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Two Thrillers from Alliance

Hobo With a Shotgun (March 28/11)

Astonishingly inept and thoroughly unwatchable, Hobo With a Shotgun follows Rutger Hauer's title character as he rolls into a corrupt small town and quickly begins doling out justice of an especially brutal variety. It's a tongue-in-cheek premise that's employed to consistently underwhelming effect by filmmaker Jason Eisener, as the director, working from a script by John Davies, has infused the proceedings with a relentlessly over-the-top sensibility that alienates the viewer virtually from the word go. Eisener's aggressively broad modus operandi - reflected in everything from the unconscionably larger-than-life performances to the eye-bleedingly garish visuals to the desperately juvenile one-liners - ensures that Hobo With a Shotgun comes off as a pervasively amateurish work that feels as though it were slapped together over a weekend, with the movie's complete and utter lack of positive attributes inevitably rendering Hauer's surprisingly strong performance moot (ie unlike his incompetent costars, Hauer is actually attempting to create and sustain a fully-realized, three-dimensional character). By the time the unpleasant and typically overblown climax rolls around, Hobo With a Shotgun has undoubtedly established itself as one of the most objectionable and flat-out ugly films to come around in quite some time - with the movie's unequivocal failure admittedly not all that surprising, given the similarly ineffective nature of the low-rent faux trailer that preceded it.

out of

Wrecked (March 23/11)

Even if Wrecked weren't saddled with the unenviable task of opening in the wake of the similarly-themed (and vastly superior) Buried and 127 Hours, the film would still be regarded as an overlong, thoroughly misbegotten effort that effectively squanders both its promising setup and Adrien Brody's consistently striking performance. The movie details one man's (Adrien Brody) efforts at freeing himself from a vehicle that's been left stranded in the woods due to an unseen car crash, with the bulk of the running time subsequently following the amnesiac as he endeavors to survive in the dense forest and, eventually, make his way to safety. Filmmaker Michael Greenspan, working from Christopher Dodd's almost comically spare screenplay, admittedly does a good job of capturing the viewer's interest right from the get-go, as Wrecked opens with a captivatingly disorienting sequence in which Brody's banged-and-bruised character attempts to figure out just where he is and what's happened to him - which, as was the case with Buried and, to a lesser extent, 127 Hours, essentially forces viewers to decide for themselves how they'd handle the situation if trapped in his shoes. The watchable yet far-from-engrossing vibe persists right up until the protagonist extricates himself from the wreck, with the remainder of the proceedings dedicated to a series of progressively interminable sequences in which the character wanders/crawls from one wooded area to the next - which contributes heavily to the movie's atmosphere of utter tedium and certainly affords the viewer plenty of time for daydreaming. The big reveal regarding the true identity of Brody's character isn't as earth-shattering as Dodd clearly wants it to be, and it's finally impossible to label Wrecked as anything more than a relatively decent short that's been ungainly padded out to feature length.

out of

© David Nusair