Rude  Awakening!

Hollywood 1

                                                       By Shirl Hollenberg

Hard times can lead to desperate measures. One down on his luck man does whatever he can to make ends meet in Cheap Thrills. One could say  bad taste reaches a new low with Cheap Thrills now showing at the Rio Theatre in Vancouver.
Family matters and work go hand in hand. News of a job loss and rent eviction notice can make the best of us tense.  Desperate to keep on going  in the face of the unknown is mild-mannered Craig.  Timid as can be as this lost soul is Pat Healy. One chance encounter with a former friend leads the two on an unbelievable escapade.
Fate sees Craig  and renewed friend Vince wind up in the company of an eager to please couple. Up for anything that goes is Ethan Embry who along with Craig fall for the charms and attitude of Colin and  Violet. Extreme partying is the motto of this pair, suitably demonstrated by David Koechner (Anchorman) and Sara Paxton.
What follows is a night of total unprovoked debauchery that makes antics of the Marquis de Sade pale by comparison. Money is at the root of all evil and this couple use their cash to “tempt” these grown men into doing many truly unspeakable acts.
Cold and calculating are the scenarios that unfold. Not to be seen on a a full stomach or if you’re an animal lover Cheap Thrills demonstrates the length some people will go to make a buck. Director E.L. Katz hurls us into 85 minutes of abuse these characters endure that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.  As such Cheap Thrills is  not your standard fare film but does have compelling performances by actors who effectively bring soul to their screwed up characters.


Cheap Thrills (14A) **


Cockpit Caper!

By Shirl Hollenberg

Brace yourself for non stop action when viewing Non-Stop.  Think of a runaway plane and a madman on the loose and you have the genesis for this spirited adventure from Universal Pictures now taking off at Cineplex Odeon cites across B.C.
Helpless  from terror up above never felt so real as washed up (?) security ace Bill Marks makes his typical journey from New York to London. Ready for all sorts of action must be calm, cool and collected Liam Neeson (Schindler’s List).  All that training Liam learned for his heroic take in Taken Is put  to good use as this maligned air Marshall must try to foil a madman bent on bringing one big bird down.  Pity all the people on board who get caught in the crossfire.
Director Jaume Collet-Sera does a great job  ramping up the tension in this confined pressure cooker that never slows.  Full of surprises there’s enough action here to soothe even the most jaded adventure enthusiast.  Great special effects and that fear of really not knowing what will come next or who may be the saboteur make Non-Stop a great thriller.
Great in flight battles, man on man fight to the death moments and some interesting passengers including a turn by Julianne Moore (Hannibal ) contribute to the class act otherwise known as Non-Stop.


Non-Stop ( PG) ****