Directed By: Millicent Shelton 
Written By: Christopher J. Moore and David Loughery
Cinematography: Ed Wu
Editor: Tirsa Hackshaw

Cast: Queen Latifah, Beau Bridges, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Mychala Lee, Shaun Dixon, Keith Jardine, Frances Lee McCain, Jesse Luken, Tababtha Shaun 

In this high-octane action thriller, a cross-country road trip becomes a highway to hell for Brenda and her family. Alone in the New Mexico desert, they have to fight for their lives when they become the targets of a mysterious killer.

This film is pretty basic in the way that you know in each instance what is going to happen. Though you go through the motions. While it never gets exciting, at least it never gets boring. 

This is a film back in the day you would have rented from a video store. As it would have a good enough cast for straight-to-video premiere goodies. 

The film’s first third at least dramatizes the family dynamic and clearly shows each of their roles and tendencies. Mostly as a result of the tragedy of losing her husband and using any of the savings on trying to keep him alive. Which unfortunately failed.

Dealing with her screwed-up brother to take the trip. Their nerve is tested early on with a couple of rednecks. In which to remind them they aren’t in their old stomping grounds. Once they end up deciding whether or not to take The money they have stumbled across is where the second act begins and the story truly starts.

Again once the big reveal of the villain happens is never quite as shocking as the film wants us to believe. What was more unbelievable is that how much power he apparently has but seems to have only a few people working for him. Yet his name sends shivers down the local’s spines even the Neo nazi that Queen Latifah’s character has to fight off. 

At least the film tries to keep the audience on it’s toes. It stays in character while having Queen Latifah running around like an Alfred Hitchcock character. Who keeps having to overcome ever-surmounting challenges. While leaving Lidacris’s character as caretaker to the kids and occasional comic relief. 

The truly shocking part of the movie is how graphically violent the ending is. After most of the film being semi-violent or more threatening

Grade: C-


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-

NORMA RAE (1979)


Directed By: Martin Ritt
Written By: Irving Ravetch & Harriet Frank Jr.
Cinematography By: John A. Alonzo
Editor: Sidney Levin 

Cast: Sally Field, Ron Liebman, Beau Bridges, Pat Hingle, Barbara Baxley, Gail Strickland, Noble Willingham, Bob Minor, Grace Zabriskie, Frank McRae, 

Like a lot of her family before her, Norma Rae works at the local textile mill, where the pay is hardly commensurate with the long hours and lousy working conditions. But after hearing a rousing speech by labor activist Reuben, Norma is inspired to rally her fellow workers behind the cause of unionism. Her decision rankles her family, especially her fiancé, Sonny, and provokes no shortage of contempt from her employers.

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