Sunday, February 22, 2009

Two for ... Sunday? Quick Capsules of "Everlasting Moments" and "Taken"


Everlasting Moments **1/2
Directed by Jan Troell
Starring Maria Heiskanen, Mikael Persbrandt and Jesper Christensen

From the Swedish director Jan Troell, the man behind the Academy Award nominated film The Emigrants, comes Everlasting Memories. The film, which is based on the real life of Maria Larsson, a working class woman living in turn of the century Malmo. The first 90 minutes or so is quiet interesting and captivating, with it's beautiful cinematography and an exciting backdrop of a seafarer's strike. However, the story of the wife, her passion for photography, and her oafish and abusive husband begins to teeter off into redundancy when the family moves our of Malmo. Troell should have cut off at least a half-hour's worth of the 130 minute film.


Taken **1/2
Directed by Pierre Morel
Starring Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, and Maggie Grace

Okay. Time to turn off any sense of logic you have. Turn of any sensibilities. They are not needed for watching the new French (Yes, it's French) action movie, Taken. It's the most absurd thing since the glory days of one-man-army action movies. Unlike some film these days that look back at these films with a sense of nostalgia and irony (Pineapple Express, Son of Rambow), Taken is dead serious. Liam Neeson is an ex-CIA agent who's also a divorcee, who loves his daughter very much to the point of over-protection. When she goes to Paris with her best friend, and is subsequently captured by a bunch of Albanian pimps, this just sets Liam off. For the next hour, Liam Neeson literally flattens anything that comes in his way. The producers of the film should have retitled this movie Liam Neeson Destroys Paris. If it had been a half hour longer, Neeson would have conquered France. The absurdity of Taken make it one of the most strangely entertaining action movies in a while.

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