Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two years ago with his freak-out Bone Tomahawk. And he's back now to reinvent the prison movie with this highly stylised, powerfully violent dramatic thriller. It takes the tone of a 1970s exploitation movie, digging into the more emotional sides of the story as the grisliness escalates. And it also gives Vince Vaughn a character unlike anyone he's ever played: beefy, unstoppable and intriguingly sensitive.
He stars as recovering alcoholic Bradley, who lives in upstate New York with his wife Lauren (Jennifer Carpenter). He has just discovered that she's had an affair, so he takes out his rage on her car before stopping for a reasonable discussion about putting their marriage back together. The problem seems to be connected to their lack of money, so he approaches his old friend Gil (Marc Blucas) about taking a job as a drug runner. And the larger cashflow indeed improves their relationship until Bradley is arrested following a massive shootout with the cops. In prison, a mystery man (Udo Kier) tells Bradley that the now-pregnant Lauren will be killed unless he murders someone in the notorious high-security wing at Redleaf Penitentiary, a fortress run by the sadistic warden Tuggs (Don Johnson).
Continue reading: Brawl In Cell Block 99 Review
At high school, Scott Murphy was the star football player. He was also popular and had a pretty girlfriend to boot. One year, Scott takes his team all the way to the finals, which they win. However, the win came at a price for Scott; as he made the final touchdown, an opposing player crashed into him, causing Scott a knee injury that ensures he will never play football again.
Continue: Touchback Trailer
Fortunately writer-director Garcia is very careful to avoid wallowing in sentimentality.
Elizabeth (Watts) is a shark-like lawyer who easily seduces her new boss Paul (Jackson). She's had a difficult emotional life, and prefers to keep things under control, managing her friendships and relationships with icy distance.
Continue reading: Mother And Child Review
Adoption is a life changing situation for all involved.The woman who feels she must give up her baby must find a way of life after giving up her child, the adoptee ofter goes through months of unknowing before finally being given a new family member and the child often grows up feeling loved by their adoptive parents but wanting to discover more about their birth parents. Mother and Child is a moving tale of three women all in very different situations but all connected through a similar circumstance. Adoption.
Continue: Mother & Child Trailer
If you want to remember the Alamo, the latest feature film version of the Texas fort's famous last stand may not be much help.
A beautifully produced but relatively bloodless (literally and figuratively) Hollywood rendering of the 1836 siege on San Antonio by tyrannical General Santa Anna, who was determined to recapture the territory for Mexico, it's a movie more concerned with details like Jim Bowie's terminal case of consumption than it is with the historical context of its story and its legendary characters.
In this movie, Bowie (Jason Patric) the frontier adventurer and volunteer army colonel is presented as little more than an infamous "knife fighter" haunted by his wife's death. Newspaper publisher, lawyer and militiaman Lt. Col. William B. Travis (Patrick Wilson) is just a determined dandy with questioned military skills (questioned mostly by Bowie) who rises to the occasion as temporary commander of these now-fortified grounds surrounding an unfinished mission. David "Davey" Crockett (Billy Bob Thornton) is a fiddle-playing former senator made famous by a stage play written about something he once did while wearing a coonskin hat -- and why he's even at the Alamo isn't entirely clear.
Continue reading: The Alamo Review
Set in an absurd, patronizing fantasy world in which flag-waving citizens line the streets to see the president's kid off to college and angry political protesters share the red-carpet sidelines at black-tie events with shallow reporters asking stupid questions, "First Daughter" could well be the most hackneyed and insipid movie of 2004.
Failing to achieve even the shrug-worth mediocrity of January's similarly plotted "Chasing Liberty" (with Mandy Moore), this gimmick-driven disaster drags star Katie Holmes down with it as Samantha Mackenzie, the sheltered, personality-free offspring of a controversial commander-in-chief (an unconvincing, completely vanilla Michael Keaton), who falls in love with a cute Secret Service agent (an even blander Marc Blucas) posing as a student in her dorm.
Although introduced in the manner of a fairytale, the film's rampant lack of authenticity is simply insurmountable. Samantha's bodyguards constantly hover three feet behind her -- even in class and while she's alone in the dorm's TV room. The girl is never once shown doing anything that even remotely resembles studying, yet as she's egged on by a soundtrack of flutes and twinkling triangles, she proclaims her determination to have a normal coed experience. In pursuit of it, she sneaks out on dates with that charming classmate she doesn't know is an undercover agent -- that is until he blows his secret identity by rescuing her during one of many security breaches so impossibly contrived that the Secret Service should sue 20th Century Fox for defamation of character.
Continue reading: First Daughter Review
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