Code Red (NR)
Hot on the heels of last year's far more entertaining (and sort of similarly themed) Frankenstein's Army comes the less-than-stellar Code Red, a war-time zombie flick imagining that, in 1942, Stalin put forth an initiative to create a nerve gas that reanimated the dead, put to rather spectacularly gory use at the legendary Battle of Stalingrad. Flash-forward 70 years as a crack special forces team heads to modern-day Bulgaria when reports of the undead menace resurface and the need to nip it in the bud early and often becomes an immediate priority. While the 1942 scenes of undead soldiers attacking, all done in that gloriously gritty Saving Private Ryan style, are a lot of fun, once Code Red hits the present, it loses all that steam and goodwill that had been built up and it becomes just another pointless zombie movie. — Louis Fowler
Twice Born (R)
For years now at the cinema, we've all been inundated with the current trend of manic pixie dream girls rescuing male characters from a life of routine and boredom through their wacky antics, but Twice Born flips the script and creates the male counterpart: the scruffy idealistic dreamboat, and boy, do I hate them for it. Penelope Cruz is an Italian professor who recounts that one time she went to Sarajevo and fell in love with said man, in only the most vapid of ways. Played by Emile Hirsch, he comes off sleazy and scuzzy — their first sexual interlude could technically be considered rape — but his cloying, pretentious nature just keeps the viewer impatiently waiting for the civil war to break out so he can die already. Twice Born wanted so desperately to be an Oscar-bait movie, but it's just so paint-by-the-numbers that it comes off more stillborn than anything else. — Louis Fowler
By all accounts, Paul Walker, who died last year in a car accident, was a kind person and a family man. His close association with the Fast & Furious franchise he helped anchor, however, limited his reputation as an actor. Almost cruelly, along comes Hours, a Katrina-set survival drama from writer-director Eric Heisserer, to let us know we'd only scratched Walker's surface. He plays Nolan, a man whose wife dies giving birth to their daughter. Nolan's grief parallels the violent storm and keeps him dazed enough to miss how serious a turn it's taken. When the power goes, he's forced to hand-crank the ventilator battery, which only affords him a few minutes — time enough merely to comprehend how alone they are. From the dreamlike disaster prep to the masculine embryology of Nolan's mission, Hours is a tenderly observed showcase for an actor we were only just getting to know. — Justin Strout
The costumes were amazing and added to the brilliant production.
The striking colors and textures are reminiscent of Southern Colorado and New Mexico. Lovely work.