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The Commuter (2018)
The Unknown Commuter Runs All Night Non-Stop
If you've seen one Liam Neeson action/thriller, you've seen them all, but who doesn't watching a Liam Neeson action/thriller? They're harmless, fun and if Harrison Ford and Bruce Willis aren't making these type of movies anymore, somebody's got to.
Liam Neeson is at it again doing his usually everyman with a hidden layer of special skills: the ability to connect audience with him and care about the stakes no matter how ridiculous the scenarios a plotline throws at him (this is probably Liam Neeson's ultimate superpower, in spite of being a Jedi Knight leader of the League of Shadows and god of Narnia and ancient Greece).
While the film is squarely focuses on Liam Neeson's character, it also boasts a wide supporting cast. Because there's so many, and so little screen time to give them, they've got to make a noticeable impression quickly. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson are the standouts, doing the most with what little time (and script) to work with. Farmiga in particular manages to create a long range of nuance and grayness in what is probably 3-5 minutes of screentime.
The story itself is quite preposterous. The orchestrated scenario MacCauley (Neeson) finds himself in is unnecessarily convoluted. Another pass on the script or two should've been advised. On a positive, it did feel like a Hitchcock movie at times.
Overall, I found the film to be an enjoyable matinee thriller. It's a Liam Neeson film through and through, but who doesn't love Liam Neeson?
The Open House (2018)
Logan and his mother take up residence in his aunt's house while reeling from an untimely tragedy. There is only one rule: don't be around while during the Sunday Open House. Guests tour through the house, look around, and leave. And that's what the film does with itself: its goes through an idea, looks around it, and leaves.
Littered with red herrings and cheap creepiness, the movie mostly meanders until it reaches its finale, which doesn't live up to it's low bar set up. The leads were decent, but everything else about this film is subpar. If you really need a creepy house movie, The Conjuring is currently on Netflix too (as of the writing of this review) and you'll be better off watching that.