Weekend Roundup: Frequency and Headhunters reviews

Ahhh… Fall is in the air. I LOVE Autumn, it’s my favorite season. Growing up in a tropical country where it’s 80+ degrees all year long, I’ve come to appreciate the changing seasons and I’m really looking forward to the cool, crisp weather.

It’s another week where we opted for home cinema viewing once again. The only movie that opened wide was the fourth Resident Evil movie which I never had any interest in seeing, and The Master hasn’t opened yet where I live. Fortunately, the three movies I saw were both excellent, reviews below.

Sunday night I re-watched one of my all-time Disney favorites, Sleeping Beauty. The plot is pretty thin but the visuals are so gorgeous! I still need to see the documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty that explores the art of modern animation and the stormy days of Disney’s animation house. Even 53 years later, amongst a plethora of other animated features, I think that it still stands as the most strikingly beautiful. Princess Aurora remains one of my favorite Disney princesses!

Anyway, here are my reviews:

FREQUENCY (2000)

I don’t know why it took me so long to finally saw this. My friend at work raved about it and lent me her DVD nearly a year ago. The premise about a rare atmospheric activity marked by the appearance of Aurora Borealis that somehow allowed a NYC firefighter Frank Sullivan to communicate with his son John 30 years in the future via a ham radio. Frank supposedly died in a warehouse fire, so John used the opportunity to warn his dad of his impending death, which was to happen the day after the two talked on the radio. Frank survived the fire and they’re overjoyed, but what they didn’t realize is that the alternate history also meant that a new set of events are triggered, including a horrific serial murders that affect the fate of Frank’s wife. So the father/son must work together to somehow change history again and hopefully prevent the murders from happening.

As with any time travel/alternate history movies, the logic behind the story is tough to grasp. I mean the film never really explained how the Aurora Borealis caused the radio reception to function in such a way, enabling the Father/Son to communicate 30 years apart. But hey, obviously the sci-fi fantasy element asks the viewer to simply accept that fact, so I was willing to go with it. The movie starts out being more of a drama, but the last third it becomes more of a thriller as the father/son worked together to catch the Nightingale killer, named for his penchant for killing nurses. The fact that John’s mother is a nurse—which ironically saves the killer at the hospital in the alternate universe—obviously made her a target. At times it felt like a procedural suspense drama, like an episode of Criminal Minds or CSI, but the father/son bond is what makes the whole thing intriguing. Shawn Doyle as the psychopath is undeniably creepy, relentlessly terrorizing both father/son in parallel timelines.

Frequency‘s strength definitely lies in the emotional bond between the father/son roles. Dennis Quaid as Frank and Jim Caviezel as John palpably displayed a heartfelt bond despite not sharing the screen together pretty much the entire movie. The first time they realized the identity on the other side of the radio, you immediately connect with these two characters and the love they have for each other. I love how the movie depicts such a loving family life, not just between father and son but also between Frank and his wife Jules (Elizabeth Mitchell). Andre Braugher as John’s partner in the force who’s been trying to solve the Nightingale murder case also gives a memorable performance.

It’s not a perfect movie by any means, in fact, there’s perhaps overly sentimental at times, down to the unbelievably happy ending. But overall, the performances of the leads are what made the movie work so well. It’s a sci-fi thriller that’s full or heart, and one that confirms me even more how underrated both Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel are. Caviezel in particular has this charismatic presence and that ‘quiet hero’ sensibilities about him that would make him a perfect candidate to portray Superman. I think he was considered by Bryan Singer at one point and I think he could pull off such a role [at times his looks and mannerism actually reminds me a bit of Christopher Reeve]. Obviously he has convincingly played humanity’s hero in The Passion of the Christ, a role that in a fair world should’ve nabbed him at least an Oscar nomination.

Frequency is definitely worth a watch for fans of time travel movies, or anyone who appreciates a heartfelt family drama with a twist. Fans of baseball might get a kick out of all the World Series facts used throughout the movie, at times it becomes a plot significance as well.

4 out of 5 reels


Headhunters (2011)

This independent Norwegian movie has definitely shot up to be one of my favorites of the year! I’m so glad I gave it a shot despite it being more violent and gory than I’m usually comfortable with.

Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) is one of Norway’s most powerful headhunters. You’d think he makes pretty good money to live a good life, but if you want to live like a prince, then certainly one must pay for it. Roger lives an incredibly extravagant lifestyle: multi-million dollar house, top of the line Lexus and he could buy his beautiful wife Diana a 98,000 Krone (about $17K) earrings! The secret? Well he’s also an art thief, which is ironic since his wife is a gallery owner. With the help of his security guard friend Ove, Roger’s perfected his heist method, replacing the originals with forgeries which often goes undetected for years and the trails have gone cold.

It’s an interesting character study and Roger is definitely an intriguing individual. By self admittance, he realizes that he overcompensates his relatively short stature (5’6″) with an outward panache and marrying a tall, beautiful blond (Heidi-Klum lookalike Synnøve Macody Lund). He’s more in love with what the Diana represents than the woman herself, which explains why he hesitates to have a baby with her. He also has a mistress who’s much less glamorous than Diana, perhaps because internally, Roger feels inferior to his own wife.

Early in the film, the VO during one of Roger’s heist says that everything is fine until one gets caught. Well, unbeknownst to Roger, there’s apparently an even bigger danger lurking. The movie quickly gains momentum the moment Diana introduces her husband to a powerful man in the name of Clas Greve (Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). A former elite soldier and former CEO of a surveillance company HOTE. It turns out Clas wants to be the CEO of HOTE’s competition, Pathfinder, which is a position that Roger happens to be recruiting. Clas soon becomes the target of Roger’s thieving plan, as Clas apparently inherits a rare Rubens painting worth close to a hundred million, along with his grandmother’s apartment.

What happens next propels this movie into a relentless cat and mouse game beyond anything Roger could’ve imagined. It’s full throttle action that involves a brutal shootout, dog attack, car/tractor chase and a breathtaking accident involving a truck going in full speed! The action is quite vicious and relentless but none of it feels gratuitous to me as it moves the plot along. One particularly disgusting scene rivals the one in the Slumdog Millionaire (you’ll know which one it is when you watch it). Roger is in deep sh**, and I don’t just mean that figuratively speaking. Yet beneath all that bloody action sequences, the film is not without heart. There’s a conversation between Roger and his wife that’s particularly striking for its emotional honesty.

36-year-old Aksel Hennie carries the movie with aplomb. Initially he’s not a sympathetic character but he grows on you as the film progresses. The only actor I’m familiar with, Coster-Waldau, definitely fits the role of a charming but deadly former military guy who’ll do whatever it takes to get ahead. I picked the tall, gorgeous Danish as one of the actors I’d love to see as James Bond, and I stand by that pick after seeing him here.

This is easily the smartest, most gripping thrillers I’ve seen in years. The acting is understated and the script, based on Norwegian author Jo Nesbø’s novel Hodejegerne (The Headhunters), is taut and unpredictable. I was at the edge of my seat the whole time and a few times I thought I knew where the story was going, but fortunately the movie still managed to surprise me. I’m not very familiar with Scandinavian cinema, but the stark minimalism packed with maximum efficiency is definitely a breath of fresh air.

There’s apparently a US remake in the works (surprise, surprise) as Mark Wahlberg was reportedly so impressed by this movie that he already bought the remake rights. Meh, I doubt it’ll ever live up to the original. So I advise you to watch this one instead before the US one comes out. Kudos to director Morten Tyldum who’s only made less than a half dozen feature films. This is what every thriller movie should be as it really was a thrill ride in more ways than one.

4.5 out of 5 reels


Thoughts on either one of these movies? Did you see anything good this weekend?

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39 thoughts on “Weekend Roundup: Frequency and Headhunters reviews

  1. You know I’ve always wanted to see FREQUENCY, somehow I feel like it came out recently but it’s been 12 years since it played at the cinemas. I’ll have to check it out.

    Same with Headhunters, I want to see that one too. Of course the American remake is coming, Hollywood is so lazy these days, they always want to do remakes. I won’t judge the remake yet until I see it, once in a while I tend to like the remake more than the original; for example The Departed, I thought no way it would be better than the original Hong Kong film but to my surprise, I love remake even more.

    I didn’t see anything new, just watched The Getaway since I was in the mood for some old 70s action flick. I love this weather too, we have had a warm summer so this cool weather is a welcome change.

    • Yeah, Frequency’s sort of under the radar, but definitely worth a watch, Ted.

      Headhunters is great, definitely more up your alley. The action sequences are brutal, in fact the accident scene is quite tough to watch for me. Well the remake MIGHT still be ok, but can’t imagine it’ll top this one, esp. with Wahlberg as the lead. No offense but he always plays the same character to me, even in The Fighter, there’s not much versatility there.

      Ahah, The Getaway. Sorry Ted but I think I told you I hated that movie :(

      • I don’t really care for Walberg either, I’m still scratching my head as to why the Oscar voters nominated him for his role in The Departed, there were so many great performances in the film and yet they nominated him? Talk about over acting but again Oscar voters are a bunch idiots anyway. Who knows, by the time the remake of Headhunters comes out, they might get a talented director and writer on board and hire a new leading man. I remember Brad Pitt loved Infernal Affairs so much that he bought the rights to it and intended to star in in it himself but then when the remake got green lighted, he decided to back out and just be the producer.

        Yeah I remember you told me you’re not a fan of that movie, Peckinpah’s films aren’t for everyone.

  2. 1. SOOO glad you finally saw and loved Frequency. you know I enjoy that one quite a bit and highlighted it exactly 1 day shy of 2 years ago http://wp.me/pWaTa-fB

    Perfect casting. and Andre Braugher often plays great supporting roles. People sometimes forget he was in Glory with Denzel and Morgan Freeman! I’m a fan of Braugher.

    2. SOOO jealous because I haven’t gotten to see Headhunters yet. I look forward to doing so too. Especially after your reviews.

    Sounds like you made some great viewing choices over the weekend. Will you be watching anything this upcoming weekend?

    • Cool! Glad to see that movie getting much love from you. Braugher is great but to me, the leading men made the movie for me, esp. Caviezel. I just like that guy so much, even more so now that Hollywood shunned him!

      Headhunters is very good. I read a bunch of positive reviews so I finally got around to watching it.

      For next weekend, well we want to see The Master but we’re fully booked all 3 days, so we might not even get a chance to get to the theater.

  3. I am so glad it is autumn as well! Now if only this could last for, say, another six months… that would make me happy. :)

    I really, really want to see Headhunters. The more I read about it, the more excited I get. It also helps that Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is in it — love his work in Game of Thrones. Glad to hear you enjoyed it so much, Ruth!

    • Ha…ha.. yeah, it would be nice if we could skip Winter and go right to Spring right? Oh, if you like his work in GoT then you have to see Headhunters, he’s terrific. I actually knew about him from a canceled CBS show called New Amsterdam. Man I wish he got more leading roles in movies!

  4. Headhunters sound interesting I will look that up as I haven’t seen anything since the Larsson Trilogy in swedish films. Caviezel is a wonderful actor wasted in Person of Interest glad to see he has more films in the works I look forward to that. He as great in Frequency and even better in Count of Monte Cristo. His new film Savannah sounds like he is coming back in a big way as he should.

    • Hi Stella, yes it’s interesting indeed. I haven’t seen the Larsson Trilogy, is that the ‘Dragon Tattoo’ series? That might be too violent for me, even this one is a bit pushing it but the story is indeed very good.

      Ooh I need to look up Savannah. He’s getting a lead role in that one? If so then I’ll go see it pronto! I LOVE him in ‘Monte Cristo,’ he’s such a sympathetic leading man.

  5. You reminded me about Jim Caviezel. Haven’t seen much of him. He was solid in both Frequency and Passion Of The Christ, so I would like to see more of his work.

    You should definitely check out Waking Sleeping Beauty. Nice insight towards the history of Disney. Anyone who grew up with the company’s animation will get a sense of nostalgia.

  6. I’m excited about autumn as well. I love cold weather, because it’s hard to go for a walk in the hot summer. :)

    Hopefully, I’ll see Frequency soon, and I’ve added Headhunters to my watchlist. They both look great.

  7. Frequency is a really good movie, I usualy don’t like time travel films but this one was really well made and the characters were so easy to like. Oh man, they are remaking Headhunters? That is nuts. I was all for Dragon Tattoo’s remake since the original wasn’t very good and Fincher is the man but Headhunters is an awesome movie and really doesn’t need a remake. also – Nikolaj! <3!!

    • Glad you’ve seen both, Sati. Yes Frequency is indeed the better time-travel movies out there as the emotional connection with the characters are quite strong. Yeah, not all remakes are bad but I just don’t have a good feeling about the US version of Headhunters. Yeah, Nikolaj is so gorgeous isn’t he? ;)

  8. I did hear that Frequency was a good film. I am with you on this Headhunters film – I think I will stick with reading subtitles.

    It was such a lovely AUTUMN evening today that I walked the few miles to my train home.

  9. It’s been so long since I seen Frequency Ruth, that it’s hard for me to comment but Headhunters is an absolute rollercoaster. I think we’ll be hard pushed to find a better thriller all year. Edge of your seat stuff and very disappointing to hear that Wahlberg is involved in the remake. Remakes are bad enough but Wahlberg is even worse.

    • Well I hope you enjoyed Frequency :) Yeah, Headhunters is a rollercoaster indeed, but the good kind! I just can’t see Hollywood topping that to be honest, ’cause they seem to be more about star-power.

  10. As you already know, I’m a BIG fan of Headhunters. Glad you got to see it. What I love is the film’s dark, dry humor at times. A lot of Scandinavian films and TV shows have this in common and I LOVE it.

    Another one of Joe Nesbo’s books got turned into a film – Jackpot. It’s got a similarly crazy plot line. Thriller. Sadly, didn’t get a huge release here, unlike Headhunters (I’m wondering if that had anything to do with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s pretty well known name thanks to GoT). Looking forward to getting round to see Jackpot.

    • Yeah I think your review made me more excited for it. It is quite funny at times which helps tone down the brutality of it, especially the last third which was relentless!

      Oh, let me know what you think of Jackpot. I think you’re right that Nikolaj might help with the popularity of the movie.

  11. Going by memory, I’d probably give Frequency 3 stars. It’s not a bad film but the narrative device didn’t quite work for me. Still, I remember quite liking it. Headhunters – I also rated it with 4 1/2 stars.

    • Yeah it’s a bit tough to follow at times but I think the emotional resonance is why I like it so much. I almost rated Headhunters 5 stars but the more I think about it, it’s not exactly flawless, but still excellent.

  12. Again, we’re on the same page here Ruth. I also considered giving Headhunters a 5 but like you say, something just prevented me. I’m not honestly sure what that something was because I absolutely loved the film.
    Frequency I’d have to see again though.

  13. I forgot how charming and endearing Frequency is. It’s by no means perfect, but it’s a pretty solid flick. Nice review!

  14. Great reviews. I had no idea what Frequency was about. I’m intrigued now. And I am DYING to see Headhunters. Sleeping Beauty is one of my favorite animated movies. And even though it has little to do with that one, I very much recommend Waking Sleeping Beauty. It is A MUST for Disney fans.

    I only watched Ted last weekend :(

    • Hi Fernando, hey no fret man, I also have a busy weekend ahead of me, so no time for cinema viewing aside from the already-scheduled movie nite with a friend of mine tonight.

      Oh you should see Frequency, it’s quite a heartwarming drama with a mix of thriller/suspense. I will seek out Waking Sleeping Beauty as I like to learn the behind-the-scenes stuff and Disney sure has a tumultuous history!

  15. A couple of great films there Ruth. I recently watched Headhunters myself and enjoyed it…more so than similar Scandinavian thriller The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Frequency has been a favourite of mine for a long time but I’m a sucker for time travel.

  16. Pingback: World Cinema Series 2013 – Wrap up and Winner Announcement | Beauty is a Sleeping Cat

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