GALVESTON (2018)

Directed By: Melanie Laurent 
Written by: Nic Pizzolatto 
Based On The Novel By: Nic Pizzolatto
Cinematography: Arnaud Potier 
Editor: Joseph Krings 

Cast: Ben Foster, Elle Fanning, Beau Bridges, Maria Valverde, Lili Reinhart, Jeffrey Grover, Christopher Amitrano

Debt collector Roy is a heavy-drinking criminal enforcer and mob hitman whose boss set him up in a double-cross scheme. After killing his would-be assassins, Roy discovers Rocky, a young woman being held captive, and reluctantly takes her with him on his escape. Determined to find safety and sanctuary in Galveston, Roy must find a way to stop his boss from pursuing them while trying to outrun the demons from his and Rocky’s pasts.


From the writer of TRUE DETECTIVE based on his novel. It’s just as down and dirty as the show. Only here no mysticism. It does show how certain things affect another. Though this is more a character study of the two leads. Only we seem more from their actions rather than from what they say. 

Melanie Laurent the french actress directs this movie. That is grimy yet has a golden sheen around it. Where it seems like the film takes great joy in not only seeing more sides of life.

Trying to give definition and be emphasized as being more real. Seeming to try and give the Film a street quality. Everything including the actions seems dirtier than needed. It definitely has a lived In quality, especially with a cast of unrecognizable actors. 

Ben Foster usually is great in whatever he is in and gives another great performance. He Keeps you mesmerized as you watch him. At times, you feel you have him figured out only to surprise you but he always feels natural. Even when he makes decisions that leading characters rarely do. 

The film is never happy, it seems like it’s trying to bathe itself In Dirt and unhappiness.

Letting you know nothing will be easy. The world the film creates is cruel with no victories, even so, the tragedy you know will eventually come. Still feels like a gut punch.

A pulp story told through two characters who are thrown together by chance and it seems each step to the way they dig themselves deeper while trying. To keep a low profile. Through this time they bond and grow closer. They have a relationship even if it is not romantic. They form A bond and kind of family. 

Even as throughout you can feel this Inching towards tragedy and it is rare anything happy or nice happens 

This is the first truly adult role Elle Fanning has played. As she always seems to work keeping busy. Here she plays a younger character. She feels real and lived in. It never feels like she is coasting and for such a character who hasn’t had a hard life seems a little innocent and happy go lucky. 

The film is strong even if at times it does feel like it is trying too hard. 

Grade: B-

STEP SISTERS (2018)

Directed By: Charles Stone III 
Written By: Chuck Hayward 
Cinematography By: Christopher Baffa 
Editor: Matt Friedman 

Cast: Megalyn Eichikunwoke, Lyndon Smith, Gage Golightly, Eden Sher, Marque Richardson, Alessandra Torresani, Naturi Naughton, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Matt McGorry, Robert Curtis Brown


Jamilah has her whole life figured out. She’s the president of her sorority, captain of their champion step dance crew, is student liaison to the college dean, and her next move is on to Harvard Law School. She’s got it all, right? But when the hard-partying white girls from Sigma Beta Beta embarrass the school, Jamilah is ordered to come to the rescue. Her mission is to not only teach the rhythmically-challenged girls how to step dance, but to win the Steptacular, the most competitive of dance competitions. With the SBBs reputations and charter on the line, and Jamilah’s dream of attending Harvard in jeopardy, these outcast screw-ups and their unlikely teacher stumble through one hilarious misstep after another. Cultures clash, romance blossoms, and sisterhood prevails as everyone steps out of their comfort zones.


This is a cute film that tries to say something. About diversity and races coming together. Now of course you know what this type of film you are going to get so if Looking for something more deep or artistic you know you aren’t going to find it here.

If you are looking for something light, fun, and mildly Funny this is the film for you. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of BRING IT ON for its light yet biting attitude.

It feels a bit like a combination of films like bring it on and the dance movie series like STEP UP only less focused on romance and more focused on stepping.

I enjoyed the film making the black sorority characters threatening but not villains and open-minded.

You won’t believe any of the endings this Film goes for feel good and promotes equality, but the actions of the characters just feel false but again this is the type of film where you just have to accept it as it isn’t Shakespeare.

The film is written by Chuck Hayward who is a successful tv-writer he writes for DEAR WHITE PEOPLE and I recognize plenty of cast members from that show sprinkled throughout as well as actors who worked on his previous projects.

Everyone seems perfectly cast as this has the fun of DEAR WHITE PEOPLE but not the impact or heaviness when it comes to the story.

I am happy to see actress Megalyn Eichikunwoke finally getting a lead role after seeing her play good supporting performances in movies like DAMSELS IN DISTRESS. Here she shines and shows she has star quality.

The race material is fun and is kept in the foreground for moments and ongoing plots but as the film goes along it melts away and just shows people are people and characters have many different shades and levels.

One point I did like was her having an overly sensitive liberal Caucasian boyfriend who goes over the low. In his liberal beliefs gives an attitude that blacks always need help or a handout. His heart is in the right place but he can’t see how he is minorly insulting.

It’s also interesting in the beginning the character is seen as more down with her race she is in an interracial relationship and when she finally opens herself to others and other races she is interested in an African American character for dating.

This is a film that makes the action happen fast, as to not bore the audience. it gets raunchy but PG-13 raunchy. So it is perfect for teens and good for an afternoon movie to have fun with and put you In a good mood probably forgetting it soon after. Quality enough though. It’s a film that might be more fun on the big screen but it is a Netflix release. Made for that type of home audience. As studios rarely put money in low to mid-budget projects anymore especially with teen comedies. Where it is more of a minor gamble.

Though there seems to be a drought of films such as these that seem built in to have crossover appeal. It would seek more natural theatrical release as it does provide the familiarity of material and broad stereotypes that it seeks to disprove and have fun with. Meant to open the minds of the characters and maybe even some audience members.

Grade: C+

DUCK BUTTER (2018)

Directed By: Miguel Arteta Written By: Miguel Arteta & Alia Shawkat Cinematography: Hillary Spera Editor: Christopher Donlon

Cast: Alia Shawkat, Laia Costa, Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass, Kumail Nanjiani, Lindsay Burdge, Mae Whitman, Hong Chau, Kate Berlant, Jenny O’Hara 

Two women, who are dissatisfied with the dishonesty they see in dating and relationships, decide to make a pact to spend 24 hours together hoping to find a new way to create intimacy.


This is a lesbian romance film that seems artsier. Where it seems like the actors get more outbid it than the audience.

While the film does offer a mismatched couple who affect each other in the end. By having one be the more negative over-thinker who is more afraid to try new things. Yet is an actress and the other a free spirit. Who seems to have no grounding. Whereby the end one is affected in a positive way the other in a more morose way. 

The aspect that the film offers is that these two characters hook up and decide on the morning to spend the next 24 hours together. After some initial conflict with the idea. The film explores the following 24 hours where they get to know one another, good and bad. 

It seems like they go through all the painful aspects and rewarding ones in the son of 24 hours. Which makes the film quirky. The characters and their problems always seem to bring it back to reality.

Even if it always has the aspect of a romantic and fantasy. The emotions at times are what ground it.

While Alia Shawkat is always interesting on screen and graduating to bigger roles. Here she is more nebbish, shy, neurotic, and a little depressed than every woman. Who hooks up with this beautiful free spirit played by the gorgeous Laia Costa who seems too good to be true and by the end. We do get to learn about each other a bit more and the dream girl still is unbelievable but at least we get to see her sweat (amongst other things)  and be human. 

Their relationship is believable and takes what most films would spread out over weeks and months and grounds it into the span of 48 hours for the characters. Where you feel that this is the first time they have ever been open not only with anyone else but maybe even themselves.

It’s an intriguing premise and I wish it had been more involving for the audience but while it offers some surprises. Again it is something that we have seen before and know where it is going. As it feels too familiar.

Not to mention interesting characters. You wish more happened or that they were a bit more interesting to keep your attention. This is why ever so often there is a sex scene between the two of them. Which are graphic yet erotic.

Which then seems to force the film into a third act. This reminds me of the movie CHASING AMY. Where a weird self-sabotage logic emerges and while it is understandable feels like a huge mistake out of nowhere. That is a challenge for the characters to one another where they both know will not have a happy ending so to speak 

Grade: C

GANGSTA (2018)

Directed by: Adil Elarbi & Bilall Fallah  Written by: Adil Elarbi, Bilall Fallah, Nabil Ben Yadir, Bram Renders, Kobe Van Steenberghe & Handrik Verthe  Cinematography: Robrecht Heyvaert Editor: Adil Elarbi, Bilall Fallah, Kobe Van Steenberghe & Thijs Van Nuffel 

Cast: Matteo Simoni, Junes Lazaar, Nora Gharib, Said Boumazoughe, Nabil Mallat, Paloma Aguilera valdebenito, Werner Kolf 

Antwerp. The lives of four dealer friends, who want to become real-life swaggers, spin out of control when they steal a shipment of cocaine. They trigger a full-out war between them, an Amsterdam drug lord and the ruthless Colombian cartels.


Looked forward to watching this film by the directors of BAD BOYS FOR LIFE. Their last film before that film almost seems like an audition reel. 

one can see why they were given directing reign of BAD BOYS FOR LIFE. As with this film. They prove they can handle Action and comedy that might be a little dark around the edges but not too bleak, but also a diverse cast.

Though when it comes to this film’s material, it often feels more cartoonish even though it tries to be really quite often. Like the characters, it feels too on over its head at times.

As every time the film seems to be sticking with a certain tone. The film withdraws and goes into another tone to throw off the audience and keep them guessing even when not needed.

This is close to being an almost Guy Ritchie movie except he keeps his tone light and has his characters a bit more defined,  it similarly Whimsical and usually in the criminal world

The characters are likable but rather thin so that they are more defined by characteristics and their individual ambitions than actually coming off as characters. They more Just live up to their nicknames except for the main two characters of the crew.

Though the film is filled with its colorful characters, the most entertaining is actually the criminal lawyers played by the directors more for humor, but are unscrupulous when it comes to protecting their clients.

The film Touches on subjects but Rarely fully Explores them except to occasionally bring them up like racism, growing up as an immigrant. Making something of yourself, when education really isn’t a choice. 

The film is a lot of things but never comes through with An actual decision that leads to it feeling all over the place. There is plenty of styles all over the place that is inventive in fact it feels like every scene and the shot is designed to keep moving and to always dazzle. 

Though even for the hardcore material and subjects that they tackle. The film feels lightweight and almost playful. As it never goes in too deep. It also feels way overstuffed and too long. As the film feels the need to explain every detail and then show it. Whereas if the film was cut down by fifteen minutes it wouldn’t Feel so monotonous by the end.

Just like the main character by the end of the film, it Doesn’t Seem to exactly want to commit.

The film is enjoyable and a fun time in general 

Grade: C

DEN OF THIEVES (2018)

Written & Directed By: Christian Gudegast 
Story By: Christian Gudegast & Paul Scheuring 
Cinematography By: Terry Stacey 
Editor: Nathan Godley, Joel Cox & David Cox 

Cast: Gerard Butler, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Pablo Schrieber, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Meadow Williams, Brian Van Holt, Jordan Bridges, Dawn Olivieri, Maurice Compte, Evan Jones, Mo McRae 

A gritty L. A crime saga that follows the intersecting and often personally connected lives of an elite unit of the LA County Sheriff’s Dept. and the state’s most successful bank robbery crew as the outlaws plan a seemingly impossible heist on the Federal Reserve Bank of downtown Los Angeles.


I will be the first to admit this film is better than you might think it will be.

While you watch it. It seems to be a film that is inspired by HEAT and wants the audience to see both sides of the fence when it comes to the criminals and the cops chasing them. Though when it comes to the cops we only really see Gerard Butler’s home life and problems. When it comes to the criminals we see glimpses but mainly see 50 cent’s family and Pablo Schrieber’s planning.

At least when it comes to 50 cent’s daily the film adds some humor in the form of a warning to his daughters’ prom date. Which also helps humanize the character and the crew.

The film was in development for roughly fourteen years, where director Christian Gudegast and a writing partner had a blind deal with New Line Cinema in 2003. The project was also later supposed to be distributed by the now-defunct Relativity Media at one point as well. His original cut was 160 minutes long and had a different ending. Which would have added even more brooding to the film I am guessing.

The film is filled with testosterone galore with plenty of muscles up men with tank tops of their shirts off and sweaty. Using the guide or reasoning of working out of a home gym where they plan their caper.

It also seems to want to keep a kind of aggressive Mano e Mano tone. Where all the characters tend to be over the top tough and dangerous and females stay mostly in the background.

Though one is used as a kind of power play against one another. This only adds to the leaders of each side mutual respect but also a kind of sabotage they try against one another. As they know a showdown between them is coming and literally are sizing each other up.

Prior to filming, two separate boot camps were run in order to get the cops and the robbers in shape for their respective roles with both groups training separately to enforce a rival atmosphere. Interestingly, each group was trained differently by military consultant Paul Maurice.

O’Shea Jackson Jr.’s character is our introduction to this film and world as he is trying to be part of this crew as a getaway driver. He is the only new guy on the crew and goes through the ropes of intimidation. While also being forced by the cops to be an informant. He also seems to be our protagonist, but soon he and his storyline seem lost in the shuffle as the film begins to become a passing contest of one-up-manship between Pablo and Gerard.

While we wait for the heist that is promised to ensue. Most of the film is about the build-up of the different diversions and challenges thrown in front of each other and having to defeat or subvert in able to move forward and just as aggressive as the heist is these moves they make before are just as strong and motivated.

The film does offer beautiful visuals and quite stirring action sequences. As the heist fits all the required tension you want and expect. So that by the end it feels like a good modern-day heist caper film. Where we only learn of the logistics of the plan when it happens.

The film is building as it goes while we wait for the eventual showdown and release.

The film leaves you to wonder if the character of Gerard Butler was driven due to his failing marriage. So he seems more amped up and ready to go over the line. As it seems to be what he is good at and more capable of controlling even though supposedly more dangerous and unpredictable than a relationship. As at first he and his crew seem either dirty or more adept at bending the rules then they actually are eventually seen as pretty by the book.

By the end of the film, you have sympathy for the robbers as we meet their families and situations. Only to find out both sides were played against the other. By the end, it seems to try too hard to set itself apart by all of a sudden Introducing a twist. That while it works wasn’t really necessary.

It achieves what it set’s out to prove. It also doesn’t overthink itself or tries to show off for the audience more than what it has. Nor does it gloat or focus on any twists it offers up.

Grade: B

LOVE, GILDA (2018)

Directed By: Lisa D’Apolito  


With: Gilda Radner, Martin Short, Laraine Newman, Paul Shaffer, Bill Hader, Chevy Chase, Melissa McCarthy, Amy Poehler, Lorne Michaels, Maya Rudolph 

In her own words, comedienne Gilda Radner looks back and reflects on her life and career. Weaving together recently discovered audiotapes, interviews with her friends, rare home movies and diaries read by modern day comediennes, LOVE Gilda offers a unique window into the honest and whimsical world of a beloved performer whose greatest role was sharing her story. 



There is nothing wrong with the film as it gives a pretty full portrait of actress/comedienne Gilda Radner’s slice and careers us by excerpts from her journals and other personal writings and a bunch of colleagues and family are interviewed as well as footage from her performances and personal home movies.

There is no sadness except when You know the end is coming and the documentary more shows highlights from her life and the sadder stuff while mentioned is given short shrift.

Though rather than have that be a mark against it. Sometimes it seems if a documentary is more of a happy affair it is though more real Or white-washed when it might be that while we all have troubles and problems in life they don’t have to be marketed or shown to be more real. Just as in Life some people’s lives are more focused on the positive while acknowledging the tougher aspects. It doesn’t need to necessarily focus on it. Unless it is information that has to be mentioned to get a fuller picture.

As it seems in Gilda’s life her happiness cake from entertaining others around her and Her audiences. The film seems to try to showcase and celebrate that aspect of her and focus on that.

The documentary uncovers a few things, Some might not have known as well as giving important collaborators of her life like writer Alan swivel a chance to reminisce and for one me Who is a fan of his a chance to finally see him in the flesh so to speak on the screen

If you are a fan the film doesn’t reveal anything you might not already know but allows for more personal insight from her.

By the end, you wish the film felt more full, but then you realize how little time we had with Gilda before she was gone. She had a lasting career but it was brief and has a spectacular beginning that defined her but never got a chance to get beyond that to a greater work. Considering how many she inspired and entertained we realize just like her family and friends she and we were robbed of her presence way too soon and it leaves a lasting impression but also leaves a hole of sorts. She never got to get the recognition not the best of her never really got a chance to come through.

Though what she left behind was wonderful

Grade: B

GAME OVER, MAN! (2018)

Directed By: Kyle Newacheck 
Written By: Anders Holm 
Story By: Anders Holm, Adam Devine & Blake Anderson 
Cinematography By: Steve Jablonsky 
Editor: Evan Henke 

Cast: Adam Devine, Anders Holm, Blake Anderson, Rhona Mitra, Neal McDonough, Sam Richardson, Steve Howey, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Daniel Stern, Aya Cash, Andrew Bachelor, Sugar Lyn Beard, Chloe Bridges, Mac Brandt, Jon Garbus 

Three friends are on the verge of getting their video game financed when their benefactor is taken hostage by terrorists.


This film is brought to you by the guys behind the television show WORKAHOLICS. This movie is like an unadulterated, uncensored episode of the show. Which I can admit I was a viewer of which is why this film comes across as a guilty pleasure for the most part.

This film seems like it could have been a contender at the box office, but is better served on Netflix. Where it will appeal to their audience and allow them to gain a bigger one.

The leads are playing variations of their comedic personas only more extreme. As they as a group seek to be successful with several million dollar ideas. So that they can claim some significance in their embarrassing roles in life at their job.

One so the bombastic blowhard who has made himself the leader, the other is an idea man who is a stoner and the third is more the nerdy shy buttoned up type. Who find themselves basically in a die hard situation. As the film works as a parody of that film also.

What works with this film is what works with the best comedies. The film isn’t just them Doing Funny and crazy stuff while everyone around them plays it straight and reacts to them. The film allows most of the other characters to be as wacky and crazy. Even allows by the film to focus for whole scenes and time periods on other characters.

The fun in is watching some of the villainous archetypes play out a little more different some more human or at least realistic to life.

As mentioned before this film is uncensored in all aspects. So there is plenty of graphic violence, gore to a degree and also male full frontal nudity.

The film plays contained as it takes place mostly in the hotel they work at. There are no surprises when it comes to the villains. Except how they are played at times.

In one way you could easily find the film insulting as it is more shocking frat type of juvenile behavior. Seen more through the lens of young white males. Even as this is not the type of film to really look for equality and political correctness in. The film tries to be fair to everyone, especially the females and not have them just be window dressing or damsels in distress. Though they don’t get as much action and attention. Though I will say Jillian Bell in her cameo in the film steals the scene and is provides the funniest laugh in the film.

As the film has plenty of pop culture references but also quite a few celebrity cameos. Which are hilarious and truly show that no one is safe in this film. Even the title is a quote from a popular line from the movie ALIENS. Said by the late great actor Bill Paxton

The film has no depth but stays entertaining. If you are a fan of their show or them as comedic actors and performers. You will definitely enjoy the film. As at least as you know the scenario the film offers surprises and doesn’t come across or lazy or phoning it in as more and more studio comedies and comedic actors are coming off as more and more at times. Like they are doing their schtick but they don’t even see inspired or into it anymore. So at least this film comes across as guys who are creative coming up with laughs and doing it for themselves as well as wanting to serve the audience.

This feels like a comedy from a new age. Definitely not watered down

Grade: C+

THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX (2018)

Directed By: Julius Onah 
Written By: Oren Uziel 
Story By: Oren Uziel & Doug Jung 
Cinematography By: Dan Mindel 
Editor: Alan Baumgarten, Matt Evans & Rebevva Valente 

Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris O’Dowd, Daniel Bruhl, David Oyelowo, John Ortiz, Ziyi Zhang, Donal Logue, Roger Davies, Elizabeth Debicki 

Orbiting a planet on the brink of war, scientists test a device to solve an energy crisis, and end up face-to-face with a dark alternate reality.


There are parts of this film remind one of the science fiction movie LIFE that came out the year before. Only that movie was somewhat original and similarly Cliche ridden but at least was more entertaining overall with impressive special effects. It also didn’t try to be as emotional and dramatic as this film. It also had one hell of an ending.

This film also has way too good a cast to be this bad and disappointing. They are diverse and international. Not necessarily due to them is his movie a failure. Just a story that believes itself more clever then it actually is. As the film even before it’s Release tried to seem like it was more a studio sci-fi film before it was figured out to be another film in connection with the CLOVERFIELD series of movies. So once figured out it added CLOVERFIELD to the title. In the end it plays more like all hype.

The film essentially plays too basic and familiar so you get the sense you have seen all of this before.

The film being tied to a bigger series of films. That this is more a prequel of sorts that could be a sequel to anything. That is how devoid of personality and material it is. Where most of the film feels like filler for a few certain scenes that tie it together and really are what the movie is about.

Though more built around actress Gugu Mbetha-Raw character. No one in the cast comes through as memorable. Except Chris O’Dowd and that is only because he is more the comedic relief and is involved in one of the more impressive special effects sequences. The later being the bigger reason I remember him.

It’s a shame that a sci-fi movie that has a bigger than usual cast of minorities is so basic and non descript. Even the direction and production design doesn’t seem inspired.

The film ends up feeling like a hodgepodge or ideas and plots of other movies. Even by the ending it feels like this was a general sci-fi movie. That had an added ending to tie it to the CLOVERFIELD universe. As at least the other films in that universe added a different and original point of view to the typical alien invasion film. This feels more expected. Even if at first it tries to stay focused on the science more than anything.

Do these film not exist in that universe. It even trying to do anything different or special. The film isn’t even scary it’s more dialogue then anything at first. It’s also a movie that tries to be emotionally manipulative late in the game after an initial set-up and doesn’t come off as stylish at all.

This seems like a film that will play on the syfy channel for a while. As it seems like a bigger budgeted version of a film they would produce only without an exploitive angle.

This is definitely the weakest of the three films

GRADE: F

THE WEEKEND (2018)

Written & Directed By: Stella Meghie
Cinematography: Kris Belchevski
Editor: Shannon Baker Davis

Cast: Sasheer Zamata, Tone Bell, Dewanda Wise, Kym Whitley, Y’Lan Noel, Josefina Landeros 

A comedian goes away for the weekend with an ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend.


It’s nice to see an all-black romantic comedy once in a while. That offers representation and no stereotypes. It also offers a strong independent female lead who is smart, funny, and not desperate.

It’s easy to fall for lead Sasher Zamata and her character. She is charming even if deeply sarcastic and at times rude. Though usually Go for the Dewanda Wise type character, her rival of sorts in the film. As she seems to be given short change. We barely get to know her and she is treated almost like a villain. When she is actually Put in an awkward situation and treated kind of badly by most involved over the weekend. 

So that whIle Sasher Zamata’s Character is the protagonist and whom we are supposed to root for. She is kind of mean and is written off as being sarcastic to be defensive because she is afraid of getting hurt and being vulnerable. Yet she seems to mostly get her way most of the time. So that rationalization doesn’t always work, but then again is she really that different than guys in these types of romantic comedies? who are ass holes for the most part throughout and unmotivated except when they finally find the one and then no matter how underhanded they might be to be with that person we are meant to root for them be axis they are presented as the underdog?

The film Feels awkward and at times airless due to lack of a score partially. Though like the film and the performances, script, and direction. Just feels like something is missing. Yet it wins you over and stays entertaining. 

Though clear from The beginning where it is going. We Want her to end up with the other guy. The one she has no history with, Who seems more deeper and fun. 

As she has chemistry with both her ex and the next guy. She is a little obvious in her attraction for her ex and her ex makes it obvious he wants her still too but can’t Make up his mind. Which is not only frustrating for her but also for us. 

Though happy the way it ended not storybook and a little Unexpected.

In the end, the film that Is a nice little romantic comedy that is more about bonds and relationships rather than romance and fantasy fulfillment. 

Grade: C+

BREAKING IN (2018)

Directed By: James McTeigue 
Written By: Ryan Engle 
Cinematography By: Toby Oliver 
Editor: Joseph Jett Sally 

Cast: Gabrielle Union, Billy Burke, Richard Cabral, Christa Miller, Jason George 

A woman fights to protect her family during a home invasion.


This movie plays like the second half of PANIC ROOM. Where instead of trying to protect her family while criminals are trying to break in. She is trying to break in to save her family.

The film is a thriller but isn’t as action oriented as it appears. As going in was kind of hoping this to be Gabrielle Union’s PASSENGER 57 type action film.

Unfortunately with this film everything is so basic that one wishes it at least had a stylistic director to set it apart or make it seem special in some way. Though this film is still Better than Halle Berry’s thriller KIDNAP.

Still it feels like a lifetime movie only with a minor edge to it and more violent. Even though throughout there is barely any blood in it. It’s low budget but works well within it.

This film has many roll your eyes moments of ridiculous actions and rationale. One truly unbelievable moment after another that feels unexplained which is like most of this movies details vague.

Though will say the movie makes Gabrielle Union a believable hero. While looking great and going up against stereotypical garden variety villains. (The leader, the vicious one, he one who is on the fence as far as morals go and the technical person.) As she shows a mother’s devotion and what happens if they threaten them.

Now while the film is swimming in cliches that are predictable. Which are forgivable as I don’t want to pick on the film for it’s simpleness, but you know what kind of film you are going to get from the trailer and while the film isn’t trying that hard it provides a certain level of entertainment. It’s a thriller really the whole family can watch and enjoy.

One of the few of only black female action heroines even if it is a thriller. A nice start, wished it could have been Angela Bassett. As she was robbed of an action career in the 90’s as she is in shape and can act too.

One stereotypical character makes you wonder if actor Clifton Collins jr. Was too old for the role or maybe turned it down or wasn’t available. As it seems his usual type of role.

There is a third act mini twist that isn’t believable but I will say offers a surprise. That the film doesn’t earn. Shocked it was Directed By James McTeigue as usually his films are much more visual and atmospheric as well as visceral.

This film also seems to include the cliche in African American themed thriller where the Caucasian female friend is of course one of those most viciously slaughtered. In What seems like a glorified bit role usually as these films need a Caucasian victim other then the villains eventually and is a sharp turn on when in action films and thrillers the black character usually very few in the film if any. Is the first one killed or gave up their life to save others.

This film takes place in one location a sprawling estate. As the film introduces plot elements to move story along quicker the. Forgets about those elements time to time.

This is a female empowerment film as most of the villains keep bringing up their thoughts that women are weak, meek, stupid and emotional. Not that the characters seem like they would respect women otherwise.  

Grade: C-