“The Little Things”, like the recent release of “Wonder Woman 1984” has been released in theaters and on HBO Max for one month. Due to the pandemic, the movie industry is slowly changing into new methods of release and distribution. Odds are many of these new movie distribution ideas will remain, long after the Covid-19 Pandemic is over.
Considering 3 Academy award winning actors, Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, Jared Leto – agreeing to make this movie, one would have thought from the start, that the script would have been outstanding. It is not. Most of this story about a washed up cop Joe Deacon, played by Washington and a detective Jim Baxter played by Malek trying to find a serial killer seemed like a bad TV movie with a plot and action that we have all seen way too many times. I wondered during this entire boring film whether this entire bad production was made, only because of the drastic drawdown of the movie industry, due to this almost year long Pandemic. Everybody involved had to find a film that is less risky and low budget because of the continuing worry that so few people want to risk going to the movies. Unfortunately, the end result is a bad movie.
This time around the critics are accurate with their low 49% rating and this movie should definitely be missed because it is a waste of the talents of 3 A-list actors.
There are many reasons why screenwriting is considered the most challenging of all art forms. For one thing, coming up with an idea that is original is a huge road-block because so many movies have been produced – all of them trying new ideas. Trying to surprise the audience is another challenge because the surprise must make sense and be believable. If there is a surprise ending or key moment that is not believable or absurd, then all the good ideas that happened before are ruined, resulting in an angry audience.
The Amazon produced movie “The Lie”, released in 2018, starring Mireille Enos, Peter Sarsgaard and Joey King has a story similar to “Your Honor” – a recent series on Showtime starring Brian Cranston. The idea is, what would any parent do to protect their child if they killed someone – by accident, or temporary insanity? To what lengths would they go to protect their child from dire consequences and a life ruined even before it starts? For most of The Lie, the story was told in an understandable and believable series of events. Unfortunately, in an effort to be extremely different, there is a surprise at the end that is absolutely absurd. All of the action and emotions that happened before, especially with Kayla, played by Joey King and her parents Jay and Rebecca, played by Sarsgaard and Enos – become instantly invalid, once you consider an ending this far fetched. No teenage daughter would ever do something like this and that is why this movie fails immediately.
The majority of people who see this ending are going to think, “give me a break” or “that is just insane”, “this makes no sense”. Anything good that happened before in this film, especially the acting is forgotten – all because another outrageous story idea that never should have been attempted.
The ratings on IMDB of 5.8 and Rotten Tomatoes 44% are low – and I agree with these numbers. Any movie with an ending this ridiculous, should be skipped.
Since the release of the great movie “Taken” in 2008, there has probably not been any A-list actor who has made more movies than Liam Neeson. One reason for this is the huge success of Taken, that spawned two sequels and perhaps another reason is the tragic death of this wife Natasha Richardson, who died in a fluke Skiing accident in 2009.
Not surprisingly, Neeson has never again achieved the heights he reached with Taken – due to the fact that this movie was a very hard act to follow. He has made some bad movies but mostly solid films, some of them B-level and most have been widely released. The new movie “The Marksman” is another generic Neeson film where he is a farmer who lives near the Mexican border – and his story is a tragic one heard far too often. Jim, a former Marine – played by Neeson, was financially ruined because of medical bills, trying to save his wife from cancer and unfortunately she died. How many times in this country has something like this happened to far too many good people.
While patrolling a part of the Mexican border Jim runs into a young mother with her son, trying to illegally break into the United States, while also being chased by a group of murderous members of a Mexican drug cartel. What follows is a gunfight between Jim and the members of the Cartel. The rest of this story is nothing new, with Jim transporting the woman’s son across country to her family in Chicago.
Several things did not make sense in this story, starting with how a group of drug Cartel criminals were allowed to enter this country so easily and then were able to track Jim and the young boy across this country with an efficiency that seemed like a series of insane miracles. At first they used his credit card transactions to follow him, that did make sense, but other methods were so outlandish and unlikely that they would never happen in the real world. Then add how quickly they seemed to make up so many hundreds of miles while tracking Jim and the boy. Somewhere along the line, within all screenplays, things just eventually have to make sense. I also did not like the ending, that had some similarities to the end of Taken 2 – once again forgoing a believable ending into a Hollywood-like unsatisfactory ending that also made no sense.
I agree with the 6.9 rating in IMDB with the 34% Rotten Tomatoes ratings way too low. Despite the many holes in the plot, I give The Marksman a modest recommendation, mainly because of Neeson.
There is no better example of the highs and lows of a career in the movies, than the career of Hillary Swank.
Hillary Swank is one of the very rare actors who has ever won 2 Academy Awards, her last in 2004 with the Clint Eastwood film “Million Dollar Baby”. After that great movie, she make several movies that failed at the box office and even took some years off after things were not going well for some time. When I decided to see her new movie “Fatale” – which is yet another insane stalker movie – I was surprised she took this role because her past movies have signaled a major comeback. However, I was surprised (despite the critics) how good Fatale is. Once again the critics are wrong. with their very low 43% ratings.
This movie also stars Michael Ealy, who is the all time champion for appearing in movies like this, with the exception this time, that he is the victim of the stalker. I was impressed with the story and the many twists and turns – all of them believable. This is the first insane-stalker movie that I have seen that I actually not only liked but was impressed with the screenwriter who created something unique within this very tired genre.
The Rotten Tomatoes user rating is a very high 88% and once again, its hard to understand that the critics and the audience can be so far off in their opinions. My rating is a solid 80% and I recommend Fatale.