Tag Archive: Liam Neeson

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,100 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Liam Neeson at the closing of the Lyric Theatr...

Image via Wikipedia - actor Liam Neeson

Tonight I watched a really odd movie (surprise, surprise) starring Christina Ricci, Justin Long, and Liam Neeson.  The movie, called “After.Life“, was released in 2009.  The premise is pretty straight forward: Ricci is a young woman who is killed in a car accident and taken to the mortuary where her body is prepared by Liam Neeson, who has a penchant for talking with the dead.  Ricci is convinced she’s not dead, but Neeson says otherwise.  Her funeral is in three days and the race is on to figure out exactly what’s happening.  Will her almost fiance Long be able to save her?

This movie was billed as a thriller, but to be honest it didn’t get really unsettling until the very ending, as things started to come together.  Up until then, I spent the movie trying to figure out what was happening – was she dead or alive? Was Neeson a good person or bad?

I enjoyed “After.Life” despite it seeming too long in the beginning.  When the movie began to pick up, it did so in a way that caused me to slowly get more tense.  At first I didn’t even realize I was nervous!  The conclusion is pretty good, and answered all the questions I had about the movie (which is always a good thing.  I hate having unanswered questions that movies – sometimes the lack of answers ruins the movie).

Liam Neeson is always a joy to watch onscreen.  He can play a variety of characters without being the same person twice.  I hate watching movies where the actor is always the same, or always plays the same character.  (That’s what I loved about “Road to Perdition” with Tom Hanks – for once he was the sinister element, not the comedic or romantic element.)  Its good to have Christina Ricci back in the spotlight, although my one complaint is the gratuitous nudity.  They kept showing her topless after the first half of the movie.  I suppose it could be argued that she was being born into a new existence, and therefore needed to lose the trappings of her previous life, but it still felt a little forced to me.  She’s a good enough actress that she doesn’t have to disrobe to be noticed.  Justin Long was a good choice as the fiance.  He plays panicked characters very well.  His development as an actor is visible in this movie.  He carries himself with much more ease and confidence than he did in movies such as “Die Hard: Live Free or Die Hard“.

If you’re looking for an interesting movie that will keep you guessing, then I highly recommend “After.Life”.  The build-up and pacing were good, with a supremely creepy ending that you most likely won’t see coming.

A stylish update…

Cover of "The Haunting"

Cover of The Haunting

The Haunting” is based on an unremarkable book by Shirley Jackson.  The movie, on the other hand, is very enjoyable.  Liam Neeson is a great asset to the film as always, and Catherine Zeta Jones is a great supporting actress.

“The Haunting” has an interesting plot – Liam Neeson plays Doctor David Marrow, a man intent on finding evidence of the supernatural.  Catherine Zeta Jones, Owen Wilson, and Lili Taylor are study subjects picked from a vast survey for a study on sleep health.  As can already be suspected, things go poorly for all involved.

The haunting phenomena is different from the book – it’s more agressive, dangerous, and frightening.  One of my favorite scenes in the movie is the lion-shaped draft dodger in the fireplace.  It seems to drop out of nowhere at first and scare Lili Taylor (who plays the mentally unhinged Eleanor).  When the huge metal lion makes its second appearance, it takes Owen Wilson’s head completely off his shoulders !  Word to the wise – stay out of fireplaces that are so big you could host a tea party in them.

The story is greatly enhanced by the addition of a pedophile angle regarding Hugh Crain (the man who built the mansion).  He brings children up from the factories and has them live with him, and its found out that the children disappear.  Anytime children and weird people with terrible motives are combined, its sure to be frightening.  Other haunting phenomena include moving walls, angry bedposts, blood writing on the walls, and a veritable host of other supernatural goodies.

Each of the actors and actresses played their parts well.  No one stood out as being out of character – everything was believable.  The sets were lavish and creepy, which was what you’d expect from such a large house with a terrible history.

“The Haunting” is more enjoyable and scary than the book on which it was based (“The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson).  If you’re the kind of person that likes to read the book and watch the movie – read the book first – no matter what !  I really enjoyed watching “The Haunting”, and I think you will too.