Friday, July 8, 2016

Blu-ray/DVDebut: Peter Billingsley's smart, enjoyable TERM LIFE gives Vince Vaughn and Hailee Steinfeld a chance to shine

And shine they do, as a troubled, estranged father and daughter who reunite out of necessity, and then bond as he teaches her the tricks of his criminal trade. You may question the morality going on here, but you will have enough fun along the way that you'll probably be willing to let that pass and enjoy TERM LIFE on it own movie-movie terms. As directed by Peter Billingsley (below) and written by Andy Lieberman (from Nick Thornborrow's graphic novel), the film is fleet and often funny, without ever crossing over into "cute."

It's violent, too, but less so than many R-rated movies. Performances are fine down the line, with Vince Vaughn and Hailee Steinfeld (below) particularly effective as the father/daughter combo. Mr. Vaughn has had some ups and downs (more downs of late) in his career, but this film might have set him back on track, had it been given a legitimate theatrical release. But his smart, no-nonsense and very appealing performance should make fans realize anew why they've enjoyed him over the two decades since Swingers.

Speaking of, Jon Favreau makes an appearance here and does well as a sleazy cohort of Vaughn's, while no less than Terrence Howard (below) and Taraji P. Henson (further below) show up smartly in supporting roles.

Basically a heist-gone-south movie coupled to a chase film connected to a parenting tale, the movie's many jolts of humor and its consistently believable and often quite clever dialog carry it along and over very few rough patches.

The villains are played, and well, by Bill Paxton (below) as a really dirty police officer and Spain's Jordi Mollà, shown at bottom, who essays a Mexican drug lord, the death of whose son sets in motion much of the clever plotting.

Taking place in Atlanta, this is the second movie in as many weeks to show us a whole bunch of crazy, crappy Atlanta cops. (Triple 9 was the other one, which is a lot darker but also a good film.) OK, Hollywood: We get your point.

Considering the dreck that makes it into our theaters (often for weeks on end), Term Life (the title refers to the insurance policy the Vaughn character takes out on his own life in order to provide for his daughter) proves a lot more fun and lasts but a swift and engrossing 93 minutes.

From FocusWorld, the movie hit DVD and Blu-ray this past week -- for purchase and/or rental.

No comments: