I hate flying. Well, not so much the flying but the taking off and landing. So I have something in common with Liam Neeson’s character in the new thriller Non-Stop. In the film, Neeson plays Bill Marks, an alcoholic, depressed air marshal who may or may not be having a beef with his employer. The similarities between the character and myself ended at “afraid to fly.” Of course, that fear of flying makes air marshal not such a good career choice and Marks seems to be at the end of his rope when he’s about to board another flight.
“A film of the theatrical experience,” Southern Baptist Sissies (Beard Collins Shores Productions) might feel like a bit of a letdown after the Sordid Lives movie and subsequent TV series. But the strength of Del Shores’s writing and the performances of the talented cast go a long way in convincing the viewer to overlook the limitations of the stagey presentation.
Although it is set almost 30 years ago, Dallas Buyers Club (Universal/Focus) is a gut-wrenching reminder of how far we’ve come and how much farther we have to go. Sadly, the same evils that existed in the mid-1980s, especially the greed and indifference of the pharmaceutical industry, still exist today.
Based on the true story of the late Ron Woodruff (portrayed on screen by Matthew McConaughey in a Golden Globe-winning and Oscar-nominated performance), a sexually promiscuous hetero trailer-court denizen, who receives an unexpected HIV diagnosis during a hospitalization following a work-related accident. Racist, homophobic, and an all-around unpleasant guy, Ron’s vitriolic response to his HIV status doesn’t surprise attending physicians Sevard (out actor Denis O’Hare) and Saks (Jennifer Garner).
1987’s RoboCop is a classic action movie that successfully blends the typical action tropes of the day with a bit of wry satirical commentary on society. The film was also rated R for its sometimes hilariously over-the-top violence, and it made a star out of lead Peter Weller (and gave Nancy Allen an opportunity to remind everyone that she could do more than just appear in Brian De Palma movies, from whom she was divorced in 1984).
RoboCop was also Paul Verhoeven’s first major Hollywood film, which he followed up with Total Recall three years later. Total Recall was given the remake treatment in 2012 with less than successful result – due mainly to blowing the story’s central mystery in the first ten minutes – and now the same studio (Columbia) is dipping into Verhoeven’s back catalog with a remake of RoboCop. Does it suffer the same fate as Total Recall? (And is Basic Instinct next on the list?)
At Middleton, the first feature from writer/director (and Baltimore native) Adam Rodgers, tells the story of two parents accompanying their children on a campus tour of their potential college. Edith (Vera Farmiga) is against her daughter Audrey (Taissa Farmiga, Vera's real life sister!) attending Middleton because it just seems too small for her tastes. Yes, it's all about Edith. George (Andy Garcia) is pushing his son Conrad (Spencer Lofranco) to attend Middleton because it really is a lovely, intimate college. During the tour, George and Edith butt heads, get separated from the group, spend time together exploring the campus and falling in love… remember, this all happens in the space of a couple of hours.
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