Adrien Brody plays a New York City tabloid writer with an appetite for scandal who is drawn into a very nasty case of sexual obsession and blackmail – one that threatens his job, his marriage and his life. Yvonne Strahovski also stars. (R – 113 minutes)
“Manhattan Night” is an old-fashioned noir that may please people who have been longing for a new slow-burning, atmospheric private eye flick but bore most everyone else. Writer/director Brian DeCubellis skillfully adapts Colin Harrison’s novel in an authentic way that evokes cinema’s golden era. Unfortunately, the story is lackluster, absent of significant surprises or the thrills required to keep viewers interested and engaged. Eventually, the only thing that prevents one from completely giving up on the movie before the no-longer-alluring mystery is solved is star Adrien Brody’s veritable performance. No other living actor could more credibly portray this character.
Devon Werkheiser and Sean Marquette play high school seniors who sneak off to Puerto Vallarta during spring break while their parents are out of town, hoping to party with a high school crush (Sara Paxton). Once there, they meet a mysterious local beauty (Camilla Belle) who they believe steals a priceless family heirloom that then falls into the hands of a dangerous gangster. (R – 103 minutes)
“Sundown” has great energy, strong passion and – best of all – big laughs. The new action-packed romantic comedy is tremendously fun from beginning to end as it takes viewers on vacation to a beautiful-yet-chaotic Puerto Vallarta. Each insane situation leads to an even wackier one in rapid succession, resulting in enormous entertainment value. However, it is the film’s heart that sets it apart as well as its love of music as it features special appearances from the several of the world’s top DJs including Steve Aoki, Paul Oakenfold, Chris Lake and Adrian Lux.
George Clooney plays a bombastic TV personality whose popular financial network show has made him the money wiz of Wall Street. But after he hawks a high tech stock that mysteriously crashes, an irate investor (Jack O’Connell) takes him, his crew and his ace producer (Julia Roberts) hostage live on air. They must then find a way to keep themselves alive while simultaneously uncovering the truth behind a tangle of big money lies. (R – 90 minutes)
“Money Monster” has a stellar cast and a potentially captivating real-time gimmick but, unfortunately, it spends so much time spinning its wheels and spouting out nonsense that all of its positive attributes fall by the wayside. The new hostage thriller is uncommonly verbose, leaving viewers feeling dumbfounded as the story’s specifics fly straight over their heads. Moreover, it completely misses a prime opportunity to make hard-hitting social commentary. Some slightly comedic moments are also ill-suited for such a seriously plotted motion picture. But at least its actors give great performances – especially Jack O’Connell.
John Travolta plays a former Black Ops agent who witnessed his wife’s death at the hands of a street gang. When corrupt cops let the prime suspect walk, he takes the law into his own hands. Joined by a former comrade-in-arms (Christopher Meloni), he uncovers a conspiracy that leads to the upper ranks of government. (NR – 92 minutes)
As far as revenge thrillers go, “I Am Wrath” is a far cry from “Taken” but it certainly still entertains nonetheless. Star John Travolta gives a believable and commanding performance in the film, which is at its best when it is dripping with raw emotion or shifting itself into hi-octane action mode. However, there exists a tonal imbalance with an occasional attempt at humor that was perhaps intended to diffuse tension but instead undermines the story’s intensity. Co-star Christopher Meloni is initially tied to these comedic moments and his character is therefore at first unwelcome before eventually revealing himself to have been indispensable.