This may be a gimmicky exploration of gun violence, which sometimes feels like a preachy public service advisory, but its story unfolds with raw power. The film's first half is told in real-time, and generates some genuine suspense as it finds complexities in two sides of a gunshot: the victim and the young man who accidentally pulled the trigger. This gives the film a powerful sense of urgency as it moves into an even more pungent second act.
Set in Los Angeles, the film centres on Mark (Noah Wyle), a movie sound mixer whose therapist wife Phoebe (Sharon Leal) is divorcing him. As they meet to discuss the details, Mark is hit by a random gunshot and Phoebe accompanies him to hospital, where doctors try to save his life. Meanwhile, the shooter is revealed to be the sensitive 17-year-old Miguel (Spider-Man: Homecoming's Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), who after being badly bullied got the gun from his cousin and fired it unintentionally. He's now on the run, hiding from the cops and panicking about what to do with the gun. Then several months later, he decides that he can no longer live with his guilt, and sets out to try and make things right.
Director Jeremy Kagan tells the first part of this story using split screen to show both Mark and Miguel in their simultaneous fights to survive. This creates a strong sense of suspense, as well as an intriguing connection between these two men. Mark is conscious through his emergency room ordeal, so understands the ramifications of his injuries. Miguel is smart enough to realise that his hopes for the future could be derailed by this stupid mistake. And both actors dig deep into their characters, revealing inner thoughts and feelings that come surging to the surface in the film's second half. Alongside them Leal's character is just as affected by this errant bullet, and also has to cope with how her life is thrown off-course.
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Zoe Reynard (Sharon Leal) is beautiful businesswoman who seemingly has everything going for her; she's successful in her work in the art industry, she has the man of any woman's dreams as a husband and a perfect family she wouldn't change for the world. However, things get complicated when she visits the studio of a handsome artist named Quentin Matthews (William Levy) whose work she wishes to license and she stumbles onto a dangerous path of temptation which could threaten her whole life. Unable to resist her urges, she finds herself cheating on her husband Jason (Boris Kodjoe) while trying to combat her addiction like desires through therapy. Unfortunately, Jason soon gets suspicious, and Zoe struggles to work out where her deeprooted problems lie as her family life hangs in the balance. She has to do something to save herself, but just how far will her desperation take her?
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By Bill Gibron
It's a damn shame. As a stand-up Bernie Mac had no equal. He even made a winning transition to television with his hit semi-autobiographical sitcom. But as an actor, success as the lead in a major motion picture seemed to elude him. Sure, Mac made appearances in such monster hits as the Ocean's franchise and Transformers, but his contributions were as a supporting, not starring role. That's why it's a shame he had to die before Soul Men could hit theaters. Under the watchful eye of growing genre ace Malcolm D. Lee, Mac finally finds a main character to match his oversized abilities. While not his actual swan song, it becomes a fitting (if ironic) finale.
During their heyday in the late '60s/early '70s, Marcus Hooks (John Legend) and the Real Deal -- Floyd Henderson (Bernie Mac) and Louis Hinds (Samuel L. Jackson) -- were R&B icons. But as with most legendary acts, acrimony led to a split-up and solo work. Hooks was a smash. The Real Deal had one hit, and then faded into obscurity. When death takes the famed frontman away from the world, VH1 decides to hold a tribute concert, and the Deal's former manager (Sean Hayes) is selected to secure their participation. Unfortunately, Henderson is living in an upscale retirement community, while Hinds is trying to put his life back together after a stint in prison. Refusing the offer at first, they finally embark on a five-day cross-country road trip. Playing pick-up dates along the way, they hope to make it to New York's Apollo before the final curtain falls.
Continue reading: Soul Men Review