‘The Devil All The Time’ Review: Tom Holland leads all-star cast in glum, aimless portrait of tarnished America

This review was first published on KENS5.com, and can be viewed here.

I’m having a hard time remembering the last time I saw a movie with such a broad carousel of loathsome characters as those who inhabit the rotten backwoods of Antonio Campos’s aptly named “The Devil All The Time.” A rabid dog of a drama with a charred worldview, the film’s menacing personalities kill, subdue and corrupt with such ease that they’re hardly rendered as personalities at all. They make the devious Thrombey clan of “Knives Out” seem like the Brady Bunch, and journeying through this sliver of tarnished American heartland is enough to make you recite 15 Hail Mary’s as soon as the credits roll…if not when a pastor dumps a jar of spiders onto his face in the movies’ wildest sermon since Paul Dano exorcised his demons in “There Will Be Blood.”

Taking its cues from the intergenerational storytelling of “The Place Beyond the Pines” and the brutal instincts of a Jeremy Saulnier joint (but lacking the gut-punch sophistication of either), “The Devil All The Time” sharpens piety into something perversely hypocritical: The delusion that one’s godly devotion is another’s excuse to pursue heinous acts. Robert Pattinson’s salacious Pastor Teagardin twists ostensible enlightenment into convincing a young girl to undress herself in his car, sparking a long chain of bloody vengeance that’s the closest thing to dramatic momentum steering an otherwise aimless story.

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SA Film Fest Review: A convict and boy bond in the overly predictable drama ‘The Good Wolf’

This review was originally published on KENS5.com, and can be viewed here.

For a drama about looking inward, “The Good Wolf” doesn’t successfully encourage any meaningful reflection. For a movie that’s fairly brisk, it persists with the subtlety of an insurance commercial. For a story that insists on finding the good in people, its violent flashes of nihilism are more indicative of a narrative mired in existential crisis.

But at least it’s only 90 minutes long?

“The Good Wolf” is the feature debut for Texas filmmaker Will Shipley, part of the lineup for this month’s San Antonio Film Festival and doesn’t try to hide what kind of movie it’s going to be. Its opening shots consist of forest grounds and bits of security tape while, in the background, a news anchor broadcasts a warning of an escaped convict on the loose in Texas. The setup is one we’ve seen dozens, hundreds, thousands of times before in fiction, but the stakes are nonetheless set in stone on arrival.

Frustratingly, so is everything else. Successful dramas can ensnare an inquisitive moviegoer with a one-sentence elevator pitch; “The Good Wolf” does the opposite. A gold-hearted inmate befriends a fatherless boy playing in the woods—that one sentence of plot is all that’s needed for your mind to instantaneously map out where the movie probably will go and (unless this is the first film you’ve seen in 10 years) it will absolutely hit every single one of those beats, hoping we don’t notice the lack of originality on the way.

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‘A Good Woman is Hard to Find’ Review: Sarah Bolger gives a blistering performance in brutal drama about murderers and mothers

This review was first published on KENS5.com, and can be viewed here. 

Sarah is a world-weary, worn and exhausted single mother for whom relief – any relief – couldn’t come any faster at the start of Abner Pastoll’s new clenched-first drama “A Good Woman is Hard to Find”—and that’s not taking into account our introduction as she showers off the blood mysteriously caked on her body. Nor have we yet learned about her husband’s death, the particulars of which remain murky even to her. Sarah has been shaped by circumstance, and she’ll be shaped by circumstance once more; and by the end of Pastoll’s unrelentingly brutal thriller about murderers and motherhood, its actress Sarah Bolger’s remarkable performance that helps the catharsis peek through the carnage.

“Just let sleeping dogs lie,” a police officer tells Sarah when she asks if there’s any new information on her husband’s death. It’s less a response fueled by malice and more a crude suggestion of a world that doesn’t have comfort to offer, whether by economic means or interpersonal ones. Sarah, with eyes that don’t look like they’ve rested in decades, can only respond by shuffling out with her young son and daughter. While Pastoll’s film – written by Ronan Blaney – only scratches the surface of underlying economic anxiety that has fueled a community drug war, the deathly passivity playing out on Bolger’s face in any given scene translates familiar moods of overwhelmed surrender. Continue reading →

Review: Blumhouse thriller ‘Don’t Let Go’ never goes all-in on its fantastical premise

“Don’t Let Go,” a supernatural crime drama arriving in the dog days of summer from writer-director Jacob Estes and Blumhouse, is just strange and unusual enough to belong in the production company’s stable of strange and unusual movies, though also enough of a conceptual bait-and-switch that it stands out among the much zanier “Happy Death Days,” “The Purges” and “Paranormal Activitys” of the world.

The story juggles multiple timelines, puncturing the fabric of logic when Jack (the reliable David Oyelowo), a cop mourning the sudden murder of his niece – along with his brother and sister-in-law – suddenly receives a phone call with her on the other end and seemingly from before the crime, ostensibly setting up a trippy mind-bender of a movie.

But Estes here is interested mostly in humanity—not genre. The high-brow is just a different, if not unearned, guidepost to a formulaic cops-n’-robbers story, with shades of domestic drama barely potent enough to keep the world from operating outside a palette full of gritty greys. Continue reading →

4 people arrested in deadly northern New Mexico shooting, a result of mistaken identity

David Lynch
October 07, 2018 
Link to story on KOB.com: https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/4-people-arrested-in-deadly-northern-new-mexico-shooting-a-result-of-mistaken-identity/5099441/?cat=500

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A situation of alleged self-defense gone wrong resulted in one man being fatally shot and three others sent to the hospital late Thursday night just north of Española, according to investigators with New Mexico State Police.

Four people have been arrested and are facing charges in the incident which NMSP says killed 18-year-old Cameron Martinez mere months after he graduated from an area high school.

Continue reading →

Rio Ranch Police arrest man in murder of young girl

David Lynch, Joy Wang and Patrick Hayes
October 05, 2018
Link to original story: https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/rio-rancho-police-arrest-man-in-murder-of-young-rio-rancho-girl/5098171/?cat=500

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Nearly two months after a 6-year-old girl was found dead by law enforcement in her Rio Ranch home, police say they have made an arrest.

21-year-old Leland Hust has been taken into custody by Rio Rancho Police in connection with Ariana Romeo’s death, officers say. He is being charged with child abuse resulting in death and aggravated criminal sexual penetration. Continue reading →

Our Backstory, Season 1: The history and consequences of priest abuse in New Mexico

Trailer: Welcome to “Our Backstory”

From KOB-TV in Albuquerque, New Mexico, our investigative team examines, discusses and reports on topics with relevance not only in our state, but across all 50. These are the extra details, extra soundbites and extra tidbits of information that may not have fit into our TV coverage, straight into your ears.

For the latest news from KOB, visit our website.

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Episode 1: A grain in the sands of abuse

For years, abuse by Catholic clergy in one northern New Mexico archdiocese was rampant. We talked to two survivors about their experiences, and confront one of those former priests themselves.

For KOB 4’s original report on Sabine Griego and his victims, click here.

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Episode 2: The court battle

Before reporting on the crisis of priest abuse in New Mexico, we went to court to fight for the unsealing of documents that would become the bedrock of our reporting. An Albuquerque attorney joins us for a discussion on that legal fight.

For more on KOB 4’s court fight, as well as links to other reports in this series on KOB.com, click here.

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Episode 3: An isolated hell – Part 1

In the first of this two-part report, we travel to a town that is small even for New Mexico, and to a lonely abandoned building where unchecked sexual abuse by one man was rampant over 40 years ago.

For KOB 4’s original report on Hacienda de los Muchachos, click here.

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Episode 4: An isolated hell – Part 2

In the second part of this two-part report, we return to the lonely town of Farley, New Mexico, where dozens of boys were abused at an isolated ranch-turned-isolated hell. What, and who, brought an end to it?

For KOB 4’s original report on Hacienda de los Muchachos, click here.

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Episode 5: Not a pedophile, not a priest

In an act of good faith to try and repair its trust with the public, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in late 2017 released a list of what it referred to as 74 credibly accused priests.

A few months later, a pair of lawsuits allege that the list is inaccurate.

For KOB’s original report on this story, click here.

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Episode 6: Who’s to blame?

Hundreds of abused boys and girls swells to hundreds of thousands when you examine the clergy abuse crisis on a national scale. Many of the factors that led to priest abuse in New Mexico parallel trends across the country, and even around the world.

On this series finale of Our Backstory, we talk to New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests about the ongoing fight to hold the right people accountable, as well as why a culture change is needed as much as a legal one.

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For the podcast website, click here. 

Gunfire heard ‘on a regular basis’ from property where kids, child abductor found

David Lynch
August 17, 2018
Link to story on KOB.com: https://www.kob.com/new-mexico-news/gunfire-heard-from-property-where-kids-child-abductor-found-on-a-regular-basis/5018597/

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Documents obtained by KOB indicate that law enforcement in northern New Mexico knew that several adults and children were living at a makeshift compound just a few miles south of the Colorado-New Mexico border.

For exactly how long authorities knew about the compound’s occupants is unknown, but gunfire could be heard “from the property on a regular basis,” according to a search warrant sworn out by Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe and executed this week. In Hogrefe’s account of the site, he describes “what appears to be a shooting range” along one side.  Continue reading →

Albuquerque marred by three deadly shootings in 12 hours

David Lynch
July 29, 2018
Link to story on KOB.com: https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/albuquerque-marred-by-three-deadly-shootings-in-12-hours-/5009195/

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The weekend began on bloody terms for the Duke City, as several Albuquerque Police investigations sprouted from three deadly shootings on Saturday and early Sunday.

All three incidents unfolded over the span of about 12 hours, resulting in three dead victims, and at least one still recovering in the hospital from her wounds.

At around 2:30 p.m. Saturday, police responded to a double shooting at the Giant gas station at San Mateo and Menaul in northeast Albuquerque. According to APD Officer Daren Deaguero, investigators believe an unidentified man shot a woman before turning the gun on himself. Continue reading →

APD investigating multiple violent incidents in east Albuquerque

David Lynch
July 24, 2018
Link to story on KOB.com: https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/apd-investigating-multiple-violent-incidents-in-east-albuquerque-monday-evening/5000794/

ALBUQUERQUE. N.M. – Albuquerque Police say they are investigating multiple violent incidents Monday evening in the eastern part of the city, including a deadly triple stabbing near Gibson and San Mateo.

One unidentified victim is in critical condition following that incident at Eastern and Palomas in southeast Albuquerque. The conditions of the two other victims are not yet known, but APD says they do have a suspect in custody. Continue reading →