Ashley Judd And Patrick Dempsey Break Into On DemandAugust 03, 2011


Ashley Judd And Patrick Dempsey Break Into On Demand

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: FLYPAPER (IFC Films).

 

FLYPAPER - On Demand
By Amy Slotnick

 

FLYPAPER is a hybrid that combines the heist film genre with comedy, in which two teams of bank robbers descend on the same bank at the same time, while the bank’s security system is down for several hours of upgrade.

The bank robbing teams are opposites - one is a group of sleek, seasoned criminals with the equipment and experience to do the job, and the other is a pair of hillbillies who lack any clue as to what they are doing. The two groups resolve to work together and share the hostages, who include Patrick Dempsey as a charismatic savant, and Ashley Judd, as a practical and beautiful bank teller.

 



As people begin to be mysteriously killed, Dempsey’s character pieces together that another burglar with his/her own agenda exists among them. Like in an Agatha Christie story, he is able to solve the whodunit by process of elimination. However the plot has some holes and lacks suspense and believability.

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Tony Kaye’s DETACHMENTMarch 13, 2012


Tony Kaye’s DETACHMENT

Tribeca Film

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand and from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: DETACHMENT (Tribeca Film).

 

DETACHMENT

By Chris Claro

 

To call Tony Kaye an audacious provocateur would not only make the filmmaker sound like a cheap French bistro, it would also oversimplify his mission. In both narrative film and documentary, Kaye has put a human face on issues as divisive and diverse as white supremacy, abortion, and drug smuggling, Kaye’s films challenge and prod and antagonize – as does the filmmaker himself: he sued New Line when the company wouldn’t allow him to use the pseudonym “Humpty Dumpty” on AMERICAN HISTORY X.

In his latest release, DETACHMENT, Kaye addresses the sorry state of public education in the United States through the eyes of an itinerant substitute teacher played by Adrien Brody (THE PIANIST).

 

Adrien Brody / DETACHMENT (Tribeca Film)


Brody plays Henry Barthes, an educator who has made a career of temporary assignments, the better to not develop any emotional attachments. Henry’s latest gig is in a high school in which every child appears to have been left behind; it’s a hellhole of violence, profanity, and burnt out educators. Henry’s sanguine mien is the polar opposite of those of the teachers, students, and administrators, and he stands out in his ability to face the physical and emotional ugliness he encounters with a cynical stoicism.

Henry compensates for his impotence in the classroom by trying to rescue a teenage prostitute he sees one night on a bus. Initially belligerent, the girl – played, in her feature debut, by Sami Gayle – comes to trust Henry, making a credible transition from hardened to vulnerable. In the process, she rouses something in Henry that he can’t access on the job. Though he wants to make a difference for his students, something holds him back and the results are tragic.

The first produced screenplay by Carl Lund, DETACHMENT gets the milieu right (full disclosure: I worked in and around classrooms for a number of years, so I can vouch for the film’s veracity). Lund nails the lassitude of the teachers, the combative stance of the parents, and the students’ vitriolic disrespect of both their elders and themselves. The script also addresses the political machinations that plague so much of contemporary public education, as the school’s principal, played by Marsha Gay Harden (POLLACK), finds her tenure in jeopardy due to poor student performance.

 



Lund has a feel for the gallows humor and desperation that permeate the profession, but despite that exactitude, DETACHMENT is saddled wtih a schematic and contrived storyline that recalls the ABC AFTERSCHOOL SPECIALS of the 1970s. Although the film moves effectively to what is a sadly forgone conclusion, its brew of troubled students and tortured teachers is ultimately a tad too familiar.

Kaye assembles an amazing cast to portray his sad, sorry staffers, but, oddly, underuses the bulk of it. When a director enlists the services of Oscar-winners such as Brody and Harden along with James Caan, Bryan Cranston, Blythe Danner, Christina Hendricks, Lucy Liu, Tim Blake Nelson, William Petersen, and Isiah Whitlock Jr., he owes each of the performers a moment to shine. While Harden, Cranston, and Caan leave an impression, Nelson has very little to do and Petersen’s work is reduced almost to walk-on status. Though it’s thrilling to see actors of this caliber in a small-scale project, it’s disappointing that most of their work is so fleeting.

 

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