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‘Brotherhood’ Thrills and Provokes

Brotherhood
Jon Foster and Trevor Morgan test the limits of 'Brotherhood' (Three Folks Pictures)

When I spoke with members of the cast and crew of ‘Brotherhood’ earlier this week, they insisted that they don’t want to be graded on a sliding scale. The question arises because the film was shot in Arlington, where director and co-writer Will Canon grew up.

But ‘Brotherhood’ stands on its own very nicely, thank you very much. In comparison to the other thriller that opens today, the slick studio production ‘Unknown,’ in fact, ‘Brotherhood’ is preferable. For one thing, it doesn’t make your head hurt after you watch it. For another:

The film provides plenty of adrenaline-fueled action, while also asking provocative questions that linger, long after the credits roll.

A bit more:

Even with all the turbulence created during the long, long night — which also involves angry sorority sisters, a doctor with unfortunate timing, and an inexperienced police officer — the action erupts out of the interactions between the characters. Director Will Canon modulates the (mostly) breathless tempo, allowing moments of reflection to trip up the momentum, before resuming the race toward dawn.

You can read my entire review at Red Carpet Crash. I also wrote an article for Cinematical on the film, which includes excerpts from my interview.

‘Brotherhood’ opens today at the Angelika Dallas and is also available nationwide via VOD.

‘Cedar Rapids’ Strands an Innocent Man

Cedar Rapids
John C. Reilly, Ed Helms and Isiah Whitlock Jr. make the funny in 'Cedar Rapids'

The words “insurance” and “innocence” don’t sound like they together in the same sentence, much less an entire movie, but Miguel Arteta’s ‘Cedar Rapids’ features a lead character, played by Ed Helms (‘The Office’), who is defined by those two words.

With its crude humor, abundance of stereotypes, and naive-beyond-belief protagonist, played by Ed Helms, ‘Cedar Rapids’ is as likely to provoke rolled eyeballs as it is to induce belly laughs. Dig a little deeper, however, and you’ll find a seriocomic character study that is refreshing in its sincerity.

. . .

‘Cedar Rapids’ is not a perfectly-realized film; its sense of humor will be too broad for some and too slight for others. Once through the early, spottier patches, though, it really hits its stride and establishes the tone of conviction it needs to succeed, revealing itself as an amusing, affectionate portrait of a man who is ready to change his life.

You can read my entire review at Twitch.

The film opens today at Angelika Dallas and Cinemark West Plano. Check showtimes via Google.

‘Unknown’ May Need a Warning Label

Unknown
Liam Neeson, in a moment of quiet repose before he loses his mind, with January Jones. (Warner Bros.)

‘Unknown,’ the latest slick genre flick from director Jaume Collet-Serra (‘Orphan,’ ‘House of Wax’), is, indeed, stylish, and features an attractive cast in Liam Neeson, January Jones, Diane Kruger, the great Bruno Ganz, and Frank Langella. Yet it’s so convoluted that it left my head spinning, and not in a good way.

The plot is so contrived and so far-fetched and so incredibly convoluted that we’d be happy to leave it in the land of make believe; just leave us alone with all the explaining and justifying. But the movie insists on providing details that we don’t need. It’s meant, perhaps, to be a distraction; the movie has more red herrings than the biggest fish market in the world.

You can read my entire review at Pegasus News, which marks my first appearance there as guest reviewer.

‘Unknown’ opens wide across the Metroplex today. Check showtimes via Google.