Hell or High Water

A new review from The Movie Snob.

Hell or High Water  (B+).  This is the best movie I have seen in a while–a tense little crime drama about a couple of brothers who go on a bank-robbing spree in various desolate west Texas towns.  Jeff Bridges (The Big Lebowski) chews the scenery and steals the show as the grizzled old Texas Ranger (a few weeks from retirement, naturally) who is on their trail, but his Hispanic partner Alberto (Gil Birmingham, Twilight) has some memorable lines as well.  The bank-robbing brothers are fine too: loose cannon Tanner (Ben Foster, The Messenger) and thoughtful, relatively honorable Toby (Chris Pine, Into the Woods).  What are the brothers really after?  Will the Rangers catch up with them, and what will happen if they do?  It’s rather like Bonnie and Clyde, I suppose, except I liked this movie even better.  Screenwriter Taylor Sheridan also wrote last year’s very good Emily Blunt pic Sicario, so I think he is one to watch.

The Messenger

A new movie review from The Movie Snob

The Messenger (B-). The Dallas Morning News gave this movie a glowing review, so I hurried on out to see it opening weekend. It was good, but far from great. Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery (Ben Foster, X-Men: The Last Stand) is back in the States after being injured in Iraq, and for the last three months of his enlistment period the Army assigns him to the task of notifying the next of kin of soldiers who have been killed (whether in combat or in accidents). He is paired up with a veteran notifier, Capt. Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson, Zombieland), who is a recovered alcoholic and perhaps a touch crazy. The notification scenes really work–I’ve read that Foster and Harrelson weren’t told what was going to happen in those scenes, so their reactions would be more authentic. But the rest of the movie, such as Montgomery’s tentative relationship with a war widow (Samantha Morton, Code 46), generally didn’t feel all that authentic to me. So it’s kind of a mixed bag of a movie. And is it just me, or does Ben Foster’s voice sound just like Michael Douglas’s (Romancing the Stone)?


Another review from the pen of Movie Man Mike

Pandorum (B). This sci-fi/horror film was a little heavier on the horror side than I anticipated. It was extremely suspenseful. I was exhausted by the end of it. The story is set in the future when Earth’s natural resources are becoming rapidly depleted. Earth discovers another far away planet that is about as close to Earth’s own conditions as possible. A space ship with thousands of humans is launched on a multi-year journey to start a colony on the new planet. “Pandorum” is the name that was given to a type of psychological space sickness that seems a little bit like paranoia. The movie opens with flight crew Bower (played by Ben Foster) and Payton (played by Dennis Quaid) waking up from suspended animation to discover that something is wrong with the space ship. Bower heads towards the ship’s reactor to reset it and get the ship going, but he encounters some very unexpected obstacles along the way. This was a thoroughly enjoyable sci-fi film that fits well within this “B” category of films. If you don’t see it at the theaters, it would make a good rental.