David is a night guard for a company that sells armoured vehicles (known as Loomis Fargo & Company) in North Carolina; and he's not exactly what you'd call a genius. Desperate for a lifestyle away from his routine, low paid job, he sets up a massive heist; intending to break into a vault containing millions of dollars with his co-conspirators Kelly and Steve. They manage to make off with more than $17 million, making it one of the largest bank heists in American history (technically so, as most of the money belonged to the bank). Initially, the police have no leads and David hopes that using the money for something good will redeem him in the eyes of God. The FBI has other ideas when it becomes clear whose behind the robbery.
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Dark and freaky, this brutal, low-key revenge thriller throws a bunch of relatively simple people into a moral quagmire, and drags us in as well. It's a remarkably effective exploration of how deep emotions can lead people into the most hopeless situations imaginable. And it features terrific acting from a largely unknown cast, as well as remarkably sure-handed work from filmmaker Jeremy Saulnier.
The title refers to the bullet-riddled rusty blue Pontiac Dwight (Macon Blair) has been living in since his parents were murdered. So when he hears that the killer Wade has been released from prison, he stalks him waiting for a chance to pounce. But killing a man is harder than he thought, and he doesn't feel much better afterwards. Also, Wade's family never calls the cops, so Dwight knows they're coming for him now. He runs to his sister (Amy Hargreaves) and warns her. And as things get increasingly messy, he turns to his gun-loving friend Ben (Devin Ratray) for help.
With his scraggly beard and exhausted eyes, Blair gives the film a terrific sense of inevitability: Dwight doesn't want to do any of this, but feels that he has to. As he begins to pull himself together, the sense of purpose seems to wake him up. And watching this adds currents of unexpected emotion in every scene, especially as the script reveals the original events that sparked all of this bitterness. It also makes what happens almost unbearably tense, especially since writer-director Saulnier depicts the violence as desperate and realistic.
Continue reading: Blue Ruin Review
Dwight is vulnerable and homeless, living in his car by the beach and foraging for food in any and every available trash can. One day, he is picked up by the police who are looking for him to let him know that his parents' murderer has finally been released from jail. Already permanently traumatised by the deaths, the news strikes fear within him, but this time instead of running away he is determined to gain closure by exacting his revenge. He smartens himself up and moves back home where he purchases a firearm, despite having never held a gun in his life. He decides to take some target practice at a local rifle range and even manages to connect with his estranged partner before he embarks on a determined mission to kill the man responsible for ruining his life.
This hard-hitting thriller is a darkly comical story of revenge. It has been written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier ('Murder Party'), who raised funds for the movie's release through a successful Kickstarter campaign. He managed to raise a massive $38,000 for the film's completion after an original $35,000 desired pledge. 'Blue Ruin' will soon be released in movie theatres on May 2nd 2014.
Dwight is a lonely and traumatised recluse who is living in his car when he is picked up by police. After being taken to the station, he is gently informed that a double murderer who apparently killed two people close to Dwight is going to be released due to a court plea deal. In a bid to exact revenge, Dwight goes back to his childhood home to track down the killer who changed his life by making sure he suffers the same fate as his lost loved ones. On the way, he finds himself in fighting to protect his estranged family who he has not seen in years, but proves to be less than able at murder himself.
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The ingredients are all here, but this mash-up of Ghost with Men in Black is a painful misfire, neither funny nor engaging on any level. Even usually fine actors like Bridges and Bacon are left with nothing to do, while Reynolds strains to be the straight guy in a comedy that never raises a smile. And we can feel the filmmakers straining to crank up the wackiness at every turn.
Set in Boston, the story begins when young police detective Nick (Reynolds) refuses to join in a dirty deal proposed by his partner Bobby (Bacon), who then shoots him in cold blood. In the afterlife, Nick is recruited by a manager (Parker) into the Rest In Peace Department, protecting humanity from ghosts who have escaped judgement. His new partner is Wild West sheriff Roy (Bridges), who is reluctant to break the rules when Nick decides to investigate his own death to help protect his widow (Szostak) from Bobby's nefarious plan.
Yes, the plot is so in-grown that it never takes off, circling around a handful of characters even though it involves bringing about the end of humanity. Of course it does. These kinds of movies couldn't have stories that make any sense, and filmmakers can't resist making the ghosts goofy, rubbery cartoons rather than characters who are actually scary or interesting. The excessive use of digital effects makes the whole movie feel desperate as it strains for both laughs and teary emotion, but it gets neither.
Continue reading: R.I.P.D. Review
Woody Grant is an alcohol-swigging old man who's never had much in the way of luxury over his long life, but when he receives a letter from a marketing company about a huge sweepstakes prize, he believes that things are about to change for good. Thus, he starts to travel by foot from Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska in order to claim his $1 million award, accompanied by his supportive but extremely sceptical son David who believes it's all a scam. Along the way, they meet various relatives and old friends of Woody desperate for a piece of his wealth as the gossip spreads around the neighbouring towns like wildfire. Some are interested in being paid back with interest, and Woody's about to see just how far his debts spread.
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Nick Walker was a promising SWAT officer before getting brutally killed in a police raid. But waking up dead isn't the only thing that alarms him as he is whisked away to a police station in the heavens. He may be dead, but to the undead souls of the R.I.P.D., he's much too good to lose and so he is enlisted into the afterlife police force of the 'Rest In Peace Department' because criminals aren't just a thing of life. He must now fight the evil souls of the underworld that have escaped judgement as they threaten to terrorise the living; helping him is the veteran Sheriff Roy Pulsifer, an expert in the field of keeping dead souls at bay. Through the chaos of the misbalance between life and death and good and evil, Nick attempts to find the man who shot him dead and bring justice to both the living and the dead.
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