Movie Mom

Movie Mom


The Taking of Pelham 123

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence and pervasive language
Profanity:Frequent very strong language, some crude
Nudity/Sex:Some sexual references and taunts
Alcohol/Drugs:References to substance abuse
Violence/Scariness:Very explicit and grisly violence, guns, intense car crashes, characters injured and killed
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters, some racist epithets
Movie Release Date:June 12, 2009
DVD Release Date:November 3, 2009

This third version of the story of a hijacked New York subway car may be superfluous but it still delivers some zip thanks to Tony Scott’s music-video flash and even a bit of heft thanks to Denzel Washington.

The 1974 version had Robert Shaw (“Jaws,” “The Sting”) as the leader of a group of trigger-happy thugs and a bitter ex-subway motorman and Walter Matthau as the transit cop working for the safe return of the hostages. The film’s great strengths were its nicely twisty plot, its superb cast of character actors (including Jerry Stiller), and its gritty feel for the city at a time of great economic turmoil and municipal decay. Then there was a made-for-TV version in 1998 with Vincent D’Onofrio and Edward James Olmos. This time, it is updated for the era of cell phones, laptops, and failing financial markets. The leader of the hijackers is John Travolta, with a 70′s porn star mustache, a prison neck tattoo, and a whole lot of attitude. He starts out at the top of Mount CrazyAngry and pretty much stays there the whole time. At the other end of the phone is transit guy Garber (Denzel Washington), who has depth of expertise and some complications in his work situation.

Director Tony Scott knows how to deliver a cinematic adrenaline rush, and there are some impressive car crashes and chases. James Gandolfini is superb as the mayor, a cross between Giuliani and Bloomberg, and there are some nice up-to-the-minute touches for the era of cell phones, wifi, and Wall Street collapses. It sacrifices some of the original’s craftiest switch-ups for action but the biggest problem is that Travolta never really connects and Washington’s fully-realized portrayal of the troubled but heroic Garber makes even more obvious Travolta’s struggle to make his character work. Travolta may steal the subway car, but it is Washington who steals the movie.



Previous Posts

If I Stay
Hamlet asked it best. "To be, or not to be: That is the question." We struggle through, worrying about whether someone likes us or whether we will be accepted at the school of our choice

posted 6:00:09pm Aug. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
If you want to not just see but hear an eyeball being pulverized, then see "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For."  If you want to see and hear it in the company of an audience who thinks that's

posted 5:59:27pm Aug. 21, 2014 | read full post »

When the Game Stands Tall
This dreary assemblage of every possible sports cliché has one thing in common with the game it portrays. Every time it seems to be going somewhere, it stops. More frustratingly, it wastes the opportunity to tell a good story by trying to squeeze in too many great ones. There are too many crises

posted 5:59:00pm Aug. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Christian Indie Films of 2014
This year has already seen a remarkable and perhaps unprecedented number of Christian and Biblically-based films, from big-budget epics like "Noah" and "Son of God" to small faith-oriented films like "God's Not Dead."  There is an excellent summary of four Christian independent films of 2014 on In

posted 3:59:03pm Aug. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Frank: The Real Story of the Singer With the Paper-Mache Mask
One of the handsomest men alive spends almost the entire movie wearing a huge round paper maché head in "Frank," a moving film inspired by the real-life story of the late Frank Sidebottom.  Michael Fassbender plays Frank, a sweet-natured but very quirky musician who wears his big head mask even in

posted 9:10:16am Aug. 21, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.