Movie Reviews: RED, Conviction


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RED (***)
RED is a slight, mostly enjoyable action comedy that wears out its premise by the end of its overly long 2-hour running time.  The main selling point is the cast of old timers thrust out of retirement and back into spy hijinks.  John Malkovich steals the show, but Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren are good too.  Mary Louise Parker gets her share of laughs, but one can't help but look at her face and wonder what surgical enhancements she's had done to it.  The comedic tone can be a bit too glib at times - almost purposefully silly to the point of annoyance.  I much prefer the unintentional laughs of that other geezer action extravaganza - The Expendables.  Still, watching this talented cast of veterans in the middle of one ridiculous action sequence after another is a kick - especially when the bad guys literally blow up after being shot with a rocket launcher. 
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Conviction (***1/2)
This true story of one sister's determination to free her wrongly imprisoned brother is earnest and well-intentioned enough.  It would fit right at home on HBO screens as an original, made-for-TV movie.  That's not meant as a swipe - entirely.  Though the story is powerful and director Tony Goldwyn stages the action in an unfussy manner with some smartly chosen editing jumps back and forth in time, Conviction still feels better suited to smaller screens.  My guess is that the acting is so good that it warranted a theatrical release - both Hillary Swank and especially Sam Rockwell (aided by some impressive make-up) do a bang-up job in their roles, easily overcoming all the Boston accents on parade. 

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Tags: Conviction, film, movies, RED, reviews

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