Monday, September 13, 2010

Two film reviews: "Don McKay" & "That Evening Sun"


I recently got my hands on two movies that are off the beaten path. No big blockbusters here, just a couple of good character-driven stories with some exciting performances by some great lead actors.

First, we have "That Evening Sun," a Southern melodrama based in Tennessee that pits a fiercely independent octogenarian who tries to wrest his old homestead from a nemesis who has leased it from the old man's son. Here's the opening excerpt from my review of the Blu-ray disc:

"The old adage that a man's home is his castle is played out in convincing manner in this well-received 2009 film “That Evening Sun.” Based on James A. Michener Memorial prize-winning author William Gay's collection of short stories titled “I Hate To See That Evening Sun Go Down,” the film follows the hard-headed and sometimes foolish exploits of feisty old geezer, Abner Meecham (Hal Holbrook, “Into The Wild”). Gay is known for his Southern Gothic literature and is most often compared to William Faulkner and Mary Flannery O'Connor in terms of his prose style. In Gay's novels, the recurring fictional theme of poor everyday Southern folks caught up in sometimes violent situations is on full display in “That Evening Sun.” Set in a rural and decaying Tennessee town, “That Evening Sun” has a lot to offer in terms storytelling but the film's deliberate slow pacing, while helping to build up the tension, will prove detrimental to viewers looking for an explosive payoff at the end."

You can read the rest of my review at the website DVD Town: That Evening Sun review

The next film is a little more interesting. It is from first-time director/screenwriter, Jake Goldberger who takes his inspiration from the amazing Coen brothers and chose to craft a noir-ish thriller in the vein of "Blood Simple" and "Fargo." It doesn't reach up to the potential of the sibling's hit thrillers but does a good enough job to warrant a look. Here's an excerpt of my review:

"Director and writer Jake Goldberger may be a novice at moviemaking but his debut here is actually worth a look. Goldberger crafts an initially befuddling story that creates plenty of tension and seems full of characters that have been ripped from David Lynch's playbook. What he ended up with is a sly tale of deception, double-crossing and a surprising reveal at the end. The journey was a little shaky at the start but starts to come together midway through. And having both Thomas Hayden Church and Elizabeth Shue as your leads does go a long way in helping one's cause."

My full review can be accessed here.

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