Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

the impossible flight

Two pilots, Andre Borshberg and Bertrand Picard, attempt to fly a solar powered plane around the world.

This is an amazing documentary of an amazing feat.  Engineers built a plane with an enormous wingspan, and they covered the wings in solar panels and connected the solar panels to huge batteries to power this plane.  The viewer looks at this plane and it looks like Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose, it’s never going to get off the ground, but it does.  And then the adventure begins, and because it’s so light and aerodynamic , the plane banks like crazy,  so the slightest wind or pilot error can bring it down.  At each stop the solar panels have to be meticulously cleaned and replaced, so the plane gets maximum power generated to each battery, and the weather has to be forecast, not for a few hours but for five days in advance, so the pilots can fly in clear weather, so there’s an immediate sense of adventure, and risk taking that is exhilarating to watch.

Then there are the pilots they argue with the engineers about whether to fly or stay on the ground, and that adds to the suspense.  Picard really wants to fly all the time, he doesn’t seem to value his life or much else, he just wants to fly the plane and get that record.  He’s part PT Barnum, and part pilot, he’s a showman, and promoter, but he also wants to prove that the science works.  He comes off as arrogant, at first, but the more the documentary delves into his background, the more the viewer understands what drives him.  The other pilot, Borshberg is much more laid back, more willing to do the harder flights, like flying over the Pacific, and take the advice of the engineers on the ground, but he also wants to make history with this plane.  The personalities of the pilots especially Picard, adds to the suspense of the documentary.  The result of the flight was well-publicized, but the documentary is still edge of your seat watching.

The visuals were another compelling reason to watch this documentary.  The directors must have used a Go Pro for some of the shots, because the viewers got a look right inside the cockpit.  The aerial shots are also spectacular, the viewers get to see breathtaking aerial views of San Francisco, New York City, and Cairo.

Here’s a fun fact, the character on Star Trek, Jean Luc Picard is patterned after Bertrand Picard’s grandfather.

When all is said and done, this is a documentary about the triumph of the human spirit over all kinds of adversity, pushing the frontiers of science and engineering forward.  In a world filled with bad news this flight, which ended in July 2016, and lasted for 15 months, showed mankind at its imaginative and intuitive best.

The impossible Flight:  Flight the good flight.

 

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Kingsman

Eggsy (Taron Edgerton) is firmly ensconced as a member of the Kingsman.  He is being chased by Charlie (Edward Holcroft) who is a disgruntled Kingsman trainee, with a robotic arm.  Charlie fails to take down  Eggsy, but his robotic arm hacks Eggsy’s profile and gains valuable information on the Kingsmen.  Charlie works for an organization called the Golden Circle, a secret organization, headed by Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore) which wants to destroy the  Kingsmen.  With the information Poppy gets from Charlie’s robotic arm, she destroys the Kingmen locations throughout the country.  Only Merlin (Mark Strong) and Eggsy survive, what do the two remaining Kingsmen do with no  headquarters and only two agents?  Who is Poppy Adams, and why is she bent on destruction?

The Golden Circle starts out like many action films often do, with a high octane action sequence.  The movie lags when the exposition begins .  It is shamelessly sentimental, on many fronts, including Harry, Merlin, and   Princess Tilde.  The romance between Tilde and Eggy is so forced and unnatural, that it reminds me of how the two lovers first met, which was the worst part of the first movie.  The movie has a thinly veiled feminist justification for Poppy’s villainy, but it’s poorly thought out and realized. The writing anti-drug-in a passive aggressive way.  There are also more of the stereotypical dumb redneck characters in minor roles and major roles, therefore reinforcing a tired movie trope. Add to that that the movie is too long and way too violent, and the result is a truly boring, often redundant sequel to a passable spy flick.

Taron Edgerton is a good young actor, too good to be trapped in a crap soufflé such as this.  He was excellent in the first Kingsmen movie, as well as Eddie the Eagle, and Sing.  Hopefully he can return to more versatile roles, and can quickly erase this mistake from his resume.  Mark Strong is an established veteran actor, but he is someone who can move from role to role with little damage to his career, so hopefully he too can leave this role in the rearview mirror. I guess Colin Firth ran out of Bridget Jones sequels to make.  Julianne Moore doesn’t exude the kind of joy that is required to play a real evil villain, she seems to be going through the motions.  Channing Tatum cannot act, that doesn’t change by adding a badly executed Southern accent.  Jeff Bridges is misused, and Halle Berry is badly underused. A great cast is badly sabotaged by criminally bad writing.

The director does a good job with the action sequences, but the pacing is really slow in the scenes between, which makes a 2 hour, 20 minute movie into what seems like a never-ending dud.  The overreliance on violence is telling, violence is often a filler in a story when the writers can’t think of actual plot, and this movie is no exception. The choice of music is odd, “Take Me Home Country Roads” is an odd choice for music because it refers to West Virginia, and the American part of the movie is in Kentucky.  There is also another John Denver song in this movie, and a John Denver reference, I don’t really understand the reason for these 1970’s references in a movie almost 50 years later.

Kingsmen:  The Golden Circle.  A royal pain.

Dunkirk

In 1940, thousands of Allied soldiers are pushed back by the Nazis to the city of Dunkirk in France. They are surrounded by German soldiers on all sides, and waiting to be evacuated.  Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) is a British private who survives an ambush attack, he helps get a soldier onto a British hospital ship, which is bombed by the Germans before Tommy gets on and sunk, Tommy saves Alex (Harry Styles) before the hospital ship sinks.  Tommy gets onto a destroyer, which is also sunk by a German U-Boat. A third soldier, Gibson (Aneurin Bernard) saves Tommy and Alex, and they are towed by a rowboat back to shore. Commander Bolton (Kenneth Branaugh ) explains to Colonel Winnant (James D’Arcy) that destroyers are too big to aid in the evacuation, and the British Navy has requested civilian vessels to help with the evacuation of Dunkirk.

Gibson, Tommy and Alex make it onboard a trawler and wait for high tide, but when the trawler gets underway questions arise about Gibson.  Is he a spy?

One of the civilian vessels requisitioned by the Navy , Moonshine, is captained by Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance) his son Peter (Tom Glynn-Carney) and Peter’s friend George (Barry Keoghan) set out for Dunkirk.  On the way, they rescue a shell-shocked solder (James Bloor) from a sunken ship.  When the soldier realizes they are going back to Dunkirk, the soldier objects, does the soldier succeed in turning Moonshine around?

In the air, three Spitfire pilots fly toward France, the squadron leader is shot down soon after their mission begins.  Farrier (Tom Hardy) takes the lead and shoots down several German aircraft, but he realizes that his fuel gauge is broken on his plane, so he has to rely on the third pilot in the squad, Collins (Jack Lowden) to monitor Farrier’s fuel.  Can Farrier adequately protect the requisitioned fleet or any other allied seafaring craft from the Nazi bombing campaign?  Do Farrier and Collins make it back home safely?

Dunkirk is unique in that it is a story told from a perspective before Pearl Harbor Day, most Hollywood movies focus on events after the Americans enter the war, this movie has more of a European perspective to the storytelling.  Dunkirk tells the story of the evacuation of Dunkirk from three distinct perspectives, the ground, frim the point of view of a private named Tommy, from the sea, from the point of view of a leisure boat captain, named Dawson, and from the air from a Spitfire pilot named Farrier. Christopher Nolan creates a screenplay rife with conflict, one storyline has a man vs. man conflict, another is man vs man and also man vs machine and one storyline is just a commentary about the utility of war. The insight into mankind’s condition when placed in a situation of ultimate stress is what makes this movie interesting, the viewer actually sees how different people react to the threat and reality of a world war..  The endings are realistic, yet satisfying.  Seeing all three subplots play out is what makes the movie so entertaining.

The acting is superb.  Tom Hardy is one of my favorite current actors, he can say a lot without saying, anything, and that’s good because he doesn’t have a heck of a lot of dialogue in this part.  His instruments are failing him, his plane is going to go down, what is he going to do? It’s great acting, when  he can transmit emotion by just letting things happen. James Bloor also does an excellent job in an unlikeable role as the shell-shocked solder.  He conveys the desperation of a man suffering from PTSD well.  Mark Rylance is superb displaying the quiet determination of the captain of a civilian vessel willing to do  his part to aid in the war effort.  Kenneth Branaugh is steady as the man in charge of the docks in Dunkirk. Barry Keoghan is also excellent as George, a teenager who has never done anything noteworthy.  He wants to make his mark in W.W.II.

The direction is electric from the first scene to the last.  The first scene has German propaganda leaflets like rain and sets the mood for the rest of the film.  The audience follows a British private named Tommy, and sees the evacuation from his point of view, that really gets the viewer involved.  Then the viewer sees Mr. Dawson, his son, and George, and then Farrier in the air.  The scenes are intercut so well that no one storyline goes on too long and no other storyline lacks attention.  The dogfight scenes between Farrier and the Germans are exhilarating, and the music by Hans Zimmer made the action pulse forward with incredible urgency. Christopher Nolan as a director, knows how to make his movies visually stimulating, and pace his movies at a breakneck pace. Nolan takes what could have been a dull, dry subject and makes it exciting.

Dunkirk.  Well-done.

wind river

Corey Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is an animal tracker, living near a Native American reservation in Wind River Wyoming.  Corey is divorced from his Native American wife, Wilma (Julia Jones) and planning to spend the day visiting his son, Casey. (Teo  Briones) While tracking a lion, Casey finds a girl who has been raped and murdered. Casey knows the girl, Natalie, (Kelsey Asbille) Natalie was friends with Casey’s daughter, who also died under mysterious circumstances.  An F.B.I. agent named Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) is called in to investigate the crime because it occurs on federal land,, but the coroner, Dr. Whitehurst (Eric Lange) rules the death resulted from hypothermia.   Corey and Jane then have to prove that Natalie was murdered.  They ask Natalie’s parents, and get nowhere.  They proceed to ask Natalie’s brother Chip (Martin Sensmeir) and he gives them the name of Natalie’s boyfriend, Matt. (Jon Barenthal)  Do  Casey and Jane find Matt?   Does that lead to Natalie’s murderer?

Wind River should have been a taut thriller with a murder mystery to resolve, but what it became was a fish out of water story about an FBI agent from Florida trying to solve an apparent murder on an Indian reservation in Wyoming, and because she doesn’t know the culture or customs of the native people, there are a lot of awkward silences between her and the victim’s family and friends.  Casey finds himself manslplaining to Jane what it takes to track down clues in the wilderness of Wyoming. The outsider theme overtakes the movie and subordinates the murder mystery, and the mysteries surrounding Casey.  The murder is resolved to quickly and easily, and the ending falls flat, it is also awash in violence, a lot of which could have been avoided.

Jeremy Renner is actually good in this film, for the first time since The Hurt Locker, I enjoyed seeing Jeremy Renner in a film.  He should stick to these small,  indie type films, he’s not an action star, he’s proven that in his roles in the Mission Impossible, Avengers, and Bourne film, the kind of low-key character he plays here is more his style.  The problem with this film is casting Elizabeth Olsen as Jane the FBI agent, everyone else in this movie is trying to play a character here and she is just playing herself, there is nothing there, no emotion, no energy, just a flat, monotone reading of a script.  There is no chemistry of any kind with Renner, they’re not friends, co-workers, they’re like strangers who don’t like each other, but are forced to work together, and I don’t think that was purposeful.  Graham Greene was great as the tribal policeman Ben, Greene gives Ben an easygoing wit and charm that lesser actors wouldn’t have.

The direction, which has been lauded by many critics is nothing special to me, the pacing is very slow, except when the ominous background music swells, that is a tip off that something suspenseful is about to happen.  There is nothing visually arresting in this film, and first time director Taylor Sheridan should have taken more advantage of those surroundings.  Sheridan wrote Sicario, which I did not like, and Hell or High Water, which I have not seen.

Wind River:  Full of hot air.

the last jedi

General Hux (Domhall Gleeson) launches an attack to wipe out the last of the resistance fleet, but Poe Dameron (Oscar Issac) launches a counterattack that disables a dreadnaught, one of the First Order’s most powerful ships.  The counterattack is a costly one and Poe disobeyed Leia Organa’s (Carrie Fisher) orders not to attack the ship, so Leia demotes Poe.  Leia is injured in a subsequent attack and hands power to Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) who proceeds to retreat out of range of the First Order’s ship, but Hux’s ship can track the Resistance ship, even in hyperspace, and the resistance ship is running low on fuel, so time is running out for the resistance.

Finn (John Boyega) wants to escape the ship and find Rey, (Daisy Ridley) but he is stopped by Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) Rose’s sister, Paige, (Veronica Ngo) was killed in an initial attack on the dreadnaught, so Rose takes her resistance role seriously.  Rose and Finn figure out how to disable the tracking device, but Maz Kenata (Lupita N’yongo) suggests that they need a master codebreaker, so they travel to the Canto Bright casino to find the codebreaker.

Meanwhile Rey finds Luke (Mark Hamill) on the island of Ahch To, where he is on self-imposed exile. While on the island, Rey is discovering her powers within the force. Luke is disillusioned with being a Jedi, because of his inability to train Kylo, and does not want to give Rey the training she desires.  She is also using her powers to hear the voice of Kylo Ren (Adam  Driver) Kylo is trying to bring Rey to the dark side, Rey sees  the conflict in Kylo’s heart and tries to pull him over to the side of the resistance.  Who wins the mental tug of war?  Kylo or Rey?  Does Luke train Rey? Do Rose and Finn find the codebreaker?

There’s a lot to like about the new Star Wars movie, the Kylo/Rey/Luke storyline is probably the most interesting.  Luke is probably more interesting as a character than he’s ever been, because he’s conflicted. The Rose/Finn casino storyline falls flat, because it’s just silly, it’s as if Casino Royale breaks out during a Star Wars movie. Admiral Holdo is one of the worst characters ever written, she orders people around, doesn’t explain her plan, and gets things mansplained by Poe.  It’s an insult to women everywhere. DJ, the codebreaker is one of the few new characters that works in this film.  But the movie doesn’t end when it should, and the movie limps to an end, and I never thought I’d say that about any Star Wars movie. Despite all the problems with plot and character, the movie works, primarily because of the intensity of the Kylo/Rey/Luke storyline.

The acting varies greatly.  Daisy Ridley is a great actress, there’s something about her eyes and face, that makes the viewer want to watch her.   Adam Driver is superb as Kylo Ren, he brings an intensity to the role that fits the character to a tee.  John Boyega’s role is a little less central to the movie, but he brings the same enthusiasm to his role.  Oscar Issac has a lot of magnetism to the role of Poe, but the script shoots him down several times, and he’s not allowed to show Poe as the daring flyboy he is. I wish Mark Hamill was a better actor, because this version of Luke Skywalker is almost Shakespearean in its complexity.  Unfortunately, Hamill  is not up to the challenge.  Kelly Marie Tran plays Rose like a lovesick teenager, and has no chemistry with John Boyega.  But Laura Dern gives the worst performance in this movie by far, she plays an unlikeable person with no emotion at all, which makes a boring character even more boring.

Riann Johnson is a good director, I liked Looper, I didn’t especially like The Brothers Bloom.  He keeps the pacing going well, I would have cut the casino scene entirely, and worked on another scene to get Rose and Finn together.  People can differ about the casino scene, but I absolutely blame Riann Johnson for not being able to decide on an ending, he actually wrote the perfect ending, but he didn’t end the movie there, he ended the movie much later than he should have.  Also, as director, he didn’t bring the disparate subplots together in time to tell the story in a cohesive manner.

Star Wars:  The Last Jedi:  A flawed tour-de force.

marvelous mrs maisel

Episode 1: Pilot

Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) has a dream life in the 60’s, she’s married to the love of her life Joel (Michael Zegan) and has two kids.  Joel is a businessman who dreams of being a standup comic, but when he bombs in a comedy club, Midge’s dream life turns into a nightmare.  Joel tells Midge he’s leaving her and having an affair with his secretary, Penny Pann. (Holly Curran)  Drunk and heartbroken, Midge stumbles onto the standup stage, and vents about her cheating husband, and broken marriage.  How does her performance go?

This show starts off slowly with Joel leaving Midge, but the episode gets much funnier after Joel leaves and Midge tries out her standup routine.  The writers seem to emphasize Midge’s Jewishness, I don’t know if they’re trying to be authentic or stereotypical. The acting is good, Rachel Broshnahan stands out, she handles both the comedic aspects and the serious aspects of the part well. Tony Shalhoub, who is usually very funny, overdoes the accent a bit,as Midge’s father.  Alex Borstein from Family Guy is also very funny.

Episode 2: Ya Shivu v Bolshom Dome Na Kholme

Midge is trying to get used to her new life.  Susie Myerson (Alex Borstein) is trying to convince her that she should do stand-up, but Midge is convinced that it is a one time thing. Joel’s father, Moishe (Kevin Pollack) and mother Shirley (Caroline Aaron) are upset about their son’s separation from Midge.  They pressure Midge and Joel to get together for dinner.  Midge and Joel get together, how does the dinner go?

This show is funny, and the laughs come in unexpected places .  Kevin Pollack overdoes Moishe a little but the interplay between Pollack and Tony Shalhoub is funny, the parents on the whole are very funny.  But I hope the writers quit the redundancy of Midge getting angry, and then doing what she does best.  It’s like watching the Incredible Hulk and waiting for David Banner to get angry.  It’s getting to be a tied plot device.  Alex Borstein is funny again, and Rachel Broshnahan is very talented.  Not everyone can show all the sides of a character like she has already done.

Episode3:  Because You Left

Midge goes to jail again, and is bailed out by Lenny Bruce. (Luke Kirby)  Midge also gets a lawyer, because she might need one in the future.  Abe and Moishe hatch a plan, and Joel asks Midge a question,  what is her response?

This episode is not as funny as the first two, and that makes me mad, I sense a dramedy coming and that would ruin a perfectly good show. Rachel Broshnahan does one good stand-up routine,  but she’s like some kind of 50’s rebel, hanging out with musicians, smoking dope, what’s next reciting beat poetry? I hope it doesn’t turn into a cliché.

 

Episode 4:  The Disappointment of The Dionne Quintuplets

Midge moves out of her apartment, and moves in with her parents.  Joel moves out of Archie’s (Joel Johnstone) apartment, and moves into his own place.  When  Midge drops Ethan (Matteo Pacale)  off with Joel, she gets a few surprises.  Susie takes Midge to a few clubs to give her a few tips, but when she comes home late, Midge remembers what living with her parents was like.

I don’t want to say this was filler, because it was funny, but it didn’t have the hallmark of the first three episodes, but it did have something that I didn’t like, name dropping, and when I realize how pathetic 50’s stand-up comedy was, the writers really didn’t need to name drop all that much.  Midge talks about changing her name and that leads me to think that this show is based on someone real, and that’s only one person I can think of.  Good performances by Rachel Broshnahan, Alex Borstein, and Marin Hinkle as Midge’s mother.

Episode 5: Doink

Midge goes to work behind the makeup counter at B.Altman’s.  She also bombs for the first time at the club, and hires a comedy writer named Herb Smith (Wallace Shawn) to sharpen her act. Joel takes Penny out to dinner to meet his parents.  How does that go?

This is an interesting episode, because Midge succeeds at something and then fails at something badly, and her failure droves her to do something impulsive.  Joel is not doing any better trying to impress his parents with Penny Pan.  Wallace Shawn is funny as the well-meaning but not funny comedy writer.

Episode 6:  Miss X At The Gaslight

Midge hones her act at B.Altman parties, and she may have a comedy partner, named Randall. (Nate Cordray)  Susie doesn’t lie any of it, the parties, the partner.  Does she do anything about it?  Abe gets a job offer at Bell Labs, and the family goes out to celebrate and unexpectedly runs into someone at the restaurant.

This was a pretty funny episode, but there was some unnecessary drama, and some unnecessary characters introduced in this episode.

Episode 7:  Put That on Your Plate

Abe brings home a colleague.  Joel is in line for a promotion.  Midge has a “tight ten minute set” and she’s set to open for Sophie Lennon (Jane Lynch) the biggest comedienne in New York.  Sophie gives Midge some advice.  Does she follow the advice?

This is an interesting episode because the women in this episode strike out against the conventional wisdom of the 1950’s.  First Midge’s mom, and then Midge react to external situations not of their own making.

 

Episode 8:Thank You and Good Night

Midge and Joel talk about a divorce, but do their actions suggest something else?  Midge gets blackballed by a powerful   agent.  Midge and Penny fight at B. Altman’s. Joel blows his shot at a business proposal. Midge gets another shot at stand-up, how does she do?

I didn’t like this episode, everything the writers set in motion about women taking charge of their life is suddenly and magically forgotten in this episode, suddenly Joel is calling the shots, and it’s up to Joel whether or not his wife is suitable.  And when everything is pointing to Midge never doing stand-up, suddenly someone appears as a deus ex machina, and her comedy career is back on track.

Season 1 Summary:

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a very funny show that’s very Jewish.  I don’t know if it’s authentically Jewish, or stereotypically Jewish, but sometimes it seems to cross the line between authentically Jewish and stereotypically Jewish more than once. Are people laughing with Jews, or at Jews?  That’s the fundamental dilemma of this series.

The Gentile characters aren’t that well-written either, one is Penny Pan, who is a homewrecker, a dim-wit, and doesn’t have any friends to speak of.  I’m not sure that Joel even likes her.   The other Gentile character is Astrid, Midge’s sister-in-law, who’s converting to Judaism,  so she aspires to be more Jewish than her Jewish husband.

This is also supposed to be a female empowerment show, a girl power type show that proves even in the fifties, women could make it if they fought hard enough.  It is that show for the most part, but the final episode is really disappointing in that respect.  All the power that Midge built with her comedy, and living alone is somehow lost in that last episode.  The writers cede Midge’s power back to the men in her life in the last episode and that’s disappointing.  Separately, the economic fall that Midge encounters is not as precipitous as it should have been, but Midge just moved in with her parents.

I also didn’t like the name dropping of comedians on the show.  Lenny Bruce is on the show as a character, the writers mention Red Skelton, and Redd Foxx, and Buddy Hackett, and comedians that I generally didn’t think were that funny.  Redd Foxx is funny, Red Skelton, Buddy Hackett, not so much, and the way they use Lenny Bruce to advance certain storylines is a cop out.

All this criticism might lead you to believe that I didn’t like the show, but I actually did like the show quite a bit.  I liked it primarily because of two actors.  Rachel Broshnahan is very talented, she handles the serious and the comedic aspects of the show very well.  She does overplay the Jewishness a little but it’s a good role for her and she plays it well.  Alex Borstein is also very funny, uproariously funny at times, very cynical, very New York street smart, nothing phases her, she wants to bond with Midge, but yet she doesn’t want  to open herself up to ridicule.  It’s a different role than her Family Guy role, and she also handles the role well. Tony Shaloub overplays the Jewish dad role, but modulates a bit later on. Kevin Pollack, who is Jewish, wildly overplays the Jewishness of his character.  I also like Marin Hinkle as Rose, Midge’s mom.  I thought she did a nice job understating her role, and her scenes with the tea-leaf reader are hilarious.

I’m wondering how the show will evolve from here, and where these  characters will go in seasons to come.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel:  a-Maise-ing.

 

 

Movie Review: Kidnap (2017)

Posted: January 6, 2018 in Drama
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kidnap

Karla Dyson (Halle Berry) is a divorced waitress with a six year-old son, Frankie. (Sage Correa)  She loves her son very much and dotes on him whenever she sees him.  Karla and her husband are fighting over custody for Frankie, so Karla has a special day at the park planned for Frankie,  Karla is even tracking Frankie’s movements on a  walkie-talkie, as they play Marco Polo.  When she doesn’t hear her son’s voice, Karla panics.  Soon Karla’s worst fears are realized, her son is gone, and he sees the kidnapper driving away with her son in a 1980’s Mustang.  Who are the kidnappers?  Why did they kidnap Frankie?

With movies like Taken becoming all the rage in Hollywood, why shouldn’t a woman haven action movie where her son is abducted, and what better actress to do the action movie than Halle Berry? The concept of a woman saving her son from abduction may be intriguing, but the execution of this idea in this movie leaves a lot to be desired.  Karla admits in the movie that she has no plan, yet she somehow finds her son’s abductors and tracks them through two states, until her magic minivan, which crashes through many objects, but never stops until it runs out of gas.  When the van runs out of gas, Karla somehow walks for miles, with no food or water,  through a dense forest , and finds the exact destination that she needed to find.  This is not humanly possible.  If that isn’t bad enough, this film features the worst portrayal of backwoods whites since Deliverance.  No one deserves to be stereotyped, not African Americans, not Southern whites, not anyone but Hollywood seems to have a shorthand description of everyone. .  The product placement is shameful, the ending is painfully obvious, and can’t come soon enough.

Halle Berry is the lead actress in this movie, and she’s also one of the producers, so she has to take ultimate responsibility for the quality or lack thereof.  As an actress she failed, all she did was have this horrified look on her face.  As a producer she should have hired better writers to produce a better script, or hired better actors to help her carry the load, but the load of this crappy movie was entirely on Halle, and she has no one to blame but herself.  She’s a good actress, who’s made some very bad films, and unfortunately, this is a very bad film.

The direction is something only a stunt driver would love because most of the action takes place behind the wheel of a minivan as it chases a Mustang.  The non-chase scenes are dull, in fact the chase scenes are pretty redundant, and the pacing is pretty slow.  Moreover, this is a long film, made longer by lack of plot development, character development, and nothing visually exciting.

Kidnap:  Take an adult nap, through this entire movie.