Tag Archives: Aaron Eckhart



by Hope Madden

Aaron Eckhart is a conundrum, isn’t he? He’s talented enough to land any indie gem, granite-jawed and handsome enough to elevate it to mass market appeal. Think Thank You for Smoking.

And yet, for every Rabbit Hole there’s an I, Frankenstein; for every In the Company of Men, an Incarnate.

His latest – his fourth of this calendar year – sees Eckhart as the wheelchair-bound, unshaven, grimacing Dr. Seth Ember. He’s damaged, damn it!

Don’t call him an exorcist. He doesn’t exorcise demons; he evicts supernatural parasites. He has an ability. You see, when he was young, he realized, “When I was asleep I could go into the minds of the possessed.”

How did he figure this out? How often did he get drowsy in the proximity of a possessed person?

No matter – can’t you see he’s damaged?!

When a liaison to the Vatican (Catalina Sandino Moreno) – don’t even get Dr. Seth started on the church! – lures him to a case of a possessed 11-year-old, it isn’t to save the boy. Oh no.


No. It must have something to do with his damage. I’ll bet director Brad Peyton (that genius behind San Andreas) will soap-opera direct some weirdly stilted, flat and extreme-close-up-laden bit of ponderousness explaining the whole thing, but you will have lost the will to live before it’s all clarified.

There is one moment – not a scene, but a single moment – in this film where I believed Peyton might, maybe, possibly do something interesting.


Worst thing about Incarnate? It’s not the made-for-SyFy-CGI. Not the superficial storyline, not the flatly uninspired direction. (Honestly, if Peyton had directed from inside a coma the film couldn’t have looked or felt more lifeless.)

It’s not the tedious ensemble performances, not the wildly predictable series of twists. It’s Eckhart. It’s as if he’s angry at us that he took this dog.

We didn’t make you do it, Aaron. We only sat through this festering corpse of a movie because you were in it.

I believe we’re owed an apology.



Falling Hard

London Has Fallen

by Hope Madden

If Antoine Fuqua’s 2013 “Die Hard in the White House” effort Olympus Has Fallen felt too PC, too artistic, too restrained, too competent for you, you are in luck! The cinematic dumpster fire of a sequel that is London Has Fallen has arrived.

Gone are the ludicrous but gorgeously choreographed set pieces Fuqua is known for, replaced by generically brown villains, incompetently choreographed action, and jarringly stock footage stitched together with badly mismatched sound stage shots.

But Gerard Butler and his super convincing bad ass act are back!

Butler’s secret service agent Mike Banning – torn between the dangerous job he loves and the unborn baby he wants to spend more time with – must travel to London with BFF/President Benjamin Asher (granite jawed Aaron Eckhart) for a state funeral.

But wait! Some poorly explained, amazingly convenient, ridiculously performed terrorist attack kills the world’s heads of state while decimating props that almost look just like the stock footage of London landmarks we were seeing moments ago!

Jesus, this film is incompetently made. Set aside, for a moment, the irredeemable bloodlust and jingoism at the heart of the screenplay. Forgive, if you will, the heinous dialog spilling from the mouths of talented actors like Angela Basset, Melisa Leo, and Morgan Freeman. Let’s focus, for a laugh, on the wild lack of directorial skill behind this action epic.

London Has Fallen looks like something you’d see on SyFy network on any given Saturday afternoon. Director Babak Najafi’s one set piece really meant to wow – a single-take shoot out in a London alley – has the feel of a video game recreated by high school kids on a gym auditorium set made of paper mache.

But maybe that’s OK with you. Maybe you’re in it for the knife fights. Hope you’re OK with all talk and no blood, though. For all of Banning’s overtly racist sadism with that big ol’ knife, the wounding itself is always conveniently out of frame.

But at least you’ll never get lost trying to follow the story because, luckily, every so often Najafi cuts back to a group of far-too-talented actors sitting in a room together, watching the action on a screen and explaining the entire plot to each other. Whew!

You have to give Butler credit, though. It is hard to put out two films in back to back weekends that are so memorably awful. Between Gods of Egypt and London has Fallen, he’s made quite a mark.

Bravo, sir.