Liam Neeson is in (Almost) Every Film in the Redbox Kiosks

by | Aug 31st, 2010 | 5:03PM | Filed under: DVD Reviews, Movie Lists, Movies

This spring I realized with creeping Lovecraftian horror that we had six–count ‘em, six – Val Kilmer videos in the redboxes at one time, most of them direct-to-video exercises in bad-movie tolerance and hair, um, “experimentation.” (You can revisit the Val-pocalypse here.) (And you’re still playing the Kilmer game at home, he’s got another one in the kiosks: 2:22 – I haven’t seen it yet, so you’re on your own, scouts.)

So you can imagine I was considerably happier when I noticed that we’ve got another six-peater right now in the redboxes–Mr. Liam Neeson.

In early ’09, the always-talented actor grabbed everyone by the throats in a rare type of role for him: the straight-up, butt-kicking action hero in Taken. The surprise Angry-Daddy hit not only gave Neeson newfound box-office clout, but it came in the midst of a flurry of work for the actor, mostly in smaller art-house or European films — all of which are currently in the kiosks.

Of course tragedy struck Neeson’s life when his wife Natasha Richardson died suddenly due to head injuries while skiing in March of ’09. The majority of the films below were completed before her death, although Neeson was in the middle of filming Chloe at the time. (Clash of the Titans and The A-Team were filmed after Richardson’s accident.)

Clash of the Titans

I’m not an over-the-top fan of the new version’s hollow, bloated spectacle and glowering leading lump, but these kinds of big fantasy movies are always made better by a few talented Brit or Irish actors in supporting roles. As Zeus, Neeson gives it the full Pompous Authority Ride, delivering the solemn gravitas but also letting on with a wink that he knows it’s just silly Kraken-releasing cheese. All while wearing his shiny armor from Excalibur and what appears to be a Barry Gibb wig and beard.

Ponyo

I never tire of recommending this wonderful animated kids’ movie from Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki. Sure the delightful title character in this Little Mermaid retelling is the main draw, but Neeson’s voice work as her sea-sorcerer father helps give the fairy tale a stern backbone. Plus, Neeson’s character is drawn to look like he just walked on stage with Pink Floyd at the height of the Syd Barrett psychedelic era.

Chloe

Richardson’s death midway through filming Atom Egoyan’s sexy psychological tale meant that Neeson’s role as Julianne Moore’s maybe-cheating husband was rewritten in mid-shoot. It’s unclear what difference those changes made — as it ended up, his character mostly exists as a plot point and the actor doesn’t have a whole lot to do. Still, the lurid little thriller itself is worth a look for the fine (and very provocative) work by its leading ladies, Moore and Amanda Seyfried.

After.Life

Neeson plays a dour, perhaps sinister mortician who’s either drugged, kidnapped and plans to kill Christina Ricci — or can, as he claims, talk to the dead and is only here to help her accept her passing and cross over to the Other Side. The film is an artsy mix of philosophical and psychological debate and old-fashioned serial-killer chills that never quite comes together. But Neeson (and Ricci) are always worth watching.

The Other Man

The actor’s long face is well suited for playing sad and/or tormented, as evidenced in Schindler’s List, Love Actually, and yes even Star Wars: The Phantom Menace – Neeson wears the weight of the world well. That moroseness is put to good use as a newly widowed man who finds his late wife (Laura Linney) had an affair with a charismatic Spaniard – -Antonio Banderas. The film moves a little Euro-slow as Neeson finds and befriends Banderas (who doesn’t know the connection), but it’s enjoyable to see such different actors circle each other.

Five Minutes of Heaven

My favorite of the live-action bunch, this is for all practical purposes a filmed play that speculates what might have happened if — as part of a Truth and Reconciliation program — a Northern Ireland man (James Nesbitt) met with the Protestant man (Neeson) who killed his brother 30 years earlier. (The characters are based on real people, the meeting is imagined.) Both actors are terrific, especially Neeson who, in one of his best performances in recent years, somberly captures all his character’s complicated remorse.


5 Responses to “Liam Neeson is in (Almost) Every Film in the Redbox Kiosks”

  1. Trevor L.
    Posted on September 2, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    5 Minutes of Heaven was very good, and I only watched it because I was bored lol and Ponyo truly is fantastic. Neeson’s voice to the character keeps him from being to goofy because the moment you hear that voice, you listen, kind of like Aslan in the Narnia movies.

  2. cheryl
    Posted on September 4, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    I love his man his a grate actier have most of his picture’s now. Taken was so good just love his movie’s.

  3. James J.
    Posted on September 4, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    It seems that they are great movies I just thought that there were 7? What about the “International” I have it in the red box near me so that makes 7 for where I am on movies with Liam Neeson.

  4. Rachele
    Posted on September 5, 2010 at 1:10 am

    Afterlife was a great flix! Neeson was fantastic and the climax was thrilling. Talk about a creepy movie that also gets you thinking about life and how you are living it. I recommend it.

    • Currently 3/5 Stars
    Samantha
    Posted on September 5, 2010 at 9:39 am

    After Life was a really good film. I pretty much had it figured out in the beginning, but I still really enjoyed it.