Posts Tagged ‘John Travolta’


Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 11.43.59 AMRichard’s CP24 reviews for “Hot Pursuit,” “Maggie” and “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” with anchor Rena Heer.

Watch the whole thing HERE!



Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 9.42.42 AMRichard’s “Canada AM” film reviews for “Hot Pursuit,” “Maggie” and “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belife.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!



Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 1.40.16 PMChances are good if you are interested enough to buy a ticket to the new Alex Gibney documentary “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” you already know most of the information contained within.

Based on Lawrence Wright’s 2013 book of the same name, the movie doesn’t cover any unreported revelations. Instead, it does what film does best—show me, don’t tell me. Oscar winner Gibney is a master at layering images for maximum effect, visualizing the alleged tales of abuse within the church in a way that is much more visceral than a simple talking head doc.

For the uninitiated the accusations are quite shocking. Harassment crusades against ex-members and critics are detailed, as is corporal punishment for those who break the rules but choose to stay within the church. Billion year contracts, Tom Cruise’s extreme commitment to the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard—here’s a drinking game idea: take a shot each time someone really famous salutes a photo of L.R.H.—and the church’s war against the IRS are brought to vivid life.

It goes without saying that the Church of Scientology isn’t happy with “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.” The church’s head honchos have declared a media blackout and declined Gibney’s requests for interviews so the film appears somewhat one-sided. It’s a compelling take down of the religion but would have felt more balanced if current members of the church were included.


Pulp-Fiction-The-Complete-Story-CoverI saw Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” on its opening day in Toronto. I sat through it once, transfixed and while everyone else stayed glued to their seats for the credits, discussing the movie and picking up their jaws from the floor, I rushed out and bought another ticket for the next screening and sat through it once more. Not sure how many times I’ve seen it since then, but I was reminded of that first screening when I looked at “Pulp Fiction: The Complete Story of Quentin Tarantino’s Masterpiece,” Jason Bailey’s book on the making of the film.

From ”

When Pulp Fiction was released in theaters in 1994, it was immediately hailed as a masterpiece. The New York Times called it a “triumphant, cleverly disorienting journey,” and thirty-one-year-old Quentin Tarantino, with just three feature films to his name, became a sensation: the next great American director.
“Nearly twenty years later, those who proclaimed Pulp Fiction an instant classic have been proven irrefutably right. In Pulp Fiction: The Complete Story of Quentin Tarantino’s Masterpiece, film expert Jason Bailey explores why Pulp Fiction is such a brilliant and influential film. He discusses how the movie was revolutionary in its use of dialogue (“You can get a steak here, daddy-o,” “Correct-amundo”), time structure, and cinematography—and how it completely transformed the industry and artistry of independent cinema. He examines Tarantino’s influences, illuminates the film’s pop culture references, and describes its phenomenal legacy. Unforgettable characters like Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson), Vincent Vega (John Travolta), Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis), and Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) are scrutinized from all-new angles, and memorable scenes—Christopher Walken’s gold watch monologue, Vince’s explanation of French cuisine—are analyzed and celebrated.
“Much like the contents of Marcellus Wallace’s briefcase, Pulp Fiction is mysterious and spectacular. This book explains why. Illustrated throughout with original art inspired by the film, with sidebars and special features on everything from casting close calls to deleted scenes, this is the most comprehensive, in-depth book on Pulp Fiction ever published.”
More info HERE!


from-paris-with-love-5109f7f7219b1Last year French cinematographer-turned-director Pierre Morel brought us “Taken” a violent little Euro-centric thriller about a father who would do anything—and I mean anything—to retrieve his daughter from some very bad men. It was a down-and-dirty little flick, classed up somewhat by the presence of Liam Neeson in the lead role, and it became an unexpected lightening-in-a-bottle hit. Morel is back behind the camera with a new actioner called “From Paris With Love.” Unfortunately lightening has not struck twice.

Like “Taken” the story is simple and leaves the action to be the real selling point. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is James Reece an aide to the US Ambassador in Paris who moonlights on the side for the FBI. He is given the biggest assignment of his secret agent career when he is partnered with Charlie Wax (John Travolta), the typical unorthodox but effective undercover movie spy. Together they go on a rampage across the streets and embassies of Paris to put a stop to a terrorist attack. Carnage ensues.

“Taken” worked not just because the action sequences were out of control, but because audiences had some empathy for Liam Neeson’s character as he was kicking butt across Europe. It was a personal mission; he was trying to get his daughter back. Here, however, Meyers and Travolta are a shadowy part of the war on terror and seem to enjoy the bloodshed a little too much. This time it’s not personal, it’s psychotic and even the inclusion of a couple of “Royale with Cheese” “Pulp Fiction” call backs won’t make us identify with these two.

“From Paris with Love” has some cool action scenes—a killing spree in a stairwell is tense and exciting—but the paper thin story, cardboard characters and silly red herrings suck much of the fun from the movie.

John Travolta is bordering on Nicolas Cage territory here. He seems to be trying his hand at Cage’s extreme acting style, working some over-the-top theatrics into his performance, but overall he’s simply not that convincing as a devil-may-care secret agent. He can do menacing. We saw it in “Pulp Fiction”, “Blowout” and more recently in “The Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3” but here he seems to be trying a too hard.

But at least he’s trying, which is more than can be said for Jonathan Rhys Meyers who hands in one of the more wooden performances seen on film so far this year. My advice to him: Beware of woodpeckers.
This is only Morel’s third film as a director and already he has established a set of trademarks, for better and for worse. On the plus side, he knows how to stage an action sequence and has clearly watched more than a few John Woo movies. He also has an eye for shooting in urban spaces, but compared to “Taken” with its beauty shots of Paris, “From Paris with Love” looks like it could have been made almost anywhere. With the exception of the odd Eiffel Tower shot, location wise it’s rather generic, which it shouldn’t be when you are shooting in one of the most beautiful and interesting cities in the world.

On the minus side he’s already becoming somewhat predictable. In his movies the dinner scene always seems to end poorly for the hostess.

Despite a huge body count and a screen littered with empty shell casings “From Paris with Love” isn’t as exciting or as interesting as “Taken.”


John_travolta_in_grease_orignialsIt might be the most famous summer romance in movie history.

Even though John Travolta was 24 and Olivia Newton John was 30 when they made Grease, they played Danny and Sandy, teenage sweethearts who meet on summer break. He’s a greaser, she a squeaky-clean exchange student from Australia. They have a fling, but when the falls comes, and they find themselves at the same school Danny thinks he’s too cool for the virtuous Sandy.

Grease is filled with all the icons of 1950s America—hot rods, leather jackets and malt shops—and some great songs, good light romantic comedy but it is the cast that makes the movie memorable. John Travolta channels a fleet-footed Elvis Presley, while Olivia Newton John is a composite of the best of sexy-but-sweet 50s stars like Annette Funicello and Sandra Dee.

The newly released DVD features loads of extras and comes wrapped in an authentic T-Birds black leather jacket.