March 18 - 24, 2005• Vol. 26 - No. 11

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—Hostage in More Ways Than One

by the Blonde and the Maven
Film Columnists

Hostage opens with world-weary hostage negotiator Jeff Talley, played by Bruce Willis (The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable), calmly reasoning with a jealous husband who is holding his unfaithful wife and young son hostage at gunpoint. (Talk about a lose-lose situation). Understandably, things go horribly wrong and the next time we see Jeff is a year later. He has left behind his high profile career and the high crime area of Los Angeles. Jeff is now the chief of police in Bristo Camino, a small hamlet in Ventura County where the crime is much easier to deal with (or so he thinks)! His wife Jane and daughter Amanda are not happy with his new lifestyle, so they only live with him part-time. After a particularly nasty scene with his daughter (remember she is a teenage girl), Jeff leaves for work. Meanwhile, three sleazy male teenagers are cruising about and spot a sexy teen getting out of her dad’s Cadillac Escalade. One of the boys makes a suggestive gesture to her and she mouths a nasty epitaph back at him (YOU GO, GIRL)! He doesn't take it well and they follow her home in hopes of stealing daddy's fancy expensive car. They now find themselves at a multi-million dollar compound beyond their comprehension. The car heist turns into a hostage situation with a police officer shot. Chief Talley sadly finds himself right back in the same position he hoped to forever avoid when he left L.A. He quickly turns the situation over to the sheriff's department, however Jeff is pulled back into the hostage negations when his own family is abducted. It seems the Topanga Canyon mansion the teenagers broke into is owned by an accountant with a very, very powerful acquaintance who wants a secret disc that is in that house. A two-level story involving a hostage crisis within a hostage crisis is created where only Jeff Talley knows about his family's abduction.
This is the first time Florent Siri is directing an American English speaking film. Siri is a creator of two Tom Clancy-written video games and director of the movie The Nest. His visual style keeps the audience close to the action and personally involved with the characters.

The Blonde: Guys will love this movie! As for the ladies, this will be the PERFECT payback film for every 'chick flick' you have dragged your man to in the last six months! Hostage was like EVERY Bruce Willis Die Hard film meets all his other films, only this time with a more realistic type of violence! Bruce always seems to be saving the world on screen, too bad he didn't try harder saving his marriage to Demi. By the way, his daughter in the film is his real-life daughter Rumer! He produced this filmed and claims she had to audition! Let me see, how tough CAN you BE on your OWN kid’s audition?

The Maven: This film was so exciting to watch. The scenes were visceral, with a grittiness that really pulls you in. Bruce played his role with fierce focus. He was a reluctant hero trying to clear a tricky path to redemption. I was especially impressed with Ben Foster, who played Mars Krupcheck. I loved him in “Six Feet Under,” and in this role he was so villainous, I was reminded of Hannibal Lechter. This was a guy with absolutely no redeeming qualities.

The Blonde: BEEN THERE, DONE THAT! I agree with you—he was truly evil and frightening. He was the hardest one to watch of all!  I'm telling you, I really had a hard time watching this movie. I don't mind violence, killing and shooting, but I do mind it when there are children involved. It upset me so much just watching. Speaking of Michael Jackson, I don't mind him wearing P.J.'s to court, heck I would wear mine shopping if I could get away with it. HOWEVER, Michael, here is a bit of court P.J. advice…Wear designer ones next time, and perhaps some Armani bedroom slippers would have gone nicely here! By the way, Maven, they say that (who ever THEY are) Michael's hair is a wig! MMMMM, interesting I thought he was an all-REAL kind of guy?

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The Maven: Wasn't Jay Leno hilarious Thursday, when he turned up late for the tonight show wearing Spongebob Squarepants pajamas with bedroom slippers and bodyguards surrounding him?

The Blonde: Which goes to show ya, gag orders don't really work. There is always a way around them…Just ask my teenage daughter. Moving back to the film, I loved how honest Bruce was in this role, especially when it got personal. He cries well and he looks great for any age. My favorite character, though, was the little boy Tommy, played by Jimmy Bennett. He was precious. Movie-goers: a point of reference, Jimmy was the voice of the lonely boy in the Tom Hanks’ Christmas film Polar Express. I also thought Siri did an outstanding and impressive job directing, especially using English for the first time.  

The Maven: Did you know that the actor who played the bad teenage boy, Dennis Kelly, is an accomplished ballet dancer?

The Blonde: Oh and he showed just how gentle and sensitive he was here—NOT! I don't think young children should see Hostage. It might scare them for a long time. Now parents, if you want to use this film as a tool of EXTREME punishment, than this would be the right movie to make them sit through. Just kidding, it's best to leave them at home ALONE… Just kidding!

The Maven: Who are you kidding! They will wind up catching it in a few months on cable anyway. In addition, have you seen some of the video games these kids play today, nothing will shock them anymore!

The Blonde: Whatever happened to all the innocent toys children used to play with like Teddy Ruxpin, Barney and Tickle me Elmo.

The Maven: Those kids grew up and invented war toys, tanks and soldier dolls that blew them up…

The Blonde: Funny, but I refuse to talk about politics!

The Maven: Hostage is definitely not for everybody. The deaths are violent and unexpected. I must tell you, though, that the acting and storyline make it worth sitting through. I whole-heartedly recommend it and rate it a B+ for breathtakingly suspenseful and visually fierce.

The Blonde:  Sounds like the date I was on last night. Frankly speaking, I didn't have a good time watching this film. I was uneasy and unsettled the whole time. The hatred and violence was a little too real, especially after what recently happened in Atlanta (with the judge, court reporter and police guards) and the Sheraton Hotel travesty. After I say that, it was a very good movie.  What got me through it was the multi-dimensional sub-plots weaving in and out as well as the mystery to it all. I rate Hostage a B. I suggest for your snacks, bring all your favorite candies that are individually wrapped that annoy others around you when you open them, because they won't hear the noise at all in this film. ENJOY!

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