Taken, with its relentless action, extensive fight sequences and perhaps one of the best quotes in modern film history, was fantastic. Even Taken 2, which saw ex-government operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) putting his “very particular set of skills” into action once more to find his kidnapped ex-wife in Istanbul, was great. Unfortunately, Taken 3 seems to have lost its way slightly.
Liam Neeson is back in the by now familiar role that made him a credible action star back in 2008, but with the pesky Albanians from Tropojë out of the frame, who is left to “take” something from Bryan? Why the Russians, of course.
The third outing of the franchise swaps European cities for LA’s urban sprawl and instead of a kidnapping, Mills is framed for murder and becomes the subject of a manhunt. And herein lies the problem: Taken 3 lacks the against-all-odds, alone in an unfamiliar environment feel, while the violence has also been softened. Essentially, it lacks too many elements that made previous installments so appealing and it’s all just a bit forgettable. And as a diehard Neeson fan, it pains me to say that.
The Theory of Everything
Eddie Redmayne takes on the role of Stephen Hawking in this biopic that chronicles the physicist’s life from his doctoral studies at Cambridge University where he meets and falls in love with Jane Wilde. Director James Marsh handles his sensitive subject matter with great care and the result is a touching film that shows how Hawking refused to let motor neurone disease define him and went on to become one of the greatest minds in the world.
A Most Violent Year
Set in what was statistically the most violent year in New York City’s history, this film follows immigrant Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) and his family as he attempts to keep his business on the right side of legal while being investigated by the police. Not as in-your-face as a straight-up gangster film, but the slow burning tempo is absorbing nonetheless. The richly atmospheric crime drama is already being tipped for success come the awards season by those in the know.
Preview: Breathe In
Keith Reynolds (Guy Pearce) is a high school music teacher who finds himself disillusioned with his life and longs to follow his dream of becoming a musician. He grows increasingly close to the British exchange student he is hosting together with his wife and daughter, forming a relationship that puts a strain on the entire family and changes their lives forever.
As conjoined twins, Anjana (Bipasha Basu) and Sanjana (also played by Basu), promised to be together forever. However, the death of Anjana leads to a series of chilling events that leaves Sanjana convinced she is being haunted by the ghost of her dead twin.