FlixChatter Review: John Hillcoat’s TRIPLE 9 (2016)

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I’m a big fan of crime action thrillers of the 70s, 80s and 90s, so I was excited to see this new film by Aussie director John Hillcoat. As we all know, the last decade or so the superhero genre has been dominating the box office so crime action thrillers are rarity these days.

The movie opens with a bank robbery that didn’t go as smoothly as planned. The bank robbers weren’t there to steal money but a case in the safe box. In a pretty impressive opening action sequence, the robbers were able to escape unscathed. We then learned that two of the robbers named Marcus Belmont (Anthony Mackie) and Jorge Ridriguez (Clifton Collins Jr.) are cops and one is an ex-cop named Gabe Welch (Aaron Paul). The rest of the robbers are ex-military men named Michael Atwood (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Russell Welch (Norman Reedus). They were tasked to steal something very important for a Russian mob boss named Irina Vlaslov (Kate Winslet, sporting a very 80s hairdo and weird Russian accent). Irina has a sister named Elena (Gal Gadot), who happens to be Atwood’s ex-girlfriend.

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After Atwood delivered the steal goods to Irina, she told him that she has another job for him and his team. Atwood of course wasn’t interested but Irina told him she won’t pay him for the job he’d just finished unless he gets the second one done. With no other choice, Atwood got his team together again and try to come up with a plan to make the biggest heist of their lives. We then were introduced to a detective named Jeffrey Allen (Woody Harrelson), he’s in charge of finding the bank robbers. Allen has a nephew named Chris (Casey Affleck) who’s also a cop and Belmont’s new partner. As the story progresses we learned more about each of these characters and how they’re all some-how connected and we found out meaning of the movie’s title.

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With so many well known actors in one movie, I wasn’t sure if they’re all going to get enough screen time, but to my surprise all of the big players got equal screen time and they played their respectively role quite well. This is the kind of movie that doesn’t really have a central character you want to “cheer” for, each of the characters has their own motivation and there’s no good or bad guy in the story. I had my doubts about Casey’s casting as the supposed “hero” of the story but his character played a central role in the plot and he’s pretty convincing.

John Hillcoat is one of my favorite newer directors and he didn’t disappoint with his direction for this movie. He staged some pretty good action sequences including his signature bloody violence. What really impressed me was how he avoided making the movie into a super dark and serious tone that has plagued most action movies the last few years. This movie feels like a thriller from the 80s and 90s.


Even though I was very impressed with the performances and direction of the movie, I had some problems with the script. Matt Cook is a newcomer in Hollywood and I was surprised his script didn’t get rewrites or more polished by other screenwriters. The story is filled with so many layers that I think a well-established screenwriter could’ve made it into a great script. I’m not saying that Cook’s script is bad just that it needed a lot of fixing. My biggest beef with the script was how the story wrapped so neatly by the movie’s end. I won’t spoil anything but if you saw The Departed then you’ll know what I mean when you see this movie.

Triple 9 is a well made action thriller that could’ve been a classic had the script been more polished. Fans of the buddy cop action and crime thrillers from the 80s and 90s will be pleased with it.

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Have you seen TRIPLE 9? Well, what did you think?

TCFF Day 2 Film Highlights: The Search for Simon, Gladiators Football doc, Trust Greed Bullets and Bourbon & more!

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The Opening Night went on without a hitch! I can’t post my review for Nebraska yet but suffice to say I highly recommend it! It was wildly entertaining and amusing. If you like The Descendants which also deals the quirky family dynamics, I think you’d enjoy Nebraska. Kudos for Alexander Payne for crafting such an engaging, poignant but also hilarious film, boasted by great performances by the cast, especially Bruce Dern. That Best Actor win at Cannes is well-deserved, here’s hoping for more award love for the man.

It was fun to see all the buzz at the Showplace ICON Cinema with everyone mingling and people talking/posing on the red carpet area. There’s even a flashmob going on at the lobby! As people come in the door, our vehicle sponsor FIAT with TCFF logo emblazoned on its shiny exterior is on display!

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Speaking of which, did you know there’s a complimentary FIAT Drive-In event on Tuesday night (10/22) from 7-9:30pm right at the Shops at West End. Check out the link for more info.

It’s now DAY 2!

Here are some of the film highlights for today:

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The Search For Simon

TCFF Showing: Friday, October 18, 2013 at 12:00pm + Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 9:30pm

In 1979 David Jones’ younger brother Simon, aged 7, disappeared without a trace and was never seen again.

34 years later David is still looking.

This is The Search for Simon.

Directed by: Martin Gooch
Starring: Carol Cleveland (Monty Python), Tom Price (Torchwood), Sophie Aldred (Dr. Who), Lucy Clements (The ABCs of Death), Millie Reeves, Noeleen Comiskey and Chase Masterson (Star-Trek Deep Space 9).

I LOVE British sci-fi comedies and I’ve heard people calling this Shaun of the Dead meets the X-Files! Director Martin Gooch was kind enough to make this specially-made video to answer my questions about the film, check it out!

On behalf of TCFF, THANK YOU Mr. Gooch for your kindly making that video for us. I will post the review after I see the film.


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Trust Greed Bullets and Bourbon

TCFF Showing: Friday, October 18, 2013 at 6:45pm (with director Scott Kawczynski attending)

Five years after a simple heist goes awry, a group of thieves reconvene at a cabin in upstate New York, hoping to recover the diamonds they initially stole. Tensions rise as allegiances are made and broken, backs are stabbed and the dirty past is dredged up as the group searches for the diamonds and answers.

Directed by: Scott Kawczynski
Starring: Max Casella (THE SOPRANOS, BLUE JASMINE, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS) and 4 times Tony-nominated actor Danny Burstein (BOARDWALK EMPIRE).

Check out the trailer:

Stay tuned for a special interview post with Scott Kawczynski as well as the review for the film!


Gladiators: The Uncertain Future of American Football documentary

TCFF Showing: Friday, October 18, 2013 at 4:30pm + Friday, October 25, 2013 at 1:45pm

GladiatorsFootballA historical film that tells the story of a game that was always dangerous, and whose dangers, though controversial, were also desired. Since its beginnings in the late nineteenth century, football has become not just Americans’ favorite spectator sport but also a supposed training for manhood; a fundamental part of the American educational system; a pathway for social and economic mobility, with millions of dollars now paid to top players and coaches; a source of personal and communal identity; an unparalleled social ritual; and some of the most powerful stories America tells about itself.

Directed by: Todd Trigsted
Written by: Michael Oriard

Check out the trailer on TCFF Official page.


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We Are What We Are

TCFF Showing: Friday, October 18, 2013 at 9:00pm

The Parkers, a reclusive family who follow ancient customs, find their secret existence threatened as a torrential downpour moves into their area, forcing daughters Iris and Rose to assume responsibilities beyond those of a typical family.

Directed by: Jim Mickle
Written by: Jim Mickle and Nick Damici

This horror mystery has been playing in the film festival circuit and got some great critical reviews (85% on Rotten Tomatoes). Seems like a perfect Friday night film for horror fans just in time for [almost] Halloween.

Check out the trailer:


TCFFTickets

Ticket Prices are as follows:
General Admission $10; Opening/Closing Gala $20; Centerpiece Gala $20; Sneak Preview Galas $20. Festival Passes can also be purchased: Silver $50 for 6 films; Gold $70 for 10 films; or Platinum $120 for 12 films + 2 tickets to Opening, Closing or Gala. (Silver and Gold Packages do not include Opening, Closing or Gala Tickets).

For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.twincitiesfilmfest.org.


Stay tuned for more TCFF coverage. So any of the films above that caught your eye?