And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

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Review: Breaking

Watching this “based on a true story” drama, you can’t help but think back to several other films about decent men taking hostages because the system is horribly unfair to them — Dog Day Afternoon is the most obvious comparison. But Breaking had me thinking more of John Q with Denzel commandeering a hospital ER when his insurance company refuses coverage for his son’s heart transplant. Here John Bodega turns in a career topping performance as Brian Brown-Easley, a decorated Marine who brings a bomb to a bank because he wants the VA to give him the money they owe him so he can take care of his family. And it’s that performance and Michael K. Williams’s (“The Wire”) last turn before his death as the hostage negotiator that make this fairly predictable drama worth watching.

Review: Wrath of Man

I’m sort of hit and miss when it comes to Guy Ritchie flicks. Wrath of Man falls somewhere in the middle of the road for me. The film is a hallmark Ritchie dark and stylish revenge thriller that follows a mysterious character nicknamed “H” (Jason Statham) who takes a job at a cash trucking company that moves hundreds of millions of dollars around Los Angeles every week. It’s an English-language remake of a 2004 French thriller Le Convoyeur aka Cash Truck starring Jean Dujardin (The Artist). Wrath of Man is director Ritchie’s third remake, and his fourth collaboration with Statham. So if you’re a fan of Ritchie and/or Statham, you can’t go too wrong watching Wrath of Man, though brace yourself for a high degree of carnage.

Review: Let Him Go

Let Him Go is a slow burn. That takes a turn. That’ll make you squirm. Perhaps if you’ve read the 2013 novel “Let Him Go” by Larry Watson, the shocking moments won’t be quite as shocking. But for the rest of us, it’s enough to go… YIKES. Forewarned is forearmed, so brace yourself for a rough ride, especially toward the end.

The film’s lead actors Kevin Costner and Diane Lane have worked together before – in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, playing Superman’s adoptive parents Jonathan and Martha Kent. In Let Him Go, they are, once again, a loving long-married couple living on a ranch (Montana, not Kansas) with a son who is the apple of their eye. But Let Him Go is no PG-13 superhero flick. It’s a character-based adult thriller set in the American West in the early 1960s. The landscape is beautiful and Costner and Lane share an easy on-screen chemistry, which could lull you into a false sense of cinematic security as the story begins to unfold.

Quickie Review: Honest Thief

Honestly, Liam, what were you thinking? Honest Thief is simply not worthy of your well-documented ‘particular set of skills.’ The plot is beyond paper thin, making this particular action crime drama barely worthy of a special crossover episode of USA television’s White Collar and Burn Notice. On second thought, I’m being unfair to White Collar and Burn Notice. Those shows had much stronger character development and motivational clarity.

Neeson is, as always, watchable and likeable and resourceful; it’s the material that lets him (and us) down.