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Worth A Look: 11.11%
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Total Crap: 11.11%

1 review, 3 user ratings

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Cold Comes the Night
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by Jay Seaver

"A basic thriller that shows what folks are capable of."
3 stars

There are a number of paths to directing major motion pictures, and I suspect that the one Tze Chun is on is fairly common: Do some shorts, make a truly independent film that's close to your heart for next to nothing with unknown actors ("Children of Invention"), take some jobs in TV, do a genre film with actors who are familiar but maybe not quite stars, and hope all of that adds up to a demonstration of both your talent and professionalism. "Cold Comes the Night" is Chun's small thriller, and it's not a bad selection if you're looking for some crime you haven't seen. Can't fault it for keeping Alice Eve and Bryan Cranston working, either.

A motel office is not the best place to raise a child, but single mom Chloe (Alice Eve) doesn't have the money to move elsewhere, even though the social worker points out that a lot of drug users, prostitutes, and other unsavory characters pass through as justification for threatening to take Sophia (Ursula Parker) away. Tonight, for instance, there's accented career criminal Topo (Bryan Cranston), his partner Quincy (Robin Taylor), and the girl Quincy picks up. That goes worse than usual, and the next morning, Topo really needs the package in the car that corrupt cop Billy Banks (Logan Marshall-Green) is planning to sell for scrap - and since Topo is nearly blind, he's going to need Chloe's help to get it.

It's basic crime-story material - if you can't draw a line between Chloe's situation and a whole bunch of money up for grabs, turn the movie off and come back when you're awake - but there's potential there: How do Topo's instincts, honed over decades of practical criminal experience, make up for his macular degeneration? With Sophia in the middle of everything, how can Chloe justify not taking the safe play? It looks like Billy might be Sophia's father; how does that complicate things? Unfortunately, it doesn't take long before hope for much in the way of creativity starts to flag; early conversations seem generic, like Chun and his co-writers knew where they needed to go but meant to circle back later with a more interesting way to say it. The job gets done, but seldom in a surprising way.

Similarly, these likely won't be the parts people use when discussing the best work of Alice Eve or Bryan Cranston. Eve goes through the worried-single-mom motions early on, although she does eventually show something tougher and a little more interesting when Chloe starts to become an active participant in the action; I like how her body language sometimes hints she wouldn't actually mind if Topo followed through on some of his threats against Billy or his wife Amber (Erin Cummings). Cranston, meanwhile, is hidden behind ever-present sunglasses and a beard that emphasizes how his jaw just doesn't move, then given a Russian accent and way of speaking where words dropped. He's good enough that some character still manages to squeeze its way out, of course, but it's clear that Eve and Cranston aren't getting to have nearly the amount of fun Robin Taylor, Logan Marshall-Green, and Stephen Sheffer are having as the crooks who aren't so prideful.

And yet, I wouldn't be surprised if folks give Chun a look the next time they're looking for some fresh blood for a bigger thriller. He doesn't make this movie the bottle picture it could have been by staying at the motel, but he squeezes a fair amount out of a few basic settings, and he's good at staging stuff so that deception can happen right before the audience's eyes. Some of the action is surprisingly brutal, and even when it has to be staged out of sight, it can give the audience a thrill (one shootout is amazingly effective for how utterly obscured it is). The sound is especially well-done.

All in all, it's a good enough picture to show Chun has some chops, even when it comes to more mainstream fare. "Cold Comes the Night" should entertain anybody looking for a basic hour and a half of double-crosses and deals made at gunpoint, and that's fine even without the other context.

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originally posted: 01/12/14 16:53:24
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User Comments

5/23/16 jason better than most 4 stars
2/19/14 Langano Horrible. 1 stars
1/24/14 Dxxhrzwd Thus, the application will be simpler for an emergency then this is something that you shou 3 stars
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  10-Jan-2014 (R)
  DVD: 04-Mar-2014

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