Monday, April 26, 2010

Tonight's Movie: Stone Cold (2005)

My dad recently started watching Tom Selleck's JESSE STONE TV-movies, based on books by the late Robert B. Parker, and sent me the first film in the series, STONE COLD. I began watching it late last evening, intending to watch the first 30 or 40 minutes, but I couldn't wait to find out how it ended and stayed up way too late. It was worth the lost sleep.

Jesse Stone (Tom Selleck), a former member of the LAPD, is now the police chief of the small coastal town of Paradise, Massachusetts. Jesse broods over his ex-wife and drinks far too much Scotch, but he's a good cop with a small but devoted staff. Jesse and the Paradise PD are tested to the breaking point by a serial killer which terrorizes the community.

Selleck is terrific as the taciturn, hard-boiled cop who says as little as possible but is clearly a softy deep inside, as evidenced by the way he cares for a murder victim's dog. (The dog, Reggie, is adorable...I want one!) Stone also has a very sensitive touch when dealing with a teenaged rape victim. Stone may not be talkative, but he knows what he's doing and has become an integral part of Paradise.

The film abounds in the sarcastic dialogue at which Selleck excels. If this had been a '40s film noir, Robert Mitchum would have played the part...but Selleck is perfect.

Halifax, Nova Scotia, stands in for Massachusetts. (Ironically, Halifax was the setting for last Friday night's thriller, YELLOW CANARY.) One of the film's greatest assets is the way it captures the cold chill and stark beauty of a small coastal New England town.

The cast includes Kohl Sudduth, Viola Davis, Vito Rezza, and Stephen McHattie as Stone's police colleagues. Mimi Rogers, Polly Shannon, and Alexis Dziena are also in the cast. The killers (don't worry, they're known from virtually the beginning of the movie) are Reg Rogers and Jane Adams; FRASIER fans may remember Adams from several episodes as Mel.

There are five additional films, including the latest title, NO REMORSE, which will air in May. The second film in the series, NIGHT PASSAGE, is actually a prequel to STONE COLD.

This film was directed by Robert Harmon, who has directed the other films in the series. It runs 87 minutes.

Parental advisory: This fairly gritty film is not for the younger set. Although it was originally a TV-movie, the box indicates an R rating; however, I suspect much of the content is not a lot stronger than is currently seen in some episodes of primetime series such as NCIS or BONES.

STONE COLD is available on DVD. A trailer is available at IMDb, but those who don't like spoilers should skip it, as it gives away pretty much every single plot point.

Recommended for fans of Tom Selleck, mysteries, and small-town New England. I'm looking forward to continuing the series soon.


Blogger J.C. Loophole said...

Yep - I love this series- it's one of the best made for TV movie series in recent years. Your review was spot-on, and Tom Selleck is perfect in the role. I think you will like the rest of them too! You father, as always, has good taste!

9:12 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks very much for the feedback, J.C. I'm glad to know how much you enjoy them. I'm looking forward to seeing more!

Best wishes,

11:07 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

I loved all of the Jesse Stone movies. I've been a longtime fan of Robert Parker's Jesse Stone series as well as his Spenser series. I was a bit concerned that the movies wouldn't be up to snuff but was pleasantly surprised. Selleck nails the introspective man fighting his demons while remaining one of the good guys.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I'm so glad to hear your good review too, Dana! Sounds like I definitely have more to look forward to. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the series!

Best wishes,

9:40 PM  

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