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Movie Review: We Own the Night

Alternate Title: My Brother's Keeper

Story: You can't go wrong with stories that revolve around family, betrayal and revenge. It is the meat of engaging cinema. And it works predictably well in this latest piece by director, writer James Gray (Little Odessa and The Yards).

It is 1988, Queens NY. The City is besieged by drugs and the ruthless Russian mob is in control. Cops are at their wits end. Enter an estranged family that includes a father and one son who are both cops and the other son who walks on the wild side. Family loyalties are tested when there is an attempted assassination on one member of the family. Testosterone levels are high, female presence is decorative and there is lots of action, including car chases, shoot 'em ups and very scary threats from the Russians.

That said, even though it is heavy on the predictability scale it is an entertaining two hours of cinema.

Acting: Joaquin Phoenix looks a bit drugged for most of the film but I always find him an interesting actor to watch. Mark Wahlberg does not have much to do as the cop brother - but I like him too. Robert Duvall is fine as the Dad and Eva Mendes, as the girlfriend does not have much to do - but she sure is pretty.

Predilection: None.

Food: The Russians like food and they always have quite a spread.

Sex Spectrum: There is an opening sequence with Joaquim Phoenix and Eva Mendes that is pretty steamy but after that it is all shoot 'em up.

Blatant Product Placement: Jack Daniels

Visual Art: The City of 1988 is filmed pretty well with few errors. You can even get a glimpse of the World Trade Center out of one of the windows.

Theater Audience: A few NYC film lovers

Weather: It was dark for a lot of the film or it was raining.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: The Russian mob is indeed squirmy.

Drift Factor: I was entertained, though not riveted.

Predictability Level: Over the top

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine.

Length: Under two hours

LOBO HOWLS: 7