Rated PG-13 for profanity, rude gestures, mayhem and pervasive violence
Taken Meets Speed Meets Ransom In High-Octane Thriller
Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) is a former racecar driver who recently moved with his wife, Leanna (Rebecca Budig), from theU.S.to her hometown ofSofia,Bulgaria. But any plans for a quiet retirement are rudely interrupted when she’s kidnapped at the height of the Christmas season.
First, he gets a call from a mysterious madman (Jon Voight) announcing that the only hope of seeing her alive again is to follow his instructions without calling the police. Then, he’s ordered to steal a specific, custom-built Ford Mustang parked in a nearby garage.
Only after settling behind the wheel does he realize that the auto has already been outfitted with cameras and microphones. Soon, he finds himself being pressured by the mastermind of the diabolical plot to execute a series of dangerous maneuvers at breakneck speed through a crowded market, across a rink filled with skaters, up onto a stage and down a flight of steps.
The one-car wrecking ball attracts the attention of the cops, of course, who set up a dragnet to try to put an end to the impromptu demolition derby. Brent, however, relies on his professional skills to elude the authorities, although he still he has no idea of his wife’s whereabouts or what crazy stunt is coming next on her inscrutable abductor’s bizarre agenda.
So unfolds Getaway, a high-octane thriller that might be best described as Taken meets Speed meets Ransom, since it borrows popular elements from each of those adrenaline-fueled adventures. Unfortunately, the execution, here, leaves a lot to be desired, since the picture is basically an hour and a half of chase scenes punctuated by crashes and pyrotechnics.
For some reason, director Courtney Solomon (Dungeons & Dragons) opted to forego character development in favor of incessant action and special f/x. Hence, the audience is never able to invest emotionally in the plight of the anguished protagonist or his imperiled spouse. Instead, we’re repeatedly treated to the sight of careening cars crashing, rolling over, almost hitting pedestrians, and my personal favorite, flying off a bridge in flames.
Along the way, Brent encounters the hijacked GT’s true owner (Selena Gomez), a spoiled rich kid who initially just wants her graduation present back. Lucky for him, the tech-savvy debutante turns sympathetic and is willing to use her laptop to help him find his spouse.
Too bad the script’s abysmal dialogue never rises above trite lines like “Why is this happening?” “You’re running out of time. Tick-tock!” and “You don’t have to do this.” A frenetically-paced Selena Gomez vehicle, apt to satisfy her diehard fans, despite being full of sound and fury and ultimately signifying nothing.
Good (2 stars)
Running time: 94 minutes
Rated R for profanity, sexuality, nudity and graphic violence
Masked Maniacs Wreak Havoc At Family Reunion In Harrowing Horror Flick
Paul Davison (Rob Moran) recently retired after receiving a generous golden parachute from KPG, the defense contractor with which he’d enjoyed a long career as an executive. Hoping to spend their golden years in the country, he and his wife Aubrey (Barbara Crampton) purchased a sprawling Tudor mansion in need of a little TLC.
The couple moves into the mammoth fixer-upper on their 35th anniversary with plans to celebrate by hosting a family reunion that very same weekend. Their arriving guests include son Crispian (AJ Bowen) and his girlfriend Erin (Sharni Vinson), son Drake (Joe Swanberg) and his wife Kelly (Margaret Laney), son Felix (Nicholas Tucci) and his girlfriend Zee (Wendy Glenn), and daughter Aimee (Amy Seimetz) and boyfriend Tariq (Ti West).
But the revelers at the rural retreat are initially blissfully unaware that their only neighbors (Kate Lyn Sheil and Larry Fessenden) for miles around have just been murdered in a brutal home invasion by an ax-wielding maniac. This meansErinis in for the shock of her life when Mrs. Davison innocently asks her to run next door to borrow some milk. What she finds is the aftermath of the slaughter, and the words “You’re Next” written in blood on a sliding glass door.
Then, as night falls, the Davisons find their phones inoperable as they come under attack by a masked madman armed with a crossbow. They immediately begin to barricade the premises and to take precautionary measures while trying to figure out who would want them dead and why.
Thus unfolds You’re Next, a high attrition-rate horror flick directed by wunderkind Adam Wingard (A Horrible Way To Die). The Mumblecore maven tapped a talented cast featuring several actors associated with the genre, including Joe Swanberg, Amy Seimetz and Lane Hughes.
This tautly edited, harrowing adventure kept this critic on the edge of his seat, and I had to constantly remind myself that “It’s only a movie.” It even had me shrieking at the top of my lungs in reaction to a number of shocking developments, precisely as the best in fright fare ought to do.
Rather than risk spoiling a cleverly-concealed mindbender one iota, suffice to say that the summer of 2013 has been a great season for horror fare, from ThePurge to The Conjuring to this spine-tingling scare fest not for the squeamish.
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 96 minutes
OPENING THIS WEEK
For movies opening August 30, 2013
Closed Circuit (R for profanity and brief violence) Legal thriller about a couple of ex-lover lawyers (Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall) whose lives are threatened when they decide to defend the prime suspect (Denis Moschitto) in the terrorist bombing of a bustling London market. With Jim Broadbent, Ciaran Hinds and Claudia Simmons-Howe.
One Direction: This Is Us (PG for mild epithets) Oscar-nominee Morgan Spurlock (for Super Size Me) directs this concert flick featuring backstage footage and chronicling the British boy band’s meteoric rise to superstardom. Quintet includes Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson.
Afternoon Delight (R for profanity, drug use and graphic sexuality) Midlife crisis dramedy set in L.A. about a bored housewife (Kathryn Hahn) who spices up her life by hiring a stripper (Juno Temple) as a live-in nanny. With Jane Lynch, Josh Radnor, Jessica St. Clair and Michaela Watkins.
American Made Movie (G) Nostalgic factory documentary revisits the glory days of theUnited States’ manufacturing industry when exports still exceeded imports.
I Declare War (Unrated) Coming-of-age dramedy about a group of 12-year-old neighborhood kids whose fantasy game of Capture The Flag turns realistic when jealousy rears its ugly head. Ensemble cast includes Siam Yu, Gage Munroe, Michael Friend, Aidan Gouveia and Mackenzie Munro.
King: A Filmed Record… Montgomery To Memphis (Unrated) Re-release of the Oscar-nominated, 1970 documentary chronicling the life and career of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Includes appearances by Harry Belafonte, Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby.
The Lifeguard (R for drug use, profanity, disturbing images, graphic nudity and explicit sexuality) Kristen Bell stars in the title role of this jailbait drama as a jaded, NYC tv reporter who quits her job to move back home to suburban Connecticut to work as a lifeguard only to end up having an affair with a troubled, 16-year-old (David Lambert). With Mamie Gummer, Martin Starr, Joshua Harto and John Finn.
Our Nixon (Unrated) Tricky Dick documentary, first aired on CNN, revisiting the events surrounding the Watergate break-in which brought down the Nixon administration. Featuring recently unearthed, Super 8 film footage of White House insiders John Ehrlichman, Dwight Chapin and H.R. Bob Haldeman.
Passion (R for profanity, sexuality and violence) Brian De Palma directs this English language remake of Crime D’amour, the French thriller about the escalating, cutthroat competition between a corporate executive (Rachel McAdams) and her ambitious protégé (Noomi Rapace). With Karoline Herfurth, Paul Anderson and Rainer Bock.