WEEKEND REELS
Contraband
Friday, February 03, 2012

Director: Baltasar Kormákur; Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Giovanni Ribisi, Kate Beckinsale

Yes, this follows the tried-and-true One Last Job formula. Yes, Mark Wahlberg is nestled deep within his comfort zone as a former master criminal who’s lived a dangerous life and gone straight. Still, this is a solid genre picture that knows exactly what it is, has no delusions of grandeur and carries out its task in entertaining and occasionally even suspenseful fashion. Based on the 2008 Icelandic film Reykjavik-Rotterdam and directed by that movie’s star, Baltasar Kormákur, Contraband features Wahlberg as Chris Farraday, a one-time expert smuggler who’s now living a quiet life as a security consultant in the New Orleans suburbs with his hairstylist wife, Kate (Kate Beckinsale), and their two young sons. When Kate’s younger brother (Caleb Landry Jones) botches a run for a volatile local drug dealer (Giovanni Ribisi, tatted, high-pitched and squirrelly) while pulling into the Port of New Orleans, Chris must come out of retirement to make up the loss to this madman. His scheme involves shipping down to Panama City to bring back millions in counterfeit bills; not only does this not go according to plan, it spins wildly out of control. Meanwhile, back in the bayou, Kate and the kids increasingly become targets of the drug dealer’s wrath. Kormákur relies too heavily on shaky-cam tricks and quick, needless zooms to pump up the tension, but some of his set pieces do play out in visceral fashion. R for violence, pervasive language and brief drug use. 109 minutes. — AP

 

DVD classics:  Releases you may have missed over the years

Down to You (2000) (PG-13)

The two meet at college in New York City and find out that first love is bittersweet. They go about their separate ways, but get back trying hard to build on their relationship through the Big Apple distractions.

Best for: Adolescent rom-com

Genre: Romantic comedy

What’s good: Their relationship is charted with numbing details; antics of their quirky friends

What’s bad: There’s little chemistry between the lead pair, Al and Imogen

Cast:  Freddie Prinze Jr, Julia Stiles, Selma Blair

 

Rating: ΗΗΗΗΗClueless (1995) (PG-13)

A high school student in Beverly Hills, must survive the ups and downs of teen life. She cares less about right grades and more about wearing the right clothes. She’s popular and plays matchmaker for her friends. 

Best for: The all-important teen social life

Genre: Comedy

What’s good: Cher’s a walking advertisement for all that is good and bad in America 

What’s bad: You can’t help but like these totally spoilt, little rich kids

Cast: Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Paul Rudd

 

Rating: ΗΗΗΗΗ

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