The Widowmaker

I finally watched K-19: The Widowmaker.  It was a lot better than I thought it would be.  I did not realize, until I watched the credits, that it was directed by Kathryn Bigelow of The Hurt Locker fame.  I must say, she’s got talent.

The Widowmaker is about a Russian nuclear submarine during the cold war.  The two main officers, played by Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson, struggle between their feelings of duty to their crew and their motherland.

Apparently the story was inspired by true events, but it was a story that could not be told for years, since the crew were sworn to secrecy.

The movie made me realize, once again, that I would never want to be on a submarine, let alone one carrying nuclear weapons.  No thanks, comrade!

I heard criticisms of Ford’s Russian accent, but it was actually quite good.  It was subtle, but there, unlike Neeson’s.  And after all, Ford is half Russian.

I would recommend K-19: The Widowmaker–it’s an interesting look at the cold war era, without going into the politics on the other side.  I admire that about Bigelow–she’s able to focus on how something would affect the men on the ground (or under the water) without making the story about whether or not they’re “on the right side.”

Unknown

Thrillers have to tread the line between using action to drive the story and relying on a unique plot to captivate viewers.  Unknown, the new movie with Liam Neeson, fell somewhere in no-man’s-land between these two points.  That doesn’t mean it was a bad movie.  I actually quite enjoyed it.

Neeson plays Dr. Martin Harris, who wakes up after a four-day coma to find out that someone has stolen his identity and that even his wife won’t acknowledge him.  His wife, perhaps not surprisingly, is played by January Jones.  I agree with a critic who compared Jones to a Hitchcock actress–she is beautiful and cold as ice.

Unknown is predictable in many respects, but there are some plot points that may surprise some viewers.  It was refreshing to me, because it seemed more realistic than many other thrillers.  It also had a message of learning from the past and taking a second chance to change one’s life.

Who needs a Plan B?

I never watched much of the TV show "The A-Team," although I caught an occasional episode.  It was humorous enough (albeit campy) that I wanted to see the movie.  Boy, am I glad I did.  It far exceeded my expectations.

Bradley Cooper was an excellent choice to play "Face," since he is rather pretty.  Liam Neeson was a convincing leader as Hannibal, Quinton Jackson filled the role of BA, formerly portrayed iconically by Mr. T.  However, the real genius was the casting of rising star Sharlto Copley as "Howling Mad" Murdock.  He was so hilarious and believably on the fringe of sanity.  Amazing.  I hope he is cast in many more movies.

I saw a relatively negative review of The A-Team that said the special effects sometimes interfered with the story.  I disagree.  The focus is more on the machinations of the team and on the people themselves.  Yes, what they do is important, but how they do it and how they work together is more important.  And that part works well.

The movie was thoroughly enjoyable because it’s so funny.  The combination of the characters (but especially Murdock) made the story wicked fun.