Posts Tagged ‘Jim Caviezel’


Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 4.44.30 PMCanada AM’s film critic Richard Crouse shares his reviews for ‘Sin City’, ‘The F Word’, ‘If I Stay’ and ‘When the Game Stands Tall’.

Watch the whole thing HERE!





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WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL: 2 STARS. “puts a spin on the usual football flick.”

20140411_094622_DeLaSalle04112014If you are a football fan, specifically of the American high school game, then “The Streak” is something you’re likely familiar with. From 1992 to 2004, under the guidance of legendary football coach Bob Ladouceur and assistant coach Terry Eidson, the De La Salle High School Spartans from Concord, California won 151 consecutive games, smashing all records for any American sport.

It’s a great story that the film “When the Game Stands Tall” uses as a starting point. We join the Spartans as their record-breaking sprint to the history books comes to an end. During the 2003 post season Coach Ladouceur (a very low key Jim Caviezel) suffered a heart attack and a popular student was senselessly gunned down. The following school year, in September 2004, they lost their first two games in “the biggest upset in high school football history,” according to one commentator. Their biggest problem isn’t the other teams, however, it’s a lack of teamwork. “We got lost. Caught up in the glory.” Can the Coach convince them that it’s not if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game that counts?

“When the Game Stands Tall” puts a spin on the usual football flick by adding in faith-based subtext about the power of positivity. It’s not about playing a perfect game, the guys are told, but handing in a “perfect effort.” Coach Lad, who still trains the De La Salle High School Spartans to this day, is an inspirational figure who turns young lads not just into champion football players, but into men.

The underdog aspect of the story doesn’t quite gel. Two defeats don’t exactly make the Spartans the Caltech Beavers who had an impressive run of 207 loses on the gridiron. When the embark on their inevitable climb back up the ladder one announcer calls it “one of the greatest comebacks in football history.” Really? Try telling that to the Caltech Beavers.

The football scenes, however, are effective, exciting and feel genuine. The spirit of the players feels a little over blown as done some of the dialogue. “The only way I’m going off this field is on a stretcher,” says quarterback Chris Ryan (Alexander Ludwig) before winning one for the Gipper… er… I mean Coach Lad.

For football fans “When the Games Stands Tall” brings a famous story to life. For the rest of us it plays like an after school special with better production value.


Screen Shot 2013-10-18 at 9.37.38 AMFilm critic Richard Crouse sounds off on this week’s movie releases: ‘Carrie,’ ‘Fifth Estate,’ ‘Escape Plan’ and ’12 Years a Slave.’

Watch the whole thing HERE!

ESCAPE PLAN: 1 ½ STARS. “he’s the Houdini of the penal system.”

THE TOMB“Escape Plan” is the kind of movie you used to rent on DVD back when there were video rental stores on every corner. It wouldn’t have been your first, second or maybe third. It’s the kind of movie you chose when everything you actually wanted to see was gone. “This doesn’t look too bad,” you’d say to yourself, warily holding the case in your hand.

Combine low expectations with a couple of beers and maybe a fast forward button and “Escape Plan” is passable. But take any of those elements away and add in the price of a big screen ticket and the movie becomes way less passable.

Sylvester Stallone is Ray Breslin, a lawyer-turned-escape artist. He’s the Houdini of the penal system, a man who makes a lot of money as structural-security authority.

In other words he escapes prisons for a living.

He’s broken out of fourteen maximum-security jails but when he takes a job at The Tomb, a privately run prison where the worst-of-the-worst—people who need to be “disappeared”—are warehoused everything goes wrong. The deal changes and it looks like he might live out the rest of his years behind bars. Up against the evil Warden Hobbs (Jim Caviezel) he schemes with another inmate Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to “Papillon” their way out.

This is the kind of movie that used to go straight to DVD. The real question here is how “Escape Plan” escaped that fate and made it to the big screen.

On the upside it has a pretty good villain in Caviezel who is the nastiest warden since “Caged Heat’s” McQueen. There’s a twist I did not see coming and hearing Arnold say, “You punch like a vegetarian,” is always welcome,  but I always hoped when Arnold said, “I’ll be back,” it  would be in a good movie.

On the downside, and it is, admittedly, a lopsided pro and con list, there is dialogue that sounds like it was run through the Cliché-O-Matic™–not the new, updated iOS 7 version, but an older analogue model—to a couple of lame attempts at creating new catchphrases to the sight of two aging action stars trying to relive the glory years.

“Escape Plan” is further proof that the Sly and Arnie show only really works if the work “Expendable” is in the title.