Andre Braugher

Poseidon (2006, Wolfgang Petersen)

Almost all of Poseidon is extremely predictable. Even if it didn’t rip off every blockbuster since 1995 for one detail or plot twist or another, it would be extremely predictable. There is one big departure into unpredictability and it’s so jarring, for a while I maintained interested hoping screenwriter Mark Protosevich would try it again. Unfortunately, he does not.

It’s nearly impossible to find anything nice to say about Poseidon. Wolfgang Petersen’s direction is nowhere near as bad as it was in Air Force One or Outbreak. I suppose that statement is complementary.

But all of the acting is awful and a disaster movie can’t have awful acting. You can’t be rooting for the characters to die off just to be rid of them and, in Poseidon, it’s about all one can do to keep interested. Obviously, the annoying cameo from Stacy Ferguson makes her a prime target, but I never thought I’d be wanting less Andre Braugher in a movie. He plays the ship’s captain. He’s awful.

The film’s worst performances, in no particular order, come from Josh Lucas, Emmy Rossum, Mike Vogel and Kevin Dillon. Kurt Russell, Richard Dreyfuss, Jacinda Barrett and Mía Maestro are all awful too, but they’re not as bad as the others. Though it is mildly amusing to try to guess how many pounds of makeup Russell’s wearing.

Freddy Rodríguez easily gives the film’s only “good” performance.

Even with its short run time (about a hundred minutes), Poseidon is an exceptionally trying viewing experience.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Wolfgang Petersen; screenplay by Mark Protosevich, based on a novel by Paul Gallico; director of photography, John Seale; edited by Peter Honess; music by Klaus Badelt; production designer, William Sandell; produced by Mike Fleiss, Akiva Goldsman, Duncan Henderson and Petersen; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Josh Lucas (Dylan Johns), Kurt Russell (Robert Ramsey), Jacinda Barrett (Maggie James), Richard Dreyfuss (Richard Nelson), Emmy Rossum (Jennifer Ramsey), Mía Maestro (Elena Morales), Mike Vogel (Christian), Kevin Dillon (Lucky Larry), Freddy Rodríguez (Marco Valentin), Jimmy Bennett (Conor James), Stacy Ferguson (Gloria) and Andre Braugher (Captain Bradford).


Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (2010, Lauren Montgomery)

Kevin Conroy has been doing the Batman voice for, off and on, almost twenty years. If his work in Apocalypse is any indication, he’s gotten a little tired of it. At least there’s only one aspect of a phoned-in voice performance. Some of it might be the awful script from Tab Murphy (probably taken verbatim from the awful comic book by Jeph Loeb), but Superman-regular Tim Daly manages to be earnest–even with the absolutely dreadful animation.

Montgomery’s direction is occasionally okay–she did a fine job on the Wonder Woman animated (unfortunately she handles that character terribly here)–especially at the beginning, with a complex action sequence involving Supergirl arriving on Earth. It’s idiotically written, but choreographed well.

Besides Daly, the voice work is pretty lame. Andre Braugher is terrible as the big bad guy, who looks like he should sound like Darth Vader but instead sounds like Frank Pembleton. The animation on that character, Darkseid, looks unfinished and just plain cheap.

Summer Glau might be good as Supergirl, but it’s hard to tell, since the character is so reprehensible. She’s vapid and materialistic–I’m shocked no one at Warner has thought of making an animated “Simple Life” for the character.

Apocalypse fails at really simple stuff–the big joke of having Ed Asner play an ugly woman doesn’t work when the animation is so bad it’s unclear she’s supposed to be female.

These Warner superhero cartoons are just getting worse and worse.

Besides Daly, of course.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Lauren Montgomery; screenplay by Tab Murphy, based on comic books by Jeph Loeb and Michael Turner and characters created by Bob Kane, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, William M. Marston and Jack Kirby; edited by Margaret Hou; music by John Paesano; produced by Bobbie Page and Montgomery; released by Warner Premiere.

Starring Tim Daly (Clark Kent / Superman), Kevin Conroy (Bruce Wayne / Batman), Andre Braugher (Darkseid), Summer Glau (Kara Zor-El), Susan Eisenberg (Wonder Woman), Julianne Grossman (Big Barda), Rachel Quaintance (Lyla) and Edward Asner (Granny Goodness).


Striking Distance (1993, Rowdy Herrington)

If it weren’t for the fantastic Brad Fiedel music (until the end credits) and the Pittsburgh locations (the city really is underutilized as a filming location, with Striking Distance taking fantastic advantage of its mix of urban, green and water), there’d be nothing to distinguish this one. It’s a B movie given a high profile because Bruce Willis is the star. Additionally, a lot of the supporting cast is solid and recognizable–but auteur Rowdy Herrington doesn’t have much control of them, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t.

Willis, for instance, turns in a performance with less depth than if he were selling hair products (maybe to explain his strange, long in the back, pseudo-mullet in the film). Dennis Farina’s awful, clearly needing firmer direction. But Tom Sizemore and Robert Pastorelli are both good. Pastorelli’s actually great in some parts, running loose without having to worry about anyone telling him to stop. Brion James and John Mahoney are both solid in smaller parts. Sarah Jessica Parker isn’t at all believable as Willis’s partner, but she’s not terrible.

The film has, for such a solid production environment, some lame cinematography courtesy Mac Ahlberg, who shot a lot of B movies… so maybe it does fit. Herrington tries to combine a Bruce Willis cop movie with a serial killer thriller, but directed like a horror movie. It succeeds in being incredibly watchable, if completely unrewarding.

There’s a strange amount of bare chested Willis; his shirts apparently go to pieces on touch.

1/4

CREDITS

Directed by Rowdy Herrington; written by Herrington and Marty Kaplan; director of photography, Mac Ahlberg; edited by Pasquale Buba and Mark Helfrich; music by Brad Fiedel; production designer, Gregg Fonseca; produced by Arnon Milchan, Tony Thomopoulos and Hunt Lowry; released by Columbia Pictures.

Starring Bruce Willis (Det. Tom Hardy), Sarah Jessica Parker (Jo Christman), Dennis Farina (Capt. Nick Detillo), Tom Sizemore (Det. Danny Detillo), Brion James (Det. Eddie Eiler), Robert Pastorelli (Det. Jimmy Detillo), Timothy Busfield (Tony Sacco), John Mahoney (Lt. Vince Hardy), Andre Braugher (Dist. Atty. Frank Morris), Tom Atkins (Sgt. Fred Hardy), Mike Hodge (Capt. Penderman) and Jodi Long (Officer Kim Lee).


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