Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
A Better Place: Your Sins will be Transferred
Jeremy Rollins is like a Biblical
Wolverine. He does not merely heal quickly. All the physical damage inflicted
upon him will be mysteriously transferred to the person his attacker loves
best. Naturally, his [over] protective mother kept him sequestered and home
schooled for vague reasons of X-Men style
anti-mutant fear and prejudice, but frankly that never really makes sense.
Regardless, Rollins will have to face his corrupt small town on his own after
her premature demise in Dennis Ho’s A Better Place (trailer
which releases today on DVD and VOD, from Monarch Home Entertainment.
As one might expect, Rollins is somewhat
socially awkward, considering he has hardly had any interaction with anyone
besides his mother. Yet somehow, Ned Bower, the boorish Sheriff’s son is just
itching to bully him as soon as he steps out of the house. Fortunately, Jess
the cute diner waitress intercedes on his behalf. She too has a rotten home
life, which gives them something in common to bond over.
When Sheriff Bower is not reining in his
son and intimidating Rollins, he does the dirty work of Sam Abram, the town’s
banker, who is even more gleeful repossessing homes than Old Man Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life. In fact, he
enjoys it so much, he has Bower frame-up vulnerable home-owners to expedite the
process. Perhaps they also helped Ms. Rollins along with her heart attack.
There are clear Christian themes sprinkled
throughout Better Place, but it is
considerably less in-your-face than most Evangelical films. Unfortunately, it
all comes out in the off-key, highly unsatisfying climax. For the most part,
the cast is also more professional grade, particularly William Knight (the
English dub voice of Danzo Shimura in the Naruto
franchise) as Abram (so it’s a pity his character is such a cliché).
It is also fun to watch Tonya Kay vamp it
up as Abram’s gold-digging trophy fiancée. Cult horror star Maria Olsen lends
the film further credibility, but unfortunately she is largely wasted as Jess’s
belligerent drunken mother Rita. As for the kids, they are rather a mixed bag.
Mary Ann Raemisch shows some poise and presence as Jess, but Stephen Todt’s
Rollins mainly just gives us surface awkwardness, with no sense of anything
going on inside.
Compared to the average Kirk Cameron movie, Better Place is quite subtle and
accomplished, but that is grading on a generous curve. When it comes to the
actual viewing experience, the sluggish pacing cannot be ignored. It earns some
credit, but it is still hard to recommend A
Better Place when it releases today on DVD from Monarch Home Entertainment.
Labels: DVD, Maria Olsen