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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Monday July 15th 2024

“Kidnap” & “Detroit”



* out of 5 starts

Thriller, Di Bonaventure Pictures

It is true a child goes missing every 40 seconds in the United States. However, it is also true “ Kidnap” is a bad movie. (It had been sitting on the shelf since 2014: usually a bad sign.) Even though I sympathize with Halle Berry”'s character Karla Dyson who has her young son Frankie (Sage Correa) snatched from her in an amusement park just slightly out of eyeshot.

What ensues is a hyper- octane car chase after the kidnappers Terry (Lewis Temple) and Margo (Chris McGinn) Vicky up and down Louisiana highways causing numerous car wrecks (you wouldn”'t want to be on any of these freeways), including a police officer on a motorcycle demanding her to pull over upended.

“Kidnap” is one huge mess: clumsy script, lousy monologues and a painfully predictable atrocity. She”'s driving a 1980s Mustang and her antagonists are driving a Chrysler minivan. The two cars crash into each other, banging into traffic, going over the road getting on another with damage to both vehicles but nothing what the Indianapolis 500 would envy.

What”'s more, director Luis Lee”'s vague references to child  trafficking is unsatisfactory. We”'re the kidnappers working alone or with a larger operation? We”'re they interested in murdering children or selling them to pedophiles or planning to kill them selling their body parts?

Cast: Halle Berry (Karla Dyson), Sage Correa (Frankie), Chris McGinn (Margo), Lew Temple (Terry), Dana Gourrier (Female Sheriff Deputy). Director: Luis Prieto. Writer: Knate Lee. Running time: 81 minutes.

“Detroit” (2017)


**** out of 5 starts

Annapura Pictures

Director Kathryn Bigelow (“ Hurt Locker”, “Zero  Dark Thirty”, “ Point Break”) has come up with another hard-hitting, if not outright controversial, film “Detroit”, features July 23, 1967, one of the worst race rebellions in the United States occurred. There”'s really no honest way to sugarcoat the Detroit racial conflict or, for that matter, any racial rebellion (including three consecutive years”“1966-1968”“in my beloved Minneapolis). Bigelow”'s work I have always admired and in this case she shows just what too often happens when white police officers (and sometimes non-white police officers) meet African Americans much goes very wrong.

The night the police raid an illegal drinking establishment where blacks socialize things turned ugly in the streets on Detroit. At the same time the streets are full of rioters and looters, the Dramatics, an upcoming R&B group, are about to get on stage before a roaring crowd when an announcement is bellowed out everybody must leave the building immediately. Larry Reed (Algee Smith) is the lead man expresses even more disappointment than the others thinking they still unsigned for a record deal.

Dramatics get on a bus to go home but are forced off because of the chaos in the streets. The men get split up. Larry and one of the other singers go to the Algiers Motel. That”'s where Bigelow”'s camera spends most of the time. Also is where terror and torture get up close and personal.

In the motel are several black men and two white women from Ohio. Carl (Jason Mitchell) has a toy gun (or a starter gun) shoots it out the window toward a group of national guardsmen which is unwise to say the least. The guards and local police fire in the direction of the motel.

Three white cops enter the motel led by Officer Krauss (Will Poulter), a sadistic racist cop, round up all staying at the motel. Dismukes (John Boyega, from Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, “Attack the Block”), a black security guard working across the street comes over to the motel hopefully to calm things down. But, before one can leave his or her seat on scene, three black men are killed by police and several black men and two white female college students are beaten and tortured. All this actually happened.

Kathryn Bigelow and her screenwriter Mark Boal (they worked together on “Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty”) display one of the darkest moments in American history. Yet the dark cloud of race is still in the DNA so”“to”“speakto this day. What”'s more, denial about racism, especially from white people is thevery key to keep white supremacy alive and well.

Cast: John Boyega (Dismukes), Aldee Smith (Larry), Jacob Latimore Fred), Will Poulter (Officer Krauss), John Krasinski (Attorneyn Auerbach), Antony Mackie (Grene), Hannah Murray (Julie), Kaitlynn Dever (Karen), Jack Reynor (Demens). Running time:142 minutes. Director: Kathryn Bigelow. Writer: Mark Boal.


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