Friday, December 17, 2010

Bonus CineFiles: Down Under demons, Christian courtrooms and Stone Cold stunners!

Posted By on Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 9:34 AM

Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.

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DAMNED BY DAWN (Rated R)
Image Entertainment

I'd like to call this the “Down Under Evil Dead”, but, really, didn't Peter Jackson already kinda do that with Dead Alive? (And yes, I know he's from New Zealand and not Australia, but, whatever.) Claire and her expendable boyfriend arrive at her dad's secluded farm to say her goodbyes to her ailing grandmother, only to be confronted with a wailing banshee, a free-floating Death spectre and scads of lost souls that won't let her escape. Damned is definitely low budget but, true to Aussie form, doesn't look it at all: The special effects are top-notch and definitely provide a serious aura of total fun, so much so that you kinda wish that writer-director Brett Anstey did more work on the screenplay. Story-wise, you've seen it before, but, visually, it's eye-candy you can't get enough of.


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THE TRIAL (PG-13)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Yes, The Trial is the latest in a spate of faith-based films that I've been watching recently, but, unlike the past few, it doesn't wear out its welcome with nonstop sanctimonious preaching and dubious directorial prowess; instead, the filmmakers go the Grisham route and make a thoroughly involving courtroom drama that does a great job in subversively making you question your morals and, quite possibly, your own total capacity for forgiveness ... hey, wait a minute! I think The Trial might've worked on me! Matthew Modine is a suicidal lawyer called in for “one final case”: to defend a young man accused of drugging and murdering his girlfriend. Plenty of unpredictable twists make The Trial a totally watchable movie, and, like I said, there's only one or two scenes that can really be considered proselytizing, but, still, I know that that alone might turn most of you off regardless. Maybe I shouldn't have said anything at all?


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HUNT TO KILL (Rated R)
Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

God bless you, The Expendables, for giving every one of your stars a new life on DVD, from Dolph Lundgren's The Killing Machine (reviewed here a few weeks ago) to the recently released Hunt To Kill, starring Steve Austin, featuring guest spots from Eric Roberts and Gary Daniels. In a survivalist riff on Schwarzenegger's Commando, Austin is a vacationing single-father/Border Patrol agent whose bratty daughter is kidnapped by foul-mouthed, trigger-happy crooks and taken into the woods. Shot in the chest and left for dead, Austin goes rugged and takes down the fugitives one by one, using improvised arrows and spears and general hand-to-hand smackdown-ness. Bones break, blood spurts and asses are routinely kicked in this extremely fun (but, of course, utterly dumb) 97-minute action flick that is far from expendable.

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