REVIEW: RED DRAGON

 

CAST

Anthony Hopkins (The Mask of Zorro)
Edward Norton (The Bourne Legacy)
Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter)
Emily Watson (War Horse)
Harvey Keitel (Little Nicky)
Mary-Louise Parker (Red)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Ides of March)
Anthony Heald (X-Men: The Last Stand)
Bill Duke (Commando)
Frankie Faison (Luke Cage)
Ken Leung (Lost)
John Rubinstein (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Brenda Strong (Supergirl)
Marguerite MacIntyre (The Vampire Diaries)
Azura Skye (28 Days)
Stanley Anderson (Spider-Man)
Ellen Burstyn (The Exorcist)
Lisa Thornhill (Veronica Mars)

In Baltimore, Maryland, Dr. Hannibal Lecter attends a symphonic orchestra performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He is irritated by a flute player who repeatedly misses out on his part. Later, he hosts a dinner party in his townhouse for the orchestra’s board of directors. During conversation, the disappearance of the flute player is brought up. When one of the guests asks about the dish Lecter made, he responds that if he tells her, she might not try it, implying he is serving the flute player.Lecter is visited by Will Graham, a gifted FBI agent who has the ability to empathize with psychopaths. Graham has been working with Lecter on a psychological profile of a serial killer. The killer removed edible body parts from his victims, leading Graham to believe him to be a cannibal. During the consultation, Graham discovers evidence implicating Lecter. Lecter attacks and almost disembowels Graham, before Graham impales him with several arrows then empties his handgun into him. Lecter is sentenced to life imprisonment in an institution for the criminally insane. Graham is traumatized by the experience, and retires.Some years later, another serial killer, nicknamed The Tooth Fairy, appears. He stalks and kills entire families during sequential full moons. Special Agent Jack Crawford seeks Graham’s assistance in determining the killer’s psychological profile. When the death of another family weighs on his conscience, Graham reluctantly agrees. After visiting the crime scenes and speaking with Crawford, Graham concludes he must once again consult Lecter.

The Tooth Fairy is actually Francis Dolarhyde, who kills at the behest of an alternate personality he calls “The Great Red Dragon”. He is obsessed with the William Blake painting The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun, and believes that each victim he “changes” brings him closer to “becoming” the Dragon. His pathology is born from the severe abuse he suffered as a child at the hands of his sadistic grandmother.
Meanwhile, Freddy Lounds, a tabloid reporter, who hounded Graham after Lecter’s capture, follows him for leads on The Tooth Fairy. There is a secret correspondence between Lecter and Dolarhyde. Graham’s wife and son are endangered when Lecter gives The Tooth Fairy the agent’s home address, forcing them to be relocated to a farm owned by Crawford’s brother. Hoping to lure out The Tooth Fairy, Graham gives Lounds an interview in which he disparages the killer as an impotent homosexual. This provokes Dolarhyde, who kidnaps Lounds and glues him to an antique wheelchair. Dolarhyde then forces Lounds to recant his allegations, bites off his lips and then sets him on fire outside his newspaper’s offices. Later, at his job in a St. Louis photo lab, Dolarhyde falls in love with Reba McClane, a blind co-worker. He takes her home, where they make love. However, his alternate personality demands that he kill her. Desperate to stop the Dragon’s “possession” of him, Dolarhyde goes to the Brooklyn Museum, tears apart the original Blake painting and eats it.Meanwhile, Graham deduces that the killer knew the layout of his victims’ houses from their home videos. He concludes that the killer works for a company that transfers home movies to video cassette and edits them. He starts searching the companies and their workers. Watching Reba’s house, Dolarhyde finds her having spent the evening with a co-worker, Ralph Mandy, whom she actually dislikes. Enraged by this apparent betrayal, Dolarhyde kills Ralph, kidnaps Reba, takes her to his house, and then sets it on fire. Finding himself unable to shoot her, Dolarhyde apparently shoots himself. Reba is able to escape the house as the police arrive.Dolarhyde, having staged his own death, turns up at Graham’s home in Florida. He holds Graham’s son hostage, threatening to kill him. To save his son, Graham slings insults at the boy, reminding Dolarhyde of his grandmother’s abuse. Enraged, Dolarhyde attacks Graham. Both men are severely wounded in a shootout which ends when Graham’s wife kills Dolarhyde. Graham receives a letter from Lecter which praises him for stopping The Tooth Fairy, bids him well, and says they are going to cross paths soon.Some time later, Lecter’s jailer, Dr. Frederick Chilton, tells him that he has a visitor, a young woman from the FBI. Lecter curiously asks of her name.

After “Silence of the Lambs” became so popular, and the sequel, “Hannibal,” it was decided to re-do that first film and this time obtain Hopkins’ services. It worked because not only do you have the incomparable Hopkins at Dr. Lecter but you have one this generations best actors, Edward Norton, as the leading character “Will Graham.” Norton, as always, gives a solid performance. And – look at the backup cast: Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson, Harvey Keitel, Mary Louise Parker and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Not bad. This is one of those movies that gets better and better with each viewing.

 

REVIEW: R.I.P.D.

 

CAST

Jeff Bridges (Iron Man)
Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Kevin Bacon (Hollow Man)
Mary-Louise Parker (Red)
Stephanie Szostak (Iron Man 3)
James Hong (Blade Runner)
Robert Knepper (Cult)
Larry Joe Campbell (The Orville)
Mike Judge (King of The Hill)
Toby Huss (Rescue Dawn)
Mike O’Malley (My Name Is Earl)

Jeff Bridges in R.I.P.D. (2013)Considering that this film was a cinematic flop at the cinema. I was expecting it to be really bad. But having watched it myself, I have to say that it’s actually pretty good.  The film begins with a Boston cop named Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) having a dispute with his best friend and partner, Bobby Hayes (Kevin Bacon), about turning in some gold pieces which they found at a recent drug bust.Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds in R.I.P.D. (2013)During an unexpected shoot out, Walker is shot and killed by his partner and is sucked up into the clouds and recruited by the R.I.P.D. (Rest In Peace Department). The R.I.P.D.s main function in the afterlife, is in catching souls who have refused to leave the land of the living, known as deado’s. Nick is partnered with an old, gruff, U.S marshal from the wild west, Roy Pulsipher (Jeff Bridges). Together, they are sent back to earth under the guise of an alter ego avatar (I.E Roy looks like a supermodel, while poor Nick resembles an old, Chinese man) to rid the living world of the deado’s and to foil their diabolical plans to take over the world. R.I.P.D is pretty much Men in Black but with zombies/ghosts instead of aliens. Sure it has a lot of scenes that we have all seen before, but it is also packed full of hilarious jokes and spectacular set pieces to keep the film from ever feeling stale. The effects range from absolutely brilliant to weird and cartoonish but for the kind of film this is, they do work very well, this is a comic style comedy after all.Kevin Bacon, Jeff Bridges, and Ryan Reynolds in R.I.P.D. (2013)Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds are a brilliantly funny team and Kevin Bacon is his usual sinister, yet supercool self. The supporting cast includes Mary Louise Parker as Roy’s boss and on/off love interest, James Hong and model Marisa Miller as Roy and Nick’s avatars and Devin Ratray as an overweight, ginger, Elvis lookalike, who works as one of the films main antagonists.Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds in R.I.P.D. (2013)R.I.P.D is in no way an instant classic and it’s unlikely to spawn any sequels due to it’s disastrous box office showing ($62M so far on a budget of $130M BEFORE marketing costs) but I found it to be an hour and a half of harmless, amusing and at times exciting fun. If you liked films such as Men in Black and Beetlejuice then you should be able to find something of value here.