VOD Reviews : Crisis, The Marksman, Crop Circle Realities

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Available on Digital.

Even with the current pandemic circling around the globe, it isn’t alone in its destructive hold on the world.  You would have to be living on Mars to not be aware of the horrible Opioid problem that is still being faced by over 10 million people in the United States alone and is claiming the lives of almost 50,000 annually.  You would be correct in calling it a Crisis.

“Crisis” is the story of three very different people with very similar goals.  The film opens with a young man running for his life through a field of snow.  He is heading to America from Canada but is eventually stopped by the Border Patrol.  In his backpack they find $500,000 worth of Fentanyl.  Meanwhile, in nearby Montreal, Jake (Hammer) is setting up a deal with Mother (Guy Madon).  He and his Armenian partners are looking to score $3 million in Fentanyl, to be pressed into, and disguised as, vitamin pills.

Meanwhile, at a small college, Dr. Tyrone Brower is pushing back against recommending a drug created to stop pain but is described as being non-addictive.  Dr. Brower’s lab results tell him different but the school’s Dean (Greg Kinnear) urges him not to make waves as the pharmaceutical company manufacturing the drug are his biggest grant donors.

In Detroit, a mother’s worse nightmare come true when she is informed that her son has overdosed after consuming a handful of Oxycodone.  Grief stricken, the woman (Lilly) makes it her goal to find out where her son got the pills.  Eventually all three characters will be central to the story.

Well-paced by director and writer Nicholas Jarecki, who also has a role in the film, “Crisis” is a film with several twists and turns, each one taking your around the corner to another revelation.

Oldman, who is truly a chameleon on screen (he’s played everyone from a wannabe Rasta pimp in “True Romance” to Lee Harvey Oswald in “JFK” to Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour,” which won him the Academy Award for Best Actor).  Lilly is spot-on as the grieving mother who will do anything to find the answers she is looking for.

Hammer’s Jake is the most complex character.  As his story unfolds we learn he really isn’t who we thought he was.  We also learn that he has a sister who is hooked on drugs, which gives his character more impetus to carry out his plans.

The plot, based on a true story, jumps from one character to another fairly seamlessly, which is always a positive in a film with multiple story arcs.  If I had any complaints it would be Lilly turning into a one-woman detective squad and the fact that Mother sometimes loses his Canadian accent, curious because Mr. Madon is, indeed, Canadian.

Those little quibbles aside, “Crisis” is an enjoyable film and well recommended.  It also is proof, in this writer’s opinion, that they can’t sign Armie Hammer fast enough to play Batman! – Mike Smith


The Marksman

Available on DVD, Digital and Blu-ray

“The Marksman” is your typical Liam Neeson film, slightly reminiscing of a Clint Eastwood-starring vehicle, but nonetheless provides just enough entertainment to get through that bucket of popcorn. Neeson plays retired U.S. Marine Jim Hanson, who lives along the border of Mexico and Arizona and reporting attempted illegal border crossings. He comes across a mother and son fleeing from the Cartel, and after the mother is shot dead, Hanson promises to get the son Miguel (Jacob Perez) to family in Chicago – unfortunately with Cartel in tow.

The ensuing chase is fairly familiar, and nothing out of the ordinary for a film with Neeson’s name to it – but if it’s an entertaining somewhat thrilling ride you’re after, then this is the movie for you. The bond formed between Hanson and Miguel is also quite cute and heartwarming, so tune in for that. Director Robert Lorenz has utilised Neeson to his full Liam Neeson potential, so fans – do not miss it. – K.T Simpson


Crop Circle Realities

Available on Digital.

Crop circles continue to pop up all over the world, with many of them found in England. While some of these circles were later found out to be hoaxes, Darcy Weir’s “Crop Circle Realities” has a spooky proclamation to make: Some of them weren’t made by humans. The sci-fi doc, the latest in a long of documentaries on paranormal occurrences from Mr. Weir, explores the mystifying phenomena in great detail, with resplendently captured photography, archive footage and expert interviews – Renowned Crop Circle researcher Gary King has some particularly interesting things to say – helping to substantiate the claims.

Whether or not you believe what you’re being told doesn’t deter enjoyment of this intriguing, well-directed documentary. – Mike Lowery

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