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Film Clips 8.25

Aug. 23, 2016
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Don’t Breathe R

Featuring a frightening trailer and monstrously favorable early reviews, Don’t Breathe finds three teens attempting to rob a large cash insurance settlement from a blind man who turns out to be anything but helpless. Awakening to find intruders in his home, the sightless fighting machine of a homeowner (Stephen Lang) quickly overpowers and kills one teen, then pledges to kill the others who are trapped inside his labyrinthine home located in an abandoned Detroit neighborhood. While the man knows every inch of his terrain, the kids’ one advantage is that he can’t see them. However, the slightest creak of a floorboard or their heavy breathing is enough to give them away. Watch for a basement-bound sequence that is so scary you too will be afraid to breathe. (Lisa Miller)

 

Hands of Stone R

Robert De Niro brings much-needed gravitas to this fact-derived story of Panama’s world champion boxer Roberto Durán. De Niro plays boxing coach Ray Arcel, who teaches his restless, undisciplined trainee that boxing is more mental than physical, more strategic than tactical. Durán (Édgar Ramírez) is played as hot-headed with obnoxious machismo and a hatred of the U.S. based on the violent 1964 uprising at the Panama Canal Zone. He becomes an embodiment of flag-waving, frustrated Panamanian nationalism in a movie whose spittle-flying boxing ring close-ups are punctuated by steamy sex and family melodrama. Usher is excellent as Duran’s one-time nemesis, Sugar Ray Leonard. (David Luhrssen)

 

Level Up Not Rated

Young Matt (Josh Bowman) spends his days playing video games on the sofa while his increasingly annoyed girlfriend, Anna (Leila Mimmack), holds down a job. Matt’s loafing comes to an abrupt end when Anna is kidnapped and three masked thugs (Neil Maskell, Kulvinder Ghir and Doc Brown) shove a package and a cell phone at Matt, warning him to follow each texted instruction if he ever hopes to see her again. Thus begins Matt’s mad dash across London to deliver a package for a businessman (William Houston) while prevailing over unsavory strangers who are intent upon stopping Matt dead in his tracks. To calm his nerves, Matt imagines he is trying to level up in one of his video games. This imaginative British thriller, co-written by director Adam Randall, was made for a paltry $500,000. (L.M.)

 

Mechanic: Resurrection R

Jason Statham returns as the Mechanic, Arthur Bishop, a hit man of extreme skill. Having long since retired, Bishop is compelled to call upon his previous experience when he is given 36 hours to assassinate three dangerous men (making the deaths appear to be accidental), in order to save the woman he loves (Jessica Alba). In this long-awaited sequel to the 2011 action picture, a less than original twist finds a beautiful, but deceitful woman pulling the strings. Statham’s ability to convey tension, via his stoic commitment, remains a durable platform, but what of Alba, who has coasted through the past decade with nary a challenging role? (L.M.)

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