[b]Chrystal [/b]is a southern melodrama directed by Ray McKinnon that fails to live up to it's potential despite an interesting premise. Twenty years earlier Billy Bob Thornton is fleeing from the cops with his wife Crystal (Lisa Blount) and son in tow when he tragically wrecks his car, severly injuring Cyrstal while his son's body is mysteriously never found. Joe (Thornton) returns twenty years later, wanting to make ammends with Chrystal while some of his old buddies try to lure him back into a life of crime. Chrystal still has sever pain from the accident, as well as psychological issues dealing with the loss of a child and the return of her husband. Unfortunately her character is so shallow that it's hard to have any feelings for her. The film also doesn't delve much into Chrystal and Joe's relationship together, spending more time focusing on the individual problems they have. An absurd side plot involving a blind university professor (Harry Lennix) researching folk music of the south adds nothing to the film. Somewhere there was a good story here, but McKinnon failed to deliver.
[b]Rock School [/b]is a documentary about Paul Green's School of Rock. The real life Paul Green is not a particularly fascinating character. A failed musician who opened a school to live out his dreams through his students. Not so much different from the overly obsessive father who runs a little league baseball team. And Mr. Green's method of motivation is swearing and put-downs. Not necessarily a good thing for fragile teens and pre-teen students. It's still all about him, which why this film doesn't quite hit the mark. It's far more interesting when the focus is on the students.
[b]The Assassination of Richard Nixon[/b] is based on a true story of a man who plotted to assassinate Richard Nixon. Sam Bicke (Sean Penn) is a salesman who's life is in shambles. His wife (Naomi Watts) has left him, he feels his boss (Jack Thompson) is out to get him, and he becomes even more frustrated when a small business loan he applies for is turned down. He feels oppressed by the system and vows to do one thing that will make people remember who he is. Obviously he never quite made it that far. Sean Penn does an adequate job playing a surprisingly dull would-be assassin, and Jack Thompson is a scene stealer as his boss, but the relationship with his ex-wife isn't developed very well, nor is his friendship with Bonny (Don Cheadle). Not a horrible movie, but one, like Sam Bicke, that can easily be forgotton.