2003: Greg Marcks
Rated R: 90 minutes
Vault Rating: 8
It is another weak week for new releases at the local video stop. Of course, everybody is going to rent “Over the Hedge” so Vault has little reason to tell you about a movie you’re already going to see. Never mind that “Hedge” is a great deal of fun and that Vault probably liked it better than most critics.
“11:14” is one of those little movies that could. It’s got a terrific cast starring no-names and featuring the likes of Hilary Swank, Barbara Hershey and Patrick Swayze in maybe the nicest role of his career.
11:14 is that time of the night when certain things go splat in Middleton, which is a happy place to live, we’re told, and where one sorry patrolman (Clark Gregg as the beleaguered Officer Hannigan) is having a shift from hell.
The crimes we’re dealing with here involve hit and run, robbery, drunk driving, extortion, tampering with evidence, recklessly endangering another person, criminal mischief and, well, abuse of corpse. But at least we’re not dealing with murder. I don’t believe I detected any murders on or about 11:14 p.m. in Middleton.
Still, there are about a dozen different perpetrators and suspects running around town in a wildly chaotic 30 minutes as told from various perspectives and which features a kind of “what comes around goes around” sense of fair play.
The film features the popular mosaic structure that only lets you in on bits of the story at a time, sort of the way Tarantino did in “Pulp Fiction,” only less convoluted… Well, slightly less convoluted. The point is, the film makes a delirious joyride out of a meticulously thought out series of unfortunate events.
These events revolve around the rather timely deaths of two people and the mistakes made by those who find them. Thus the web is weaved around that fateful moment and draws us into the lives of two groups of young people. One group is out raising hell with mom’s mini-van and another set of characters is found wondering what to do about an unplanned pregnancy.
All are excellently scripted and acted. Swayze fits perfectly into middle age spread as an overprotective dad. Swank is great as a dim bit of white trash working at the local convenience store, and poor, pathetic Blake Heron is a real hoot, even though he probably has it worse than everyone else.
The entire film has the right mood, somewhere between crime-drama and action-comedy, and it has wonderful pace, revealing its secrets along its brief arc right up to the closing shots. Nice film. Highly recommended.
* * *
To the new releases of note:
Over the Hedge – Funny animated adventure where a scheming raccoon leads a misfit bunch of woodland creatures on a tactical raid of suburbia’s never-ending supply of food.
The Break Up – Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Anniston can’t decide on who gets their luxury condo as their relationship goes to hell in a hand-basket. Probably not “The War of the Roses,” but Vaughn is always good and Jen is at least attractive even if she can’t act at all.
And now to the new releases that are crap: And being that it’s just about Halloween, there’s a fresh batch of teen slice and dice…
Feast – 2005 Horror film where patrons are trapped inside a bar (a dream come true, I know) and forced to fight off monsters. Gives a new meaning to bar food. C- at The Onion AV Club.
Black Water Valley: Exorcism – Straight to video releases are always a bad sign, but… Emotionally disturbed Isabelle is locked in a fierce battle with a vicious demon that’s hell bent on owning her soul.
Omen: 666 – 2006 remake of the original, I don’t know why they make these. “Awful and pointless remake” with the exception of Mia Farrow as Damien’s mom, according to Rolling Stone.
Behind Enemy Lines II – Video Vault Rule #1: Beware of movies with numbers in the title. That said, this film was also titled “Behind Enemy Lines: Axis of Evil” – Navy seals go on a covert mission to N. Korea to take out a missile site.
Hard Luck – Directed by Mario Van Peebles, three converging stories involving bootleggers, a serial killer and drug dealers. Features Wesley Snipes.
Hey! You’re welcome! And so are your comments. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put your picks and pans in the fire and see how they cook up. And until Officer Hannigan calls for backup… Enjoy!