Uwe Schott

Uwe Schott

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Brimstone Review

Very Good

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome surprises from Dutch filmmaker Martin Koolhoven. Told in four chapters that unfold out of sequence, the film's brutality is almost balletic as it explores the horrors of this rampantly male-dominated society. It's also gripping, and the characters and themes are seriously haunting.

The main setting is a small desert town, where the mute Liz (Dakota Fanning) is the local midwife. She lives with her gentle husband Eli (William Houston), their daughter (Ivy George) and his son (Jack Hollington) from a previous marriage. Then a new Reverend (Guy Pearce) arrives in town, and immediately takes exception to Liz. As their feud escalates, the Reverend preaches hellfire and damnation messages specifically about Liz. He's also secretly stalking her and making threats that escalate into serious nastiness. But all of this is connected to Liz's past as a young girl (Emilia Jones) living in a brothel, and earlier with her mother (Carice van Houton) as she encounters a desperate fugitive (Kit Harington).

The further back we go, the more interconnected everything becomes, with unexpected revelations that link the characters. There are also huge plot twists and earth-shattering events that don't always ring true. All of this is anchored by Fanning in a remarkably alert performance that requires her to convey (or attempt to conceal) her thoughts and feelings with her expressive eyes. Opposite her, Pearce is practically twirling his moustache as the sadistic villain, a terrifying psycho without any other sides to him. Thankfully, he's surrounded by characters who are layered and fascinating, providing both a blast of earthy realism and some very deep emotions.

Continue reading: Brimstone Review

Half Past Dead Review


Weak
Martin Boris Velanov is the hardest working man in show business. According to the end credits for the prison thriller Half Past Dead, Mr. Velanov works full-time (some would say "overtime") as the stand-in for Steven Seagal, a past-his-prime action hero mistakenly labeled as marketable after his last endeavor, Exit Wounds, found an audience.

By my calculations - and this is far from scientific - Seagal appears in approximately 15% of his own scenes. The rest of the time, director Don Michael Paul uses quick-cuts, (very) large shadows and wide-angle shots taken from a distance to hide the liberal use of a body double. So why use Seagal at all? Is he really a draw? An effective marketing tool?

Continue reading: Half Past Dead Review

Uwe Schott

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Uwe Schott Movies

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Half Past Dead Movie Review

Half Past Dead Movie Review

Martin Boris Velanov is the hardest working man in show business. According to the...

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