Over the decades, many actors have secured themselves as cinematic icons. To transcend the film screen and move into audiences’ hearts is no small feat. The hugely diverse Liam Neeson is one such actor and from Schindler’s List to Michael Collins to Star Wars to Taken, this is a man who is no stranger to diversity in terms of picking roles. His latest film is no exception and in A Monster Calls, Neeson takes on the role of a gigantic tree monster (in motion capture), only to help guide a young boy through a very difficult time. Neeson was kind enough to sit down with me and other members of the media in a very special roundtable interview. Here’s how that interview went:
Within the past decade, the middle-aged action hero has become an increasingly popular entity in movies. Ever since Liam Neeson shot and punched his way to action film fame in 2008’s Taken, the genre has seen an increase in actors over the age of 50. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just a curious thing and film audiences are in for another example of this in The Gunman, a lackluster actioner starring a 53-year-old (but still excellent) Sean Penn. It’s a movie that doesn’t offer anything new but features a pretty impressive cast. Sadly though, the actors can’t save this film from mediocrity and that’s a real shame because there was some real potential here.
Boxing is a sport that often brings out the very best in athletes. It is a controlled battle between two individuals where a coveted title is concerned and the moniker “champion” is bestowed on the victor. Filipino fighting sensation Manny Pacquiao has made headlines for his pound-for-pound progression, his fierce fists, and last but certainly least, his immense heart. The new documentary Manny takes an in-depth look into the famed boxer’s life from his humble upbringing to this worldwide celebrity. It is a film that shines a light on a talented man who basically rose from rags to riches.
The main purpose of a documentary is a two-pronged one: to educate, as well as to entertain. If a documentary can pull off both of those missions, then that documentary has fulfilled its purpose. The new HBO doc Saving My Tomorrow is a powerful statement about the Earth and protecting the environment at all costs. Told through song, art, and the voices of deeply passionate children, the film delivers an extremely important message in a way that is fun, easy to digest, and suitable for the entire family.
Revenge thrillers have become so overdone and so formulaic that they barely hold water these days. Ever since Liam Neeson decided to fight back against his daughter’s captors in 2008’s immensely popular Taken, audiences have been thirsting for similar action fare ever since. The concept of a middle-aged man kicking ass seems to be a very appealing premise for many moviegoers and studios seem to be capitalizing on this phenomenon more and more. Famed French actor Gerard Depardieu has joined this bandwagon with the latest action-thriller Viktor and the results are lukewarm at best.
When one thinks of Liam Neeson, one thinks of revenge-fueled action cinema. Since 2008, the rugged actor has firmly cemented himself as the aging master of hand-to-hand combat and an expert at handling firearms. Taken was the film which got the ball rolling and that ball continues to roll with the Irish actor’s latest action/thriller A Walk Among the Tombstones. The film is more or less, your standard Neeson fare but with a few twists that keep things interesting. The body count isn’t too high as the film tends to focus more on story and the somewhat interesting mystery. Nevertheless, it is an average popcorn picture which will be sure to entertain even those who aren’t the biggest supporters of Neeson.
In his seemingly never-ending quest to provide meaty satire and goofing on many things in real life, Seth MacFarlane knows no bounds. With his mega-popular Family Guy and 2012’s Ted, he certainly knows how to generate laughs. His latest film, in which he wrote, directed, and starred,A Million Ways to Die in the West, is no different. The film continues his farcical tradition and manages to squeeze as much humor, adventure, and romance out of its 116-minute runtime. With an all-star cast and an even more hilarious array of cameos, West may not be an Oscar contender but it’s definitely worthy of a viewing if you’re in the mood for a good chuckle.