Eilis

Custom Search




tel:18003484095

banner3

banner3

tel:18003484095


Hell Or High Water

Don't Breathe

August 25, 2016

Hell or High Water (***) R

The similarities to the Coen Brothers’ 2007 Oscar winner for Best Picture, No Country for Old Men, are evident right from the start in director David Mackenzie’s bank heist thriller, Hell or High Water. For starters there’s the rural Texas backdrop in which the film is set, which catches the attention of the viewer right from the word go. More obvious, however, is the grizzled lawman played by Jeff Bridges who’s attempting to close the books on one last confounding case before setting off into the sunset and into his retirement and whose character clearly echoes the one played by Tommy Lee Jones in that aforementioned film. There are other parallels that one might find but I suppose you get the point.

On its own merits Hell or High Water is pretty good entertainment and it does offer a little more to chew on than just what’s on the surface and that’s certainly refreshing.

Chris Pine & Ben Foster in Hell or High Water

The film has been garnering lots of praise and attention since its release a few weeks ago but I think that’s mostly just because movie attendees are so starved for something with the earmarks of quality attached to it that anything made with any sort of skill is bound to make people sit up and take notice. Hell or High Water is a skillfully made film to be sure but I’m just not sure that it’s the kind of thing that’s going to be remembered come awards season in a few months. It’s good enough while one is digesting its story of bank robbers and lawmen but I’m not sure it has what is referred to as staying power. Only time will tell.

Chris Pine, currently being seen as Captain Kirk in the latest installment of the rebooted Star Trek franchise, stars here as Tobey, half of a bank robbing duo. The other half is represented by Tobey’s brother, Tanner, played by Ben Foster. Foster and Pine have good chemistry as the brothers on a crime spree and I somewhat sympathized with their plight. They aren’t just robbing banks because they’re bored. They’re robbing banks because they are trying to hold on to family property on which the bank has claims. Bridges is the Texas Ranger hell bent on bringing them to justice at whatever the cost.

The film scores with its well defined characters and even though character fates can easily be predetermined if one pays attention closely enough early on, Hell or High Water offers enough rewards to certainly recommend it. It’s a nice oasis in a summer of too much sameness. 

Don’t Breathe (***) R

Sometimes I forget why movies matter and then one comes along that reminds me how much fun it is to be a part of the communal experience that only seeing a movie in a packed theater full of total strangers can provide. The thrills of going to the movies came into clear focus the other night at the press screening for director Fede Alvarez’s latest thrill ride, Don’t Breathe. The audience gasped, screamed and even laughed at times as the film revealed itself. Suddenly I was reminded that this is the kind of thing that can’t be replicated in the comforts of one’s home and why going to the movies is still such a unique experience. The movie was fun but I’m not sure how enjoyable it would have been had I watched the film in my bed on a tablet or a small television monitor as many folks are prone to do these days. Suffice it to say that this is the kind of thing that makes going to the movies still a lot of fun.

Don’t Breathe is the first film directed by Alvarez since his 2013 remake of The Evil Dead. I didn’t much care for that film even though I’m quite a fan of the original trilogy of Evil Dead films, directed with such flair and gusto by the great Sam Raimi. Alvarez’s take on Evil Dead was too larded up with over the top gore for my taste and lacked the suspense for which the original series of films was known. Raimi produced that film and returns to producing duties with Don’t Breathe and his handprints are all over this one but in a positive way.

The film’s plot is deceptively simple in the same way that Raimi’s Evil Dead films were constructed from low-brow screenwriting elements. All the typical horror movie tropes are on display in the film and yet they somehow work, right down to the menacing dog that shows up just at the right moments.

Jane Levy in Don't Breathe

The story is set in the burned out ghettos of Detroit as three late teen/twentysomethings who yearn for a new life are enticed to rob homes in order to get their ticket out of town and to a new existence. Their latest victim is a blind man (Stephen Lang, villainous in the same way he was in Avatar) who has come into some money since the death of his daughter in a car accident. They assume it will be an easy score but little do they know. The blind man proves to be more of a menace than any of the characters could have ever predicted and the film eventually becomes a reverse sort of cat and mouse.

The film is skillfully directed and full of suspenseful sequences. Plus, it gives new examples of creative ways in which to use a turkey baster. Stick around for the third act and you’ll see what I mean. You have been warned.

Hell or High Water is playing at a number of theaters in Charlotte. Don't Breathe opens Thursday, August 25, in Hickory and everywhere else.

Questions or comments? Write Adam at filmfan1970@hotmail.com.

 

ARCHIVES:

Sausage Party & Indignation

Florence Foster Jenkins & Pete's Dragon • Café Society

Eat That Question & Suicide Squad

Star Trek Beyond & Jason Bourne

Lights Out

Ghostbusters

The Purge: Election Year

Independence Day: Resurgence • The BFG

Free State Of Jones & DePalma

Now You See Me 2 & Finding Dory

The Conjuring 2 & Me Before You

X Men: Apocalypse Love And Friendship

The Lobster & The Meddler

Money Monster • The Nice Guys Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

Miles Ahead

Elvis And Nixon Green Room

Midnight Special Everybody Wants Some

The Jungle Book

I Saw The Light • The Boss

Hello My Name Is Doris & Krisha

Divergent: Allegiant & Batman v Superman

10 Cloverfield Lane & Brothers Grimsby

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot & London Has Fallen

Triple 9 & 45 Years

Eddie The Eagle• The Witch

Where To Invade Next & Son Of Saul

Deadpool • The Choice • How To Be Single

Hail Caesar & Fifty Shades Of Black

The Finest Hours & The 5th Wave

Mustang & The Lady In The Van

Anomalisa • 13 Hours: The & Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi

The Revenant • Youth

Carol • Joy • The Hateful Eight

Star Wars: The Force Awakens • The Big Short • Concussion

Daddy’s Home • Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Road Chip

In The Heart Of The Sea • Krampus

Creed • Brooklyn

Spotlight

‘Mockingjay Part 2’ • All Things Must Pass • The Night Before

Trumbo

Spectre & The Peanuts Movie

Steve Jobs & Our Brand Is Crisis

Crimson Peak & Room

Bridge Of Spies & Goosebumps

99 Homes

The Martian • Sicario & The Walk

The Intern • The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials • Everest

The Visit & Black Mass

Mistress America

The Diary Of A Teenage Girl A Walk In The Woods

American Ultra • No Escape • Sinister 2

Straight Outta Compton, The End Of The Tour, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Irrational Man & Fantastic Four

Ricki And The Flash & The Gift

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation • Southpaw • Vacation

Ant-Man & Trainwreck

Self/Less

Amy • Magic Mike XXL, Terminator: Genisys

Me & Earl & The Dying Girl, Ted 2

Inside Out & Dope

Love and Mercy & Jurassic World

Insidious Chapter 3

San Andreas & Aloha

Poltergeist &
Tomorrowland

Mad Max: Fury Road

Hot Pursuit

Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Ex Machina

While We’re Young & Unfriended

The Longest Ride

Fast & Furious 7

It Follows

Divergent

Cinderella

Chappie

Focus & The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Fifty Shades Of Grey

Jupiter Ascending

Still Alice

The Imitation Game A Most Violent Year

American Sniper Inherent Vice

Selma & Taken 3

Unbroken

Big Eyes • The Interview

Night At The Museum The Secret of the Tomb • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Top Five • Wild • Annie

Foxcatcher

Whiplash & The Theory Of Everything

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 • Horrible Bosses 2

Dumb And Dumber To

Birdman & Interstellar

Nightcrawler

Ouija

Fury

The Judge

Annabelle & Gone Girl

The Equalizer & Happy 75th, GWTW!

The Drop • A Walk Among & The Tombstones

No Good Deed

The Identical

As Above, So Below & November Man

If I Stay & Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

The Giver • Code Black & The Expendables 3

Boyhood • Into The Storm & Magic In The Moonlight

Get On Up & Guardians Of The Galaxy

Lucy

Begin Again & The Purge: Anarchy

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

Chef & Tammy

Transformers: Age Of Extinction

Jersey Boys

22 Jump Street & How To Train Your Dragon 2

The Fault Is In Our Stars & Edge Of Tomorrow

A Million Ways To Die In The West

X-Men: Days Of Future Past Maleficent

Godzilla • Summer Preview

Neighbors • Godzilla

The Amazing Spiderman 2 & Belle

The Other Woman & Brick Mansions

A Haunted House 2 & Heaven Is For Real

Oculus & Rio 2

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Noah

Divergent

The Grand Budapest Hotel & Veronica Mars

300: Rise of the Empire

Non-Stop & Son Of God

Three Days To Kill

Robocop & The Past • About Last Night

The Monuments Men

Labor Day

I, Frankenstein

Inside Llewyn Davis & Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Lone Survivor & August: Osage County

Her • Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom & The Wolf Of Wall Street

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, Saving Mr. Banks, American Hustle, Anchorman 2

The Hobbit: The Desolation & Of Smaug • Nebraska

Dallas Buyers Club & Oldboy & Out Of The Furnace

Philomena & The Book Thief

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire & Delivery Man

About Time & All Is Lost

Thor: The Dark World & 12 Years A Slave

Ender’s Game & Last Vegas

Bad Grandpa &The Counselor

Carrie & The Fifth Estate

Captain Phillips, Enough Said & Machete Kills

Gravity & Runner Runner

Metallica: Through The Never , Rush & Don Jon

Prisoners & Rush

Insidious: Chapter 2 • The Family & The Spectacular Now

Riddick

Getaway

The World’s End You’re Next

Lee Daniels’ The Butler • Jobs • Blue Jasmine

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters & Elysium

2 Guns

Blue Jasmine • The Wolverine & Fruitvale Station

Fruitvale Station • The Conjuring & The Way Way Back

Pacific Rim & Grown Ups 2

The Lone Ranger & Despicable Me 2

The Heat & White House Down

Monsters University, World War Z, Before Midnight & The East

Man of Steel & This Is The End

The Internship & The Purge

After Earth, Now You See Me & Frances Ha

The Hangover Part III Before Midnight

Star Trek: Into Darkness & Fast and Furious 6

The Great Gatsby & Frances Ha

Iron Man & Peeples

Pain and Gain & Mud

Oblivion & Lords of Salem

42 and Scary Movie 5

Evil Dead & Jurassic Park 3-D

G.I. Joe: Retaliation Tyler Perry’s Temptation

Spring Breakers Admission

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone • The Call

Oz: The Great And Powerful West Of Memphis

Jack the Giant Slayer The Last Exorcism, Part II

Dark Skies & Snitch

A Good Day to Die Hard & Safe Haven

Side Effects & Identity Thief

Bullet To The Head Warm Bodies


 

 

 

Banner-Sample-1.jpg   Banner-Sample-2.jpg

PO Box 1721 | Hickory, NC 28603 | 828.322.1036 | Office Hours: Mon. - Fri. 9am - 5pm | focusnews@centurylink.net

Home • Reviews: MoviesAdam Long • Editorials: FocusHave Chainsaw Will TravelSid On SportsBobbi GSara MawyerPeople PicturesPlaces/PeopleExtra Events Listing
Out Of Focus • News: Local NewsNational NewsHoroscopes • Info/Links: Staff/ContributorsList Of AdvertisersOnline AdvertisingOnline ClassifiedsContact UsFocus BLOGStoreLinks

© 1978 - 2016 Tucker Productions, Inc.