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‘Unspeakable’ (2002)

unspeakable2003.jpg It could have used a better editor.

This is one of those films that I caught about 15 min. late on late-night cable. That I missed those 15 min. made all the difference in the world, making a clunky thriller into something much more compelling. The dorktastic  titles reading ‘Tonight’, ’3 Days Earlier’, etc., etc. – played no part in my first impression, and the film played as a straight jailhouse drama that way, with LESS ludicrous pseudo-science and fewer superhuman feats perpetrated by the arch-villain.

I was so intrigued by this insomnia-tinged drama that I programmed my Tivo to catch the West Coast feed of the movie, and that was the good-bad mistake. This film would have been far more effective if they had eliminated the backstories at the beginning of the film and the wannabe ‘ Another Heaven ‘ (2000) aspects of the Jesse Mowatt character. The director and the editor overplayed their hands there. [Read more →]

‘Ronin’ (1998)

‘Ronin’ (1998) When I first heard about ‘ Ronin ‘, and it’s premise, back in 1998, I was excited.

Here was the director of two of my favorite films, ‘ The French Connection II ‘ (1975) and ‘ The Manchurian Canditate ‘ (1962) making a comeback, in a gritty espionage thriller, set in France. Many reviewers heralded ‘Ronin’ as John Frankenheimer’s return-to-form after such clunkers as 1996′s ‘ The Island of Dr. Moreau ‘ (remake) and limp would-bes such as ‘The Holcroft Covenant’ (1985).

‘Ronin’ was good, but it wasn’t great. When I saw it the first time, 6 years ago, I had a couple of nagging problems with the film, but now I can only boil it down to one-and-a-half. [Read more →]