Marc Frydman

Marc Frydman

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Straw Dogs Review


Very Good
This remake of Sam Peckinpah's 1971 British thriller is deeply unpleasant but very well-made. It's also bravely packed with all kinds of mixed messages that force us to think about some extremely difficult themes.

Hollywood screenwriter David (Marsden) moves to the backwater Mississippi home of his actress wife Amy (Bosworth), who is immediately sucked back into local life. This includes her former flame Charlie (Skarsgard), who is now a contractor working on David and Amy's barn with his chucklehead hunting buddies (Coiro, Powell and Lush). But soon, the tension between Charlie and Amy erupts into sexual violence, as David is taunted about his manhood. And a simple-minded guy (Purcell) turns out to be the catalyst for an eruption of violence.

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What Doesn't Kill You Review


OK
A recovery film being touted as a crime thriller, What Doesn't Kill You suffers from the problem of most recovery stories in that it essentially has no final act. With the average character study this isn't really an issue, but for a film that starts off with an armored car robbery going badly awry (narration over a freeze-frame of a robber desperately blasting away tells us: "Never do armored cars"), the lack of satisfying denouement seriously damages what is otherwise a perfectly solid drama.

The movie is billed as the true-life story of the film's director/co-writer Brian Goodman, a South Boston guy who spent a few years in jail before getting his break in Ted Demme's Monument Ave. and showing up in several projects by Rod Lurie (a producer on this film). Being that Goodman made a career in Hollywood as the kind of square-jawed tough who got mowed down by the G-Men in the final reel of an old Republic serial, it's fitting that his first project as filmmaker would be this scrappy piece about his pre-Hollywood life as a second-string Southie hoodlum.

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Resurrecting The Champ Review


Good
You could say that young sportswriter Erik Kernan (Josh Harnett) has a greater need for resurrection than the down-for-the-count ex-boxer he wants to write about. That's because, sadly, Kernan hasn't been able to match his dead dad's sharp writing and sterling reputation on the Denver Post. The only thing that makes his professional resurrection possible with his story idea is the passion to tell it, and he's pleading for the assignment.

When Erik first comes upon the man they call "Champ" (Samuel L. Jackson), the homeless resident has just been violently attacked by a small gang of vicious delinquents trying to prove their manhood with an act of cowardice typical of the goons and bullies in this part of town. After suffering their blows, the victim lies nearly helpless on the grounds of his minimal stakeout in a downtown alley. Once more, Champ is down, but this is the life he's accepted and adapted to with stoic resolve.

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Scenes Of The Crime Review


OK
Tip for those of you who want to make a gangster thriller flick: Don't set it largely in a van parked outside a dingy deli. Not really the glamor scene you're looking for, even if you do have perennial actor's actor Jeff Bridges trapped in back. While this cat and mouse game is woefully lacking in grandeur and carries few surprises in its plot, it's got a few goodish performances and soliloquys that make the two hours something better than truly awful.

Deterrence Review


Excellent
It would be easy -- almost mandatory -- to dismiss Deterrence as a ridiculous piece of late night paranoia (Plot: The president (played by Kevin Pollak!?) is stuck in a Colorado diner during a blizzard, where he finds himself entering a nuclear war with Iraq over a new invasion into Kuwait, by Saddam Hussein's son!). Well, it's a ballsy plot, to say the least. And in fact, it's quite gripping, and I'd be hard-pressed to script a better film given the basic scenario described above. Sure, former film critic Rod Lurie (The Contender) hamstrings himself with a low budget, a single location (a la Albino Alligator), and a crummy film editing job, but considering the obstacles, Deterrence is quite a ride.
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Straw Dogs Movie Review

Straw Dogs Movie Review

This remake of Sam Peckinpah's 1971 British thriller is deeply unpleasant but very well-made. It's...

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