Saturday 19 Apr
 
 

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0
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An action-packed franchise film with all the right parts, 'Predators' works for the most part


Doug Bentin July 15th, 2010

If it's not the best formula ever devised for suspense films, it surely must be in the top three: A group of strangers are gathered together for an unknown reason and then are killed off one at a time by an invisible presence. They figure out what they have in common " in this case, they are all, with one odd exception, professional and highly trained killers " but the nature of the threat against them is harder to determine.

In "Predators," which director Nimród Antal ("Armored") and producer Robert Rodriguez ("Grindhouse") call the true sequel to 1987's "Predator," eight people awake from a drugged state while in free fall. After landing, they gather and figure out that they're on Planet Whazzit, a game preserve in which they will be the game. To make their war of wits with the hunters more even, each of them, if packing weaponry when s/he was abducted, still carry the heat. Only Stans (Walton Goggins, TV's "Justified"), who was on death row, and Edwin (Topher Grace, "Valentine's Day"), a nerdy physician, arrive unarmed.

Royce (Adrien Brody, "Splice") is an American mercenary. Survival is his only concern, but if you think even sci-fi action films should contain at least a smidgeon of worthwhile human content, the question of will he or won't he make a connection with another person provides a possible character arc for him. Of course, another of the abductees is Isabelle (Alice Braga, "Blindness"), a CIA sniper, so you can figure it out for yourself.

The rest of the ad hoc team is made up of Nikolai (Oleg Taktarov, "Righteous Kill"), Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien, "Gigantic"), Mombasa (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button") and Cuchillo (Danny Trejo, "Fanboys").

Along the way, they meet up with Noland (Laurence Fishburne, TV's "CSI"). Fishburne slyly slips in a wickedly comic performance as a guy who's been able to survive for several hunting seasons by being obsessive and nuttier than a Pecan Log Roll at Stuckey's.

One of the variations to the kill-'em-off-one-at-a-time formula is the addition of the traitor in the group who is working against the interests of the team as a whole. If you remember the movies based on Alistair MacLean's novels " "The Guns of Navarone" and "Where Eagles Dare" " you know how effective this device can be. With a little more practice, novice screenwriters Alex Litvak and Michael Finch will realize that this works best when the possibility of subversion within is introduced early on.

The characters prove their worth " or lack of same " through action rather than jabber, of which there is surprisingly little. Brody is an acceptable action hero, and he's a good enough actor to keep you in doubt as to what he will finally decide to do.

It's all very familiar, and it's ultimately up to you as to whether or not you want to see this story told yet again.

If you do, "Predators" works pretty well for what it is. "Doug Bentin
 
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