Friday, June 23, 2017

Shooter (Serial)

Apparently I am on a Ryan Phillippe kick. This 10 episode USA Network series reminded me of the plot of Personal by Lee Child, but apparently it is based on Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter. Point being, this seems to be a well worn plot. Bob Lee Swagger is the most decorated sniper in US Marine history. His friend asks him to help prevent an assassination attempt on the president, only to find he has been set up to take the fall for said attempt. Now he is on the run, using all his special training to find the real culprit and clear his name. Oh, and he can't trust anyone. Guilty Pleasure.

3 stars (out of 5)

Saturday, June 17, 2017


Jason Statham is a cop coming off suspension to pursue a bank robber. Ryan Phillippe is his new rookie partner. The two seem to always be a step behind, but the clues are there. In many ways, this is a typical heist film, with the typical twists and turns, and the typical misdirects. But it is also a Statham film that doesn't rely on him being a fighter. I liked the story and the development of the heist (both in forward time, and in flashback). 
3 stars (out of 5)

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Last King

A historical fiction telling of the civil wars in Norway in the 1200's. A king is murdered, and his illegitimate son is protected by the Bierkebeinerne (basically special forces) as he is escorted back to the political seat of power to rule. Along the escort, the Baglers (Swedish soldiers loyal to the Pope) chase down the child king trying to kill him and end the Bierkebeinerne rule or Norway. Interesting story, and fabulous scenery. It did seem, however, like the film was an excuse to shoot this scenery, with many (many) scenes of soldiers chasing soldiers on skis. But it prompted me to look up some history, and it was really fabulous skiing, so
3 stars (out of 5)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Babylon A.D.

Vin Diesel is future version of badass Jason Statham in Transporter.  Not the same universe, but in style and substance. He is contracted to get a girl from a Nepalese monastery to New York. He does the job (against all odds and lots of people trying to kill him and the girl) against a steampunk modern backdrop (think Mad Max on ice/in the city). And like the transporter, he gets a conscience and makes a decision that is against his better judgement as an employee. Fun... ish...
2 stars (out of 5)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Mr. Right

Sam Rockwell is a master assassin. Anna Kendrick is a flighty millennial looking for love and purpose. They meet. Both have their quirks, but it turns out they are soul mates and this movie is about how they discover this connection amidst basically slapstick assassin humor. Reminded me of Mr. and Mrs. Smith (the early years), or if the skillset of Neo (Matrix) was applied to romance. In that context
4 stars (out of 5)

Monday, June 5, 2017


The story of 1960's London mafia bosses Ronald and Reginald Kray. Tom Hardy plays both twins, with Reggie being the front man, charismatic leader, on the verge of going straight and Ronnie being the sociopath that just enjoys power, control and violence. Hardy does an excellent job in this dual role and the the film itself is engaging, but not extraordinary. That is to say, it kept my attention throughout, but was predictable. Perhaps that is because the writers were staying true to the history, which is more predicable than extraordinary in most cases.
3 stars (out of 5)

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

I was mostly interested in this film because of the cameo Wonder Woman scenes, having just seen Wonder Woman. And it is interesting seeing the two films next to each other. This film is mostly fight scenes, tied together with a story. The story is a bit of jealousy/grudge between Batman and Superman that ends up with the two finally working together. The fights aren't really fights, but instead epic battles that the words "sensory overload" only begin to describe. This is in many ways a typical superhero movie, and I think that this typicalness is what makes it just average. Compared to WW, with story predominant, this is a barrage. As to the cameo, we should just say that having seen WW, the search for the picture and the decision to participate or not in the "battles of men" makes more sense that it probably did originally.
3 stars (out of 5)

Friday, June 2, 2017

Wonder Woman

I have been looking forward to this for quite some time, and to help out my enjoyment, tried to opt out of all the media hype and analysis prior to seeing it. The result... it was good. Not great, but solid good. It is effectively the origin story for Wonder Woman, and as such, contains quite a bit of actual story. Diana is an Amazon warrior, put on this earth to protect against injustice. She has been isolated from this world and when she chooses to engage (with the help of Chris Pine), she is thrust into the melee of WWII. The development of this story means that this is not just a superhero action film. This is both good and bad, as it adds substance and allows Diana to demonstrate her confusion and struggle with understanding man and her role in striving for justice. But, and I am not sure if I like this, but the pacing actually left me time to think about the film while watching the film. Generally I would put this in the "slow" category if my mind has time to disengage from the entertainment to think. Like I said, this is not a critique because I don't think I like the alternative if it is a barrage of action. I could have wished for a story so engaging that I didn't need to have time to think. But thinking aside, well done. The necessarily serial nature of comic inspired heroes does in fact leave me wanting more. So until the next installment...
4 stars (out of 5)