Review: ‘The Quarry’, SXSW 2020 selection is available today!

SYNOPSIS: From the novel by Damon Galgut comes this searing thriller, a tale of sin and redemption set in the wilds of Texas. After murdering a traveling preacher, a fugitive drifter (Shea Whigham, Joker) travels to a small town and poses as the man he killed. Though the congregation loves the drifter’s sermons of forgiveness, the local police chief (Academy Award® nominee Michael Shannon, The Shape of Water) is suspicious of the man. Soon a gruesome discovery at a local quarry forces the killer to fight for his freedom.

 

A fugitive, a local sheriff, and the resident town criminal all cross paths for a simmering thriller based on mistaken identity. You will recognize that the script is based on a novel in its slow-burn feel of storytelling. In reality, you’re getting a lot of information constantly, but the quiet, abandoned, small-town feel immediately affects the tone of the film. I found myself unable to decide who I should be rooting for even though it is morally very clear cut. That is 100 percent due to the nuanced performance from this relatively small cast. While the novel takes place during South African apartheid, the universal theme of racism is very much prevalent in this film. It will launch the plot towards its inevitable tragedy.

We have a mini Boardwalk Empire reunion with Shea Whigham and Michael Shannon. Pitted against one another, their chemistry is magic. You will find yourself pulled into their dynamic. These fully fleshed out and flawed people are a perfect character study, especially with Whigham and Shannon in the roles. Both gentlemen are given the opportunity to play off of Catalina Sandino Moreno. It’s a masterclass in subtly from every angle. This film is about the script and people. The sparsity of sets and costumes adds to your focus. The ending is something you will never see coming. Overall, The Quarry is a solid thriller that brilliantly highlights superior acting and great direction.

Lionsgate and Grindstone, a Lionsgate Company will release the thriller film THE QUARRY on demand on April 17, 2020.

THE QUARRY stars Shea Whigham (Joker, “Boardwalk Empire”), Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water, Nocturnal Animals), Catalina Sandino Moreno (Showtime’s “The Affair,” Maria Full of Grace), Bobby Soto (“Narcos: Mexico,” A Better Life) and Bruno Bichir (Sicario: Day of the Soldado, Che: Part One). The film was directed by Scott Teems (That Evening Sun) who co-wrote the film with Andrew Brotzman (Nor’easter). The film is based on Damon Galgut’s acclaimed novel of the same name.

Review: Kevin McMullin’s ‘Low Tide’ is a successful teen noir.

LOW TIDE

In the long days of summer in a beach town on the New Jersey shore, high schooler Alan (Keean Johnson) and his friends Red (Alex Neustaedter) and Smitty (Daniel Zolghadri) break into vacation homes to steal valuables, funding dates at the boardwalk and lunches at the burger stand. When Alan and his younger brother Peter (Jaeden Martell) find a bag of gold coins, they try to hide them from the others — but Red, suspicious and violently unpredictable, seems willing to do anything to get the money.

This teen thriller is so well written and acted that the foreboding behinds immediately and never lets up. Nothing good can come of white boy rage and resentment. But a whole lot of great can come from a brilliant young cast of this caliber. Jaeden Martell is captivating as younger boy scout brother Alan. There is something truly special about this young man’s ability to fill a frame with a powerful silence. Older, sort of ne’er do well brother played by Keean Johnson is a dynamic foil for Martell. Fueled by equal parts passion and pride, he inadvertently puts both boys’ lives in jeopardy. The other two young men that keep these brothers deeply mired in danger are complete opposites of one another. Daniel Zolghadri gives a phenomenal performance as Smitty, playing somewhere between a mob rat and a boy who is terrified to feel rejected. The fourth and certainly most brutal of the bunch is Red. Alex Neustaedter utilizes a physical and emotional volatility that is truly unsettling. You will keep one eye on him at all times because you know nothing good can come of his angry townie attitude. These four boys try to avoid getting caught robbing summer tourists but deceit leads the group down a deadly path. Writer-Director Kevin McMullin has crafted a real thriller. The cinematography is beautiful. Existing in a time driven by greed and favoring the elite, Low Tide proves that human nature reveals its flaws just as easily among children as it does adults. This film undoubtedly brings unsettling intrigue and true noir.

Written and Directed by: Kevin McMullin
Produced by: Brendan McHugh, Kevin Rowe, Richard Peete, Rian Cahill, and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones 
Starring: Keean Johnson, Jaeden Martell, Alex Neustaedter, Daniel Zolghadri, Kristine Froseth, Shea Whigham

Distributed by A24 and DIRECTV
Run Time: 86 Minutes
Rated R for language, some violence and teen drug use

 

Review: Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)

Sicario: Day of the Soldado

Theatrical Release: June 29, 2018

Run Time: 2 hours 2 minutes

Reviewed By: Reel Reviews Over Brews

Sicario: Day of the Soldado, begins a new chapter. The cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the US border, federal agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) calls on the mysterious Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), whose family was murdered by a cartel kingpin, to escalate the war between rival cartels. Alejandro kidnaps the kingpin’s daughter Isabela (Isabela Moner) to spark the conflict, but when the girl is seen as collateral damage the two men will have to decide what to do with her as they question everything they are fighting for.


I’d like to start by saying I loved the first Sicario. It had me on the edge of my seat from the opening scene and had my anxiety up to levels No Country For Old Men put me at. Easily a top 3 movie of mine. Anyway, when I heard they were making a sequel I was less than thrilled. I was worried it would take away from how good the first one was. However, since Sicario, I have been following Taylor Sheridan everywhere. Writing Hell or High Water and writing/directing Wind River with a new TV series Yellowstone. I liked them all. So of course I was checking out this one.

Sicario: Day of the Soldado brought the same intensity as the first movie. The action was raw and the acting was brilliant. Brolin and Del Toro are again, as good as it gets, in Soldado. Newcomer, Isabela Moner, was excellent as well. The movie turned out to be pretty politically charged with the immigrants at the boarder being the driving force of the plot. Soldado kept you on the edge of the seat throughout the entire movie. Just when you thought everything was going smoothly the whole thing flips on its head and all that was left to do was react. One of the most well done scenes comes as a group of terrorists enter a crowed store and blow it up. It is the few moments after the initial explosions that you see a mother and daughter slowly make their way to the door pleading the final terrorist not to do it. It is grip the seat kind of tension. And that is only one of many that leave you shocked. Taylor Sheridan leaves some loose ends for presumably a 3rd installment, which after seeing Soldado I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Reel ROB Rating: 7.5 out of 10 stars

Post Credits Scene: No

We want to thank our friends at Reel News Daily for allowing us to do this guest review!

Liz’s Review: Kevin Bacon brings the unexpected in ‘COP CAR’.

Cop Car posterAs a kid, curiosity probably should have gotten me killed a slew of times. Running away wasn’t really my thing, but playing with the boys in the woods, rough housing and climbing things I probably shouldn’t have went hand in hand with ballet lessons and dressing up as Princess Leia. In the new film COP CAR, two young boys come upon what appears to be an abandoned sheriff’s vehicle in the middle of nowhere. Coming to the naive conclusion that no one is coming back for the car, they take it upon themselves to claim the vehicle as their own and go on one hell of a joyride. Unbeknownst to them, it’s shady owner has secrets hiding within the vehicle. An innocent coming of age tale spins wildly out of control as the boys decide between right and wrong and the threats of grownups with their own agenda.Cop Car-00005Kevin Bacon gives an outstanding performance as the infamous Sheriff Kretzer. This man is a master as manipulation. Watching his character get in and out of dangerous scenarios is fascinating and frightening. Bacon never disappoints me with his uncanny ability to be both charming and smarmy all in one. (He was totally booked for sit down interviews this time. I was disappointed as I dream of being able to say that “I am 0 degrees from Kevin Bacon.” Next time, sir. Next time.) Cop Car-00008The young boys that we want so desperately to get away are played heroically by James Freedson-Jackson and Hays Wellford. Both performances should be lauded as total success stories. These two young boys have careers ahead of them, for sure. Freedson-Jackson plays the more dominant of the pair  with gusto and complete ownership. Wellford, as the meeker young man, is heartfelt and thoughtful. It makes me wonder the amount of time these kids spent  together prior to and during filming. Their chemistry is organic and beyond solid. Camryn Manheim plays a concerned local woman, putting the boys on blast to the authorities. I love Manheim in everything from Ghost Whisperer to her innumerable guest appearances on what feels like every television series since the mid-90’s. Shea Whigman, one of my favorite actors from Boardwalk Empire, makes a phenomenal appearance in this film. Setting the bar high is the name of his game and he blows us away.Cop Car-00007The film’s pace starts out free and easy, throwing you into a false sense of stability. Ramping up and never stopping until the final frame, Cop Car really took me by surprise. It was a purely intriguing script and I was never bored. Fare warning: it is quite violent but totally worth it. Great performances, fantastic story, completely unexpected, I really dug this film. It is crystal clear why director Jon Watts was brought on to helm the UNTITLED SPIDER-MAN REBOOT for 2017. This gives me so much hope for the franchise. Beyond looking forward to more from this talented man.Cop Car-00009COP CAR opens in theaters today, August 7th.

Kevin Bacon (THE FOLLOWING, HBO’s TAKING CHANCE, MYSTIC RIVER) stars in director Jon Watts’ delightful throwback thriller COP CAR.   When two good-natured but rebellious young boys (Hays Wellford of INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE and James Freedson-Jackson) stumble across an abandoned cop car hidden in a secluded glade they decide to take it for a quick joyride.  Their bad decision unleashes the ire of the county sheriff (Kevin Bacon) and leads to brutal consequences.  COP CAR  firmly establishes Jon Watts as a master of minimalist suspense and a directing force that will soon extend well beyond the independent landscape—Watts has just signed on to helm the UNTITLED SPIDER-MAN REBOOT for 2017.