a big hug.

So it's a thumbs up for this one from me.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

The Bag Man (2014)

Tagline: The cat's in the bag
Cusack plays: Jack. 

I think the fact that I watched this about a month ago but have only just mustered up the energy to post a review probably tells you all you need to know. This is another straight to DVD number, focused around Cusack, Bobby De Niro and some wifey.   It's quite dark and whispery, which combined with my tendency to multi task and not concentrate on films meant some rewinding was required. 

So, big Bad Bobby De Niro pays his shady hit man type Cusack some moneys for a simple job - retrieve a bag and bring it to him, the one very important condition being DON'T LOOK IN THE BAG. This is the one thing going for this film and keeping you interested -what's in the bag???? (you know it's not going to be anything good). Along the way people start trying to kill each other and a sexy laydee turns up to try and disrupt things. Oh, also the midget janitor from Scrubs and a guy with a blingin eye patch.

I was entertained a little by some links to other Cusack flicks - Crispin Glover as a creepy hotel employee (as seen in Hot Tub Time Machine) and running about around a motel was a bit Identity like.

So overall, this is another fail, but I am a little cheered by the trailers for upcoming Cusack flicks, Love & Mercy and Dragonblade which both look worth a watch. Also, happy 49th birthday tomorrow Mr Cusack!