eOne's December '11 Releases
Conduct Unbecoming (December 18/11)
Conduct Unbecoming follows United States Marine Nick Dodd (Corey Sevier) as he's charged with callously killing several civilians in Afghanistan, with the film subsequently detailing the military trial that ensues and also Nick's controversial new relationship with the widow (Bridget Wareham) of a fallen comrade. Director Sidney J. Furie has infused Conduct Unbecoming with as low-rent and TV movie-like a feel as one could possibly envision, with the film's second-rate atmosphere heightened and perpetuated by Greg Mellott and Richard Watson's decidedly less-than-subtle screenplay. The relatively promising nature of the movie's opening minutes - Furie seems to be setting up a perfectly watchable courtroom drama - stands in sharp contrast to the pervasive mediocrity that follows, as Mellott and Watson offer up an overly melodramatic and hopelessly inert midsection that boasts few attributes designed to keep the viewer interested. It's worth noting, naturally, that neither of Conduct Unbecoming's dueling storylines manage to make much of an impact, with, especially, the film's courtroom scenes growing more and more tedious as time progresses - as such sequences eventually come to bear an uncomfortable resemblance to the climactic Tom Cruise/Jack Nicholson standoff in A Few Good Men (except with nary a fraction of the power or impact). The end result is a consistently earnest (yet consistently uninvolving) work that has little to offer even the most patient of viewers, although it's certainly impossible not to get a kick out of the casting of quintessentially Canadian actors like Michael Ironside and Maury Chaykin as stiff-necked marines.
Saint (December 19/11)
Though it boasts as appealingly over-the-top a premise as one could possibly envision - the ghost of St. Nicholas embarks on a blood-thirsty killing spree - Saint has been infused with a plodding, hopelessly humorless sensibility that inevitably drains the viewer's interest and cements the movie's place as a missed opportunity of nigh epic proportions. And although filmmaker Dick Maas kicks the proceedings off with a fairly promising prologue detailing St. Nicholas' grim past, the movie eventually morphs into a standard slasher flick revolving around the entirely uninvolving exploits of several generic college kids - which ensures that large swaths of Saint come off as superfluous and, even worse, utterly tedious. The film's sole saving grace is the all-too-periodic inclusion of stand-alone sequences that are admittedly rather well done, with the best and most obvious example of this a tense sequence in which St. Nicholas stalks (and, perhaps inevitably, kills) a pediatric nurse. The end result is an often interminable piece of work that effectively, for the most part, squanders its inherently engrossing premise (ie the film is just never as fun as it surely should be), with the laughably anti-climactic finale cementing Saint's place as a consistently (and palpably) misguided bit of horror fare.