Tag Archives: twilight

Two entertaining flicks from the my hometown

In the midst of our busy social life (note: sarcasm), Mrs. Poolman and I recently watched two decent movies at home. A bit of a surprise in both cases was that they were both shot in my hometown of Pittsburgh.

Jack_Reacher_poster“Reacher,” starring Tom Cruise, was much better than I expected it to be. The biggest surprise was that Cruise absolutely nailed the character of Jack Reacher. This was a surprise, because he doesn’t come anywhere close to fitting the physical description of Jack Reacher in the series of novels by Lee Child. In the books, Reacher is 6’4”, and we all know Tom C is about a foot shorter.

Reacher is a former Army CID officer who turned his back on conventional society when he left the Army. He drifts around the country without a home or job, but always seems to find himself in some situation that needs fixing. Reacher is extremely smart, tough and resourceful. He is very cool, in the same way that Mark Harmon plays a cool Jethro Gibbs in NCIS.

In the movie, based on the Child novel, “One Shot,” Reacher arrives in Pittsburgh to help solve the mystery surrounding a former Army sniper who shot and killed several people, apparently without rhyme or reason. Of course it turns out there was a rhyme and reason; otherwise there wouldn’t be a story.

In any case, this isn’t a flick you are going to see around Academy Awards time, but for a Saturday night rental with a bowl of popcorn, this one was pretty good.

Abduction_PosterA real surprise was “Abduction” with Taylor Lautner (Twilight series) and Lily Collins (The Blind Side.) We picked it up on Netflix last night. The main character, Nathan, discovers his childhood picture on a missing children Web site. So, of course, he and his cute neighbor, Karen (Lily Collins,) pursue it. Rather than turning into a maudlin Lifetime-network chick-flick, which we expected, a hit team shows up at his house, and the chase is on. “Hey Mrs. Poolman, look at what just happened here!”

The plot and overall story is pretty good, but it misses on some of the small points. The acting is nothing to rave about (I understand Taylor was runner-up for a worst-actor award for this movie. I’m not surprised.) , despite a decent supporting cast including Maria Bello, Jason Issac (the evil British colonel in The Patriot), Signorney Weaver and Michael Nyqvist (the Swedish version of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy.) We were just amazed that after swimming across a river and sleeping in the woods overnight, Taylor and Lily looked like they just walked out of make-up. Abduction 3 w But if you overlook some of the little things, you’ll find that “Abduction” is a pretty entertaining movie.

One weekend — two good movies

Mrs. Poolman and I rented two movies over the weekend, but only got around to watching the the second one last night. At a dollar a day from Blockbuster Express, an extra couple of days on the rental isn’t a big deal.

In an earlier post, I described  “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” I really liked the American movie, although I wasn’t entirely happy with the way the movie ended differently than the book. In 2009, before Hollywood discovered Mikael and Lisbeth, the Swedes made movies from all of the Steig Larsson ‘s three novels.  We rented “The Girl..” and watched it on Saturday.  I thought it was as good, if not better, than the Hollywood version (Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, etc.).  Of course, the actors in the Swedish movie speak Swedish. Duh. So you have to watch it with the English subtitles. I have hearing problems. I usually watch most TV with the closed captioning on anyway, so this was perfectly natural for me.

The only problem I had with the movie is the actress cast in the role of Lisbeth Salander. She is supposed to be 24 years old and looks like she is 14. In the books this becomes an issue at some points in the story. The actress who plays Lisbeth (Noomi Rapace) is 32 and pretty much looks it. (I also have issues with TV shows like Glee, in which actors who are clearly in their late-20s are cast to play high school students. Don’t they ever graduate?)

It’s a very good film. If you have read the book and enjoyed it, take a shot at this version of the movie before watching the US version.

The second movie we watched was far outside our usual viewing patterns – the 2010 teenage vampire movie “Let Me In.”  Since I am not an adolescent girl, I have not been bitten by the vampire movie bug. I saw the first movie of the Twilight series, only because my daughter cajoled me into going with her, and I don’t think I have ever watched “True Blood.” Not since Bela Lugosi lurked the castles of Transylvania have I cared much about blood suckers.

I ran across “Let Me In” while browsing movie rentals on line, and I remembered a review I had read when it first came out, along with a profile of one of the leads, Chloë Grace Moretz.  So I thought, “What the heck?” and gave it a shot.

Chloë plays, Abby, a 12-year old girl living with her father in a Los Alamos apartment complex. She meets her next door neighbor, Owen, a much-bullied boy her age. They meet and get along, but the twist is that Chloë is a vampire who needs to drink blood in order to survive. Her father isn’t really her father. He is a vampire too. He goes out into the community at night to kill and drain blood to feed his “daughter.” One of these blood-draining expeditions goes awry and the story spins from there.

The script is well written and both Chloë and Kodi Smit-McPhee  (Owen) did a great job, especially for a couple of young kid actors.

“Let Me In” is a little different, but I thought it was very good. The vampires are not painted as monsters, but rather as a pair of people just doing what they need to do to survive. The friendship between Abby/Chloë and Owen is cute. The end of the movie has an interesting twist that I won’t give away.

Bottom line – I really enjoyed the move and I’m glad we watched it. It’s definitely worth your time.