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Jean, a small-time crook on the run, Eldon, an ex-cop and Cole, his quiet ten year old son begin to bond together...until the secrets start to come out. Before Jean can figure out what is going on, she finds herself embedded in a spiraling nightmare that will leave her with a choice: turning her back on the little boy who needs her or sacrificing herself and going back to jail.
This is my first attempt to review a film that's not horror, or a documentary. This falls under the thriller category, or maybe even film noir. I do know that it's hard to describe much in the plot without giving away twists, and maybe that's a good thing, because this film is worth your time to watch.
We start out with Jean (Renee Humphrey), a small time crook, on the run from the cops. She makes her getaway, but her vehicle breaks down, leaving her to hitchhike and hope for the best in the heat. She finds luck in Eldon (Boyd Kestner) and his son Cody (Tanner Richie). They are traveling across country to see "The Real America", and they pick up Jean to ride to wherever she decides she wants to go.
We find out some things about Eldon. He is an ex-cop, a seemingly ex-husband, and for some unknown reason he clings to his newly found friend Jean. All is not what it seems on any front at all. The twists and turns are many, and the cat and mouse mind games are fun to watch. To give away any more of the plot would be to ruin the movie for you. I don't want to spoil your fun.
This was a great suspense film, as I kept wanting the secrets to be revealed to each of the characters in the movie. You know lots of information before the other characters do, and it almost has you talking to the screen, telling them what to say or do - always the mark of a good movie as far as I'm concerned. The story progresses and a good, steady clip from beginning to end, and all three leads were good solid actors. Even the bit part rolls were solid, which is rare in low budget film. Granted, this wasn't made on a hundred dollars, but still there are no huge names attached to the production anywhere, so this is great film-making by all involved.Read more ›
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Judge Daryl Loomis, DVD Verdict-- Family is an intriguing concept, but a pretty terrible movie. What amazes me most, though, is that it was made in 2006 and not 1996. The only thing that distinguishes it from a 20th Century movie is the kid playing with a PSP instead of a Gameboy. Otherwise, everything appears as it would have for a B-movie from the 1990s, and that's not pretty. It appears to have premiered on the Lifetime Movie Network, which makes plenty of sense, given its TV-friendly aspect ratio and generally cruddy look. Confirmation of this is difficult, though, considering that any online searches for the movie reveal mostly lists for the best family films available and, clearly, this is not what I'm looking for. By all indications, however, Family was made for television and comes with all the poor production that entails.
In its core concept, Family could easily have worked. The story of a criminal forced to do good in the face of greater evil, a kid in peril, a crazy rant-filled villain, it makes plenty of sense. I like the core idea, but the execution of the film is terrible. It runs at a plodding pace with poor performances and obvious motivations. As soon as we see the stash of cash and the New Orleans police badge in the back of the SUV, we know something is wrong, and once Cole declares that he's really named Jeremy, we know the whole scene. It could have been better, but ultimately, Family is a lazy, worthless film.
Continuing this sense of time warp that I experienced with Family, MVD's DVD makes me feel like I've walked into a Hastings in 1998 and bought a six dollar budget disc. The full frame image is awash in digital artifacts and blocking, poor colors, and weak black levels. The sound is generally better, but nothing great.Read more ›