Texas Killing Fields (R)
Anchor Bay / Release date: Jan. 31
The director here is Ami Canaan Mann, Michael Mann's daughter. Now, before you say that she got this gig because of her daddy, let me say this: Texas Killing Fields is better than his past five films. Combined. There's a realism and honesty in her film, something lost in Michael's because he's so busy exercising style over substance. Inspired by true events, Texas stars Sam Worthington and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as small-town Texas police detectives trying to track down a killer who's murdering girls and dumping their bodies in a nearby marsh. The next victim might be a young girl with a troubled home life (Chloe Grace Moretz), unless the psycho's stopped. As someone who grew up in a town like this with parents who were cops, I swear Mann perfectly captures the essence of small-town Texas criminal underbellies and police tactics. — Louis Fowler
Anchor Bay and Manga Entertainment
It's Days of Thunder meets TRON, with some Speed Racer and Akira thrown in for good measure. In Takeshi Koike's fast-and-furious anime adventure about (and I mean "about" in the loosest sense possible) a futuristic, otherworldly mega-race where fixes are in, drivers keep dying off and a star racer, "Sweet JP," finds love and redemption. This being a beautifully hand-drawn and digitally composited anime film, of course, there are incoherent complications of the usual sort, but by the time the funky-bot is introduced, you will have long since lost any reason to care about the plot. Koike (Kill Bill: Vol. 1, The Animatrix) pumps this thing so full of adrenaline and captivating line drawings — the sound design is a particular marvel — that eventually, all there is to do is hang on. And don't miss the in-depth look, in the extras, at the making of this wild ride. — Justin Strout
The Whistleblower (R)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Not to get all Ron Paul on you, but if you need one more reason to buy a "Get the US Out of the UN" bumper-sticker, I highly suggest you watch the highly controversial, "based on actual events" drama The Whistleblower, starring Rachel Weisz in an unexpectedly powerful turn. She's a Nebraska cop needing a change of pace, so she takes a job as a United Nations peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia. As the dead bodies of young girls start piling up, her police instincts kick in and she uncovers a human trafficking/prostitution ring that is not only frequented by many on-duty peacekeepers, but is covered up by the higher-ups for all the cash it brings into the economically devastated area. It's truly sickening to know that these things go on in the world, but to have it perpetrated by the very people trying to stop it? Disillusioning and disgusting. — Louis Fowler
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.