Two new releases from Monterey Media prove that video and board games are not the only inspiration for films these days. "Trade of Innocents" and "Bringing Up Bobby" are both based on original screenplays, and each is available now on home video.
"Trade of Innocents," which stars Dermot Mulroney and Mira Sorvino, is about the very real and tragic growing business of trading humans, especially women, as sex slaves. It's an issue that is close to Oscar-winner Sorvino's heart, and she and Mulroney both pull off strong performances with some great chemistry. Unfortunately, the screenplay doesn't give enough focus to their characters or back stories. However, the real point of the film is to expose the horrors of the sex trading that takes place and the plights and struggles of people trying to stop it and being affected by it.
The film does well in showing this central issue. What is most surprising, however, is how well made "Trade of Innocents" is for an independent film. The set pieces and locations look marvelous and are shot quite well. It's a strong film, albeit an unoriginal one, with a powerful message.
"Bringing Up Bobby" is a little less sure of its message. It stars Milla Jovovich and Bill Pullman and is directed by "Taken" star Famke Janssen. Though Jovovich gives a strong central performance and proves she is quite an underrated actress, and Janssen certainly proves herself as a director, "Bringing Up Bobby" is plagued by a script that is poor, poor, poor.
Not only are there giant holes in logic, but "Bobby" never has any focus whether it be the story or the characters. No character has an interesting back story or a clear motivation. And the film takes may take many turns, but it's never sure what it's trying to say or how to get to its destination.
Still, the independent venture is clearly made with love and features a highlight performance and strong direction (and a strangely terrible turn by Pullman. Go figure.)
When the local multiplexes are bombarded by pointless sequels and uninspired, unoriginal content, seeing independent films like "Bobby" and "Innocents" can be refreshing even when they disappoint.
"Trade of Innocents" is the stronger of the two, but even "Bringing Up Bobby" deserves credit for being different from the flock. Both releases from Monterey Media are worth a look if you're tired of what's being shoveled out to you by Hollywood these days.