HollywoodChicago.com RSS   Facebook   HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter   Free Giveaway E-mail   

Blu-Ray Review: Odd ‘Night Train’ With Steve Zahn, Leelee Sobieski

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
No votes yet

CHICAGO – M. Brian King’s “Night Train,” starring Danny Glover, Steve Zahn, and Leelee Sobieski and now available on Blu-Ray and DVD, is one of the most anthology-esque films I’ve ever seen. It feels like an extended, unaired episode of a syndicated anthology show like “The Outer Limits” (remake, not original) or “Friday the 13th”. You’ll notice I didn’t compare it to “The Twilight Zone” or even “Amazing Stories”. It’s not that good.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 2.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 2.0/5.0

“Night Train” is a B-movie in every way, from the “what if” set-up right down to the awful CGI shots of the exterior of the train (a baffling decision that deflates any attempt at realism of the piece every few minutes). It’s a 91-minute feature that could have crammed the same plot into a 44-minute TV episode (and probably ended up more effective from the editing).

Night Train was released on Blu-Ray on July 7th, 2009.
Night Train was released on Blu-Ray on July 7th, 2009.
Photo credit: E1/NEM

The opening act of “Night Train” is a promising one. A conductor and two passengers on an overnight train find themselves in an unusual, life-changing predicament. A man has just died in the rear car that the two passengers (Steve Zahn & Leelee Sobieski) share. The conductor (Danny Glover) and his two passengers discover a mysterious box among his possessions and they see something remarkable in it that they want to keep for themselves.

What length would you go to for unimaginable wealth? And would you be willing to share it with two complete strangers? There’s enough dramatic material there for an interesting thriller and I liked the set-up of “Night Train,” but when King tries to get deep, his project goes off the track. It turns out that the box is supernatural. Why? Why not just make a thriller? Instead, King has to take it a step further, as if his film is trying to say something about the evil desires of all mankind. It doesn’t work and the long second and third act feel padded out to meet a running time that the filmmaker can’t quite justify.

The Blu-Ray release of “Night Train” looks good-not-great in 1080i with a widescreen presentation. It’s hard to say if it’s the cinematography or the transfer, but “Night Train” looks surprisingly “fake” and I wonder if less polish wouldn’t have improved the film. The train doesn’t feel lived in and the characters look too crisp and clean, always looking more like actors than actual people.

Special features on “Night Train” include an interesting behind-the-scenes featurette about the making of the film, interviews, a photo gallery, and the trailer.

I’ve always been a supporter of independent, unheralded thrillers. It’s the reason I wanted to check out “Night Train” in the first place. No one’s more disappointed that this train doesn’t make it to the station on time.

‘Night Train’ is released by National Entertainment Media and stars Danny Glover, Leelee Sobieski, and Steve Zahn. It was written and directed by M. Brian King. The Blu-Ray and DVD were released on July 7th, 2009. It is rated R.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Hot stories on the Web


User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing

TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Drunk History Seasons 1 & 2, 2014

    CHICAGO – The awesomeness of history loses any of its stuffiness with the incredibly fun, indeed educational show “Drunk History” from Comedy Central, its two seasons now released on DVD. Hosted by its creator Derek Waters, the show is a celebration of various historic figures and their under-appreciated true tales, as expressed by funny people narrating in the universal language of inebriation; their recounts are then reenacted by famous actors working with their given dialogue, dressed with the comic cheapness of a bloated biopic.

  • Happy Christmas

    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.

Advertisement


HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter

archive

HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions
tracker