Burglar Discovers Psychopath’s Lair in Riveting Suspense Thriller
As an adolescent, Sean (Robert Sheehan) was dragged by his mom from Ireland to Portland, Oregon so that his step-dad could take a construction job that ended up lasting only a few weeks. Seven years later, Sean’s now an aspiring artist who ekes out a living parking cars at a trendy restaurant.
Against his better judgment, he and a fellow valet, Derek (Carlito Olivero), hatch a plan to burglarize homes of well-to-do customers while they’re dining. The scheme seems easy as pie, since most people hand over all their keys when checking their vehicles.
But what the partners in crime didn’t bank on was that they might break into a house owned by a homicidal maniac in the midst of a killing spree. That’s precisely what transpires the night they decide to rob Cale Erendreich (David Tennant), a condescending snob whose multimillion-dollar mansion is located just minutes away from the bistro.
As soon as the filthy-rich heir enters the establishment, Sean drives off in his Maserati, leaving Derek behind to serve as lookout. While ransacking the place for valuables, he’s shocked to find a young woman (Kerry Condon) bound and gagged in a well-fortified, soundproof room.
But before he has a chance to help her, he gets an urgent call from Derek letting him know that Mr. Erendreich has finished his meal and is impatiently asking for his automobile. So, instead of freeing the captive, Sean simply leaves without taking anything. Trouble is, it doesn’t take Erendreich long to figure out who has trespassed on his property.
That is the intriguing point of departure of Bad Samaritan, a riveting thriller reminiscent of such suspense classics as Psycho (1960) and Silence of the Lambs (1991). Directed by Dean Devlin (Geostorm), the pulse-pounding film features a talented cast which has expertly executed a captivating script guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.
An old-fashioned cat-and-mouse thriller with a frightening villain certain to haunt you long after you’ve left the theater.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for violence, drug use, pervasive profanity and brief nudity
Running time: 111 minutes
Production Studios: Electric Entertainment
Distributor: Electric Entertainment
Inter-Generational Drama Recounts Internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII
A couple of months after the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066. In accordance with this directive, over 100,000 U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry were herded up and taken to internment camps for the duration of World War II.
American, though set in the present, revisits that shameful chapter in our history. It is appropriate that the poignant picture stars George Takei, best remembered as Lt. Sulu of Star Trek fame since, at the tender age of five, he and his family were forced out of their home at gunpoint and relocated to parts unknown.
In American, he plays Clinton Nakamato, a 94-year-old veteran who proudly served his country in WWII, despite having been shipped to a concentration camp on account of his Japanese heritage. At the point of departure, we find him volunteering at the Japanese-American National Museum as he recounts his unfortunate ordeal on U.S. soil to a visitor (Rachel Michiko Whitney) with an impressionable young daughter (Araceli Prasarttongosoth) in tow.
As Clinton conducts an impromptu tour for them, we learn what life had been like for him when housed behind barbed wire. Ironically, he started every school day began with the Pledge of Allegiance to the country imprisoning him. Nevertheless, when he came of age, he opted to enlist in the army.
The plot thickens when the little girl shows him a picture of her grandfather, who had also been a member of the 442, a Japanese regiment which suffered very heavy casualties while fighting the Nazis overseas. The photo triggers a battlefield flashback in Clinton, which ultimately leads to a couple of touching tableaux it would be unfair for me to spoil.
Directed by Richie Adams (Of Mind and Music), American is a character-driven drama, which packs quite an emotional punch, given its duration of less than 18 minutes. Kudos to George Takei for this labor of love, doubling as a very timely teachable moment about racial tolerance.
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 18 minutes
Production Studio: River Road Creative
Distributor: River Road Creative
OPENING THIS WEEK
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
For movies opening May 11, 2018
Breaking In (PG-13 for violence, bloody images, menacing, sexual references and brief profanity) Suspense thriller revolving around a single-mom’s (Gabrielle Union) efforts to rescue her kids (Ajiona Alexus and Seth Carr) being held hostage by a gang of burglars barricaded inside her recently-deceased father’s Malibu mansion. With Billy Burke, Christa Miller, Richard Cabral and Jason George.
Life of the Party (PG-13 for sexuality, partying and drug use) Midlife crisis comedy about a just-dumped housewife (Melissa McCarthy) who decides to go back to college to complete her degree at the same school as her mortified daughter (Molly Gordon). Featuring Maya Rudolph, Gillian Jacobs, Jacki Weaver and Stephen Root, with a cameo appearance by Christina Aguilera.
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN
Always at the Carlyle (PG-13 for suggestive content, partial nudity and drug references) Reverential retrospective about the iconic, NYC hotel, which has served as the favorite haunt of several generations of Jet Setters. Featuring commentary by George Clooney, Woody Allen and Anthony Bourdain.
Anything (R for sexual references, drug use and pervasive profanity) Romance drama about a widower (John Carroll Lynch) who moves from Mississippi with his sister to L.A. where he takes a fancy to his transgender, next-door neighbor (Matt Bomer). Support cast includes Maura Tierney, Margot Bingham and Michael Boatman.
Beast (R for profanity, sexuality and disturbing violence) Psychological thriller set on a tiny English island where a young woman (Jessie Buckley) leaves home to move in with a free-spirited newcomer (Johnny Flynn) only to discover that he’s the prime suspect in a string of brutal murders. With Geraldine James, Trystan Gravelle and Shannon Tarbet.
Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat (Unrated) Prestige biopic chronicling the late artist’s life prior to his rise to fame.
Class Rank (Unrated) Romantic comedy about a couple of couple of college-bound teens (Olivia Holt and Skyler Gisondo) who hatch a plan to improve their admissions chances by having their high school abolish its student ranking system. Supporting cast includes Kristin Chenoweth, Bruce Dern and Kathleen Chalfant.
Mountain (Unrated) Willem Dafoe narrates this documentary exploring the history and extolling the virtues of mountain climbing.
Revenge (R for profanity, sexuality, graphic nudity, rape, gruesome violence and drug use) Action thriller set in France where an American socialite (Matilda Lutz) decides to take the law into her own hands after being raped and left for dead by a friend (Vincent Colombe) of her married millionaire lover (Kevin Janssens). (With Guillaume Bouchede and Avant Strangel. (In English and French with subtitles.)
What Haunts Us (Unrated) Paige Goldberg Tolmach directed this investigative documentary connecting the dots between the suicides of six of her high classmates, all of whom had been molested by the same teacher.