A home-invasion thriller with a twist, this fiercely clever film is both thought-provoking and terrifying, mixing a Twilight Zone sense of morality with skilfully developed menace and genuinely horrific violence. It also boasts a cast that is terrific at keeping us guessing, shading their characters in such a way that, even if we know who's supposed to be the good and bad guys, we keep wondering if we've got it right.
The story takes place in 2022 America, which has solved its economic woes with Purge Night, a free-for-all in which people have 12 hours to commit any crime, including murder, to cleanse the streets and vent their frustration. The goal is to eliminate poverty and unemployment by killing off all the homeless and jobless people. And it's worked a charm, especially for security system salesman James (Hawke), who locks down inside his palatial home with wife Mary (Headey), rebellious teen daughter Zoey (Adelaide Kane) and shy gadget-whiz son Charlie (Burkholder). But two interlopers get into the house: Zoey's shady older boyfriend Henry (Oller) and a terrified stranger (Hodge) running from an angry mob of tenacious masked anarchists.
As the night progresses, James and Mary's world is ripped apart piece by piece, descending into a state of primal protectiveness that's eerily believable. If it's either kill or be killed, what would you do? Hawke and Headey are terrific as parents pushed to the brink, and sometimes over it, while Kane and Burkholder find surprising moments of their own. And as the smiling gang leader, Wakefield is seriously unsettling. So even if some of the plot's twists and turns are a bit predictable, the actors and filmmaker DeMonaco do a great job at delving beneath the surface to keep us squirming in our seats at both the nasty possibilities and some rather awful grisliness.
Continue reading: The Purge Review
When I watch certain actors paint such vivid and animated characters across the silver screen, I am almost reach a state of pure cinema bliss. I came close to that bliss when I watched the riveting Richard Gere is his latest film, American Gigolo 2, Male Gigolo. Gere has such a powerful presence in a number of memorable moments that draw from him an almost frightening realism that seems to reach out from the screen to the audience. Richard Gere's performance in the film--oh, wait a minute--let me retract that last statement. Did I say Richard Gere? Sorry for the confusion. I meant Rob Schneider, and his new film Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo. Gere and Schneider, I tend to mix up the two so often.
Continue reading: Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo Review
Instead of being a schlock comedy about drug rehab, 30 Days is an always smart, often thoughtful film about detachment, breaking up, true love, and how all doesn't always turn out for the best.
Continue reading: 30 Days Review
While these bookend scenes are uncharacteristically clunkyand deliberate, full of exposition designed to set the fictional stage,the two parallel stories are pure Woody Allen at his ironic, neurotic,romantic, poignant and peculiar best -- and they're deftly woven togetherto compliment and play off each other.
The underappreciated Radha Mitchell (she played wives in"FindingNeverland," "PhoneBooth" and "Manon Fire") may now get the recognition shedeserves with her remarkable performances in the dual title role as a flighty,suicidal beauty who arrives in each story by crashing a dinner party.
One Melinda is a new downstairs neighbor who knocks onthe Upper East Side door of wannabe filmmaker Amanda Peet (who flirts withrich men hoping they'll fund her independent movie "The CastrationSonata") and her husband, neurotic out-of-work actor Will Ferrell(the picture's requisite Woody surrogate, although with unpredicted nuanceFerrell makes the role his own). Pratfalling into the dining room, Melindaannounces she's just taken two dozen sleeping pills. The comical chaosthat ensues leads to friendships, infidelities and unrequited love, allorbiting around Melinda -- although she's largely unaware of the upheavalshe's wrought.
Continue reading: Melinda & Melinda Review
One of the indications that a screenwriter has been living in Hollywood too long is when he start writing stories in which gorgeous, intelligent women fall in love with homely, chauvinist trolls like Rob Schneider and David Spade.
In a city where real-life Barbie dolls are only one phone call to Heidi Fleiss away for anyone who can afford them, such plots stop seeming so fantastic after a while, which is how we get movies like "Lost & Found," in which 98-pound pig Spade bagged French beauty Sofie Marceau, and this week's "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo."
Rob Schneider, late of "Saturday Night Live," is laughably cast as a romantic lead -- and a male prostitute -- in this occasionally funny fantasy for the "Beavis and Butthead" set.
Continue reading: Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigalo Review