27th Sep2015

Life (Film)

by timbaros

HZF_uexF8QrZYnDZcSa-WdNUBu8pYTVlXM5HAij5in4,VniSXrFWzOgU9j_7VfteG73hh4ITPq7KEpC0V1WykJI,qER7NTxGLmoqLqUSs4RE-Xo_xYRjRiw08xfVDNmQOJwThere’s a famous photograph of James Dean in Times Square taken by Dennis Stock. It is now a movie called ‘Life.’

The photo, taken in 1955, shows James Dean, cigarette in his mouth, head tilted towards the ground, the billboards of Times Square in the background, dark clouds overhead, made the cover of Life Magazine. It also made Stock’s career.

So ‘Life’ the movie is all about that photograph, and the events leading up to, and after, that photograph was taken. It’s also a buddy movie: one man on the cusp of celebrity, another man trying to capture him while struggling make it as a photographer and to also spend time with his young son, with an un-cooperative ex-wife. Stock (Robert Pattison) is tasked with an assignment: to do a photo essay on an unknown actor. So he’s introduced to James Dean (Dane DeHaan) at a party, where he’s also introduced to a young Natalie Wood (Lauren Gallagher). Dean in on the cusp of fame – his first film – East of Eden – was yet to be released. So Dean agrees to have Stock follow him around to get some shots. The first are rejected by his editor – who wants to see hazy shots of an unknown actor boozing it up in a club with Eartha Kitt (Kelly McCreary)? Stock thinks about taking another job, this one in Japan, but he decides to stay in New York and gets back together again with Dean, and on the spur of the moment that famous Times Square photograph is taken. Not to end there, ‘Life’ takes us with Dean and Stock to Dean’s hometown in Indiana. There is where Dean feels most at home, and comfortable; with family, aunt and uncle and Grandma and nephew (his mother died when he was nine and his father sent him to Indiana to live with them). More famous photographs are taken there; Dean with his nephew, Dean on the farm, Dean in the kitchen; these photos would become part of the Life Magazine photo essay. And that’s the movie.

As you can second guess, there’s not much of a story to build on. ‘Life’ is not only about the photographs, it’s also about the relationship between these two men and especially the trust Stock builds with Dean. But ‘Life’ is boring, with stale dialogue, and with acting that is quite lifeless. Pattison is fine as Stock, but DeHaan, even though he has hair that looks identical to Dean’s, just doesn’t bring the right energy and sparkle that we can presume Dean had. Ben Kingsley, however, is excellent as Jack Warner – the man who guided Dean’s career. And while the period details (clothes, cars, hairstyles) are fine, it’s the story that is not a very exciting one and is not enough to warrant a 110-minute film. Director Anton Corbijn just doesn’t bring any ‘Life’ to this movie.

27th Sep2015

Tracers and AWOL-72 (DVD)

by timbaros

PYH0mwrrDqLRtdkIdTqmIIyUNOm7R5ISQkkhjObrLnk,ArC4S8WDmGbqRdc7XjJeoDDcUSK_cBKHEYtkZUVByrgTwo action-packed films arrive on DVD with great action but very little on plot and acting


Twilight co-star Taylor Lautner stars in ‘Tracers,’ a film about Parkouring – the art of being able to do leaps and bounds with physical prowess.

Cam (Lautner) appears to be lost in life. His mother has passed away and his father, who left him a car – which is his only remaining family possession, left only to never come back. Cam makes a living as a bike messenger. He’s also in debt to a local Chinese gang to the tune of $15,000 – money he borrowed to help his sick mother before she passed away, now the gang wants it’s money back or else.

While on his messenger job, Nikki (Marie Avgeropoulos) falls on him, literally. She’s parkouring (also known as tracing). She feels guilty about causing him to wreck his bike so she buys him a new one. Cam is intrigued, and attracted, to her, and he locates her, and sees that she belongs to a crew of parkours. Cam, who lives with a local woman and her son and is struggling to pay his rent, joins the parkour crew in the hopes of making enough money to pay off his loan and to give his landlady his rent that is in arrears. But the crew don’t do parkouring for fun, they actually use their skill to pull off bank heists. Cam shows them that he’s able to keep up with them, and they accept him like one of their own. But Cam and Nikki start falling for each other, even though she lives with the crew’s leader Miller (Adam Rayner). This causes lots of conflict within the group, and it comes to a boil when a dangerous jewel heist puts Cam in a position that could cost him his life.

‘Tracers’ premise, parkouring, is an interesting one. The actors jump off buildings, hop from car to car, run at a quick pace, and can virtually do anything physical. Lautner, Avgeropoulos, and Rayner more than ably do their jobs. The plot is interesting, and the movie short enough to not lose your interest (94 minutes). ‘Tracers’ takes place in New York City and shots of the skyline is one of the highlights of the film. The tagline for ‘Traders’ is ‘Run for your life.’ The actors sure do run for their lives, and you might be a little bit exhausted after watching them parkouring and may realize how out of shape you are compared to them.

‘Tracers’ is now available on DVD.


Luke Goss plays a double agent who has something the Russians want in the new film AWOL-72.

It’s a computer chip that Conrad Miller (Goss) stole while he was in the U.S. Marines. Now, he’s gone AWOL (Absent without leave) with the chip and he’s got 48 hours to get it into the hands of the Russians. But things get in the way of his mission. His girlfriend Sam (Brooke Newton) is pregnant, he’s got Detective Adams (RZA) of the Los Angeles Police Department looking for him, and the military is especially keen to get their hands on him. But on the way to meet his brother to get new passports so that he and Sam can leave the country, he beats up a man at a gas station who is badly mistreating the woman he is with. Later that evening, Miller stops at a motel to sleep for the night, but the woman at the counter, whose badly bruised, tells him that the motel is full up. However, there are no cars in the parking lot, and Miller sees several women with gags around their mouth in the room behind the front desk. And the next moment Miller is hit in the face with the end of a gun and passes out.

Miller has accidentally stumbled on to a human trafficking ring. And, coincidentally, the man he beat up at the gas station is the brother of the man who owns the hotel. Miller has to use his wits to get out of the situation, and to hold on to a Bank of Maldives bank card that might hold a huge amount of money. Meanwhile Sam has packed up their house to hopefully meet Miller at their rendezvous point. But she’s got someone on her tail, a man who may or may not be linked to the military, the police, or the Russians. Will Miller get out of the situation that he’s in? Will Sam actually get to be reunited with Miller so they can go off into the sunset together? Will the Russians get what they want?

AWOL-72 is not a thinking man’s movie. It’s not even actually a movie. At 82 minutes, it plays more like an episode of a second rate crime drama television show, with the acting to match. Goss is trying to play the Jason Statham part – good looking action man who beats up all comers, but Goss is no Statham. And AWOL-72 is no film. Luckily it’s on DVD and online, and it won’t cost you too much time to watch. The soundtrack, however, is much better than the movie. Songs by KC Bandz litter the soundtrack, with the excellent song ‘Stop Playing’ played over the closing credits.

AWOL-72 on DVD + VOD 21st September 2015