Film Review: New Hampshire Film Festival & Escape Plan

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Hello Sock Talkers! Sock Talk Jon here, I had the privilege of attending the New Hampshire Film Festival on Friday and two out of the three films I saw were really excellent.

First, was The Retrieval, a really well paced and better acted civil war period piece about a couple of slaves sent by a gang of bounty hunters to retrieve and bring back a man so that they can earn their own freedom. It was one of the most beautifully filmed (and well acted) movies I’ve seen in a long time, and if you have the opportunity to see it, do so. There is such a great tone to this film that is enhanced all the more by the beautiful cinematography/score. I look forward to seeing this again, as the sound in the theater was lacking.

Second up, was Austenland…a horrid piece of unfunny dreck. Essentially, it’s about an irritating woman obsessed with Jane Austen novels, who spends her entire life savings to go on an “Austen”tatious vacation (thank you Kolleen for pointing out that delightful pun opportunity) set in the world of Jane Austen books…cancer is funnier than this film.

Thirdly, was a film that doesn’t come out until next year called Labor Day, based on the novel by Joyce Maynard, Labor Day stars Josh Brolin, Kate Winslet and Clark Gregg. This film is not only fantastic, but really surprised the hell out of me by being as good as it was. Set in 1987, Josh Brolin plays a wounded, escaped convict (who is actually a good guy with an unfortunate past) who forcefully stays with a family in their house for 5 days, trying to evade the police. I can’t express how good this movie is. See it when it comes out.

Finally, I also took in Escape Plan last night. The new Stallone/Schwarzenegger prison escape film. It was EXACTLY what I needed it to be. Similar to Lock Up but more modern, Escape Plan is well paced, with great massive/practical sets and it’s just clever enough to give you a little something you haven’t seen before while remembering exactly what kind of film it is. This was also the first time I’ve enjoyed seeing Schwarzenegger on screen since his return to acting. His character “Rottmayer”, is a lot of fun and has this great manic sequence where he speaks entirely in German. And it’s just as angry as I’d imagine it wound sound bellowing from the Austrian Oak himself.

This is the time of year where those hidden gems start coming out and I strongly suggest seeing any of these films (minus Austenland….uch) should you get the chance.

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