The Barrens is a horror film set in the forests of New Jersey. Heath Ledger look-alike Stephen Moyer plays a father who takes his family camping into the Pine Barrens, hoping to foster closeness and unity. Funny thing, though: he forgot to mention that he’s feeling a little under the weather and, oh, I don’t know, may or may not be seeing the Jersey Devil and/or killing some random campers. It’s not a bad movie, but there are some rather unbelievable moments where ‘suspension of disbelief’ just isn’t enough of a panacea for the script. I’d grade this one a C.
An oldie but a goodie, The Boys from Brazil stars Gregory Peck as Nazi doctor Josef Mengele and Lawrence Olivier as his Jewish nemesis. I knew going into the film that it was about the cloning of Adolf Hitler, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how suspense filled and well developed that plan was in the film. Both of the main actors are grand, and their fistfight (which includes some Tyson like chewing) was worth the theoretical price of admission all by its lonesome. As a side note, I loved Mengele’s home and couldn’t stop talking about it, which, now that I see it in print, sounds creepy. But it’s a lovely home. Grade: B+
Salvation Boulevard features an all-star (well, minor league all star) cast: Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Connelly, Marisa Tomei, Ed Harris and Greg Kinnear. Kinnear plays a former Deadhead turned Christian family man who witnesses his mega-church pastor cover up the shooting of a well known atheist, and wakes up to find himself framed for the crime. It’s actually a pretty light little comedy, with an aim to satirize religion and evangelical Christianity. I think the satire falls flat, largely because it’s such an obvious target that you see it coming from a distance, and partly because, whatever his sins, it’s obvious the pastor is a true believer torn by guilt about his moment of weakness. Overall, the movie was so-so. I grade it a C+