Tag Archives: Patrick Wilson

Movie review: ‘The Commuter’ is ridiculous train wreck

Hear Tim Lammers’ review of “The Commuter” with Tom Barnard on “The KQ Morning Show” (Segment begins 10:30 in).

“The Commuter” (R)

Liam Neeson is rolling down an all-too familiar path with “The Commuter,” an action thriller that’s a mishmash of several action films, including “Non-Stop” (an in-air thriller that closely mimics this film), “Phone Booth,” “Murder on the Orient Express” and countless others. It’s clear at this point in his career that Neeson, who flirted with the idea of retiring from action films, is in it for the paycheck for this one, and he sleepwalks through what starts as interesting premise but quickly devolves into a manic, monotonous, well, train wreck.

The initial premise of “The Commuter” is promising, as Michael McCauley (Neeson) seems to have found a comfortable life as a life insurance salesman in the 10 years since he left the NYPD. But time has finally caught up with the 60-year-old worker, who is suddenly let go from his firm. Wracked with worry about how he and his wife (Elizabeth McGovern) are going to make ends meet and send their son to college, Michael is suddenly approached by a mysterious woman (Vera Farmiga) on his commuter train ride home. Her proposition is simple. Find a person on the train named Prin, who is carrying a backpack containing stolen device, and plant a GPS bug on them.

It’s a seemingly easy enough gig until Michael realizes that he’s made a deal with the devil. If he decides to walk away from the job, it will put his loved ones in peril, and if he carries through the job, there will be repercussions on that end, too. Looking for ways to get out of the quandary, Michael only makes the situation for himself worse by the minute.

Directed by “Non-Stop” helmer Jaume Collet-Serra (who also directed Neeson in “Run All Night”), the prospects of “The Commuter” building on the promise of its bright premise quickly fade as Neeson finds himself in implausible predicaments, yet, given the fact he is the man who will forever have “a particular set of skills,” manages to wrangle his way out of every single one of them. The film is also hopelessly predictable, which makes this ride a long and agonizing commute that’s in the end, just loud and annoying. The only way you could enjoy this movie is laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. But it’s not an action comedy. It’s an action farce.

Lammometer: 3 (out of 10)

Tim Lammers reviews movies weekly for The KQ92 Morning Show,” “KARE 11 News at 11” (NBC), “The Tom Barnard Podcast” and “The BS Show” with Bob Sansevere.

Copyright 2017 DirectConversations.com

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Interview flashback: Patrick Wilson talks ‘The Conjuring’

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In 2013, I talked with “The Conjuring” star Patrick Wilson about his experiences working on the horror-thriller based on the real-life experiences of Ed and Lorraine Warren. As “The Conjuring 2” makes it debut in theaters, here’s a look at the conversation with Wilson.

By Tim Lammers

Oftentimes filmmakers and actors need to conjure up some ridiculous premise to get audiences to jump up out of their seats and scream. But true fans of horror can be assured no such gimmicks are used for “The Conjuring,” director James Wan’s unnerving, true-life horror tale starring Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga.

The film chronicles a previously untold case by famed real-life demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, who for decades starting in the 1960s conducted thousands of paranormal investigations. The events told in “The Conjuring” — set in 1971 — predate one of their most noted encounters, which would later become known as “The Amityville Horror.”

While films about hauntings and de

monic possession are nothing new in cinema — and the subject matter is particularly over-exploited on reality TV shows — Wilson feels audiences will feel refreshed by the story of the Warrens in “The Conjuring” because the couple took an interest in the field when it wasn’t exactly fashionable.

“The thing I kept going back to in this was the fact that the Warrens started doing this in the ’60s — a long, long time ago in terms of TV and the technology, where there were no shows about it and there was so little known about it,” Wilson told me in a recent interview.

Plus, he added, their motives were much different from what you see with the so-called paranormal investigators nowadays, even though their most famous case was met with skepticism.

“In my opinion, which is a very strong one, they came about it from a very honest place of wanting to help people,” Wilson said. “They were devout Catholics who really felt that there was this underbelly of evil and if they could help people, they were of service — even when Amityville came out, which put them in the national spotlight. But like with anything, any success is going to bring a lot of backlash.”

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“The Conjuring” finds Ed and Lorraine Warren (Wilson and Farmiga) on the road, spending their time between college lectures discussing their findings and conducting investigations.

And while they’ve encountered their share of disturbing cases, there’s something particularly unnerving about the experiences of Roger and Carolyn Perron (Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor), who along with their five daughters have encountered a dark and malevolent force in their newly-acquired Pennsylvania farmhouse.

Although Wilson has acted in a wide range of genres — from musicals with “The Phantom of the Opera” and superhero with “Watchmen,” to action adventure with “The A-Team” and drama with “Little Children” — he’s no doubt been drawn to the supernatural and horror in recent years with roles in TV’s “A Gifted Man” and Wan’s 2010 smash hit “Insidious.”

And while Wilson will team with Wan once again for “Insidious: Chapter 2” later this year, he insists that the path he’s taken with his career of late is more by happenstance than it is by design. The big key, Wilson said, was his first meeting with Wan, which opened the actor up to the idea of doing films in the genre.

“I felt like I avoided the horror genre a long time until ‘Insidious’ came to me,” Wilson said. “But one meeting with James really got me hooked. The paranormal aspect of my career has really been by coincidence.”

The best thing about working with Wan, Wilson noted, is that the director is as concerned as much about the story as he is about the things that go bump in the night to engage his audiences. And with a story of demonic possession at the core of “The Conjuring,” Wilson is convinced moviegoers will get an experience that will stay with them long after the lights go up in the theater.

“It’s a movie that’s very character driven, yet there’s an evil lurking under it. It’s the flip side of the religious coin, for the lack of a better term and James isn’t afraid to go there,” Wilson said. “He really brought it to another level.”

–Interview originally posted July 17, 2013.

Movie reviews: Tim Lammers talks ‘Conjuring 2,’ ‘Now You See Me 2,’ more on KQRS

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Click into the media player at 12 minutes in to hear Tim Lammers‘ reviews of “The Conjuring 2,” “Now You See Me 2” and “Warcraft: The Beginning” on KQRS-FM.

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Interview: Ashley Judd returns to roots with ‘Big Stone Gap’

Ashley Judd and Patrick Wilson in 'Big Stone Gap' (photo -- Picturehouse)

By Tim Lammers

While the new romantic comedy drama “Big Stone Gap” has a stellar ensemble cast that includes Ashley Judd, Patrick Wilson, Whoopi Goldberg, Anthony LaPaglia, Jane Krakowski, John Benjamin Hickey, Jenna Elfman and Chris Sarandon, Judd thinks the biggest star of the film may be the location itself: Big Stone Gap, Virginia, in the Appalachian Mountains.

In a recent phone conversation, Judd told me that she credits writer-director Adriana Trigiani with successfully bringing the beauty and feel of the town to the big screen. “Big Stone Gap” is based on Trigiani’s best-selling novel of the same name.

“Adriana is a beloved daughter of Big Stone Gap, and everyone in the film, apart from the actors from movies and TV who came in to do the film, is from there,” Judd said. “Plus, it’s was a gorgeous place for us to film.”

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Opening in theaters Friday, “Big Stone Gap,” set in the 1970s, tells the story of Ave Maria Mulligan (Judd), a self-declared spinster whose life is turned upside-down when she discovers a long-hidden family secret. On top of that, her longtime friend, Jack MacChesney (Wilson) has woken up to the fact that he’s in love with Ave Maria, but since he bumbles his way into telling her his true feelings, she feels like she has no choice but to finally leave her humble abode and start anew.

“Big Stone Gap” was no doubt a fateful project for both Judd and Wilson, since Judd was born and raised in nearby eastern Kentucky, and Wilson’s family has deep roots in the region. But Judd feels you don’t have to be from the area to relate to the film.

“It’s just a beautiful, idealistic setting, and I’ve been thinking a lot recently about small towns. ‘Big Stone Gap’ is a small town story and that’s why I think it has a wide appeal,” Judd said. “Frankly, people today think small towns only hearken to a nostalgic era. I think what I realized was, ultimately, we all come from small towns. Maybe this generation or the one before it didn’t come from small towns, but before that, they did, and that small town is such a part of our hearts.”

Judd said Big Stone Gap still has such of a hometown feel that at least one cast member not originally from the area became very attached to the town during the making of the film.

“We all stayed in people’s homes during the filming, and John Benjamin Hickey stayed in a local woman’s home where her dog was on its way to heaven. He got very emotionally involved with the dog,” Judd said. “It was a very unique movie.”