eOne's December '12 Releases
Answer This! (January 13/12)
Written and directed by Christopher Farah, Answer This! follows Christopher Gorham's Paul Tarson as he and two friends (Nelson Franklin's James and Evan Jones' Ice) decide to enter a citywide trivia tournament - with Chris' resolve tested on an ongoing basis by both his new girlfriend (Arielle Kebbel's Naomi) and his overbearing father (Ralph Williams' Elliot). There is, despite the zippy setup, never a point at which Answer This! becomes the fun, briskly-paced comedy that one might have anticipated, as filmmaker Farah has infused the proceedings with an oddly (and incongruously) deliberate pace that prevents the viewer from wholeheartedly embracing either the narrative or the characters - with this feeling exacerbated by the consistent inclusion of overlong and downright needless sequences and interludes. And although the movie admittedly picks up during its trivia-based scenes, Answer This! does, on an increasingly frequent basis, succumb to hopelessly conventional elements that render its positive attributes moot. The formulaic trajectory of the predictable storyline - eg Paul fake breakups with his trivia partners - leads to a tedious midsection that often feels just endless, which inevitably diminishes the impact of the comparatively enthralling climactic trivia match. The end result is a curiously misguided piece of work that squanders the talents of an undeniably strong group of performers, with the stars' efforts matched by an appreciatively eclectic supporting cast that includes, among others, Chris Parnell and Kip Pardue.
Killer Elite (January 13/12)
Based on a book by Ranulph Fiennes, Killer Elite follows retired special forces soldier Danny Bryce (Jason Statham) as he reluctantly agrees to kill three assassins after his mentor (Robert DeNiro's Hunter) is kidnapped by a ruthless sheik - with the film subsequently revolving around Danny's ongoing efforts at both completing his mission and avoiding the advances of an increasingly tenacious former operative (Clive Owen's Spike Logan). Director Gary McKendry, working from Matt Sherring's script, does a superb job of immediately luring the viewer into the briskly-paced proceedings, as the filmmaker kicks things off with an exciting action sequence that effectively establishes the movie's gritty, tough-guy atmosphere. Ranking high on the movie's list of positive elements is, without question, its testosterone-heavy cast, as Statham and his costars deliver stirring performances that prove instrumental in keeping things interesting even through the periodic lulls within the narrative. It's worth noting, too, that McKendry effectively peppers Killer Elite with a number of genuinely exciting action sequences, although, by that same token, the director's overuse of shaky camerawork diminishes the impact of the movie's hand-to-hand fights. (This proves especially disappointing in the case of Statham and Owen's violent encounters throughout the film.) And while the picture does overstay its welcome to a certain extent (ie there's only so much mayhem one can reasonably take, after all), Killer Elite ultimately establishes itself as an uncompromising, better-than-average actioner that gets the job done on an impressively consistent basis.