Posts Tagged ‘Hilary Swank’

Betty Gilpin (right)

“THE HUNT” My rating: C+

89 minutes | MPAA rating: R

The premise of “The Hunt” —  a bunch of rich sphincters go hunting for other humans on a private game preserve — has been recycling through the cinema ever since 1932’s “The Most Dangerous Game.”

But this is the first time the hunters have been  elite libtards and their prey Trumpers.

Okay, okay. Step back and take a deep breath.

Craig Zobel’s film lets us know early on with a bombastic musical score that it isn’t meant to be taken too seriously.  Ditto for the laughably over-the-top violence.

Which is not to say that “The Hunt” doesn’t have some fairly serious subtext.  At its core it’s about how America’s deep political and social divisions are leading to self-destruction.

Mostly, though, the picture is played for thrills and yuks.

A dozen individuals awaken in a forest. Rubber gags have been locked onto their faces. They discover a large wooden crate containing a small arsenal of weapons and a key that opens their mouthpieces.

And then all hell breaks lose. These individuals — some played by familiar faces like Emma Roberts, Jake Barinholtz, and Justin Hartley (Kevin on TV’s “This is Us”) — must negotiate a dangerous landscape.  They may be shot with bullets and arrows, blown up by land mines, poisoned with dosed donuts or skewered in pits filled with sharpened wooden stakes. (more…)

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Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank

Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank

“THE HOMESMAN” My rating: B+ 

122 minutes | MPAA rating: R

At age 68, Tommy Lee Jones is not going gently.

His recent selection of film roles — “No Country for Old Men,” “The Company Men,” “In the Valley of Elah” — have found him facing the dark side of human nature (not to mention the darkness at the end of the line) with varying degrees of resistance and resignation.

His choices as an auteur are even bleaker.  He made his directing debut in 2005 with the angry, violent “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada,” playing an American rancher transporting his friend’s body to Mexico for burial.

With his sophomore effort, “The Homesman,” Jones gives us a revisionist Western that defies expectations at every turn.

It’s a genuine art film in the vein of Aussie productions like “The Proposition.” Moreover, “The Homesman” embraces a world view as bleak as anything in Cormack McCarthy.

Hilary Swank is Mary Bee Cuddy, a single woman operating her own small farm in the Nebraska Territory of the 1850s.  In the opening scene she proposes marriage to her closest neighbor, a fellow eight or nine years her junior. For her effort Mary Bee is rejected as “homely and bossy.”  Well, she is definitely both.  But she is also, as she says, “uncommonly alone.”

The plot of “The Homesman” is kicked into gear by three local women (Miranda Otto, Grace Gummer, Sonja Richter) who all have gone mad during a miserable Nebraska winter. (more…)

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