The Movie Waffler New Release Reviews - Bullhead / The Playroom / The Liability | The Movie Waffler

New Release Reviews - Bullhead / The Playroom / The Liability

Directed by: Michaël R. Roskam
Starring: Matthias Schoenaerts, Jeroen Perceval, Jeanne Dandoy
As a child, cattle farmer's son Jacky (Schoenarts) suffers an attack which renders his testicles irreparably damaged, leading him as an adult to develop an addiction to illegal growth hormones and testorone supplements. The perpetrator of the attack was never punished as the father of Jacky's best friend Diederik (Perceval) refused to allow his son give evidence against the son of a local gangster. As adults, Diederik and Jacky have separately become involved in the illegal hormone trade and are reunited, bringing back uncomfortable memories and setting Jacky off on a path of vengeance.

Inexplicably, 'Bullhead' won much praise last year on the festival circuit. With it's deathly slow pace and rather crass use of flashbacks it's a struggle to stay engaged with Roskam's film. The only aspect of the movie I found interesting was the level of animosity between French and Flemish speaking Belgians. The plot is poorly developed, relying on far too many backroom meetings for the sake of exposition. Schoenarts, seen recently in 'Rust & Bone', has been winning accolades but, frankly, I'm stumped as to his appeal. Here, as in Audiard's film, he comes across as a one-note charisma vacuum.
Bullhead (2011) on IMDb 7.3/10

The Playroom
Directed by: Julia Dyer
Starring: John Hawkes, Molly Parker, Olivia Harris
The four children of middle-class couple Hawkes and Parker are sent to the attic while their parents drunkenly entertain another couple downstairs. As the night progresses, and the drink flows, a revelation comes out.
This stagey variation on 'The Ice Storm' seriously wastes its acting talent with a tired, cliched and pretentious script. The seventies setting only seems to serve as an excuse to play a few tunes from the era. Newcomer Harris is impressive as the eldest daughter, and will go on to bigger and better things undoubtedly, but if you tuned randomly into any soap opera episode it wouldn't be much worse than this.
The Playroom (2012) on IMDb 5.3/10

The Liability
Directed by: Craig Viveiros
Starring: Tim Roth, Jack O'Connell, Peter Mullan, Talulah Riley
To make amends for smashing up his gangster stepfather's car, teenager Adam (O'Connell) is giving the task of acting as a driver for hitman Roy (Roth). Things get messy when a backpacker escapes after witnessing one of their dirty deeds.
Another day, another awful British crime flick. Here we get the tired old "hitman on his last job" routine with groan-inducing references to previous Roth films 'The Hit' and 'Reservoir Dogs'. Somebody really needs to tell the British film industry there's more to film than just costume dramas and gangster movies. Like most U.K productions, the only positive aspect here is the acting, (O'Connell is charismatic despite playing a seriously annoying character), but when cliched tripe like this is all that's churned out, it's little wonder so many Brits are acting in U.S cinema. 
The Liability (2012) on IMDb 6.8/10

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