Showing posts with label Pruitt Taylor Vince. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pruitt Taylor Vince. Show all posts

8 April 2013

The Echo DVD Review

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The Echo (2008) is one of those films which sounds good on paper, but unfortunately fails to deliver on its promises. Promoted as a tense and creepy thriller, this mystery / horror by Yam Laranas and starring Jesse Bradford and Amelia Warner, is heavy on pseudo shocks but light on pretty much everything else.

Bobby (Bradford), just released after serving a prison sentence, is determined to go straight. Moving into his late mother's old apartment in a period block in downtown Manhattan, he gets a job at a local garage run by the well meaning Hector, and tracks down his old girlfriend Alyssa (Warner) who reluctantly begins seeing him again. However after a series of strange incidents in his apartment, Bobby and Alyssa realise that something malevolent and evil is living in the block and isn't about to leave without a fight.

This film had all the potential of being a good little chiller. Set in a suitably creepy, run down Manhattan period apartment block, peopled with equally odd residents à la Rosemary's Baby (1968). Two sexy young kids as the main protagonists, who in theory could have made a seriously hot couple. And amongst the producers, Roy Lee, who has been responsible for producing a host of hits including the infinitely superior The Woman in Black (2012).

However one can't help feel when the final credits roll that the film you've just watched wasn't really the one the filmmakers intended. The setting appears to have been shot in a series of mottled and half lit tones of off brown, whilst the interiors of the apartments look depressingly old fashioned throughout. Though their dodgy plumbing and crumbling walls make for one of the main plot points, a few leaky cisterns do not make for particularly convincing paranormal phenomena. As for the young couple, Bradford seems to believe that horror acting consists of looking moody and put upon whilst Warner, though injecting slightly more life into her performance, is wasted in a role which amounts to little more than window dressing. Which leaves you with the producers. Alarm bells should always ring when you see that a film requires twelve producers - what can twelve produces do on one film? After seeing this limp excuse you could be forgiven for asking whether they were actually doing anything at all.

The film's one saving grace is the Cuban actor Carlos Leon who plays Bobby's boss Hector. An accomplished actor both on film and the Broadway stage, Leon's other great claim to fame is being the father of Madonna's daughter Lourdes - but hey, we won't hold that against him. Here he actually makes his character believable and, dare I say it, nice - but we all know what happens to the nice guys in horror movies!!

Despite its best efforts The Echo leaves you with little more of a brief frisson of excitement, rather than a lingering echo of disquiet. As such it will likely be forgotten almost as soon as the DVD player is switched off.

Cleaver Patterson


Rating: 15
DVD Release Date: 8th April 2013 (UK)
BuyThe Echo On DVD

29 October 2012

Brake DVD Review

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You can really appreciate a quality ironically by the number spin-offs or in this films case clones or films with similar scenarios. Rodrigo Cortes 2010 film Buried starring Ryan Reynolds is a highly underrated film which oddly enough hasn't seen any 'clone' films, just a few similar scenario films until now, Brake starring Stephen Dorff. So is Brake another Buried or simply a test of character for an actor for an actor who for many years puzzled us all why he hasn't excelled in bigger parts or is the film a test of how much claustrophobic you maybe?

What Appears to be an random kidnapping into something more sinister when Secret Service Agent Jeremy Reins (Dorff) discovers he's being used as a pawn in a terrorist plot. Watching the clock tick down to an unknown catastrophe. Jeremy is forced by his captors to listen to the outside world on the brink of collapse, knowing the the only way to save the people he loves is to divulge a secret that he has sworn to protect.

The first question you'll probably ask, is Brake a 'Buried clone'? The answer is yes but answer is also no. The basic set up is the same (enclosed captive who has no clue why he is there or who is responsible), but as the film progresses we gradually move away from Buried plot with the film going in it's own direction.The story is kept intense, engaging with a few twists thrown that make you think twice 'have I really sussed the plot?'. Things do work really well until the end things go pear shaped probably thanks to an eccentric flawed script which give the film the ridiculous 24 tv episode feel (though I am a fan of all things Jack Bauer).As the flaws happen right at the end of the film this could leave you in a forgiveable mood because of the timings or the total opposite frustrated and wondering why have I just wasted 80 minutes of my time watching this film! What's more confusing is at no time do we get a reason on why the film is called Brake?!

As for Stephen Dorff, in Brake he may not reach the same emotional levels Ryan Reynolds did in Buried however Dorff does deliver a really strong performance commanding the screen in a film that many other actor may have stumbled at. The film also proves he can hold a film on is own and he may have starred in a howlers as well as many one hit wonders like Sofia Copolla's Somewhere proves he does possess the acting chops to do bigger and better things.

Brake is an enjoyable tense thriller and if you can forgive the ending this film will be worthwhile your time which Buried and 24 fans will enjoy.

Paul Devine


UK DVD/BD Release Date: 29th October 2012
Directed by:Gabe Torres
Cast: Stephen Dorff, Chyler Leigh, Jr Bourne, Tom Berenger, Kali Rocha, Pruitt Taylor Vince
Buy Brake:Blu Ray / DVD