Monday, January 9, 2012

Angels Crest and Roadie - Movie Reviews

These are two smaller movies have gotten limited releases in the past week or so and may or may not ever be in a theater near you.  Since I don't have a lot to say about either movie, I figured I'd just combine both reviews on a post for a change.

The theme of this post seems to be 'good performances in forgettable movies'.  These sneak previews I'm getting seem to be about 40/60 good to bad.  I know they can't all be gems, but it's not hard to figure out why these movies get thrown up On Demand the same week, or even before, their theatrical release date.

First up is Angels Crest.  It stars Thomas Dekker as a young father that leaves his kid in a parked car while he tracks a deer.  He doesn't have any hunting equipment though, so I'm not sure why he needed to track the deer.  Dekker comes back to his car to find his son missing.  This throws their small town into a panic as they search for his son.  I'm sure you have guessed that this doesn't end well.

Right off the bat, it's hard to like Dekker's character, because that's just not a very responsible thing to do.  You then find out that Dekker's ex, is an alcoholic, played by Lynn Collins, who's more of a mess then he is.

The overall tone of the movie very dour and depressing.  They live is a very small, run down town and as you meet their family and friends, you end up not liking anyone all that much.  It seemed like everyone hated their lives and it's very melodramatic.

One funny observation is that it seems like all the women in the movie have nice calves,  Kate Walsh (although you never get to see them), Elizabeth McGovern (who knew) and Mira Sorvino (who's are legendary as far as I'm concerned).  I may have mentioned this before, but I have thing for nice calves, so I tend to notice stuff like that.

This also features Jeremy Piven as the DA that's trying the case.  He's also lost a kid recently, but no details are given, so you just kind of have to assume what he's going through.  He doesn't seem to enjoy doing his job.

The bright spot, besides Piven, is Thomas Dekker's emotional performance.  I feel bad for Dekker (not his character, the actual man). If FOX has a little more vision, we'd be on like the 4th season of The Sarah Connor Chronicles by now.  It's funny, because I always confuse him with Nick Stahl, who also played John Connor.

Anyway, while Dekker's performance is convincing, there's just not all that much else in the movie to sink your teeth into.  It never quite gets over the hump of being able to stand out of from the myriad of depressing indie films dealing with loss.

Angels Crest isn't terrible, there's just not a lot to recommend outside of Dekker's performance.  It's pretty forgettable.

2 (out of 5) Death Stars

Next up is Roadie, not to be confused with the 1980's movie of the same name starring Meatloaf.  It appears the people on HDNET were confused about this, as the program guide still shows this movie as being the 80's version.  Anyway, Roadie is about Jimmy Testagros (Ron Eldard), a roadie recently let go by Blue Oyster Cult after being on the road with them for 25 years.  I don't recall that it's ever said why he's let go.

Not knowing where to go or what to do next, he goes back to his childhood home, which he hasn't seen since high school.  He's been gone so long, that his mom doesn't even seem to recognize him at first.  Initially, I thought this movie might be taking place in the 70's due to the band, the look of the house and how Jimmy has a very 70's look about him.  However, once you see him on a cell phone, that illusion was shattered.

He runs into an old acquaintance from high school (played by Bobby Cannavale), that he used to be at odds with.  He's now married to an old flame of Jimmy's (Jill Hennessy), who's a local singer.

The movie's title is a little misleading, as you'd think this would be about a roadie in action and maybe give you a behind the scenes look at a band.  Instead, Jimmy barely talks about being a roadie to the point where you start to wonder if he ever actually was one.  You don't get any flashbacks or anything like that.  When he does talk about his work, you can tell he's exaggerating heavily about it in order to sound more important to people.  That's actually one thing that you identify with.  Who doesn't fib a little in order to build themselves up, especially to old classmates, exes, or people you haven't seen in a long time.  At the same time, the fact that he won't tell anyone, even his mom, that's he was let go makes you wonder if this guy has been lying about everything.

Anyway, the rest of the movie is about Jimmy trying to deal with not being on the road anymore and hanging out with old friends.  Nothing really happens in Roadie and I think that's the biggest problem with the film.

Ron Eldard gives a nice performance though and you are able to sympathize with him.  Cannavale made me kind of laugh and Jill Hennessy has been hitting the weights or yoga or something cause she's in great shape.  She wrote the song she performs in the movie and I was impressed by that.

Roadie has a interesting 70's soundtrack.  When you hear the name Blue Oyster Cult, most people immediately think of "Don't Fear the Reaper" and the need for more cowbell.  Some of the songs featured on the soundtrack are lesser known songs by BOC that I liked and it made me want to check out more of their stuff.  There are several other songs you hear by artists most of you have never heard of.  It's just nice that the movie introduced me to music I haven't heard before and they didn't get lazy and reuse the same few songs you hear in anything about the 70's.

Overall, Roadie ends up being another small budget character piece with good performances from the four main actors involved.  It's hurt by the the fact that it doesn't really do anything new or anything to stand out.  It's just okay for me, but I do think it's worth a rental for the soundtrack and the performances.

3 (out of 5) Death Stars

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