Review: ‘Small Town Crime’ Spotlights Criminally Underrated John Hawkes

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In another era, John Hawkes (The Sessions, Four Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri) would be a leading man who’d line them up at the local movie theater. But this isn’t the age of James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, or even Gene Hackman, and if one doesn’t have “movie star” looks that person plies his trade as a character actor .

But Hawkes is one example of how character actors often have more presence than the actual star of the project, and it’s great to see him front and center in Small Town Crime. Directed by brothers Ian and Eshom Nelms, the feature focuses on an ex-cop named Mike Kendall (Hawkes) who has turned his life into a living hell thanks to his alcoholism. Drinking like a fish on a daily basis, Mike often wakes up with no idea of his location, and his decision to go behind the wheel while drunk should irritate many a viewer.

Mike may have affection for his adopted sister (Octavia Spencer) and her husband (Anthony Anderson), who’s also his drinking buddy, but they can’t stop his downward spiral. Upon the discovery of a dying woman who’s abandoned on a deserted road, Mike immediately rushes her to the hospital but to no avail. Determined to find her killer in hopes of actually rejoining the force, Mike gradually becomes reengaged with life, proving that when halfway sober he’s actually a great detective. Daniel Sunjata and Michael Vartan play cops who don’t want Mike anywhere near the investigation, with Robert Forster and Clifton Collins Jr. helping Mike out as the victim’s father and an all too confrontational pimp. Caity Lotz (Legends of Tomorrow) also stars a prostitute who may be hiding a thing or two from Kendall.

Fans of such neo-noirs like Blood Simple, where the hard boiled crime is slightly tempered by comedic undertones, should gravitate towards Small Town Crime. Running a lean and mean 91 minutes, the effective thriller is powered by a charismatic and memorable performance by Hawkes. Credit goes to the directors for filling out their narrative with a talented ensemble, but unfortunately their ultimate purpose is to service the narrative’s top dog. That’s a minor quibble, as it’s great to see Hawkes anchor his own film for once, and the Nelms brothers prove they have no trouble delivering an engaging narrative.

Small Town Crime may not reach the big stakes level of some of its cinematic influences, but that’s just fine. If you didn’t already know Hawkes is a star, then Small Town Crime should lead you in the right direction.

The film hits select theaters and On Demand January 19.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5


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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Aaron Tveit Talks ‘Graceland’ & Discusses Its Final End Game

(Photo by: James Minchin III/USA Network)

(Photo by: James Minchin III/USA Network)

The evolving and at times contentious relationship between Paul Briggs (Daniel Sunjata) and Mike Warren (Aaron Tveit) is one of the more compelling elements of the series Graceland, which airs Thursday nights on the USA Network (10 pm et/pt).

These undercover agents, whose lives are often in danger thanks to their respective missions, find their refuge in their Southern California beach residence that’s known affectionately as “Graceland.”

With Briggs’ bout with drug addiction and Warren’s dilemma on which side he should actually choose (he investigated Briggs during the first season), drama is always part of the “Graceland” household.

In the video below Aaron Tveit and Daniel Sunjata elaborate on how they’d love to see Graceland end.

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Posted By: Greg Srisavasdi

‘ONE FOR THE MONEY,’ STARRING KATHERINE HEIGL, HITS BLU-RAY & DVD MAY 1

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I’m still depressed Katherine Heigl’s a couple of seasons removed from Grey’s Anatomy, but thankfully her film career is still alive and kicking, as One for the Money hits Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Download, and On Demand on May 1st.  The movie, based on the popular series by Janet Evanovich, centers on a Stephenie Plum (Heigl), a Jersey girl lands a gig as a recovery agent at a bail bonding company.  The picture co-stars Jason O’Mara, star of the recently cancelled Fox series Terra Nova, and Daniel Sunjata, who had a recurring role on Grey’s Anatomy as Nurse Eli.

Both the Blu-ray and DVD versions contain several featurettes, one deleted scene, and a gag reel.  Click on the media bar and listen to Heigl talk about executive producing One for the Money:

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Posted by Greg Srisavasdi: (Twitter: @gsrisavasdi)

Katherine Heigl Stays True To The Source Material In ‘One For The Money’

one_for_the_moneyCurrently in theaters, ONE FOR THE MONEY is the big-screen adaptation of mystery writer JANET EVANOVICH’S best-selling novel featuring bail bondsman/sleuth Stephanie Plum. Directed by JULIE ANNE ROBINSON, the film stars KATHERINE HEIGL, JASON O’MARA, DANIEL SUNJATA, JOHN LEGUIZANO, SHERRI SHEPHARD, DEBBIE REYNOLDS and DEBRA MONK. A long-time fan of EVANOVICH’S mystery novels, HEIGL made it a point as one of the producers of the film to stay true to the source material. At the recent press event to promote the movie, she talked about her behind-the-scenes efforts. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)

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ONE FOR THE MONEY is in theaters now

Katherine Heigl Stops Complaining After Hearing Debbie Reynolds Horror Stories

one_for_the_moneyArriving in theaters today, ONE FOR THE MONEY is the highly anticipated big-screen adaptation of mystery writer JANET EVANOVICH’S best-selling novel featuring bail bondsman-sleuth Stephanie Plum. Directed by JULIE ANNE ROBINSON, the film stars KATHERINE HEIGL, JASON O’MARA, DANIEL SUNJATA, JOHN LEGUIZANO, SHERRI SHEPHARD, DEBBIE REYNOLDS and DEBRA MONK.
Long hours of late-night location shooting proved to be a chore for HEIGL (who has a reputation for being vocal about thing that vex her) but, at a recent press conference to promote the film, she admitted that hearing movie-making horror stories from veteran performer DEBBIE REYNOLDS convinced her to stop complaining. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)
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ONE FOR THE MONEY opens in theaters today