Sunday, October 23, 2016

Luke Cage (Serial)

I guess largely forgettable. I like the idea of Luke Cage, a kind of everyman hero. But then this everyman personality is matched against oversized neighborhood villains. So I am not quite sure how to suspend disbelief here. The premise is that Cage is a regular guy who had some sort of experiment done on him (a la Captain America, Deadpool, etc) in which his skin turns super dense and impenetrable (by normal bullets and knives anyway). He originally showed up as a walk-on in the Daredevil series and was helped by Nurse Claire (who plays a recurring role here too). Ultimately, however, the same problem besets all of these Marvel heroes: are they vigilantes? and is that OK? Marvel tries to have the characters struggle with this issue, and tries to justify their actions. However, I wonder if the only way to really struggle with this honestly will be when one of them makes a mistake. Takes out a bad guy who later is determined to be innocent. If there are enough events, ultimately a mistake will be made. And what then is the justification for vigilante justice...
3 stars (out of 5)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Never go Back

Another Jack Reacher film. I have been reading these books and had read this one quite awhile ago, meaning I didn't really remember the plot. Which is good since I realize that the film needs to take some liberties. Reacher, as a former MP, in this installment works with the CO of his old unit to uncover some drug and gun smuggling by private military contractors. Overall, this is an average entry into the action hero genre. What I expected. Nothing more. Nothing less.
3 stars (out of 5)

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Accountant

Ben Affleck plays the title character. Just so happens that his job is a cover for his other job, assassin. And he is very good at both. He is also on the autism spectrum, so his ability to see patterns and numbers, and his ability to pay attention to important details seems to be enhanced by that. And his ability to act without emotional investment is key to his personality and success. The film was well constructed and well acted. And it did make me think. How is this character different than Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, James Bond, Jason Bourne, Jack Reacher. Those are also effective action heroes, very good at their job of noticing details and killing without emotion. But this accountant character has his strength seeded in his autism. And it feels different. So it made me think about stereotypes, rationalization of violence and justification of actions. I don't know where this thinking goes, but it is rattling around my head. It is also all this thinking that promotes this from 'movie' status to 'film'.
4 stars (out of 5)

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Breakout Kings (Serial)

Two seasons back in 2010 and 2011, this series follows a US Marshal team put together to find and recapture prison escapees. The unique part of this team is that the only currently badged marshal is the team leader. The rest of the team includes a former marshal convicted of grafting cash from drug seizures and 3 convicts who each get assigned to minimum security and 1 month sentence reduction for each capture they assist in. Overall, it is a light hearted fun series that probably failed because it couldn't find the balance of maintaining the fun while pursuing darker themes (e.g. serial killers) that inevitably show up in these kinds of procedurals. I will say as well that the writing did not really take strong advantage of the particular skills of each con. Yes, the "psychologist" was generally used to profile and predict, but the "tracker" and the "gangster" didn't get a chance to use their skills regularly enough to draw interest. I think the writers saw the writing (so to speak) because by time this series ended, it did not end with a cliff hanger, but with a relatively reasonable closure.
3 stars (out of 5)