CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.
Film Review: Arnold Schwarzenegger is Back in ‘The Last Stand’
CHICAGO – With enough hair plugs, bronzer and hormone injections to float a rejuvenation clinic, Arnold Schwarzenegger is back from his political meanderings and is an action star once again in the shoot-’em-up “The Last Stand.” Johnny Knoxville lends some comic relief.
This is an okay comic book-type movie, even interesting at some points, but it isn’t anything new or special. Arnold revitalizes his stoic catch-phrase-rapping character with few steps lost, save for the furrowed face lines in close-up. The FBI’s incompetence, and the subsequent waste of tax dollars in trying to catch an escaped convict – during our ongoing debt crisis – is laughable, and the use of firearms and the way that people die is questionable timing one month after Newtown. But hell, these type of movies don’t care and neither did the preview audience in attendance, cheering each quality kill.
Sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) of Sommerton Junction, Arizona, is a lawman with a past, a former Los Angeles police officer who lost his entire unit in a drug war shoot out. He’s content in his sleepy town, aided by deputies Mike (Luis Guzmán), Sarah (Jamie Alexander) and Jerry (Zach Gilford). In faraway Las Vegas, a death row prisoner transfer is taking place by the FBI. The Mexican drug lord Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) somehow is able to make his escape during the transfer, much to the consternation of gruff Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker).
There are a couple of mysterious truckers in Sommerton, and something doesn’t seem right to Sheriff Ray. It turns out they are building a bridge across a canyon nearby, a bridge to the Mexican border that their boss Cortez will use to get out of America. They kill a local farmer (Harry Dean Stanton) to set up the construction camp, and this begins a series of events in which a gun battle kills Deputy Jerry. Sheriff Ray is now the law, and recruits local troublemaker Frank (Rodrigo Santoro) and gun museum owner Lewis (Johnny Knoxville) to join what is left of his officers to help fend off the usurpers.
Photo credit: Lionsgate