ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

Sponsored By: Two Men and a Truck
cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
77°
Thunderstorms
H 95° L 75°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    77°
    Current Conditions
    Thunderstorms. H 95° L 75°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day Created with Sketch.
    86°
    Afternoon
    Thunderstorms. H 95° L 75°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day Created with Sketch.
    80°
    Evening
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 87° L 75°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Movies
Review: 'Cold in July'
Close

Review: 'Cold in July'

Review: 'Cold in July'
Photo Credit: Larry Busacca
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 18: (L-R) Director Jim Mickle, actors Wyatt Russell, Nick Damici, Michael C. Hall, Vinessa Shaw, Sam Shepard and Don Johnson pose for a portrait during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival at the Getty Images Portrait Studio at the Village At The Lift Presented By McDonald's McCafe on January 18, 2014 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

Review: 'Cold in July'

Only in Texas could the neo-noir of "Cold in July" be so believable.

I say that as a fan of both the state and the style. This striking new entry in pulp fiction stars Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard and Don Johnson in a tangled tale of crime and punishment that mines the Lone Star lore of guns and killing.

Written and directed by Jim Mickle and based on Joe R. Lansdale's novel, "Cold's" threatening mood puts it in some good company, including the Coen brothers' "Blood Simple" (1984), Michael Winterbottom's "The Killer Inside Me" (2010) and Richard Linklater's "Bernie" (2011). Tense and violent, it grabs you from the first moments and rarely loosens its hold until the last body drops.

The director has already proved he's comfortable in the dark. If you're not familiar with Mickle's MO, it's enough to keep in mind that his last movie was an American Gothic-style cut at modern-day cannibals, the 2013 cult hit "We Are What We Are." In "Cold in July" the filmmaker starts out with relatively ordinary circumstances, which does not mean he won't twist the characters — and the audience — into knots before it's over. Kidnapping, porn, drugs and death factor in.

Set in summer 1989, the wheels of injustice begin turning when Richard Dane (Hall) shoots a low-life who's broken into his house. An unassuming small-business owner in a small East Texas town, Richard leads a quiet life with wife Ann (Vinessa Shaw) and son Jordan (Brogan Hall). He's the last guy you'd expect to even have a gun, much less be vigilante material.

It's worth noting that Richard frames pictures for a living. And not merely because Richard is about to be inadvertently framed. I like the casual way Mickle slips the metaphor in, as if he's not insisting, just putting it out there for the taking if you're so inclined.

Freddy Russell (Wyatt Russell), the man Richard shoots, is at the heart of the mystery. Ben (Sam Shepard), the dead man's father, shows up to see his son buried and confront the man who put him six feet under. An enigmatic ex-con in sunglasses, he immediately puts Richard on edge with his skulking and stalking.

As is often the case, at least in the movies, Texas lawmen are not to be trusted any more than the criminal element. Richard discovers this when he figures out the man he shot is not the same man the police say he killed. When he decides to take matters into his own hands, things get messy fast.

The tension breaks a little with the arrival of Jim Bob (Don Johnson). An old friend Ben has enlisted to help figure out what's really happened to his son, Jim Bob rolls up behind the wheel of a red Cadillac convertible that has longhorns, real ones, gracing its grill. Richard, like an annoying little brother, insists he be allowed to tag along.

There is much — including this improbable justice league — that defies logic in the film, which is not to suggest that the illogical isn't stomach-churning entertainment.

Watching Hall handle a character so out of control, bumbling guns, awkward in nearly all situations, is a real treat and a real change. The actor's breakout as the tightly wound, closeted gay son in the family business in HBO's acclaimed drama "Six Feet Under" was followed by his meticulous serial killer in Showtime's "Dexter," which wrapped last year.

It's not that Hall gets to lighten up in "Cold," but he does get to loosen up, creating in Richard a hapless hero you can't help but root for. Meanwhile, Shepard settles into characters so easily, you tend to forget how many different ones he's played. Ben is all quiet exterior, hair-trigger interior and cowboy through and through.

There is definitely a comic streak in "Cold," but it's always playing in the shadows of the movie's more sobering themes: What happens to an ordinary man who kills someone, and how that death marks him. The cost of police corruption. The legacy of criminal behavior passed from father to son.

Mickle doesn't have all the answers, but he knows what to do with a great cast, a gun and the dark side of human nature.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest News Headlines

  • Almost everywhere I went this weekend and ran into someone I knew, there was one question asked by just about everyone – whether it was at the pool, on the golf course, or grilling burgers in my back yard – “Will the Republicans get their health care bill through the Senate this week?” Let’s take a look at what the GOP has to do to get that bill approved. 1. A test for the Senate Majority Leader.  The hamburgers had barely touched the grill on Sunday evening, when my father – a veteran of many legislative showdowns on Capitol Hill – asked whether I thought the GOP could get the health bill approved in the Senate by the end of the week. My answer is much like where we were with the House bill at the beginning of May – I can see the GOP passing this by the narrowest of margins, and I can also envision the bill getting delayed because of concerns among GOP Senators.  Remember, the House had a couple of false starts before finally mustering a majority for the Republican health plan. Senate Republicans face key week as more lawmakers waver in support for health-care bill — devcode88 (@devcode88) June 26, 2017 2. President Trump warming in the bullpen.  Just like he did when he cajoled reluctant Republicans in the House to get on board with a GOP health care plan, the White House has already had the President reaching out to GOP conservatives who aren’t quite sure they really want to vote for this overhaul of the Obama health law. Over the weekend, the President again made clear – that despite concerns over individual provisions in the bill, and how it might change health insurance options in the individual market – this is better than the current Obamacare situation. Expect to hear that argument a lot more this week from the White House. I cannot imagine that these very fine Republican Senators would allow the American people to suffer a broken ObamaCare any longer! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 24, 2017 3. There really is no role for Democrats. Just like in 2009 and 2010 as the Obama health law made its way through the House and Senate – when Republicans did not have the votes to leave their imprint on the bill – Democrats are simply on the sidelines, as they lob verbal grenades at the GOP on an hourly basis. It’s important to remember this week that Republicans have almost no margin for error, as just three GOP Senators could tip the balance of this debate if they refuse to back the Republican health bill. All Democrats can do is watch from the sidelines, and hope they have an impact. We got the Senate bill text on Thursday. This bill would overhaul our entire health care system but the GOP wants to vote next Thursday! — Dick Durbin (@DickDurbin) June 25, 2017 4. Have you read the bill? Why not? The GOP health bill is just 142 pages long – but even if you sit down to read it, I guarantee that most of you won’t be able to figure out what it says. Why? Well, that’s because it is basically an amendment to the underlying Obama health law, and if you don’t have that language on hand, you won’t really know what the Republicans are trying to change, and how. The original Affordable Care Act was well over 2,000 pages long – and the reason that this GOP bill is so short is simple – it just amends the Obama health law – this is not “repeal and replace” by any measure. Because it leaves most of Obamacare in place. https://t.co/8lnG9385JU — Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) June 25, 2017 5. The GOP Senators who might vote ‘No.’ If I had to list a group of Republicans to watch, my morning line would look this way: I WILL SAY THIS SENATOR IS OPPOSED TO THE BILL 1) Rand Paul – most likely to vote “No” at this point 2) Dean Heller – Nevada Senator said on Friday that there must be changes POSSIBLE NO VOTE 3) Mike Lee – said this weekend he thinks the bill doesn’t significantly reform health care. But I still wonder if he gets to “Yes” with some late changes. 4) Susan Collins – CBO report is important, plus Planned Parenthood. Still not sure she votes “No.” 5) Lisa Murkowski – Planned Parenthood & bill details important. Important one to watch. CONSERVATIVES ON THE FENCE 6) Ted Cruz – Yes, I know Cruz has said he has concerns. So did the Freedom Caucus in the House, but most of them ended up voting for the bill. 7) Ron Johnson – Same thought for the Wisconsin Republican as Cruz. Can’t see either of them being the 51st vote against the bill. 8) Bill Cassidy – No matter what he said to Jimmy Kimmel, I still think it is unlikely that Cassidy votes against the Senate bill. But we’ll see. Latest whip count on #SenateHealthCareBill: 45 yea 55 nay @GOP opposed: Paul, Cruz, Lee, Heller, Johnson, Cassidy, Collins. — KOMO Newsradio (@komonewsradio) June 25, 2017 Clearly, the GOP leadership – and the White House – has some legislative arm twisting to do in coming days. If this plan stays on track, it could well be voted through on Thursday or Friday.  And if that happens, I wouldn’t rule out the GOP thinking about bringing it right to the floor of the House for a final vote. But we’ll see if we actually get that far.  Stay tuned.  It will be a very interesting week in the halls of Congress.  
  • Andy Szasz was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012 and beat the initial cancer after receiving treatment, but after falling ill with pneumonia in December, he was rushed to the hospital and placed into an induced coma the next day when he stopped breathing. >> Read more trending news Doctors at Southampton General Hospital in England estimated he would be in a coma for a week, but they were surprised when he woke up after just four days with the help of his dog, Teddy, a 4-year-old schnauzer-poodle mix. While waiting for him to come out of a coma, Andy’s wife, Estelle, received special permission to bring Teddy into the hospital. Pet visits usually take place outside the hospital, but hospital staff made an exception for Teddy. Inside Edition reported that Andy woke up from his coma as soon as Teddy entered the hospital room and started barking. “Ted is such a remarkable little dog in many ways,” Andy said. “He’s clever, loving, loyal, funny and a right little character.” >> Related: Mastiff named Martha crowned world’s ugliest dog Fiona Hall, senior sister for the general intensive care unit, told the Daily Mail that having pets around during recovery can be incredibly beneficial for patients, their friends and families, and hospital staff. “It can be motivational, aiding recovery, and can provide a pleasant and familiar experience in what can otherwise prove to be a long, uncomfortable journey in hospital,” she said. For helping his owner wake up, Teddy was recognized by the U.K.’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), the same organization Andy adopted him from, under a special animal category. He was the only animal to win an award under the newly-created category.  >> Related: Dog saves family with nine children from house fire
  • An overweight passenger on a Spirit Airlines flights from Las Vegas to Denver said he was embarrassed and humiliated by the airline when it took away one of two seats he had booked in order to fly more comfortably. >> Read more trending news Jose Cordova told Denver 7 that he bought two seats on both his original flight to Vegas and for the return trip because of his size. 'I am a big person and I know one seat wouldn't fit for me, and to be comfortable, I wanted to have two seats,' Cordova said.  'You don't want to overhang on someone else's lap, so you want to make sure you have that extra seat without bothering anybody.'  Cordova said his flight to Vegas was fine, but Spirit overbooked his return flight and took one of his seats without asking. >> Related: United Airlines changes policy after man dragged from flight “They stole one of his seats. They sold it out from under him,” Denver 7 quoted one of Cordova’s friend Scott Tenorio as saying. Spirit apologized to Cordova and said it was refunding the cost of his flights. It also said it was investigating what happened.
  • A 14-year-old girl fell 25 feet from a gondola ride at Six Flags Amusement Park in Queensbury, New York, Saturday night as a group of park guests gathered under her to help break her fall. >> Read more trending news The “Sky Ride” was stopped at the park about 55 miles north of Albany when the accident happened, according to CBS News. The teenager was on the ride with a child relative when she fell from the two-person car, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.  The ride was stopped after the operator was told of a rider in distress, CBS reported. The video shows the girl somehow slipped through the safety bar, which briefly held her aloft while she dangled in the air. The teen from Delaware struck a tree before landing in the crowd, which had gathered to catch her. She was treated at the park, then taken to an area hospital. >> Related: Girl, 11, dies after falling out of ride at water park Park officials said the ride was working properly. “There does not appear to be any malfunction of the ride, but we have closed the attraction until the a thorough review can be completed,” USA Today reported park officials said in a statement. Another person was injured as he was trying to help catch the girl.
  • A missing North Carolina teenager, who vanished last year, has turned up at a home in Georgia. Hailey Burns, now 17, has been reunited with her family at an undisclosed location in Georgia, according to law enforcement sources. >> Read more trending news A FBI special agent in Charlotte learned of information that led investigators to a home in Duluth, Georgia, where they found Burns. A man found at the home, Michael Ren Wysolovski, was taken into custody and is now facing a number of state charges, the FBI said. The FBI in Charlotte and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department will continue their investigation into Burns' disappearance and will work closely with the FBI Atlanta and the Gwinnett County Police Department.  Burns  was last been seen at her Charlotte-area home on May 23, 2016. Police said at the time they had information that she may have left of her own accord and they weren’t sure if she had help. “You have to let go of the hope that she will just walk through the door, the teen’s mother, Shaunna Burns, said in a later interview. “We are past that point. She is not just going to come home in the middle of the night. You have to hope that they still find her, wherever she is.” >> Related: Body, likely missing Arkansas boy, found after 3 relatives discovered dead “You have to distract yourself because you will drive yourself crazy wondering what you could have done, or could be doing,” her father, Anthony Burns, said after his daughter disappeared.

The Latest News Videos