Attorney and Client Turn On Abusive Law Firm in Revenge-Fueled Splatterfest
Attorney Derek Cho (Steven Yeun) was a rising star working his way up the corporate ladder at Towers and Smythe when he was blindsided by a false accusation of making a million-dollar mistake. He was callously fired on the spot by the sadistic Director of Operations (Caroline Chikezie) and escorted by the heartless Grim Reaper (Dallas Roberts) to the basement of the building where he was pressured to sign a confession as a condition for receiving a severance package.
It’s obvious he’d been stabbed in the back by a colleague at the cutthroat law firm, but he has no idea who it was. While weighing his options, he swaps sob stories and forges an alliance with Melanie Cross (Samara Weaving), a client also screwed over by the firm.
Before the two can be kicked to the curb, they’re afforded an opportunity to even the score thanks to divine intervention. An outbreak of “red eye” has the authorities sealing the offices of Towers and Smythe, with no one being allowed to either enter or leave the building.
The highly-contagious virus sweeping through the ventilation system is not fatal, but it does cause those infected to act out their primal impulses, whether violent, sexual or else-what. So, the Center for Disease Control orders the skyscraper quarantined for the next eight hours, the time it will take for the antidote to take effect.
Meanwhile, Derek and Melanie’s infection not only makes them morph from model citizens into bloodthirsty killing machines, but conveniently provides an excuse for their ensuing reign of terror — namely, the virus made me do it. Soon, the pair proceed to track down their enemies to dispatch them, one-by-one, with a variety of unorthodox implements, ranging from buzz saw to nail gun.
Directed by Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2: Dead End), Mayhem is a sophisticated social satire that might be best described as a compelling cross of Office Space (1999) and The Purge (2013). Lynch has deftly blended the wry, anti-establishment wit of the former with the temporary lawlessness of the latter into a riveting, revenge-fueled splatterfest you won’t ever forget.
A righteous bloodbath in the boardroom!
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for sexuality, nudity, drug use, graphic violence and pervasive profanity
Running time: 86 minutes
Studio: Circle of Confusion / Royal Viking Entertainment
Distributor: RLJ Entertainment
On Wings of Eagles
Eric Liddell’s Missionary Work Memorialized in Bittersweet Sequel to Chariots of Fire
Chariots of Fire (1981) chronicled the real-life exploits of Eric Henry Liddell (1902-1945), aka “The Flying Scotsman,” a world-class sprinter who won the gold medal in the 400-meter track race at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. What made his feat amazing is that he had only qualified to run the 100-meter dash but refused to compete when he learned that it would be staged on a Sunday.
You see, he was a devout Christian raised by missionaries who had instilled in their son the Biblical notion that the Sabbath was a holy day of rest. Consequently, he decided to enter the 400-meter contest instead, and miraculously managed to prevail against the best in an event he hadn’t trained for.
Chariots of Fire was a critically acclaimed crowd-pleaser which landed a quartet of Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. However, it took 36 years for someone to mount a sequel showing what became of the Olympic great in the wake of his glory days.
Co-directed by Stephen Shin and Michael Parker, On Wings of Eagles stars BAFTA-nominee Joseph Fiennes (for Shakespeare in Love) as Eric Liddell. At the point of departure, we learn that the unassuming athlete eschewed fame and fortune in favor of returning to China, the country of his birth, in 1925 to follow his calling to do missionary work.
He would settle down in Asia and start a family with the woman of his dreams, Florence Mackenzie (Elizabeth Arends). However, their marital bliss would be irreversibly altered by the Japanese invasion of China in 1937.
During the occupation, the Liddells were afforded a brief opportunity to leave the country. The dedicated minister decided to not abandon his flock, though he did send his pregnant wife and daughters, Patricia (Laura Justine Friis Lodahl) and Heather (Asta Friis Lodahl), to live with his in-laws in Canada. Sadly, he was subsequently interned in a concentration camp where he would suffer terribly before passing away in 1945, just months before Japan’s surrender.
A bittersweet tribute to a man of great faith who always opted to follow humbly in the footsteps of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Very Good (3 stars)
In English, Mandarin and Japanese with subtitles
Running time: 96 minutes
Production Studio: Goodland Pictures / Innowave Ltd / Bondit
Distributor: Archstone Distribution
OPENING THIS WEEK
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
For movies opening Nov. 10, 2017
BIG BUDGET FILMS
Daddy’s Home 2 (PG-13 for profanity and some suggestive material) Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell reprise their roles as a father and stepfather, respectively, in this sequel which now finds the two competing for their kids’ affections at Christmastime. With John Lithgow, Mel Gibson, John Cena and Linda Cardellini.
Murder on the Orient Express (PG-13 for violence and mature themes) Director Kenneth Branagh also stars as the legendary Inspector Poirot in this adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic whodunit revolving around 13 strangers stranded on train with a killer in their midst. A-List cast includes Oscar-winners Judi Dench and Penelope Cruz, as well as nominees Michelle Pfeiifer, Willem Dafoe, Johnny Depp and Branagh.
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS
Destination Unknown (Unrated) Inspirational documentary painting intimate portraits of a dozen Holocaust survivors.
Flesh and Blood (Unrated) Mark Webber wrote, directed and stars in the autobiographical mockumentary in which the characters are played by actual members of his family.
Intent to Destroy (Unrated) Genocide denial documentary chronicling the Turkish government’s ongoing refusal to apologize for its ethnic cleansing of Armenian citizens a century ago. Featuring commentary by Christian Bale, Atom Egoyan and Eric Bogosian.
No Greater Love (Unrated) Afghan War documentary examining the effect of combat on soldiers’ as captured on camera by a chaplain (Justin Roberts) embedded with an infantry regiment deployed to Kunar Province.
The Price (Unrated) Wall Street drama about a 24-year-old, Nigerian-American (Aml Ameen) stockbroker whose insider trading jeopardizes both his career and his relationship with a wealthy white socialite (Lucy Griffiths). Supporting cast includes Bill Sage, Michael Hyatt and Hope Olaide Wilson. (In Yoruba and English with subtitles)
Thelma (Unrated) Eili Harboe plays the title character in this Scandinavian suspense thriller, set in Oslo, about a college freshman who discovers she has dangerous superpowers when she falls in love with a classmate (Kaya Wilkins). With Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Henrik Rafaelsen and Camilla Belsvik. (In Norwegian with subtitles)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (R for violence, sexual references and pervasive profanity) Frances McDormand stars in this dark comedy as a grieving mom who resorts to extreme measures to pressure her town’s police chief (Woody Harrelson) to find her daughter’s (Kathryn Newton) killer. Supporting cast includes Sam Rockwell, Peter Dinklage and Abbie Cornish.