Stream it on Tubi.
An inverted, simply out-of-focus image of a man brutally stabbing a body lying on the floor opens the bloody prison film by Irish screenwriter and director Ross McCall. Although it will be a while before we learn the victim’s name, a violent criminal incarcerated named Steve (Craig Fairbrass) is our unlikely protagonist. To the other inmates, Steve’s rampages are infamous. They never seem real to him because he often passes out during his heinous acts.
After Steve has spent 20 years in prison, his daughter (Rosie Sheehy) wants to visit him for reasons that are unclear. At the same time, a new prisoner, Marcus (Stephen Odubola), was assigned to his cell. Can Steve change? McCall’s script not only answers this question, but with the help of Steve’s meditative monologues, he tries to explore the shortcomings of prison as a place of rehabilitation. In the intervals between these mournful reflections, there are outbursts of rage: a man’s nose was almost sawed off, and a horde of prisoners beat a possible informer to death. These ruptures never cease to put an inadequate system on trial in a film that has more on its mind than carnage.
A John Le Carré-inspired sleight of hand and an Olympus-Fall-like scale underpin this pulse-pounding espionage film from director Aku Louhimies.
In the complex plot, Max Tanner (Jasper Paakkonen) is a spy who is called into action when a group of terrorists take the president of Finland and the leadership of the government hostage by invading the presidential palace. Among those trapped is Tanner’s colleague and lover Sylvia Madsen (Nanna Blondell). Will Max be able to save her?
While the film, adapted from Ilkka Remes’ novel Omerta 6/12, creates serious dramatic tension by answering that question, it also examines the government’s duplicitous moralizer through the eyes of one of the mercenaries, Vasa Jankovic (Sverrir Gudnason). , a man forced to do the unthinkable to save his father and steel himself from bankruptcy.
Cinematographers Mika Orasmaa and Rauno Ronkainen rely on the momentum of the camera to sweep the tracks during the film’s two explosive infiltration scenes (the first takes place in a palace. The second, at the end, takes place in a snow-covered fortress similar to John Moore’s Behind Enemy Lines. Lines.) for a politically fascinating, tangled shooting, thrilling ride.
At first, this film by French director Cédric Jimenez inspires comparisons with Laj Lee’s Les Miserables, in which a trio of mistrusted policemen are assigned to a crime-ridden, drug- and gang-run Marseille ghetto. Similar to Lee’s film, the police often engage in open clashes with local criminals. One spectacular set piece takes place in a high-rise building, where an entire block of masked men chases the officers. It moves with such a chaotic energy that makes it clear on what ethically shaky ground the government stands.
The situation changes even faster when Greg (Gilles Lelouch), Antoine (Francois Civil) and Yass (Karim Lecloux) – detectives of a specialized crime squad – begin to steal drugs from suspects as a bargaining chip for their informant (Kenza Fortas). After the police are arrested, this film, based on a true story, moves from action to personal melodrama. Jimenez uses their ordeal to criticize police corruption and the uneasy power dynamics used against marginalized people. The final dark scenes make you realize how broken the system is.
“The Green Ghost and the Lords of the Stone”
Rent or buy on most major platforms.
There’s something endearing about a movie that knowingly takes a B-movie edge, especially when it comes from the heart. The action film directed by Michael D. Olmos reworks supernatural myths into a superhero origin story.
By night, Charlie (Charlie Clarke), a car dealer by day, participates in underground Lucha Libre fights as a character known as “The Green Ghost” (gringo pun). He accidentally becomes a participant in the endless struggle between ancient Mayan gods and demons for control of a magical green stone that promises incredible power. Charlie turns to his family for help, which in turn sends him to train with otherworldly masters (one of whom is played by Danny Trejo).
Olmos infuses this fun concept with precise MMA fight choreography, crisp editing, and solid effects to create thrilling battles in which characters shoot glowing fireballs from their hands. The film’s themes of family and finding one’s place become even more evident as the dedication of everyone involved is fully felt in the tone of this low-budget adventure game.
“Prize Fighter: The Life of Jem Belcher”
Stream it on Amazon.
Usually, the biopic form does not lend itself well to action. But an exception occurs when the subject is an outsider athlete who must fight to the top to win. Such a film is director Daniel Graham’s The Prize Fighter: The Life of Jam Belcher, about an 18th-century bare-knuckle boxer crowned champion of England.
Matt Hookings stars as a “salt of the earth” with a natural knack for brawling and a desire to escape the same trap of alcoholism that his wrestler grandfather Jack Slack (Russell Crowe) fell into. The first half of this biopic is played by Crowe’s smart, knowledgeable performer; while the second half is pure blood sport as Belcher’s bouts are woven together with his fall from grace. Fights are filmed with a diffuse lens, as if the viewer was simply hit in the eye. Graham’s solid mastery of movement makes for an exciting experience that will delight any boxing purist.