Brett Cullen

Another Round (1992, Bob Degus)

It’s too bad no one burned all the copies of Another Round, as it might save someone from coming across it. The short–which may or may not have started as a terrible pilot episode–takes place in a hip bar, which doesn’t seem to have an actual bar just unlikely tables. The budget, more than Mimi Gramatky’s production design skills, might be at fault on that one.

Degus’s direction is awful. Lots of pausing on action so lead Alison Elliott can narrate about her night and love life in general. Elliot’s bad; her narration’s so poorly written she couldn’t possibly deliver it well, but her regular performance isn’t good either.

All of the actors are pretty terrible, except Michael Beach. Beach seems to know he’s in a crappy maybe-pilot and it’d pay the bills if it went to series. But he’s still not good.

Round’s completely without value.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Bob Degus; written by Gregg Bryan Goldman and Michele McGuire; director of photography, Scott E. Steele; edited by Kathryn Himoff; music by Phillip Kimbrough; production designer, Mimi Gramatky; produced by Laura Stuart.

Starring Alison Elliott (Jessica), Michael Beach (Tyrell), Elena Wohl (Rita), Melissa Samuels (Liza), Googy Gress (Lea Dewey), Nada Despotovich (Elaine Dewey), Tom Hodges (Matt) and Brett Cullen (Roy).


Puncture (2011, Adam Kassen and Mark Kassen)

Puncture is a crusading attorney picture with a couple twists. First, there’s no trial and, specifically, no eureka moment in the trial. Second, the crusading attorney in question–played by Chris Evans–is haunted by more than demons or the bottle, he’s a rabid drug fiend. Oddly, Puncture never condemns the character’s drug use. In fact, he seems more with it high than not.

The film features technically wonderful performance, but no engaging character relationships. Co-director Mark Kassen plays Evans’s law partner–the responsible one–but their relationship never resonates. The film shows its most personality when it’s Evans, Kassen and Jesse L. Martin (as a mutual friend) hanging out. But Martin only shows up for two little scenes.

Brett Cullen is great as the bad guy attorney and he and Evans have a mildly interesting rapport. Puncture‘s problem is how the Kassen Brothers present Evans. They don’t really know what to do with the character; it might be a case where being accurate to history (it’s a true story) hobbles a film.

The only weak performance is probably Marshall Bell as Evans and Kassen’s client. He’s supposed to be fed up, vulgar and endearing. While Bell looks the part, he’s never believably earnest. On the other hand, Michael Biehn looks slicker than a used car salesman in Pomade but he still comes off as earnest.

The direction’s okay, though the wide frame is a mistake. The digital transitions are lame.

Puncture‘s plodding, but worth it for the acting.

1.5/4★½

CREDITS

Produced and directed by Adam Kassen and Mark Kassen; screenplay by Chris Lopata, based on a story by Paul Danizger and Ela Thier; director of photography, Helge Gerull; edited by Chip Smith; music by Ryan Ross Smith; production designer, Christopher Stull; released by Millennium Entertainment.

Starring Chris Evans (Mike Weiss), Mark Kassen (Paul Danziger), Michael Biehn (Red), Brett Cullen (Nathaniel Price), Marshall Bell (Jeffrey Dancort), Jesse L. Martin (Daryl King), Roxanna Hope (Sylvia), Jennifer Blanc (Stephany), Tess Parker (Jaime Weiss), Kate Burton (Senator O’Reilly) and Vinessa Shaw (Vicky Rogers).


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