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20 out of 29 people found the following review useful:
Meh, 1 January 2013

One of my favorite 90's actresses and a prominent role for the music of my favorite 90's indie rock band (Luna) pretty much assured that I'd like this. But, sadly, while it had some slim comedic elements, Price Check is pretty much a lightweight drama about facing midlife when your life hasn't panned out as you expected.

A driven career woman (Posey) who has forsaken other aspects of her life to reach the point where she's at in her profession meets a family man-boy (Mabius) who lost his dream job at an indie record label and now grinds it out working in a low paying job in supermarket marketing. Posey is his new boss. They form an alliance of sorts and some complications ensue.

It's a watchable film, but it isn't funny, witty, cerebral, dramatic or heart-filled. It just kind of lays there, like a movie that really doesn't know what it wants to be.

Felon (2008)
16 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
Well acted B movie, 8 August 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In spite of a talented cast and some strong performances this movie is simply too ambitious in scope and lightweight in execution. Others have drawn parallels to The Shawshank Redemption which to my mind is an insult to the latter. A better stylistic comparison would be a more ambitious film like "Crash" which succeeds in spite of its wholesale contrivances and manipulative elements because it is an artful and poetic drama. Felon is not. It tries to be gritty and realistic while asking of the audience that they be willingly manipulated at every turn in order to embrace the film's message. A deadly, almost amateurish combination.

Nothing more aptly underscores how convoluted the film is than the statistic which precedes the closing credits about the number of Americans who are in prison. The film makes so little effort to disabuse viewers of the notion that violent criminals are enemies of society that other than the lead the only sympathetically portrayed prisoner is a mass murderer (Val Kilmer) who meted out barbarian justice after the murder of his family. What is one to infer from that? Unless one comes to the table armed with the laughably naive sentiment that people are basically good and that prison itself invariably turns people on both sides of the cell into monsters there is no way to navigate this film to the desired conclusion.

Yes, we get it. A good guy is a victim of circumstances and ends up in prison. He does bad things to survive inside. His incarceration nearly shatters his family. We feel his fear and empathize with his struggles amid the savagery of fellow inmates and sadistic, desensitized guards. We're asked to put ourselves in his place ... a standard device for manipulating viewers. There but for the grace of God go I, if you will. But it is intellectually dishonest to choose as a vessel for an indictment of a society that believes in punishment a man who was a victim not of that culture but of a countervailing movement on the far left to expand criminal rights. It is riotously funny that the filmmaker should choose a man whose transgression - killing a burglar - invariably elicits quiet applause in real life from the very law and order majority whose mindset the film seeks to indict. And because of that the film is a fraud from the outset in spite of its virtues.

This was a rare instance where I actually sought out a film because of the reviews here and felt compelled to submit one myself to express my disappointment. It is not a film that stands on its own. To be moved as many reviewers inarguably were requires that one be willing to dispense with critical thinking, be emotionally predisposed to being sympathetic to the message or simply a European as they are a fairly reliable source of approval for anything which is over-the-top in showing American culture in an unfavorable light. It is an eminently watchable movie but of the sort one might deem a gem if seen for the first time on cable at 2 am on a Sunday morning as opposed to a film worth going out of one's way for.