Mini-Review Round-Up February 2012

I had quite a review drought to end 2011 so I think the remedy for this kind of post would be to have the post be cumulative monthly. Therefore, after each qualifying film a short write-up will be added to the monthly post. The mini-reviews will be used to discuss Netflix and other home video screenings. Theatrical releases, regardless of how they are seen whether in an auditorium or on VOD, will get full reviews.

For a guide to what scores mean go here.

Texas Killing Fields

Sam Worthington and Jeffrey Dean Morgan in Texas Killing Fields (Anchor Bay Films)

This was a film I’d hoped to see when I went up to New York for a little over a day in the fall but little did I know it was only doing a one-week engagement in theatres there, which ended the day before I went, so I did not get a legitimate chance to see it last year therefore it counts towards this year. What’s interesting about the film is that it’s not so much a whodunit as a cat-and-mouse game between law enforcement and known local unsavory elements. It’s a rather interestingly rendered tale that kept me engaged and doesn’t live down to critical bashing or up to my take on its trailer. It also has some pretty good performances by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain in perhaps her least seen and most differentiated performance from her breakout year and Chloë Grace Moretz who is building herself quite a résumé, one which by the time she comes of age will likely be incomparable. Her plotline is well-rendered albeit somewhat predictable. The film also has the first legitimate Best Song contender of the year (maybe more than one) in the end credits.


Prairie Love

Prairie Love (Film Movement)

Yeah, I know that as I write this it’s March but I saw this film in February and needed some time to think it over.

This is the first film I got as a member of the Film Movement Movie of the Month Club. One thing I love about this club is that each DVD has a selected short film on it. The other is that on the inside cover you get a statement from both the company about why it was selected and the director has a statement as well. The comments from Film Movement are the most intriguing and they are how I couch this mini-review, essentially you don’t get backstory on the two leads or that much explication of why what occurs within the narrative occurs.

In a vacuum I’m fine with both. It becomes a question to the individual viewer if you want or need more. The situation and through-line are good and looking back in hindsight maybe a tag or frame would’ve made it better for me but with the approach it did take it didn’t quite work for me. However, it did make me think on it, reflect and I appreciate the aspect and feel the direction was clear but it ends up being similar to NEDs in a way, I feel there was a clear vision and it was achieved but it didn’t quite click for me. I did like that the first selection I got was thought-provoking and does have me considering revisiting it.