Rated PG-13 for mature themes involving violence and substance abuse
Tale Of Redemption Revisits The Real-Life Ordeal Of Single Mom Held Hostage By Rapist
On March 11, 2005, Brian Nichols (David Oyelowo) was being escorted from jail to the Fulton County Courthouse where he was set to go on trial for assault, kidnapping and rape. But en route to the courtroom, he overpowered a sheriff’s deputy (Diva Tyler) and took her gun before embarking on a bloody killing spree that would claim the lives of the judge, a court reporter, a police sergeant and a federal agent.
Nichols subsequently eluded the authorities, hijacking several vehicles as he made his way from Atlanta to the suburb of Duluth. There, in the middle of the night, he abducted Ashley Smith (Kate Mara) on the street and forced her at gunpoint to take him home with her.
Once in the apartment, the high-strung sociopath smashed her head against the wall, even though she was doing her best to complying with his demands. After all, she was well aware that she was dealing with an armed and extremely dangerous fugitive of justice who was the subject of the biggest manhunt in Georgia history. So, there was no reason for the single mom to do anything stupid that might jeopardize her chances of ever seeing her daughter (Elle Graham) again, especially since, as a recovering meth addict prone to relapse, she had already been forced to surrender custody of Paige to an Aunt (Mimi Rogers).
Meanwhile, the police were closing in. Since Brian had left his cell phone on, they were able to narrow down his location to within a three-mile radius of the tower sending out his signal. They even spoke to him and suggested he give himself up, all to no avail.
What instead ensued was a seven-hour ordeal during which Ashley and Brian not only eventually bonded but experienced a life-transforming catharsis to boot. Thanks to Ashley’s Narcotics Anonymous sponsor, she had in her possession a copy of The Purpose-Driven Life, the inspirational best-seller by Pastor Rick Warren.
And in response to her captor’s admission “I’ve got a demon in me,” the frightened victim thought to ask his permission to share some pearls of wisdom from the popular, inspirational, self-help guide: “The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose,” she began, adding, “When life has meaning, you can bear almost anything.”
Well, Warren’s inspirational message resonated, as Brian surrendered soon after the impromptu Sunday school class, and Ashley never snorted meth ever again. Thus unfolds Captive, a faith-based tale of redemption directed by Jerry Jameson.
A riveting, psychological thriller recounting a nationally-known standoff, but from the fresh perspective of the two troubled souls barricaded in a home surrounded by a SWAT team.
Very Good (3 stars)
Running time: 97 minutes
Rated R for profanity, violence and sexuality
Rural Retreat Provides Setting For Intriguing Psychological Thriller
Alice (Deborah Ann Woll) has been down ever since the day she entered her apartment and discovered the body of her boyfriend (Jake McLaughlin) who’d just committed suicide. After observing the emotional toll the tragedy was continuing to take on his formerly-reliable investigative reporter, her empathetic editor (Tom Everett Scott) suggested she take a little time off to allow herself to go through the grieving process.
So, Alice makes her way to “The Clinic,” a rustic retreat located in the woods which, at first glance, looks like the ideal place to recuperate. However, as she walks up a winding lane on her way to the reception desk, she’s approached by a stranger who prophetically warns, “You don’t want to be here.”
Nevertheless, Alice decides to check in. She meets Neil (John Diehl), the program director, who asks Charlie (Luke Grimes) to introduce her to the other residents. Instead, he tells her to “go back where you came from.”
But the journalist’s curiosity gets the better of her, so she soon meets a motley assortment of oddballs, ranging from a bully (Rain Phoenix) to a senior citizen (Diane Salinger) given to farting deliberately. Her escort Charlie turns out to be the place’s only saving grace, since he’s handsome and ready to romance the grieving lass.
Next thing you know the two are an item, and all the canoodling induces a false sense of security in Alice. Still, there’s a big skeleton on the premises just itching to be revealed.
That is the engaging premise established at the outset of Forever, an intriguing psychological thriller marking the impressive directorial debut of Tatia Pilieva, who also co-wrote the script. The picture benefits immeasurably from a plethora of decent performances as well as a cleverly-concealed plot which it would be a crime to spoil any further.
A mysterious mindbender about a deceptively-serene sanctuary with a chilling hidden agenda.
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 95 minutes
OPENING THIS WEEK
For movies opening September 25, 2015
The Green Inferno (R for torture, sexuality, profanity, disturbing images, aberrant behavior, graphic violence, drug use and brief frontal nudity) Grisly horror flick about a group of American environmental activists who venture to Peru to save the Rain Forest only to end up on the run from a tribe of cannibals. Ensemble cast includes Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Aaron Burns, Kirby Bliss Blanton and Daryl Sabara.
Hotel Transylvania 2 (PG for action, rude humor and scary images) Spooky animated sequel finds Dracula (Adam Sandler) relaxing his haunted inn’s monster-only policy while enlisting the assistance of his ghoulish pals in putting his half-human/half-vampire grandson (Asher Blinkoff) through monster boot camp. Voice cast includes Selena Gomez, Mel Brooks, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, Keegan-Michael Key, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon and Nick Offerman.
The Intern (PG-13 for suggestive content and brief profanity) Workplace comedy about the intergenerational tensions which arise when a 70-year-old widower (Robert De Niro) comes out of retirement to take a position interning at an online fashion website. With Rene Russo, Nat Wolff, Adam Devine and Drena De Niro.
99 Homes (R for profanity, sexual references and brief violence) Diminished dreams drama, set in Orlando during the housing market collapse of 2008, about a cash-strapped single dad (Andrew Garfield) who ends up having to take a job with the ruthless realtor (Michael Shannon) who’d foreclosed on his home. With Laura Dern, Noah Lomax and Cynthia Santiago.
The Anomaly (Unrated) Futuristic, sci-fi about thriller an ex-soldier (Noel Clarke) in a race against time to escape the clutches of a mind-control biotech company that plans to kill him in less than 10 minutes. Featuring Alexis Knapp, Brian Cox and Luke Hemsworth.
Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead (Unrated) Rise and fall documentary about National Lampoon, the subversive humor magazine which morphed into a Hollywood phenomenon before finally flaming out in 2010 when its CEO was sent to prison for artificially inflating the company’s stock in a Ponzi scheme. Featuring commentary by Chevy Chase, P.J. O’Rourke and Bill Murray.
The Keeping Room (R for rape and graphic violence) Civil War saga, set towards the end of the conflict, about a couple of resourceful Southern Belles (Hailee Steinfeld and Brit Marling) who, with the help of a slave girl (Muna Otaru), take up arms to defend their home from marauding Union soldiers. With Sam Worthington, Kyle Soller and Ned Dennehy.
Labyrinth Of Lies (R for sexuality) Justice delayed drama, set in Berlin in 1958, revolving around an idealistic young prosecutor (Alexander Fehling) frustrated by government bureaucrats in his attempt to prosecute fugitive, Nazi War criminals. With Johannes Krisch, Hansi Jochmann, Andre Szymanski and Johan von Bulow. (In German with subtitles)
Mississippi Grind (R for profanity) Road drama about a couple of down-and-out, riverboat gamblers (Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn) who join forces in a desperate attempt to change their fortunes. Support cast includes Yvonne Landry, Anthony Howard and Jayson Warner Smith.
The Reflektor Tapes (Unrated) Rockumentary about the making of the band Arcade Fire’s album Reflektor.
Sleepless In New York (Unrated) Lovesickness is the subject of this documentary exploring the profound emotional pain adolescents and others experience in the wake of rejection.
Stonewall (R for sexuality, violence, drug use and pervasive profanity) Historical drama, set in New York City, revisiting the 1969 riot at a Manhattan bar which kickstarted the Gay Rights movement. With Ron Perlman, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Joey King and Caleb Landry Jones.
Theresa Is A Mother (Unrated) C. Fraser Press plays the title character in this musical comedy as a flat-broke single-mom with three daughters (Schuyler, Maeve and Amaya Press), who grudgingly asks her parents for permission to move back home after failing to make it as a singer in New York City. Supporting cast includes Edie McClurg, Richard Poe and Robert Turano.
Western (Unrated) Undocumented alien documentary chronicling the toll that the flood of immigrants across the Rio Grande is taking on the border towns of Eagle Pass, Texas and Piedras Negras, New Mexico.