Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

DVDs In Brief: May 13, 2009

The good news about Taken (Fox): A serious thespian of advancing age like Liam Neeson can be plenty convincing as a ruthless, ass-kicking action star. The bad news: He’s proven it through the sort of risible abduction thriller that Steven Seagal might have done in his prime. Screenwriters Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen prey shameless on American fears of foreign countries by making it seem like all pretty teenage girls who travel overseas are certain to be snatched by Albanian sex traffickers. Neeson’s authoritative voice proves at least as powerful as his roundhouse kick, but the film is exploitation at its queasiest…

When city officials commissioned native son Terence Davies to make a movie celebrating Liverpool’s designation as European Capital Of Culture 2008, they probably didn’t have something as cantankerous as Davies’ essay-film Of Time And The City (Strand) in mind. Davies’ bittersweet remembrance of Liverpool is more bitter than sweet, particularly when he reflects on the torturous curse of growing up gay and Catholic. But his rancor goes down smoothly, thanks to his inimitably wry narration and some moving archival footage of an evolving city…


As part of its unnecessarily complicated backstory, Underworld—the first in a series of movies pitting vampires and werewolves against each other in a Matrix-like world of vinyl catsuits and gothic kick-assery—told the Romeo And Juliet story of a lycanthrope and a bloodsucker who fell in love and paid the price. The third movie in the series, Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans (Screen Gems) stretches the same story out to feature length, on the cheap and to little purpose; even the signature everything-looks-blue cinematography and by-the-numbers creature-fights seem as halfhearted as the well-worn plot.

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