Friday, June 17, 2011

Worth Mentioning - And the Shock Began

We watch several movies a week. Every Friday, we'll talk a little about some of the movies we watched that we felt were Worth Mentioning.

This week, Jay returns to talk about Trucker and announce his upcoming special blog feature, and Cody experiences a Blackout.

TRUCKER (2008)
Directed by James Mottern
Starring Michelle Monaghan, Jimmy Bennett, Nathan Fillion, and Benjamin Bratt

The James Mottern directed Trucker stars Michelle Monaghan as Diane Ford, a trucker living a seemingly hectic and unenjoyable life, but it's still a life that she doesn't want to have interrupted when she's forced to start taking care of an 11-year-old son that she walked out on when he was still a baby. The son, Peter, is played quite well by Jimmy Bennett.

Nathan Fillion (who all my guy friends seem to have man crushes on) plays Diane's good friend from down the street who wants to be more than just friends with Diane, and the feeling seems to be mutual at times. Fillion has some good scenes with the kid and the acting is pretty solid overall, including a few scenes from Joey Lauren Adams.

While those performances are nice and interesting to see, the film is held together by the great performances from Monaghan and Bennett. Monaghan is especially good here and kept my interest throughout the entire film. This is a solid film and not a tremendous effort but features some good acting as well as some pretty photography along the way.

There is a particularly enjoyable scene where Diane attacks two teenage guys who pushed Peter down. The scene takes place after a rocky start between the mother and son, so it was nice to see her go into the protective mother mode without a second thought, so much so that she flees her motel room wearing only a shirt and underwear in order to find the two teens. 

It's also worth mentioning as to why I've been missing in action these last few weeks. I'm gearing up to shoot a film over the summer and have been busy in pre-production. I can't really say anything about it just yet, but within the next two weeks or so I will be starting my new column entitled "Shoestrings With No Shoes: A Journal in No Budget Filmmaking", which will document all of my experiences as I try to get another movie shot and out to the masses!

Cody's mention:

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Castle Residence is a twenty-seven story apartment building in New York City. Children, the elderly, singles, families, couples gay and straight, from the broke to the affluent, Castle Residence is home to people from all walks of life, and to most of the characters we'll come to meet in this film - a pregnant woman due to give birth, an elderly woman caring for her husband, a magician with a beagle, a grumpy old rich man, there's even a Greek wedding party happening on the 27th floor.

Elsewhere, a group of dangerous criminals are loaded into a Department of Corrections truck, being transferred from a mental hospital to the prison. Before the guards drive off with them, they're informed of an extra addition to the group, a man being flown in on a helicopter. This late and showy arrival identifies him as the most villainous of the bunch. He's Christie, a guy who tends to show his disapproval of big businesses by blowing them up.

A severe storm hits the city, causing the titular blackout. Some sites online claim that this film is set during the infamous 1977 NYC blackout, but I think that's incorrect given a Police Captain's reference to "what happened last time" while declaring that there will be no looting in his precinct this time.

Worlds collide when a couple bikers do some tricky driving in front of the DoC truck and cause it to crash, right in front of Castle Residence. At first I thought the bikers were intentionally trying to break the prisoners out of the truck, but they take off as soon as it crashes, so apparently they're just reckless showboats.

The criminals exit the truck and decide to go into the apartment building. A spree of violence, robbery, rape, and arson follows, Christie in particular causing situations to escalate to murder as he questions people and makes judgments on their lives. If they pay for things with credit cards, Christie says they're leeches, parasites, spending money they don't have. He says the magician is exploiting his dog by including it in his act. When he sees a man who needs a breathing machine to live, he says, "Mother Nature has no place for the sick and the weak". Etc.

Officer Dan Evans finds the wrecked transfer truck and the dead officers within and decides to check out Castle Residence. It's up to him, and a few helpful sidekicks he gathers along the way, to help troubled citizens within the building and stop the criminals.

This is a pretty interesting drive-in type of movie with a cool set-up, the random careless bikers aside. Robert Carradine, best known as Lewis Skolnick from Revenge of the Nerds, plays the menacingly calm judgmental douche Christie. Our hero Officer Evans is played by Jim Mitchum, son of the legendary Robert. The legendary-in-their-own-right June Allyson and Ray Milland appear as Castle Residence residents.

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