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A Clear Shot

USA 2019
produced by
Justin Nesbitt, Rigo Felix, Nick Leisure, R. Ellis Frazier, Abigail Carrillo (executive) for Leisure Films
directed by Nick Leisure
starring Mario Van Peebles, Marshal Hilton, Jessica Meza, Glenn Plummer, Mandela Van Peebles, Hao Do, Tony Dew, Kevin Bach, Dang Tran, Sandra Gutierrez, David Fernandez jr, Diana Acevedo, Michael Balin, Rafael Siegel, Aldo Quintero Torres, Lance Woods, Justin Nesbitt, Jeanne Carr, Alex Felix, Val Victa, Scytorya Rhodes, Kisa Virpi Cane, Anthony Valenzuela, Alina Barboa, Alens Roms
written by Nick Leisure, music by Linus Lau

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Four young Asians (Hao Do, Tony Dew, Kevin Bach, Dang Tran) try to rob an electronics store, but something goes wrong, and when they fail to just abandon the thing while there's still time, they find themselves with no option than to barricade themselves inside the store with a whole bunch of hostages on their hands. And they really have no idea how to deal with the situation, nor are the hostages an easy group to control. The police has the area cordoned off before long and the store surrounded, and hostage negotiator Gomez (Mario Van Peebles) tries to talk the men into giving up to prevent the worst. And Loi (Hao Do), the most level-headed of the quartet, really seems to be somewhat reasonable, even if his original reqests are not - which include a few million Dollar, full body kevlar for the four of them, and a helicopter to escape over the border. But Gomez makes small progress over the course of the day - while really fighting against time, as not only does he know the situation is only getting more dangerous the longer this takes, there's also the local sheriff (Michael Balin), who just doesn't like Gomez' approach much and would rather just send in the SWAT team he has on standby to emerge as the hero of the situation. But Gomez digs in the hostage takers backgrounds and finds not career criminals but scared young men who feel disenfranchised and who see the robbery as the last ditch to get what they consider rightfully theirs, no matter how wrong that might be. But there are just too many variables in a situation like this to really control everything for too long ...


A Clear Shot sure is a bright light for all those who have tired of the seeming addiction to spectacle prevalent in current mainstream thriller movies, as there's little in explosions, over-the-top crimes, super-villainy, and out-of-this-world heroics here, instead the film puts an emphasis on characters (with all their flaws), and the psychologically layered mechanics of the situation they're thrown into, mechanics bound to spin out of control because of the very characters and circumstances, while not forgetting to add a bit of social commentary either. And thanks also to a well-structured screenplay, a subtle directorial effort, and a uniformly strong cast, the movie works like a charm.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD