Bringing Up Bobby
Actress Famke Janssen (X-Men) makes an inauspicious directorial debut with this shrill comedy about parental responsibility and prepubescent innocence. Milla Jovovich seems like a strange casting choice as a Ukrainian con artist who flees to rural Oklahoma with her mischievous 10-year-old American son as a way of trying to stabilize his childhood, only to see her criminal past catch up with her after a chance encounter with an affluent local real-estate tycoon (Bill Pullman). Janssen and her crew create some striking visuals, but her script is a mess filled with condescending stereotypes, unlikeable characters, earnest melodrama and references to old movies that are better. (Rated PG-13, 93 minutes).
This taut if deliberately paced thriller from Thailand is a more mainstream effort for director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang (Last Life in the Universe). It chronicles a former Bangkok cop (Nopporn Chaiyanam) who wakes up from a coma only to realize his past is catching up to him, as he becomes entangled in a plot of revenge and extortion involving various gangsters, corrupt politicians and ruthless crime bosses. The filmmaker is known for his beautiful imagery, and here the visual contrast between the ultraviolent showdowns and the quieter, more character-driven moments is striking. While the story contains elements of formula, the film twists them just enough. (Not rated, 105 minutes).
Swords and sorcery rule the day in this adventure based on the character created by author Robert Howard (Conan the Barbarian). It’s a 16th century redemption story in which the title character (James Purefoy) is a killer and thief who escapes from demons knowing that he must maintain a clean Puritan life in order to save his soul. After masked men murder a family and kidnap a girl, however, Kane realizes he must again turn to grisly violence to preserve justice. Highlights include some slick swashbuckling sequences and reasonable visual effects, yet the script by director Michael Bassett wallows in formula and takes itself too seriously. (Rated R, 104 minutes).