NON-STOP (2014)

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Elizabeth

There is a lot going on in Non-Stop; the problem is that it absolutely doesn’t need it. There’s also a distractingly large cast for a movie that takes place on an airplane: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Lupita Nyong’o, and this guy who looks like Jim Caviezel but isn’t somehow. But just see how complicated this plot gets:

– Liam Neeson is Bill Marks, an air marshal and alcoholic

– Marks gets texts on a “secure” phone that someone on the plane will die every 20 minutes until $150 million is transferred to a bank account

– Marks consults with Jack (Anson Mount, not Jim Caviezel), another air marshal on the plane, and discovers that Jack is smuggling cocaine. They get into a fight and Marks kills Jack right at the 20 minute mark. So turns out these deaths will just occur somehow rather than being caused by one person.

– Next up is the captain of the plane, who dies from some kind of poisoning. Marks gets Jen (Julianne Moore), the woman sitting next to him on the plane, involved in helping him for some reason (ie she’s pretty).

– Turns out that bank account is in Marks’ name. Also turns out that someone took video of Marks being aggressive at the passengers and now the entire world thinks Marks is a hijacker. Even though it’s his job to prevent that from happening and he has no history of doing anything like that?

– Marks then ropes in Zack, another passenger on the plane who happens to be some kind of phone programmer or something. Marks wants him to create a program on the spot that will hack into the terrorist’s phone and cause it to ring. The phone is on a passenger, who says he’s never seen it before, and then who shortly after dies of poisoning, captain-style.

– While Marks is trying to figure out the terrorist’s phone, it suddenly turns on and starts sending texts to the TSA (is that something one can just do?) saying that Marks is suicidal and is going to detonate a bomb on the plane. Good thing there’s not a bomb on the plane! Oh wait . . .

– Marks then finds the bomb within the cocaine that Jack was smuggling. All the passengers try to overtake Marks, thinking he’s a terrorist and will set off the bomb, but one of the passengers, Tom, steals Marks’ gun and by pointing it at everyone makes them all stop and listen to Marks, who explains the situation and gains back the trust of the passengers.

– Now Marks has this bomb to deal with, which will go off before the plane has time to land. I’m going to let Wikipedia explain this part because it gets a little complicated:

Unable to land the plane in time, he attempts to initiate a protocol of least damage: by descending the plane to 8,000 feet to equalize air pressure, placing the bomb in the rear of the plane, covering it with baggage and moving the passengers to the front to contain the explosion, and minimizing casualties. As the protocol goes into effect, a fighter jet escort joins the airliner and warns that if it descends into civilian airspace, it will be shot down.

– Marks watches that video of himself being aggressive that made everyone think he was a terrorist and notices Tom slipping a phone into a passenger’s jacket, the same passenger Marks found with the phone who almost immediately died of poisoning. So it looks like Tom is the terrorist . . .

– But not just Tom! Remember that guy Zack? He and Tom are terrorist partners! Why? What are they going to get out of this whole thing? If your answer was better airport security . . . YOU ARE CORRECT! If the second part of your answer was for better airport security because of 9/11 . . . YOU ARE DOUBLY CORRECT! That’s right; Tom’s father died in the 9/11 attacks, which he blames on lack of airport security. So Tom decided to frame a US Air Marshal, assuming that would up the security at airports. OH OKAY THAT MAKES SENSE!!!

– Tom shoots and kills Zack, Marks shoots and kills Tom, the bomb explodes without anyone getting hurt and the plane lands in Iceland safe and sound. Marks is a hero and he and Jen flirt, THE END.

So, let’s go back over the above and pull out what’s unnecessary and/or doesn’t make sense.

  1. Bill Marks is an alcoholic
  2. There are two US Air Marshals on one flight
  3. The non-Liam Neeson Air Marshall is smuggling cocaine for some reason
  4. Marks lets Jen in on everything that’s going on
  5. All the bullshit with Zack programming the terrorist’s phone
  6. The terrorist’s phone starts automatically texting the TSA
  7. The drama of the pilot having to decide between listening to Marks and listening to that figher jet
  8. Tom convinces the passengers to go along with Marks
  9. Tom kills Zack, which makes one wonder why there needed to be two bad guys at all

This could have just been about Bill Marks trying to stop a bomb from going off from a terrorist. Or about Bill Marks trying to find the terrorist that’s killing passengers. But a bomb and individually killing passengers? And two bad guys? All for better post-9/11 airport security. HILARIOUS!

Just watch Red Eye.

Christopher

I’ve been into watching bad action movies recently and Non-Stop seemed like a good one to try out considering I am a fan of Taken. Now, Taken I think is actually a pretty decent movie. It has some boring parts I think but a whole I really like it. The story, the action, just Liam Neeson being a badass. Non-Stop on the other hand is full of winding roads that just lead you back to the same place. I called who the killer was within moments of them appearing on screen and I think that’s a very clear sign that this movie is not good.

What’s funny about this movie is that the whole thing takes place on a plane and everyone on the flight cannot be the villain. Because of this the movie films absolutely every scene like everyone is this crazy killer. So by the end when we finally know everything it’s hard not to look back and ask, well if all these other people are not the killer, then why the fuck did they act so weird in all those other scenes. And it’s true; this movie is shot in such a ridiculous way that nothing is believable. Even in a way that makes you excited you’re watching a movie.

I did like its awfulness in a lot of ways though. This movie would not be at the top of any list for me but I’m glad I watched it. I am ready for Liam to move away from action films though, he just keeps playing the same character; it’s hard to keep all of them straight in my mind.

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A VERY BRADY SEQUEL (1996)

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Christopher

The first Brady movie was fun and surprising to me but I think the sequel is a better movie.

The first movie deals so much with the Bradys being this strange family out of time but in the sequel that’s not really the focus. It’s more about the family, their house, and a lot of characteristics that make them the Brady Bunch. For example a lot of the story is based around this very valuable horse they have in their living room, a prop that was in the original show. I find this plot point very compelling because it rewards people who loved the original show. The horse in the old episodes is just a decoration in the background. The idea that the whole time they were in possession of something extremely valuable is kind of exciting.

This movie is really funny and had me laughing quite a bit. It’s so strange to me that I thought this was part of the original show but I think the reimagined idea of the Brady Bunch was spot on and worth remaking. Had these films just been trying to recreate the original set in the same time period just with different actors, I think it would have been difficult to get through ten minutes of the film.

Watch this movie for suuuuuuure!

Elizabeth

To be honest, we watched The Brady Bunch Movie mostly so we could watch A Very Brady Sequel. You don’t have to watch the first one to enjoy or understand the second one, but I figured we should go for both anyway, even though A Very Brady Sequel is definitely my favorite.

The Brady Bunch Movie is great because it takes the Bradys and puts them in the 1995. A Very Brady Sequel is great because it takes all that basic Brady stuff and turns it on its head. The main conflict of the movie is that Carol’s long-dead husband suddenly shows up at their house. We know right away that Roy (Tim Matheson) is not Carol’s husband, but rather a friend of his. And we know that the horse statue that has always been at the bottom of the Brady stairs was sent to Carol by her real husband, who was apparently an archeologist, and Roy is back to get it because it’s worth about $20 million.

Because the Bradys are the Bradys, they never really suspect anything when Roy first shows up. Carol’s daughters immediately begin referring to Roy as “daddy,” despite looking nothing or sounding nothing like their biological father (Roy explained that away with surgery) and Greg’s sons immediately start looking up to Roy as a cool guy. Roy’s annoyance with the Bradys is thinly veiled, like his disgust with Alice’s cooking (which in one scene consists of what appears to be ground meat mixed with lard and spread on white bread). This leads to my favorite scene, and one that I never understood until much later in life: Alice finds a bag of mushrooms in Roy’s bag, so that night instead of serving him meatloaf with the rest of the Bradys, she makes spaghetti with the mushrooms. Except they’re magic mushrooms, and Alice put all of them in the pasta, and then Roy realizes he’s “tripping with the Bradys,” and the scene goes into an animated tripping sequence.

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The Bradys chalk this up to Alice’s cooking making him sick somehow, so when I first saw this movie, I thought that, too. In fact, I think the very first time I learned of magic mushrooms existing it immediately hit me what that scene was actually about.

Another Brady element that the movie turns on its head is the relationship between Marcia and Greg. With Roy’s presence, the “step” part of their siblings somehow seems more prominent, and they start to look at each other not as brother and sister, but as sexy teenagers. They begin sharing a room and sneak glances of each other changing, Greg accidentally hits on Marcia from behind (heh heh), and eventually they kiss. It’s a pretty hilarious subplot that also leads Marcia and Greg to go on a double-date, where Marcia and Greg flirt with each other and Marcia talks at length about all of the ways she can style her hair, freaking their dates out enough to leave them for each other.

I think these movies are underrated and still totally hold up, especially if you’re at all familiar with The Brady Bunch TV show. Either way, these movies are awesome.

THE BRADY BUNCH MOVIE (1995)

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Elizabeth

I forget how I found out that Chris hadn’t seen any of The Brady Bunch movies, but I wanted to fix that as soon as I did find out. I loved the movie when it came out, and the more and more I thought about it the more I realized that it really was pretty bizarre.

The movie is sort of hard to describe. It’s about the Bradys as we know them: Carol & Mike, Marcia, Jan, Cindy, and Greg, Peter, and Bobby. Their household is also complete with Alice, who is herself complete with her relationship with Sam. They live in the same house, wear the same clothes . . . in fact everything about the Bradys in the movies is the same as the TV show, except it’s set in 1995. So all of their weird sayings, clothes, habits, are made 1000x weirder by being surrounded by modern America.

Watching The Brady Bunch Movie again made me realize how many jokes I didn’t get when I first saw it (I was 7 when this came out) but it still completely held up. The jokes that I thought were funny in 1995 were even funnier now. Like how Marcia is still obsessed with Davy Jones, even though he was 50 years old at the time. Or all of their musical numbers. But most of all, Jan’s inner voice. The Marcia/Jan rivalry from the TV show is taken to schizophrenic levels as Jan’s hatred (there’s definitely more hate here than in the show) for Marcia spurns a demonic voice in her head that reminds her of how perfect Marcia is. But, of course, that’s really only in Jan’s world; though Marcia’s attractiveness transcends her weirdness, she’s still super weird.

I could see this movie easily slipping by under the radar, because maybe the concept is confusing or maybe one would assume it’s cheesy and not funny. But it is so fucking funny.

Christopher

I definitely thought these were Brady movies with the full original cast? When Elizabeth always said Christine Taylor was Marcia Brady I kind of thought that meant the original? I have no idea why I thought that and the obvious time table of how that is impossible never crossed my mind. I’m glad Elizabeth wanted to watch this and the sequel because now I actually have it right in my head.

So obviously I was not expecting this movie to be what it was. I assumed it was just another Brady tale but the fact that it took the original Brady idea and set it in modern times is genius! I really wish I had watched this as a kid because I enjoyed it a lot as an adult.

I never really watched The Brady Bunch. I always found it kind of boring and I think this movie does a great job of realizing that. The whole story in this movie and all the characters are so over the top, nothing was really lost on me due to boredom.

I say check this out for sure! Although it feels like I might one of the last people to see it and certainly the last to know it was not part of the original show.