ZERO STARS/**** Image B+ Sound B Extras D
starring Kevin Bacon, Marcia Gay Harden, Miles Heizer, Marin Hinkle
screenplay by Micky Levy
directed by Alison Eastwood
by Ian Pugh Alison Eastwood's directorial debut makes its first--and, as it turns out, fatal--misstep by taking the wrong page from her father Clint's own career, applying a fundamentally tragic story to the straightforward misery of his winter output, thus bypassing the elegiac poetry of his late fall period. Distant wives dying of cancer, mentally unstable mothers tossing themselves into the paths of moving trains, and no one given the benefit of any examination beyond the prodding reminder that such things happen every day: Rails & Ties is another stultifying entry in the post-Crash, post-Babel cycle of cinema that doesn't want to educate or enlighten you with any perspective about these occurrences or their effect on humanity--it just wants to transform you into an emotional punching bag.