October 26, 2016
        "The Circle" and "The Lost City of Z": Which potential 2016 contenders got bumped to 2017?                Natalie Portman, Janelle Monáe, Matthew McConaughey, Bryce Dallas Howard, Edgar Ramirez, Stacy Keach at Hollywood Film Awards                Viola Davis will be campaigned in Best Supporting Actress for "Fences"                Mel Gibson to be Honored with the Hollywood Director Award at the 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Michael Moore drops a surprise new film with "Michael Moore in TrumpLand"                Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars        

Why “Abduction” is worth seeing

HollywoodNews.com: As a film critic, I’m not supposed to want to see this one. I’m supposed to recoil in horror and the genuinely bad acting on display in the two trailers from lead Taylor Lautner. I’m supposed to roll my eyes at the apparent cynicism that comes with giving this untested (as in ‘open it yourself’) actor several action franchises on the strength of a supporting role in a popular series.

After all, I’ve complained about the same circumstances in regards to Jeremy Renner. But come what may, the film itself looks like a glorious throwback to the trashy, borderline exploitative cheese ball action thrillers that went away at the beginning of the last decade. And I do miss this stuff with a passion. If someone other than Lautner were in the lead (or if the previews made it apparent that Lautner gave a better performance), I’d be rather jazzed to see it. Without a lead actor I can endorse, it’s still probably going to be worth seeing.

Even if we omit Lautner from the cast list, we still have a film that features (roll call…) Alfred Molina, Sigourney Weaver, Jason Isaacs, Maria Bello, and Michael Nyqvist (the jury is still out on Lily Collins as the token love-interest/probable third-act hostage). So we’ve got an all-star cast of character actors and B-level stars, just like the Paramount stuff from the 1990s. Plus, we’ve got one of the best action directors alive. John Singleton may be hit-and-miss in terms of the overall quality of his films, but he is one of the best American action directors currently working today.

The second-act shootout in Four Brothers was the best modern-day shootout of the last decade. The second act running gun battle in Shaft was pretty high on the list as well. And while it may be the silliest and most disposable of the franchise (though not the worst per-se), 2 Fast 2 Furious has some of the most impressive car chases and stunts this side of Fast Five. We can argue that it’s unfortunate that he no longer makes socially-relevant dramas about race and class, but his skills as an action director put him on a very short list alongside (or perhaps just below) James Cameron, Martin Campbell, Peter Jackson, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and John Woo. So at the very least we’ll be getting some high-quality action set-pieces from someone who knows how its done.

Photo by Bruce Talamon

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About Scott Mendelson

Mendelson's Memos: The basics - 30 years old, married with one child, currently residing in Woodland Hills, CA. I am simply a longtime film critic and pundit of sorts, especially in the realm of box office. The main content will be film reviews, trailer reviews, essays, and box office analysis and comparison. I also syndicate myself at The Huffington Post and Open Salon. I will update as often as my schedule allows. Yes, I'm on Facebook/Twitter/LinkIn, so feel free to find me there. All comments are appreciated, just be civil and try to keep a level discourse, as I will make every effort to do the same. Read more at Mendelson's Memos:

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