Breaking In

At first, Breaking In is a little like a reverse Panic Room – the story of a mother trying to break into a location to protect her offspring, rather than to keep thieves out. Then it pretty much just turns into a straight-up Panic Room remake. It’s not great, but it’s still a lot of fun. Best of all, it highlights the fact that Gabrielle Union kicks-ass and deserves her own (better) action franchise.

Union plays a mother who drives her two kids up to her late father’s high-tech, very secluded home. As bad luck would have it, a bunch of criminals break into the house to retrieve some valuables, and lock Union out while her kids are locked inside. Now, Union has to take on all these fools, which she does, with gusto. The Unrated Director’s Cut is violent and brutal, with Union dispatching one dumb-ass bad guy after another. I’m not going to lie: it’s a lot of fun to watch her kick their asses. Breaking In eventually runs out of steam, and there’s almost no character development to make us really care about what’s going on. Still, someone needs to give Gabrielle Union her own franchise, immediately.


Special Features to Note: 

One Bad Mother is all about the female empowerment angle of the film. Here, Union says she likes that the film is one woman against a group of men, because that’s what life is often like. Union goes on to say the villains make a mistake as underestimating her character as “just a woman”, and then she promptly kicks their asses and kills them. 

A Lesson in Kicking Ass has Union talking about the action scenes, and how she tried to do as many stunts as possible. The filmmakers worked to make the fight scenes seem un-choreographed – Union’s character isn’t supposed to be some expert fighter, she’s just a mother trying to protect her kids. So it makes sense that the fights were designed to look brutal and uncoordinated. 

Special Features Include:

  • Alternate Opening –The Gas Station with Commentary by Director James McTeigueand Scriptwriter Ryan Engle.
  • One Bad Mother –Gabrielle Union shows that there is no limit to what a threatened mother will do to keep her children safe, and why a woman on a mission should never be underestimated.
  • A Filmmaker’s Eye –The crew explores what makes Director James McTeigue’s vision and style uniquely valuable when it comes to creating the right mood for the film.
  • A Lesson in Kicking Ass –A behind-the-scenes look at how physically demanding the role of Shaun was for Gabrielle Union, and the steps production took to ensure the most convincing execution of the stunts throughout the film.
  • A Hero Evolved –An inspiring account of how leading roles are shifting to embrace the qualities that more diverse actors can bring to the table.
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
  • Feature Commentaryby Director James McTeigue and Scriptwriter Ryan Engle



IFC Midnight puts out a lot of low-budget horror films. And a lot of them are quite bad. But every now and then, they strike gold. Pyewacket falls into the latter category. This haunting, emotional indie chiller from Adam MacDonald is essentially Lady Bird reimagined as a horror film. Leah (Nicole Muñoz, who is something of a revelation here, giving an emotionally charged, wholly believable performance) is at odds with her mother (Laurie Holden) following the death of her father. Mother and daughter have to relocate to a new house, and after a particularly bad fight, Leah – who is heavily into the occult, along with her gothed-out friends at school – decides to perform a ritual to get rid of her mother once and for all. At first, it looks like the ritual has failed, and Leah immediately feels regretful and tries to patch things up with her mother. But as Pyewacket progresses, it becomes apparent that the ritual did not fail, and bad, demonic things are afoot. Writer-director MacDonald does a remarkable job blending familial drama with bone-chilling horror, resulting in one of the most promising indie horror films of the year.

Special Features to Note:

There aren’t a whole lot of features here. In fact, there’s only one – a brief making-of featurette that has interviews with the cast and crew. I wish I could say there’s a wealth of info here, but there really isn’t. Still, it’s clear from this featurette that MacDonald took this film very seriously, and worked hard to make the best horror movie he could. He succeeded. Pyewacket is a creepy flick that lingers with you long after it ends, and even though it’s short on special features, it is absolutely worth owning.

Special Features Include:

  • Making-of Featurette
  • Theatrical Trailer

Dark Crimes

Jim Carrey has kept a low profile in recent years, at least in terms of acting. He popped-up in a dialogue-free supporting role in The Bad Batch, but he hasn’t lead a film since 2014’s Dumb and Dumber To. Technically speaking, Carrey returned to acting in 2016 with Dark Crimes, but the film didn’t see the light of day until this year. Watching it, you can understand why. This is a miserable, sleazy thriller that burns out long before it reaches its shocking twist.

Dark Crimes is based on an incredible true story about a alleged murderer who confessed his crimes in a novel he wrote. The source material could make for a good movie. Alas, this isn’t it. Marton Csokas plays the suspected killer, and he’s suitably creepy. Charlotte Gainsbourg is his lover, who has a secret or two of her own. And Carrey plays the disgraced cop trying to piece this all together. While Dark Crimes doesn’t really work, I will say this: Carrey is quite good in the film. He plays his detective character as a person entirely devoid of people skills, unable to connect with anyone around him, including his family. It’s a believable performance. If only it were in a different film. 


Special Features to Note:

The only special feature here is The Making of Dark Crimes, which is a bit strange. This is a very low-energy documentary, and looks cobbled together from servearl different sources. It starts off with sirens going off as the camera just stays on Carrey’s face, before cutting to Marton Csokas talking about what drew him to the script. There are plenty of interviews with cast and crew, but sadly, Carrey isn’t among them. Which is a shame, because I’d love to hear Carrey’s thoughts on making the film – on what he drew him to it, and why he decided such a dark, serious film was worth devoting his time to. 

Special Features Include:

  • The Making of Dark Crimes


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