Tune to The 2 Guys Named Chris Show every Monday to get the scoop on the latest new films and releases to DVD from a Canadian point of view. Julie Crawford, Film Critic for The Vancouver Courier, gives her two cents worth every Monday morning on Rock 92.
October 8th, 2012
by Biggie Josh Ellinger,posted Oct 9 2012 7:36AM
The first Taken film served as a kind of big-screen stranger-danger lesson for teenaged girls. Liam Neeson played Bryan Mills, a retired CIA man with a “particular set of skills” that allowed him to retrieve his teenaged daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) from Albanian kidnappers. In this one, the father of one of the kidnappers Brian killed vows revenge and kidnaps Brian and his estranged wife (Famke Janssen) while they’re on vacation in Istanbul. It’s up to Kim to save daddy this time, by throwing grenades around and driving cars through the twisty streets of Istanbul, even though she’s failed her driver’s test twice. Neeson has done the action-hero thing a few films since, so the novelty has worn off, and now he’s almost 60. Without the dangling emotional carrot of a daddy trying to save his daughter, Taken 2 is just a run-of-the-mill, choppily edited thriller
Prometheus is the first sci-fi film from Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, American Gangster, Thelma & Louise) in over three decades. Blade Runner (1982) and 1979’s Alien are both considered some of the best examples of sci-fi out there. Noomi Rapace (of Girl in the Dragon Tattoo fame) is Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, who leads a team aboard the space vessel Prometheus to find the origin of mankind. Charlize Theron plays a cold-hearted company rep, Idris Elba is the captain, and Michael Fassbender plays the droid who gets them into all sorts of trouble.
Scott delivers amazingly rich and creepy sets (constructed at Pinewood’s massive sound stages) and creates a completely isolating, otherworldly atmosphere. There are several different types of alien life forms (or aliens in different stages of development), and filmmakers don’t cheat and show them in shadows: we get to see these things up close and personal. Solid, engaging sci-fi film.
Blu-ray has commentaries by Scott and the writer and producer, alternate openings and endings, deleted scenes, screen tests and pre-visualizations, a making-of extra and much more.
Rock of Ages
This is an adaptation of the very popular musical about a small-town girl (Julianne Hough) who heads to Hollywood in 1987 with big hair and big dreams of becoming a singer. Soon after she gets off the bus Sherrie bumps into Drew (newcomer Diego Boneta), who works at a local hard-rock club and helps her get a job as well as her first big break. The club, however, has fallen on hard times and only a gig by legendary rock god Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) can save it from going under.
Alec Baldwin, Mary J. Blige, Bryan Cranston, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Russell Brand and Malin Akerman are featured but the star here is Cruise, who belts out some decent songs (“Wanted: Dead or Alive”) and livens up the film when the chemistry-free love affair between Hough and Boneta falls flat.
If you grew up in the ‘80s you’ll love the special features, which includes bits on ‘80s fashion, how filmmakers got the period just right, Def Leppard live at the premiere, and an extra on how they turned Miami into the Sunset Strip.