Tag Archives: Jackie Earle Haley

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) Review

Time: 95 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, offensive language and sexual themes.
Cast:
Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger
Rooney Mara as Nancy Holbrook
Kyle Gallner as Quentin Smith
Katie Cassidy as Kris Fowles
Thomas Dekker as Jesse Braun
Kellan Lutz as Dean Russell
Director: Samuel Bayer

Teenagers Nancy (Rooney Mara), Quentin (Kyle Gallner), Kris (Katie Cassidy), Jesse (Thomas Dekker) and Dean (Kellan Lutz) are all neighbourhood friends who begin having the same dream of a horribly disfigured man who wears a tattered sweater and a glove made of knives. The man, Freddy Krueger (Jackie Earle Haley), terrorizes them in their dreams, and the only escape is to wake up. But when one of their number dies violently, the friends realise that what happens in the dream world is real, and the only way to stay alive is to stay awake.

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Horror remakes most of the time are just not good at all. One of the examples often given is the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. While I don’t dislike it as much as other people, I still don’t consider it to be a good remake at all. There are elements that I think are okay, with the acting and certain elements of the direction. But with the uninteresting story, boring characters, lack of any effective scares and excessive of obnoxious jump scares, it is still not enough to elevate it from it being a bad movie.

One of the worst elements about this movie is that it really isn’t that scary, I’ll go into more depth later on about the direction but I’ll just say that constantly having jump scares doesn’t make your movie scary, it actually does the opposite. Along with this movie not being scary, it’s also not that interesting. It’s just hard to care about what’s going on, the characters are so boring, there aren’t many unique elements that could interest me. It generally follows the same story as the original movie, with some minor changes which still aren’t enough to justify it existing. It’s mostly just a retread of the original movie, just done poorly. The only element that is different and new is a plot point which involves insomniacs sometimes dreaming when they are awake, which could’ve lead to some creative scares. However that was just wasted potential, as it’s just used for pointless jumpscares. One controversial element of the remake was the handling of Freddy. Slight spoiler alert but while the first movie had Freddy as more of a child killer, this remake version had him more like a pedophile. Many people said that with this version it’s hard to find Freddy to be likable, though I’m not sure how they’d find the original child killer version to be likable either. However I will say that the pedophile aspect really wasn’t that necessary, the portrayal of Freddy was going to be dark but they didn’t really need to have that element play a role in the movie.

It’s an near impossible job to take on such an iconic role, but Jackie Earle Haley did work pretty well in his version of Freddy Krueger. Gone are the darkly humorous moments from the previous Freddy, this Freddy is dark, creepy and monstrous (which viewers may or may not like). While it didn’t really change my view on this movie immensely, I do appreciate the effort to try something different (however I wish they did a whole lot more changes of the movie as a whole). The supporting cast was fine overall, nothing special but at the same time nothing terrible. They had barely anything to work with so it’s remarkable that the performances weren’t bad. Rooney Mara is in the lead role of Nancy, and she does seem to be playing a different Nancy from the original movie. While an excellent actress, you can still feel the lack of quality in the writing she was given. Her character is written so incredibly boring but Mara does enough to deliver a performance that is at the very least okay. I’ll just say that she is better in the second half more than the first half, probably because then she’s given a lot more to work with.

The direction is such a mixed bag. Some of the shots and cinematography actually are beautiful, the locations whether that be in a boiler room or a snowy location, etc, it looks gorgeous, and like what Nightmare on Elm Street would look like if it was filmed in more recent times. But then again, Max Payne was a beautiful looking movie and it was still a bad movie. Despite the positive aspects, there are some bad aspects as well. This movie does try to call back to the original by imitating certain shots, but it doesn’t feel like they were trying to tribute the movie, it just felt forced. I’m not really sure what to feel about Freddy’s look, the costume is all fine but the fake just looks goofy, fortunately Jackie Earle Haley’s performance is good enough to override it. The worst part of the direction however is when it tries to do its scares. This movie has countless jumpscares, none of them actually end up being scary however. And to make matters worse, many of the scares were just fake (scares with no actual danger), and after being hammered with so many dud scares, the viewing experience becomes even more frustrating. The kill scenes are violent bloody but they aren’t really affecting or that memorable.

The Nightmare on Elm Street remake isn’t complete garbage. There are elements of the direction I liked, I liked Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger and the rest of the cast are okay (at the very least, they are considerably better than acting in most bad horror remakes). Despite this, its not enough to make it a good movie. The remake fails to deliver any effective scares and adding on an uninteresting story, sitting through it almost feels like a chore. However I will give them this, it’s still better than Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare.

Watchmen (2009) Review

Time: 162 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Contains violence, offensive language and sex scenes.
Cast
Jackie Earle Haley as Walter Kovacs/Rorschach
Patrick Wilson as Daniel Dreiberg/Nite Owl II
Malin Åkerman as Laurie Juspeczyk/Silk Spectre II
Billy Crudup as Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan
Matthew Goode as Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Edward Morgan Blake/The Comedian
Carla Gugino as Sally Jupiter/Silk Spectre
Director: Zack Snyder

In an alternate 1985 America, costumed superheroes are part of everyday life. When one of his former comrades is murdered, masked vigilante Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) uncovers a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes. As he reconnects with his retired associates, only one of which has true powers, Rorschach glimpses a far-reaching conspiracy involving their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the world’s future.

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I’m a big fan of Zack Snyder. I loved Batman v Superman (the Ultimate Edition was of course the far superior version), Man of Steel, 300 and many of his other movies. However, I have to say that Watchmen is undisputedly his masterpiece. Alan Moore’s unique story was adapted incredibly well (not a perfect adaption of the comic, but the best that we’ll probably ever get). It was not only riveting and entertaining, it was something really special for the comic book movie genre. Although Watchmen was polarising to most people upon it’s initial release, it has gained a cult following (deservedly so), and I am certain that the film will only receive more love as the years go on. In my eyes it’s the best comic book movie ever created.

First thing you should know is that Watchmen isn’t exactly a conventional superhero film. Sure it has beautiful visuals, action scenes and people who dress up in costumes and engage in fights but it’s still not quite like other superhero movies you’ve seen. It’s one of the few superhero movies that I would call a drama (like The Dark Knight, Logan, Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition). This film shows what it would be like if heroes really existed in our world (the standout being of Billy Crudup’s Dr Manhattan, truly fascinating character arc). The film – like the graphic novel – accurately displays the flaws in the superhero. Every character (at least the main characters) have visible flaws, making them quite interesting and feel like real people; it’s interesting watching their stories. It also should be known before going in that this movie is very dark, It’s the darkest and most violent of all the comic book movies ever made (that or Sin City). It’s a bleak world this film inhabits. This film wouldn’t have been as effective if they tried to make it a PG-13/M rated movie, Snyder firmly stuck with an R rating, allowing them to take the story to many levels (in terms of the story, tone and violence). While this turned off many of the viewers, I think that decision really benefited the movie overall.

This movie did have a lot to work with, it being based on Alan Moore’s Watchmen. I have read the graphic novel and I personally think that the film adapted it quite well, the changes made worked well. Some of the themes and aspects of the story were changed which made it work as a movie. While Alan Moore’s Watchmen tackled comic books, Zack Snyder’s Watchmen tackled comic book movies. Also, there are some ways that this movie improves over the graphic novel, especially the ending (if you’ve seen the movie and read the graphic novel, you’ll know exactly what I mean). I pretty much love everything about this movie. The plot kept me interested from start to finish, despite the long runtime I didn’t feel bored (however I do think that the Director’s Cut, which includes 24 minutes of additional footage, is better paced). I honestly think that Watchmen is the best comic book movie yet.

One thing I really like is the casting, these actors weren’t well known when they were cast. No one here is an A-lister and so it’s so much easier to see these actors as their characters. The acting by everyone was very impressive but there were particularly a few stand out performances for me. Firstly, Jackie Earle Haley as the vigilante Rorschach. Even with a mask on his face for most of his screentime he conveys so much with his movements, mannerisms and his voice (especially the voice). Rorschach is a disturbed, almost psychopathic character but yet he’s one of my favourite characters in the whole story, and I’m not alone with that. It’s one of the best comic book performances I’ve seen. Another great performance was from Jeffery Dean Morgan as the character of The Comedian. This character was a nihilistic force of nature, one of the most fascinating characters in the story. Even though he is despicable, a lot of what he says is true, in a very twisted way. Morgan portrayed him excellently, definitely a scene stealer.

The other stand out performance was Billy Crudup was Dr Manhattan, who is such a super powered being. For most of Crudup’s screentime he is motion captured but despite this, Crudup manages to give a compelling performance, he definitely left an impression. His character is very fascinating and Crudup did a perfect job with him. Other actors like Patrick Wilson, Malin Akerman, Matthew Goode and Carla Gugino were also were great in their roles. Matthew Goode also stood out, also in the way that the story turned out (won’t spoil anything here). His performance and character I think is particularly underrated.

The direction of Watchmen is so excellent. As this is Zack Snyder, you can expect the visuals to be great. The cinematography by Larry Fong is absolutely fantastic as always. The use of colours and shadows were so beautiful, it’s like the scenes were ripped straight out of a comic book, which Zack Snyder does very well. The action and fight scenes were also directed greatly, the choreography was so excellent and works so well with the movie (however I will say that occasionally Snyder does use just a little bit too much slowmotion). The CGI in Watchmen is also great overall but I particularly want to draw attention to the motion captured CGI used on Dr Manhattan, it was so well implemented in the film. It was really the only way to bring Dr Manhattan to life and it worked incredibly well (of course it was also helped by Billy Crudup’s acting). The score by Tyler Bates was also great and fitted so many of the scenes. Also previously existing songs worked very well in the film, such as ‘Unforgettable’ for the opening scene. While on the subject of classic songs used in Watchmen, the opening credits sequence (which features Bob Dylan’s ‘The Times they are a-Changin’, is truly excellent, as it shows the history of the Watchmen through brief clips and snapshots. The graphic novel did contain that history but it would be near impossible to show it in the movie. However without any lines of dialogue, Snyder successfully portrayed that on screen and it is beautiful. It’s one of the all time best opening credits scenes ever. I loved every single scene of this movie, the only moment that really didn’t work for me was a sex scene between Nite Owl (Patrick Wilson) and Silk Spectre (Malin Akerman) to the sound of Hallelujah, which was… odd. I guess it was meant to be over the top and hilarious but I’m not sure… I loved everything else though.

Watchmen is my all time favourite Comic Book Movie. With Zack Snyder’s great direction, the excellent performances as well as the fascinating, riveting and overall brilliant story makes this one of my favourite movies of all time. Watchmen isn’t for everyone, it’s not a conventional superhero film, it is slower paced, it’s very dark and brutal (probably the darkest superhero movie out there) and the story is a lot different from what most would expect. But I do think that it is worth a watch. If you’re going to watch this movie, I highly recommend the Director’s Cut, even though I loved the Theatrical Cut, the extended version makes the film much better overall (I haven’t seen the Ultimate Cut yet, so I can’t judge that version).

London Has Fallen (2016) Review

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London Has Fallen

Time: 99 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence and Offensive Language.
Cast:
Gerard Butler as Mike Banning
Aaron Eckhart as Benjamin Asher
Morgan Freeman as Allan Trumbull
Alon Moni Aboutboul as Aamir Barkawi
Angela Bassett as Lynne Jacobs
Robert Forster as Edward Clegg
Melissa Leo as Ruth McMillan
Radha Mitchell as Leah Banning
Charlotte Riley as Jacqueline “Jax” Marshall
Jackie Earle Haley as DC Mason
Sean O’Bryan as Ray Monroe
Waleed Zuaiter as Kamran Barkawi
Director: Babak Najafi

After the death of the British prime minister, the world’s most powerful leaders gather in London to pay their respects. Without warning, terrorists unleash a devastating attack that leaves the city in chaos and ruins. Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) springs into action to bring U.S. President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) to safety. When Asher falls into the hands of the sinister organization, it’s up to Banning to save his commander in chief from a horrible fate.

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Olympus Has Fallen was a surprising action movie, it really was the Die Hard that we deserved in 2013 (and unfortunately was a better Die Hard movie than the actual Die Hard we got that year). However I didn’t feel like it needed a sequel and after seeing London Has Fallen, I can say that I was pretty much right. London Has Fallen is still enjoyable with reasonably fine action scenes and a pretty good cast involved. However, it definitely feels like a step down compared to the previous movie.

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Let’s get this out of the way, even if you cared about what happened in Olympus Has Fallen, you likely won’t care about what happens in London Has Fallen. Even though the previous film’s focus wasn’t really on the story, you could at least feel tension for what’s going on. The sequel tries to recapture it but it doesn’t really achieve it. The writing is significantly lesser in comparison, I can’t really describe it, it feels like its missing something, it was probably Antoine Fuqa’s direction from the first film, which really made the first film work. The humour and dialogue is also a little off. Overall though this movie is fine, it’s just really forgettable, typing this review out was hard actually because I was trying to remember what happened in the movie.

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Gerald Butler really worked in the movie, he was great in the action scenes and you bought him in this movie. I also liked Aaron Eckhart who was also really good in this film. I really liked how Butler and Eckhart played off each other, you can actually buy that they are friends. The acting in this movie for the most part is fine, nothing spectacular, nothing horrible, it just works fine. The villain in the first film worked pretty well for the film, the villain in London Has Fallen however isn’t interesting. He worked fine I guess, but there wasn’t anything compelling about him.

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This film definitely feels like it’s missing something, especially when compared to Antoine Fuqua’s direction for Olympus Has Fallen. The direction for the most part is fine though. The action is decent, reasonably entertaining but aren’t anything special. There’s not much tension and it feels more in line with a normal above average action movie (which is really what this movie is). The first film felt a little gritty, but aside from the blood there really is nothing gritty about Olympus Has Fallen. There are some moments which are noticeably CGI and fake. Direction wise this film was quite a significant step back from the previous movie.

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Overall London Has Fallen is entertaining but I’m not sure if I can call it good. I know that it’s a mindless action movie (much like the first film) but even so, the writing isn’t really good and the direction feels like its lacking. I think the main thing missing was Antoine Fuqua’s direction. He made the first film way better than it could’ve been. Still, the action in this film is fine enough and Gerald Butler was great so I can say that I enjoyed the movie. If you liked Olympus Has Fallen, you might like the sequel but know that it’s not as good as the first film. It was fine overall.