Skyscraper

Posted on July 12, 2018 at 3:39 pm

B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of gun violence and action, and for brief strong language
Profanity: A few bad words
Alcohol/ Drugs: None
Violence/ Scariness: Extended peril and violence with some disturbing images, many characters injured and killed, children in peril, fire, explosions, chases, automatic weapons, guns, knives, fights
Diversity Issues: Diverse characters
Date Released to Theaters: July 13, 2018
Date Released to DVD: October 8, 2018
Copyright Universal 2018

As generic as its title, “Skyscraper” has all the elements of a US/China production, unapologetically a lowest-common-denominator delivery system for stunts.

Dwayne Johnson, who at this writing has a movie premiering on cable (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), a movie just released on DVD/Blu-Ray (Rampage), and “Skyscraper” opening in theaters, has turned into something of an assembly line production facility for PG-13 action. This one is the weakest of the three, with strong visuals but a weak script. Johnson’s specialty, going back to his days as a professional wrestler, is his easy charm and sense of humor, but neither gets much display here as verbal, quippy comedy does not translate well. So we get a brisk five minutes of backstory, a brisk ten minutes of “aw, he loves his beautiful family, including the kid with asthma” to set the stakes, and then it’s one daunting shoot-out, escape both into and out of the burning building, someone hanging by one arm, someone hanging by one leg, and fight scene, after another, with several scenes of people watching the action on screens, including Byron Mann of “Altered Carbon” as the local police chief, and just one quip, even that one taken from a TV commercial. Oh, and there’s a hall of mirrors shoot-out to remind us that the original in The Lady from Shanghai, was so much better.

Following in the tradition of trapped in a building classics like Die Hard and Towering Inferno, “Skyscraper” has Will (Johnson), his Navy surgeon wife Sarah (Neve Campbell), and their twins visiting a new super-tall structure in Hong Kong called The Pearl because of the graceful but enormous tennis ball-shaped sphere on top.

Will, in the manner of “who could imagine a chef would be a special forces combat expert?” action movies, is a mild-mannered security expert who has been brought in for an independent review so that the building’s top half can be approved by the insurance company for residential occupation. Will is former military and law enforcement, but lost his leg in an explosion, and now, he tells the former colleague who recommended him for this job, he has not picked up a gun for ten years. “Laid it down and never picked it up.”

We know what that means. He’s about to pick up a gun. And we know when he tells the building’s owner that there’s just one more safety check to complete to declare it “Fort Knox in the sky,” that means that one last safety check is going to be a problem. After all, that’s why we’re here. Sarah and the kids are trapped by a fire in the building while Will (hmm, wonder what inspired that name) is away, so he has to break in to save them and then get them out. The bad guys who set the fire have their own plans. That’s basically it, and many of the best stunts are in the trailer.

Parents should know that this film has a few bad words and non-stop almost-R level peril and violence, some involving children, including fire, automatic weapons and guns, knives, and fistfights, many characters injured and killed.

Family discussion: Why was Will so nervous about the meeting? Why did Will and his friend have different reactions to their bad experience? What do you like to fix with duct tape? If your house was on fire, what would you save?

If you like this, try: “Rampage” and “Jumanji,” also starring Dwayne Johnson, and the action movie in a building classics “Die Hard” and “The Towering Inferno”

Related Tags:

 

Action/Adventure DVD/Blu-Ray movie review Movies -- format

Great Movie Moments: ‘The Company’s’ “My Funny Valentine”

Posted on September 7, 2011 at 8:00 am

My new book, which should be out by the end of the year, is about some of my favorite movie moments.  I’m having a lot of fun writing about them but one thing I can’t do in a book is post the clips, so I’m going to post some of them here.  This is from Robert Altman’s lovely film about ballet, “The Company,” starring Neve Campbell (a real-life former dancer who co-produced).

In this scene, Campbell and one of the other dancers perform a pas de deux to Rodgers and Hart’s “My Funny Valentine” at an outdoor venue.  A rainstorm begins.  The audience puts up umbrellas, the musicians scramble to keep their music from flying away, and the dance keeps going.

Related Tags:

 

Great Movie Moments

Drowning Mona

Posted on December 13, 2002 at 5:16 am

I guess they thought they were going to make another “Fargo.” That’s the only possible explanation for the time this talented cast spent making this awful movie.

There are movies that paint small town America as an idyllic oasis of charming quirkiness and family values. Then there are movies like this one that portray it as teeming viper pits of stupidity, cupidity, and sex in cheap motels.

Mona (Bette Midler) is a harridan universally despised by everyone in her small New York town. Her Yugo drives off a cliff into the water, and no one seems too upset. The town mortician notes, “I’ve seen people more upset over losing change in a candy machine.” When it turns out that the brakes were tampered with, almost everyone in town is a suspect. That includes her husband and son, the waitress who is having affairs with both of them, and her son’s business partner. A kindly police officer with an affection for Broadway musicals (Danny DeVito) drives (and drives and drives) all over town in his Yugo trying to sort it all out, a sort of Agatha Christie on acid as rewritten by Sam Shepard. Any movie that tries to wring humor with Yugos and funny character names (Mona Dearly, Officer Rash, Bobby Calzone) is going down for the third time, and no one should bother to throw it a life preserver.

There are a couple of funny lines, and the cast is game, but it just doesn’t work. In keeping with the 1970’s setting, Casey Affleck has a doe- eyed Shawn Cassidy look. Neve Campbell, as his fiancee, shows a nice asperity and a light touch with comedy. Midler is disappointingly uninteresting as the title character, and the ultimate resolution of the murder mystery is both obvious and unsatisfying.

Parents should know that the movie includes sexual references and situations (including a brief shot of a couple in bondage outfits), an out of wedlock pregancy, a character’s hand being chopped off (and many shots of the stump), a lot of drinking and smoking, a girl/girl kiss, a threatened suicide, and, of course, murders. Families who decide to see this movie should discuss why people may stay in dysfunctional situations.

Related Tags:

 

Comedy Crime Family Issues Mystery
THE MOVIE MOM® is a registered trademark of Nell Minow. Use of the mark without express consent from Nell Minow constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of federal and state laws. All material © Nell Minow 1995-2024, all rights reserved, and no use or republication is permitted without explicit permission. This site hosts Nell Minow’s Movie Mom® archive, with material that originally appeared on Yahoo! Movies, Beliefnet, and other sources. Much of her new material can be found at Rogerebert.com, Huffington Post, and WheretoWatch. Her books include The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and 101 Must-See Movie Moments, and she can be heard each week on radio stations across the country.

Website Designed by Max LaZebnik