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Liam Neeson

Non-Stop (2014)

Non-StopDIRECTOR:  Jaume Collet-Serra

CAST: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Anson Mount, Corey Stoll, Scoot McNairy, Lupita Nyong’o, Linus Roache


Non-Stop is a bit like a souped-up Hitchcock thriller, with occasional action scenes tossed in so modern audiences won’t get bored waiting for the diabolical premise to unfold.  To that end, it generates enough suspense to distract us from plot holes (something Hitchcock himself wasn’t always above).  It’s not a great thriller, but it’s compulsively watchable and keeps us wanting to see how things wrap up without letting us be sure of that until the climax. Continue reading

Clash of the Titans (2010)

DIRECTOR: Louis Letterier


Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Alexa Davalos, Mads Mikkelsen, Jason Flemyng, Liam Cunningham, Hans Matheson, Nicholas Hoult, Pete Postlethwaite


I don’t look back on the original Clash of the Titans through rose-tinted nostalgic glasses. I probably watched it a hundred times when I was a kid, and thought it was great, but in hindsight, it’s campy and hokey, with laughably wooden acting, led by a poofy-haired Harry Hamlin and Laurence Olivier on autopilot, and Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion animation was state-of-the-art in its heyday in the ‘50s and ‘60s but compared to 1977’s Star Wars made the 1981 Titans look significantly older than it was.  While unnecessary remakes abound in Hollywood, this is the kind of movie that could actually benefit from a remake with better acting and updated visual effects. Continue reading

The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2011)

DIRECTOR: Michael Apted


Ben Barnes, Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley, Will Poulter, Anna Popplewell, William Moseley, Gary Sweet, Billie Brown, Tilda Swinton


Liam Neeson, Simon Pegg


While it is adapted from C.S. Lewis’ beloved seven-book children’s series, The Chronicles of Narnia has had a hard time attracting the same following on the screen as it has on the page. Continue reading

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008)

DIRECTOR: Andrew Adamson


William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Ben Barnes, Sergio Castellitto, Pierfrancesco Favino, Peter Dinklage, Warwick Davis, Tilda Swinton


Liam Neeson, Eddie Izzard, Ken Stott


Following 2005’s The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, the second in C.S. Lewis’ beloved but juvenile seven-book series, makes a conscious effort to inject more action but remains a close relative of its predecessor, with all the flaws and virtues that entails. Continue reading

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (2005)

DIRECTOR: Andrew Adamson


William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent


Liam Neeson, Rupert Everett, Ray Winstone, Dawn French, Michael Madsen


It’s no secret that the massive success and critical acclaim of The Lord of the Rings and run-away Harry Potter mania have revived the fantasy genre as a viable and fertile ground in the eyes of many, and their popularity has inspired any number of films, mostly also adaptations of popular books, to aspire to their heights, but none have managed it. Many of these are inferior flash-in-the-pan wannabes like The Spiderwick Chronicles and Eragon. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, an adaptation of the first in C.S. Lewis’ beloved seven-book series, has a more respectable pedigree than that, but it’s unlikely to threaten Rings or Potter for a few reasons. Continue reading

Batman Begins (2005)

DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan


Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Ken Watanabe


Batman is both one of DC Comics’ most recognizable and popular characters and one of the most cinematically ill-used. Originally conceived as a brooding figure on the line between hero and vigilante, the original seriousness was completely abandoned first by the campy 1960s television series starring Adam West, and then by Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher’s series of feature films in the late ’80s and ’90s. These movies started out over-the-top and ended up downright cartoonish. The entire original conception of the character had virtually been abandoned, and as the films grew ever more patently ridiculous, even fans had had enough. Batman looked dead in the water. Then British director Christopher Nolan, coming off the thrillers Memento and Insomnia, and screenwriter David S. Goyer took on the task of resurrecting Batman, not as a continuation of the previous lackluster film series, but as a totally new narrative showing us something we’d never seen detailed onscreen before- the origins of the superhero.  While remaining faithful to the broad strokes of established Batman background, Nolan and Goyer put their distinctive spin on the familiar story. Most importantly, they were faithful to the substantially darker and more serious original conception of the character. The result was by far the best Batman film yet made, and solid enough to appeal even to non-Batman aficionados.  A Batman movie has finally been made right. Continue reading

Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

DIRECTOR: Ridley Scott

CAST: Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons, Marton Csokas, Brendan Gleeson, Liam Neeson, Ghassan Massoud, Alexander Siddig, David Thewlis, Michael Sheen, John Finch, Edward Norton


In a number of his previous films, Ridley Scott has proven he knows how to make an epic.  With its desert landscape and ancient setting, Kingdom of Heaven bears the closest resemblance to 2000’s Oscar-winning Gladiatorbut in some ways is an even more technically ambitious production.  Unfortunately, it’s a far less engaging motion picture. Continue reading

Love Actually (2003)

DIRECTOR: Richard Curtis


Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney,Bill Nighy, Keira Knightley, Kris Marshall, Heike Makatsch, Martin Freeman, Joanna Page,Chiwetel Ejiofor, Andrew Lincoln, Martine McCutcheon, Thomas Sangster, Lúcia Moniz, Rodrigo Santoro, Rowan Atkinson, Billy Bob Thornton


Love Actually is taglined as ‘the ultimate romantic comedy’, and while I wouldn’t go that far, it might be the most ambitious. Continue reading

K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)

k19DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow

CAST: Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, Peter Sarsgaard, Donald Sumpter, Ravil Isyanov, Christian Camargo, John Shrapnel, Joss Ackland



Following in the vein of such films as Das Boot and Crimson Tide, K-19: The Widowmaker is a thriller with an epic backdrop of historical conflict unfolding within the claustrophobic confines of a submarine.  Kathryn Bigelow’s entry in the submarine genre doesn’t rewrite the book on anything—in fact, at times it’s cobbled together out of cliches, despite being based on an actual incident—but it’s well-made and engaging, and hits the expected points effectively. Continue reading

Les Misérables (1998)

DIRECTOR: Bille August

CAST: Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush, Uma Thurman, Claire Danes, Hans Matheson, Peter Vaughan


Those wanting the musical numbers of the popular stage musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel Les Misérables—a mainstay onstage since its debut in 1985—may be disappointed, but among non-musical film adaptations, Bille August’s interpretation of the oft-told tale is a handsome adaptation, picturesquely-filmed, well-cast (at least in the two lead roles), and finding an effective balance of condensing Hugo’s sprawling epic into a coherent abridged film version that—while some of its omissions will not sit well with purists—retains the novel’s key themes and heart.  The result is not only one of the better examples of the assorted Les Mis adaptations, but a handsomely-crafted period drama in itself accessible to Hugo neophytes. Continue reading