By Robin E. Simmons

The AccountantNOW PLAYING:



Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a math savant whose skills as an accountant in a small town strip mall allows him to work in secret for some of the world’s most dangerous criminals.

When Wolff uncooks the books for a new client, the US Treasury Department closes in on his surreptitious activities and the body count rises.

Ben Affleck captures the ticks and ritualized habits of an adult managing functional autism.  This well-crafted action thriller is riddled with suspenseful moments of grave concerns for Wolff’s future.

Director Gavin O’Connor brings to life the screenplay by Bill Dubique.  There’s no doubt Wolff is far more comfortable with numbers than people.  When the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division, run by Ray King (J.K. Simmons), stars to close in, Christian takes on a legitimate client — a state-of-the-art robotics company — where an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. As the truth is slowly uncovered, the body count rises Wolff takes lethal action in order to save his life.  I was hoping for a lot more scenes between Affleck and co-star Kendrick, but I was fully engaged in this taut drama that was enhanced by the clever action of the D-Box seat technology where the on-screen action and soundtrack are mirrored in the movements of the seats.  Now playing at Mary Pickford Theater.


For me, there’s something especially engaging about stories that take place on a train.  Maybe it’s the contained space and the constant forward motion that somehow helps drive the plot.  In movies, why is the romance stronger, the comedy funnier, and the drama more intense when it takes place on a train?  Check out these four great titles now available in cool hi-def transfers.

BoxCar Bertha 1972BOXCAR BERTHA (1972)

An early and invigorating period piece from the nascent career of Director Martin Scorsese from a screenplay Joyce  & John Corrington

Directed by Martin Scorsese and adapted by Joyce & John Corrington based on Ben Reitman’s mostly fictional biography Sister of the Road, Boxcar Berth.  Scorsese’s first feature film made its auspicious debut in the summer of ’72 in drive-ins across the land thanks to prolific filmmaker Roger Corman’s American International Pictures.

Corman gave 28-year-old Scorsese $600,000 and a tight 24 days to complete the picture.  Hershey and Carradine have a unique and charismatic screen presence and it’s especially satisfying to see John Carradine and his son David square off against each other in two short scenes. The Tin Pan Alley inspired music track is evocative of the era and some of the film’s visual composition  (Scorsese storyboarded the movie) is a preview of the elaborate camera set ups for which he would be praised later in his career.  Clearly, Scorsese has fun following a pair of doomed and desperate lovers in the Depression era American South who turn to train robing and a life on the run.  Barry Primus, Bernie Casey and John Carradine also star.  Twilight Time Movies.  Blu-ray.

Emperor of the North 1973EMPEROR OF THE NORTH (1973)

From 1973 this spectacular depression era action drama about two hobos (Lee Marvin and Keith Carradine) competing for the title of “Emperor of the North Pole” the film’s original title) has amassed a considerable – and deserved — cult following is now available for the first time on Blu-ray.

To win the dubious title, a tramp must stay on the train controlled by Ernest Borgnine’s “Shack.” He’s the toughest, meanest – no, make that sadistic – of all legendary railroad cops! When the younger tramp (Carradine) gets tossed off, the older one (Marvin) engages the vicious cop in a thrilling, sustained and brutal battle to the death.

Robert Aldrich directs Christopher Knopf’s lean, visceral screenplay for maximum impact. Frank DeVol composed the potent score. This crisp transfer is sure to be snapped up quickly by fans and collectors alike.  Extras include an isolated score and an interesting commentary from film historian Dana Polan. Twilight Time Movies.  Blu-ray.

The Train 1965THE TRAIN (1964)

Barreling down the track again following its initial sold-out release!  Burt Lancaster and Paul Scofield are implacable foes battling for possession of pillaged French art in director John Frankenheimer’s classic World War II action thriller that’s now available again in a dazzling Blu-ray transfer.

Lancaster is a workaday World War II era French trainman charged with ensuring that a cargo of irreplaceable French art – the pride and heritage of his nation – is not allowed to leave France, despite the machinations of a determined Nazi officer (Scofield) who wants the art for Germany.  Jeanne Moreau and Michel Simon co-star.  The stunning black-and-white cinematography is by Jean Tournier and Walter Wottitz and the thrilling score is by Maurice Jarre (“Lawrence of Arabia”).  Enjoy this icon of Sixties Cinema in a clean sharp edition from Twilight Time Movies.  Blu-ray.

Runaway TrainRUNAWAY TRAIN (1985)

Speeding your way is director Andrei Konchalovsky’s burly, brutal modern day action classic starring Jon Voight, Eric Roberts and Rebecca De Mornay.

Director Konchalovsky based his movie on a story by legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa about a terrifying thrill ride when a pair of convicts, after a brutal prison break, make their escape on the titular train.  Then the engineer has a heart attack and the breaks go out – and all bets are off.  Both Voight and Roberts were nominated for Academy Awards© for their superlative performances.  Twilight Time Movies.  Blu-ray.

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