Quantcast
Channel: Good Efficient Butchery
Viewing all articles
Browse latest Browse all 1212

On DVD/Blu-ray: MCCANICK (2014) and SQUATTERS (2014)

0
0
MCCANICK
(US - 2014)

David Morse has long been one of those respected character actors whose presence always gives a boost to whatever he's in, whether he's making good projects better or bad projects bearable. He'll go down as one of the greats of his kind, but MCCANICK, which gives the actor a rare big-screen lead, offers the unthinkable:  a bad David Morse performance. MCCANICK didn't get much of a release--eight screens for a gross of $2000--but it did get some notoriety as the final work of GLEE star Cory Monteith before his overdose death in July 2013.  It's a departure for Monteith and his performance is enough to show that he had ambitions beyond GLEE, but aside from him, the cliched MCCANICK is an almost complete disaster, and it pains me to say that star/producer Morse is a big reason why.  Morse stars as Philadelphia narcotics detective Eugene "Mack" McCanick, the kind of cop who has a punching bag hanging in his kitchen.  It's his 59th birthday and he just found out that Simon Weeks (Monteith) has been paroled.  Seven years earlier, McCanick busted a 17-year-old Weeks, then a small-time hustler and male prostitute, for the murder of a closeted Congressman who regularly cruised for young men.  McCanick is enraged about the early release, but is warned by boss Quinn (Ciarin Hinds) to stay away from Weeks.  Of course, McCanick ignores him and misleads his partner Floyd (Mike Vogel) into pursuing Weeks, which only results in McCanick accidentally shooting Floyd.  Ordered to go home, McCanick instead gets drunk and goes on a city-wide rampage trying to find Weeks.


Director Josh C. Waller and writer Daniel Noah are intentionally vague about the truth behind McCanick's motivations: does he have a score to settle with Weeks?  Does it have something to do with McCanick's estranged cop son?  Does he feel a paternal instinct to help Weeks?  Did he frame Weeks?  Does Weeks, as Quinn suggests, have some information on dirty cops that might bring them all down? Once revealed, the ultimate answer is ludicrous at best and offensive at worst once you consider the absurd lengths McCanick goes to in order to "just talk" to Weeks. MCCANICK starts out as a tough, gritty cop thriller, and for a while, it works in spite of the cliches.  But then the silliness kicks in and it starts to drag badly--why would Floyd call McCanick in a dingy apartment building where he knows McCanick is trying to stealthily corner a suspect?  And watch the filmmakers awkwardly cram in a bunch of exposition in the middle of a pursuit, as if McCanick would really choose that time to go into why his marriage fell apart and why his son hates him. Most laughable of all is McCanick demolishing someone's apartment then pausing to pensively regard his distorted reflection in a mangled toaster.  Oh, the symbolism!  As McCanick's actions become increasingly illogical and cement-headed, Morse's performance goes off the rails.  His strengths as an actor have always been in his quiet, controlled intensity, not in sub-Nicolas Cage meltdowns. By the end, it starts to look a lot like a David Morse vanity project that was understandably hijacked after the fact by Monteith's death.  How else do you explain the closing credits starting not with an "In loving memory of Cory Monteith" (which is saved for the very end), but instead with with a lone "David Morse as Eugene 'Mack' McCanick," then a fade, then the rest of the cast scrolling by in the typical fashion. Morse is a great actor, but MCCANICK shows that even the best in the business can have a really off day. (R, 96 mins)



SQUATTERS
(US - 2014)

Or, "OMG I'M, LIKE, SO HOMELESS! :(" Debuting on DVD two years after it was completed, the useless SQUATTERS has vague cover art and a trailer that suggests it's a home invasion suspense thriller of sorts, but it's really a sappy, simplistic drama that comes off like a homeless version of TRUE ROMANCE with all the insight of a spoiled 13-year-old who hasn't heard the word "no" nearly enough. Riddled with one plot convenience and hackneyed contrivance after another, SQUATTERS tells the not-very-compelling story of Kelly (Gabriella Wilde, from the already forgotten ENDLESS LOVE remake) and Jonas (Thomas Dekker), two homeless Pacific Palisades teenagers who spend their days dumpster diving, shoplifting, and scoring drugs.  While rooting around inside a parked car in a lot, Jonas overhears wealthy Evelyn Silverman (Lolita Davidovich), who's standing a few cars down, telling her Mexican cleaning lady "We'll be going on vacation to Greece, and remember, the alarm code is the address backwards," as Evelyn and the cleaning lady get in separate cars. Now, let's pause here for a moment.  Evelyn appears to be picking up her dry-cleaning.  Why is the cleaning lady meeting her there in her own car?  If Evelyn is picking up the dry-cleaning herself, why does the cleaning lady even have to be there?  Couldn't Evelyn have given her that information over the phone? Did they really have to drive in two cars to a parking lot just to talk about an alarm code so Jonas could happen to overhear it?  Anyway, Jonas steals a bike, follows Evelyn and gets a look at the house, and then with Evelyn and her wealthy businessman husband David (a slumming Richard Dreyfuss, whose presence is either a nod to DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS or a sad realization that DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS was a long time ago) away, Jonas and a reluctant Kelly crash there, where Jonas spends two, perhaps three seconds rifling through a few random scattered papers on David's desk and, based on that thorough research, manages to crack David's safe combo after three attempts, because yeah, that's how it works.  Jonas tries to broker a deal with obnoxious, fey British crime lord Ronald (Andrew Howard as Jason Statham as Vinnie Jones) to fence all of the Silvermans' belongings, including cars, jewels, and a gun, while the more sensitive Kelly spends time watching the Silverman's home movies and getting the sense of family she never had.  Of course, the Silvermans return from Greece early and find they've been burglarized, and after a chance meet-cute with the Silvermans' son Michael (Luke Grimes) at a screening of Chaplin's THE KID, Kelly ends up back at the house as Michael's love interest as Jonas tries to contend with the "Fookin''ell, mate!" histrionics of Ronald, a character who seems to have gotten lost on his way back to a bad late 1990s Guy Ritchie knockoff.


Written by Justin Shilton (grandson of F TROOP's Larry Storch and a co-writer on Chris Messina's upcoming directorial debut ALEX OF VENICE) and directed by Martin Weisz (the repulsive GRIMM LOVE and the 2007 THE HILLS HAVE EYES II), SQUATTERS is about as dumb as it gets. It's hard to tell exactly what audience the filmmakers are pursuing, considering it has all the depth of a bad YA novel but has enough violence and F-bombs to warrant an R rating.  There's an interesting film to be made about situations where homeowners find themselves forced to contend with squatters, and it certainly would've been more interesting than the cookie-cutter blandness that develops in this one. Shilton's writing is just lazy and amateurish, whether he's piling on the improbable coincidences, magically pulling contrivances out of his ass or clumsily trying to work in Chaplin references to establish critical cred.  He's matched by Weisz's bumbling direction, which includes perhaps the worst sex scene of 2014, composed entirely in pretentious, zooming still-life freeze frames, much like the climactic shootout at Ronald's, a CGI splatter-filled fiasco that inexplicably looks like the Slo-Mo tripping scenes in DREDD.  And it all ends not with "The End" but with the cutesy "And THIS is where our STORY ends," followed by on-set photos during the closing credits showing how much fun everyone had.  Everyone, that is, except the audience.  Come on, Mr. Dreyfuss...you've gotta have better things to do than this.  (R, 106 mins)

Viewing all articles
Browse latest Browse all 1212

Latest Images

Trending Articles





Latest Images