Ordinary Angels

Sharon tries to hand out some flyers

Ordinary Angels is a very ordinary film in many ways. It’s familiar and comforting and goes exactly where you probably expect it to go. The fact that it’s based on a true story and features representations of real people is almost immaterial. These are screen archetypes doing what screen archetypes do. On one side a stoic, manly, buttoned-down dad who’s lost his wife and is now in trouble again, with a sick daughter whose medical treatment is going to bleed him dry. On the other one of those folksy, Southern women whose university-of-life smarts can open doors that otherwise remain closed. Alan Ritchson plays Ed, a blue-collar guy who straps on a utility … Read more

The Hunt

Crystal led away by a military man

Very much a Trump-era movie, The Hunt is the story of a gang of the “elite” going on their annual “deplorables” hunt (spot the Hillary Clinton reference), with a ragtag bunch of gagged and tied rednecks as their quarry. Interesting concept. The idea is that the elite set the rednecks running and give them something of a head start before coming after them with an intention to kill. The reference point for this sort of thing is usually Kinji Fukasaku’s 2000 bloodfest Battle Royale, though it wasn’t the first movie to present hunting as some sort of bloodsport – 1987’s The Running Man springs to mind, or going even further back there’s 1965’s The … Read more

The Gift

Redneck Keanu Reeves in The Gift

Director Sam Raimi is an expert in genre-twisting. Back when he was making The Evil Dead he so overloaded his gore epic that it eventually became funny. With The Gift he takes on a genre even more arcane: the British whodunit. Then he does weird shit with it. First he transports the whole shebang to the Deep South to remove all traces of afternoon tea or warm beer. Then he gives us Cate Blanchett as a clairvoyant detective who can’t quite make out the identity of the murderer – well, it wouldn’t be much of film if she could, would it? And then, as a masterstroke, he takes a raft of famous faces … Read more