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Info 101: Movieclips 143: Out of the furnace...and right back in

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"OUT OF THEFURNACE" from Relativity Media opens Fri., Dec. 6, 2013.

STARRING: Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana and Sam Shepard.

DIRECTOR: Scott Cooper ("Crazy Heart").

Russell (Bale) and his younger brother Rodney (Affleck) live in the economically-depressed Rust Belt and have always dreamed of escaping and finding better lives. When a cruel twist of fate lands Russell in prison, Rodney is lured into one of the most ruthless and violent crime rings in the Northeast, a mistake that will cost him almost everything. Once released, Russell must choose between his own freedom or seeking justice for his brother.

Well, film fans, this is it. This is the kind of movie Christian Bale bailed out of the Batman franchise to make. Granted, having to lug around that costume couldn't have been much fun but that was one cool car. Ironically, he's working opposite the brother of the new Batman. Isn't that just kick-you-in-the-head special? Gosh and golly and gee-whiz.

Anyway, this is the kind of tale that's been told over and over since they started making movies. It's a great cast and has some well-choreographed violence but many other films can boast that as well. This one is no better or no worse than any other "avenge my brother" type of film. Bale was much better in "American Psycho" and "Public Enemies". As for the cruel twist of fate, old Ben Matlock could've gotten him off in a half hour while chowing down a couple of hot dogs.

The bright light is Ms. Saldana. Outside the Star Trek set she is revealing herself to be an excellent actress. This won't harm her career at all. Still, there won't be any major award nominations coming her way for this one. Likewise the rest of the cast. Director Ridley Scott withdrew from directing this film but stayed on as a producer. That should tell you something.

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