Tagged: Rex Linn

Devil's Knot

Summary: Based on the true crime and novel by Mara Leveritt, Devil’s Knot explores the murder and trial of three boys that went missing in Memphis in 1993. The crime brings three teenagers to trial and despite pleading innocent and the mounting forensic evidence to support their innocence, the teenagers are persecuted without question and left at the mercy of lawyer Ron Lax who continues to probe deeper into the case and the prejudices that exist within the court of law. The film explores the lives of deeply misunderstood outsiders, their families and communities, and their darkest fantasies. The conviction of the West Memphis Three – Damien Echols, Jesse Misskelley, Jr., and Jason Baldwin – riled the American justice system, shocked a tightly knit religious town and outraged the nation.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 24th July, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Atom Egoyan

Screenwriter: Paul Harris Boardman, Scott Derrickson, Mara Leveritt (novel)

Cast: Robert Baker (Detective Bryn Ridge), Paul Boardman Jnr. (Michael Moore), Kerry Cahill (Jo Lynn), Brandon Carroll (Bobby DeAngelo), Jack Coghlan (Aaron Hutcherson), Dane DeHaan (Chris Morgan), Kevin Durand (John Mark Byers), Mireille Enos (Vicki Hutcheson), Colin Firth (Ron Lax), Wilbur Fitzgerald (Tom), Michael Gladis (Dan Stidham), Bruce Greenwood (Judge Burnett), Gary Grubbs (Dale Griffis), James Hamrick (Damien Echols), Martin Henderson (Brent Davis), Kristopher Higgins (Jessie Miskelley), Stan Houston (Detective Donald Bray), Brian Howe (Detective McDonough), Ted Huckabee (Steve Jones), Julie Ivey (Melissa Byers), Jet Jurgensmeyer (Stevie Branch), Elias Koteas (Jerry Driver), Matt Letscher (Paul Ford), Rex Linn (Chief Inspector Gitchell), Seth Meriwether (Jason Baldwin), Stephen Moyer (John Fogelman), Bill Murphey (Marty King), Alessandro Nivola (Terry Hobbs), Kristoffer Polaha (Val Price), Anessa Ramsey (Rosie), Amy Ryan (Margaret Lax), Lori Beth Sikes (Annie), Brad D. Smith (Todd Moore), Brandon Spink (Christopher Byers), Matthew Stanton (Detective Durham), Clay Stapleford (Detective Mike Allen), Stephanie Stewart (Domini Teer), Brooke Jaye Taylor (Officer Regina Meeks), Reese Witherspoon (Pam Hobbs), Collette Wolfe (Glori Shettles), Isabella Zentkovich (Amanda Hobbs)

Runtime: 114 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR DEVIL’S KNOT REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

The story of The West Memphis Three has been itching to be turned into a feature film for a great deal many years now. Countless documentaries have been made around the case over the years, and so powerful is the story of injustice that it has been impossible for anyone to sit through them without some kind of anger building up inside them. To be brutally honest the whole story (or should that be saga) is really a screenwriter and director’s dream.

Devil’s Knot looks at the case of The West Memphis Three told through the eyes of a private investigator, Ron Lax (Colin Firth) and one of the grieving mothers, Pam Hobbs (Reese Witherspoon). As Hobbs desperately tries to work out what happened in her son’s murder Lax concentrates on the theory that the three accused, Damien Echols (James Hamrick), Jason Baldwin (Seth Meriwether) and Jessie Misskelley (Kristopher Higgins) are innocent.

Oscar nominated director Atom Egoyan decides to tackle the case head-on in his latest film Devil’s Knot. Now a rookie filmmaker may have simply decided that this film should be told through the eyes of one of the accused but Egoyan is smarter than that and instead digs up the story of one of the case’s lesser known players, the private investigator hired by the three accused’s legal team to try and clear their clients name. So not to make the film too one sided Egoyan also tells part of the story through the eyes of Pam Hobbs, a grieving mother who seems more open to the fact that injustice is being done than anyone else involved in the case.

Early on Devil’s Knot is a promising film. It digs up certain parts of the case that are naturally overlooked in most explorations into the case including the mysterious ‘muddied and bloodied black man’ who was spotted in a fast food diner on the night of the murders. But it’s not long after that revolution that Egoyan seems to let Devil’s Knot dangerously let itself down. Just as Lax beguns to uncover series leads that suggest a Police cover-up and Police corruption the film pulls back from how hard-hitting it should have been and instead becomes a court room drama in the vein of a television show like Law & Order.

The second half of Devil’s Knot shows why a director of the class of David Fincher needs to get hold of this story and do something with it. The links of the boys to the occult and Satanic rituals could have taken the film into some dark places while the whole Police corruption element and them deciding to investigate Ron Lax needed to have a lot more suspense put into it then what it shown here. For Devil’s Knot to work there needed to be less of Lax sitting around in an office and talking to the lawyers and more of him actually out on the street doing the leg work – after all he had to be getting these leads from somewhere, right? Perhaps the most ironic thing about how much the screenplay lets down the film is that it comes from the same pen as Deliver Us From Evil, Scott Derrickson.

As a result Egoyan really under uses his two leads. Colin Firth seems like an actor champing at the bit for a dramatic scene right throughout Devil’s Knot while Reese Witherspoon plumps up and heads into the similar character territory she explored in Mud but again she is let down. Instead of allowing her character to deliver some powerful scenes when she starts suspecting her own husband, Terry Hobbs (Alessandro Nivola), as being involved in their son’s murder. It’s a sad point to make but the screenplay here really does let down both Firth and Witherspoon.

Devil’s Knot could easily have been one of the best films of the year, but sadly it is let down by a director and screenwriter who seem reluctant to tap into the suspense that is handed to them on a plate. Instead the second half of the film becomes a slow court room drama that never really lives up to its potential. Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon try in vain to deliver something but even they are let down dangerously by a script that needed to be much better.

Stars(2.5)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(2.5)

 

IMDB Rating:  Devil's Knot (2013) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Devi’s Knot′: For our full Devil’s Knot review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #89. You can also read Dave’s review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

A Million Ways To Die InThe West 2

Summary: As a cowardly farmer begins to fall for the mysterious new woman in town, he must put his new-found courage to the test when her husband, a notorious gun-slinger, announces his arrival.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 29th May, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Seth MacFarlane

Screenwriter: Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild

Cast: John Aylward (Pastor Wilson), Preston Bailey (Young Albert), Johnny Bautista (Carl), Alex Borstein (Millie), Amick Byram (Marcus Thornton), Ardy Brent Carlson (Cowboy Ardy), Jean Effron (Elsie Stark), Jamie Foxx (Django), Ralph Garman (Dan), Gilbert Gottfried (Abraham Lincoln), Christopher Hagen (George Stark), Neil Patrick Harris (Foy), Evan Jones (Lewis), Rex Linn (Sheriff/Narrator), Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown), Seth MacFarlane (Albert), Ewan McGregor (Cowboy At Fair), Aaron McPherson (Ben), Liam Neeson (Clinch), Jay Patterson (Doctor Harper), Ryan Reynolds (Man Killed By Clinch In Bar), Giovanni Ribisi (Edward), Brett Rickaby (Charlie Blanche), Mike A. Salazar (6-Year-Old-Albert), Amanda Seyfried (Louise), Sarah Silverman (Ruth), Patrick Stewart (Dream Voice), Wes Studi (Cochise), Charlize Theron (Anna), Debbie Waters (Mother Of James Addison)

Runtime: 116 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Adam Ross: You can check out Adam’s A Million Ways To Die In The West review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #81

Stars(3)

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s A Million Ways To Die In The West review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(3.5)

 

David Griffiths:

Television fans worldwide had always known that Seth MacFarlane was a comedy genius. His show-pony, the hilarious Family Guy had revealed a dark sense of humor that wasn’t always politically correct but was always worth a laugh or two. Then came Ted, a film that centered around a foul-mouthed, alcoholic, drug abusing bear, a film that also proved that Mr MacFarlane’s comedic talents could also transfer to the big screen.

Now comes MacFarlane’s real test, that difficult second film… very often the film that will make or break a filmmaker. Just to raise the bar even higher MacFarlane has decided the tough task of making a comedy western, a genre that works well in the shape of Blazing Saddles but has also delivered some severe duds along the way. Besides that he has also decided to star, direct, write and produce the whole shebang. The good news for his fans though is he delivers the goods.

MacFarlane (Movie 43, Ted) plays Albert, a kind-hearted sheep farmer who is a bit of a loser when it comes to life. He spends most of his time concerned at the million or so ways that the old west can kill you while also seemingly fail at being a sheep farmer considering his sheep are normally found wondering all around the town he calls home.

To add to his loser status he suddenly finds himself dumped by his girlfriend, Louise (Amanda Seyfried – Epic, The Big Wedding) who decides that she is better suited the much more successful and moustached Foy (Neil Patrick Harris – Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2, The Smurfs 2). Worse still is the fact that Foy has challenged Albert to a gun duel and despite his surroundings he has never fired a gun before in his life.

Enter Anna (Charlize Theron – Prometheus, Snow White And The Huntsman) the attractive gun-slinger who rides into town and takes an interest liking to Albert. She is more than happy to train him for the gun fight and along the way they learn that they also share the same interests… and sense of the humor. The one thing that she fails to tell him though is that she is married to, Clinch (Liam Neeson – The Lego Movie, Non-Stop), a tough, violent outlaw who is not impressed when he finds about Anna and Albert.

While A Million Ways To Die In The West does ultimately work it is on occasions hit and miss… although the hits do outweigh the misses. The typical MacFarlane humour is there that his fans have come to know and love, the cheap shots at everyday life and the occasional black humour moment that makes you laugh despite the fact that you feel it is not a topic that you should be laughing at. To his credit this type of humour works throughout the film but at times it also feels that MacFarlane works too hard to get his comedic point across. For example do we really need to see Foy kick over a hat full of diarrhoea to get the joke, or do we need a close-up of a sheep penis to find the fact the sheep relieves itself on Albert hilarious?

Then there are the parts of the film that work amazingly well. Albert is set up as a character that you are going to like and while some of the characters, such as Clinch, could be described as clichés there are interesting peripheral characters such as Edward (Giovanni Ribisi – Gangster Squad, Ted) and Ruth (Sarah Silverman – Gravy, TV’S Louie), a Christian couple that don’t have sex before marriage despite the fact that she works as a prostitute. It’s these kinds of side stories that certainly keeps the audience focussed on the film and laughing throughout.

When it comes to the acting side of A Million Ways To Die In The West a few of the cast get really smooth runs. Liam Neeson plays Clinch well but it feels like he is in cruise control while at times it almost feels like Charlize Theron is playing herself. Sarah Silverman, Giovanni Ribisi and Neil Patrick Harris all nail their comedic timing, while MacFarlane has shown that he is a good actor when he steps in front of the camera. Hopefully we see him do more of that in the future and not just concentrate on voice work.

A Million Ways To Die In The West is not the kind of comedy that will appeal to everybody, some of the jokes may go into some people’s ‘too crass’ pile, but for others this is going to be the kind of film that you will get laughs at throughout. Maybe not as good as Blazing Saddles but still a worthwhile comedy with a good romantic subplot.

Stars(3)

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating: A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘A Million Ways To Die In The West′: For our full A Million Ways To Die In The West review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #81

Trailer:

Django Unchained

Summary: Set in the South two years before the Civil War, Django Unchained stars Academy Award®-winner Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Academy Award®-winner Christoph Waltz).  Schultz is on the trail of the murderous Brittle brothers, and only Django can lead him to his bounty.  The unorthodox Schultz acquires Django with a promise to free him upon the capture of the Brittles – dead or alive.

Success leads Schultz to free Django, though the two men choose not to go their separate ways.  Instead, Schultz seeks out the South’s most wanted criminals with Django by his side.  Honing vital hunting skills, Django remains focused on one goal: finding and rescuing Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), the wife he lost to the slave trade long ago.

Django and Schultz’s search ultimately leads them to Calvin Candie (Academy Award®-nominee Leonardo DiCaprio), the proprietor of “Candyland,” an infamous plantation.  Exploring the compound under false pretenses, Django and Schultz arouse the suspicion of Stephen (Academy Award®-nominee Samuel L. Jackson), Candie’s trusted house slave.  Their moves are marked, and a treacherous organization closes in on them.  If Django and Schultz are to escape with Broomhilda, they must choose between independence and solidarity, between sacrifice and survival.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 24th January, 2013

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Screenwriter: Quentin Tarantino

Cast: Todd Allen (Dollar Bill), Michael Bacall (Smitty Bacall), Ned Bellamy (Rice), Christopher Berry (Willard), Edwick Browne (Joshua), Kesha Bullard (Crazy Sadie), Jarrod Bunch (Banjo), Laura Cayouette (Lara Lee Candie-Fitzwilly), Amari Cheatom (Roy), Dennis Christopher (Leonide Moguy), David Coennen (Mr Wigglesworth), Kim Collins (Randy), John Michael Corbin (Samson), Bruce Dern (Old Man Carrucan), Leonardo DiCaprio (Calvin Candie), Omar J. Dorsey (Chicken Charlie), Jamal Duff (Tatum), Doc Duhame (Ellis Brittle), Ato Essandoh (D’Artagnan), Jamie Foxx (Django), M.C. Gainey (Big John Brittle), Nichole Galicia (Sheba), Miriam F. Glover (Betina), Walton Goggins (Billy Crash), Dana Michelle Gourrier (Cora), Gary Grubbs (Bob Gibbs), Jonah Hill (Bag Head #2), Lee Horsley (Sheriff Gus), Cooper Huckabee (Lil Raj Brittle), Samuel L. Jackson (Stephen), John Jarratt (The LeQuint Dickey Mining Co. Employee), Don Johnson (Big Daddy), Kinetic (Franklin), Rex Linn (Tennessee Harry), Escalante Lundy (Big Fred), Richie Montgomery (Overseer Johnny Jerome), Franco Nero (Amerigo Vessepi), Johnny Otto (Dr. Brown), Michael Parks (The LeQuint Dickey Mining Co. Employee), Sharon Pierre-Louis (Little Jody), James Remar (Butch Pooch/Ace Speck), Dane Rhodes (Tennesse Redfish), Kim Robillard (Saloon Keeper Pete), Sammi Rotibi (Rodney), James Russo (Dicky Speck), Lewis Smith (Jinglebells Cody), David Steen (Mr. Stonesipher), Craig Stark (Tommy Gilles/Pedestrian), Don Stroud (Sheriff Bill Sharp), Quentin Tarantino (The LeQuint Dickey Mining Co. Employee), LaTeace Towns-Cuellar (Cleo), Mark Ulano (Gabby The Banker), Misty Upham (Minnie), Christoph Waltz (Dr. King Schultz), Kerry Washington (Broomhilda), Danielle Watts (Coco), Tom Wopat (U.S. Marshall Gill Tatum)

Runtime: 165 mins

Classification:MA15+

Dave Griffiths’s ‘Django Unchained’ Review: 

Remember the Western genre? The genre of film that your Dad used to pull out and make you watch when you were a kid. A genre full of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood in his early days? Well now Quentin Tarantino has taken the whole genre and turned it on its head with ‘Django Unchained’ a sensational film that already puts its hand up for film of the year.

The film opens with Django (Jamie Foxx – Horrible Bosses, Rio) being forced to walk across a freezing landscape as part of a slave chain gang. But then he is rescued by a dentist-come-bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz – Carnage, The Three Musketeers) who wants Django to help him track down two cruel slave owners that have a bounty on their head.

Schultz offers Django a deal, if he will help point out the two wanted men he will teach him to shoot, will give him a freedom and will also help to hunt down his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington – A Thousand Words, TV’S Scandal). With the first part of the deal done Django and Schultz learn that Broomhilda is now owned by the cruel and nasty Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio – J. Edgar, Inception) is supported by his workers including his loyal man-servant Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson – Zambezia, The Avengers) and the rough-and-ready Billy Crash (Walton Goggins – Officer Down, Lincoln).

Tarantino’s script is brilliant from start to finish. The dialogue flows so well that even dialogue scenes seem to just flow by quickly while the tension that Tarantino manages to develop throughout the film draws the audience right in. The fact that he has created ‘good guys’ that the audience can’t help but like only enhances that tension when they find themselves in danger.

‘Django Unchained’ does has your typical Tarantino style which means it is extremely violent, so violent in fact that the shootout at Calvin Candie’s mansion must have ‘bled’ dry the fake blood supply in holiday. And while some have criticized the amount of violence and the use of the magic ‘n’ word in the film it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to work out that those are two of the things that make the film’s natural feel so realistic.

Of course like many of Tarantino’s films the wonder director once again brings the best out in his cast. Christoph Waltz pulls out a remarkably display of character acting while Leonardo DiCaprio seems to morph into Jack Nicholson as he relishes the chance to play the vile Calvin Candie. And if you’ve never been a fan of Jamie Foxx then this is the film that will win you over.

‘Django Unchained’ is Quentin Tarantino at his absolute best… yes folks it’s even better than ‘Pulp Fiction’.

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Django Unchained′: Check Episode #17 of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast for a more in-depth review of ‘Django Unchained’. Dave’s other review of ‘Django Unchained’ can be found on the Helium Entertainment Channel

Rating: 5/5

IMDB Rating: Django Unchained (2012) on IMDb