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HOME MOVIES

By Karen Martin

This article was published March 7, 2014 at 2:14 a.m.

Cold Comes the Night, directed by Tze Chun

Cold Comes the Night, directed by Tze Chun (R, 90 minutes)

Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) plays the always watchable bad guy in the decent low-budget thriller Cold Comes the Night, in which self-reliant single mom Chloe (Alice Eve) and her daughter Sophia (Ursula Parker) run a crummy motel on a lonely highway in upstate New York, where corrupt cop Billy Banks (Logan Marshall-Green) takes advantage of Chloe’s deteriorating financial situation.

Topo (Cranston with a fake beard, dark glasses and a vaguely eastern European accent), a nearly blind lifelong criminal, and his driver (Robin Taylor) stop at the motel on the way to delivering some ill-gotten gains to their boss.

When an accident kills his driver and impounds his car, steely Topo forces Chloe to be his new driver, using Sophia as collateral. The trio head out after Billy, who has stolen Topo’s money. Bonus features include deleted scenes.

Boiler Room (R, 120 minutes) This tense, involving 2000 drama, now available on Blu-ray, stars Giovanni Ribisi as Seth Davis, a college dropout who works for a small brokerage firm making cold calls to prospective clients. His talent at the task gets him into dirty dealings that eventually cause him to break the law to keep his bosses satisfied and the money rolling in. With Vin Diesel, Nia Long, Scott Caan, Ben Affleck.

The Last Days on Mars (PG-13, 98 minutes) The first half hour or so of The Last Days on Mars is promising: A crew of eight scientists and support personnel, stationed at an outpost on Marsfor six months, is winding up research projects in anticipation of embarking on the journey back to Earth.

Shortly before it’s time to depart, scientist Marko Petrovic (Goran Kostic) pleads with chief systems engineer Charles Brunel (Elias Koteas) for one last jaunt across the surface in the interest of scientific discovery. Brunel bends the rules and says OK. So Petrovic and crew mate Richard Harrington (Tom Cullen) trundle along in a well-armored rover to a spot where Petrovic sneakily snatches samples of Martian soil that contain his career-making discovery: biological agents.

While doing so, Petrovic mysteriously disappears in a crumbling cave-in. Attempts to find him are unsuccessful.

The mood of the crew temporarily brightens when base cameras reveal that Petrovic is not lost; he’s returning to the base. But, as evidenced by the removal of his helmet after clearing an air lock, he’s not quite himself. That biological agent is not the stuff that creates puppies or earthworms or little blue men. It’s the stuff that creates zombies!

The rest of the film is gory but mediocre, with an outcome that is completely predictable. There’s better zombie entertainment out there than this.

Old Boy (R, 104 minutes) This stylish, pared-down, Spike Lee-directed remake of a super-violent and ultra-menacing classic 2003 Korean film tells the story of hard-drinking ad executive Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin), who is abruptly kidnapped and held hostage for 20 years in solitary confinement for no apparent reason. When he is released without explanation, he begins an obsessive mission to find out who imprisoned him, only to discover that the real mystery is why he was set free. With Samuel L. Jackson, Elizabeth Olsen, Michael Imperioli. The Bluray includes two making-of featurettes, alternative and extended scenes and an overview of the story line.

The Facility (unrated, 82 minutes) This effective low-budget horror thriller, colored with blood and chaos, takes viewers to a remote British medical facility where a group of seven strangers begins a clinical trial for an experimental new drug called Pro-9. As the untested drug begins to course through their veins, unexpected side effects start to take hold and several of the volunteers are sent into an uncontrollable homicidal rage. With Aneurin Barnard, Oliver Coleman, Alex Reid, Nia Roberts.

MovieStyle, Pages 33 on 03/07/2014

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