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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Long Weekends Movies

Not officially reviewing anything here but I did watch a couple things and wanted to write a bit about them. Long weekends are made for movie watching especially when the weather is bad like it was this weekend in MA.  In honor of Vincent Price's birthday I watched him in Laura (1944), a wonderful little murder mystery that was sharply directed by Otto Preminger. Early in his career Price plays Shelby Carpenter, a down on his luck socialite who now "associates" with wealthy women to keep up his lifestyle. He becomes a suspect in the supposed murder of  Laura Hunt (played by the ravishing Gene Tierney) and is along for the ride as Det. LT. Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) tries to decide if he is the killer. There are other suspects columnist and professional bully Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb) really an amazing turn at a part that is intricately linked to the success of the film and Webb pulls it off in spades. Ann Treadwell (Judith Anderson) cohorts with Carpenter has the jealousy angle to make her a suspect. This was a really great film and I loved it. maybe not Price in his glorious apex but he is just fine in the film.

  Then I sat down and watched Downrange (2017), film about a group of car poolers trapped behind their vehicle by a sharp shooting murderer. Starting out the suburban seems to get a flat tire on a desolate road. While changing the tire rider Jeff (Jason Tobias) sees a bullet fall from the flattened tire, before he can say a word another bullet pierces his head. Then the others are scurrying and hiding behind the very few possible pieces of cover and we are in the film. With sketchy phone signals the group can't call for help without going out into the open and ending up dead. Driver Todd (Ron Hernandez), his girlfriend Sara (Alexa Yeames), and passengers Karen (Stephanie Pearson),  Eric (Anthony Kirlew) and  Jodi (Kelly Connaire) hold up trying to figure out what to do. Who will survive? What is the motivation of the killer? Will there be help?  Some questions are answered some characters die. You would think that in a movie where the protagonists are pinned down in the first ten minutes would be hard to keep a decent pace, and you would be right. The early pacing is a bit troubling even though the gore in the kills is exceptional. When we get to the third act though, things pick up really nicely. The final third is gore filled fun and then the ending is just wonderfully mean. I am not giving this a loud recommendation but if you can get through the early movie I think it kinda pays off.. The acting was only okay and the first 2/3 was not as compelling as I wanted. The worst thing probably is never finding out anything about the sniper, a villain with no back story. Written by Ryuhei Kitamura and Joey O'Bryan and directed by Kitamura this is a reasonable wrong turn of a film.

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