-JJ-

What new movies have you seen?

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I locked the old topic due to size and long load time so started a new one.  Of course if SW reviews were a "bit" shorter ;)

 

To you colts_fan12 on agents of shield. pfffffft  :)

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I saw Rogue One and Jackie. Both very good.

 

Jackie was sad though.

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I refuse to see Rogue One due to the abomination that was The Force Awakens. Plus, the casting of a woman in a war movie is...well, stupid.

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"No Clarence, I don't want you to see me like this. I look like Apollo Ceed. Which Rocky? The one where he died. Hang on I'm gonna be right there okay." 

 

"I want you to meet Keanu [A stray kitten]. I think it means cool breeze in Hawaiian."

 

"What's so scary about [the name] Cheddar? Cheddar is a psychopathic name. You only name yourself something adorable if you can back it up." 

 

"So what you got? Darn caboose street fight. Appendix. Bleow! They took it out of my body...You don't even want to hear what went down with my wisdom teeth." 

 

Yesterday, I watched one of the funniest action adventure 2016 comedies I've ever seen called "Keanu" directed by Peter Atencio. The premise of the storyline is very straight forward: Rell, [Jordan Peele] just had his woman Daisy break up with him since according to her his life is going nowhere. So, in between smoking pot with his bong in front of him, he hears scratching at his front door. He looks down & spots a tiny grey kitten meowing. Rell gives the feline a tiny bowl of milk, bonds with the cat, gives it a name, & he's inspired to make a specialty novelty calendar using Keanu in pictorials spoofing films like Pee Wee Herman, the Shining, Nightmare on Elm Street, & the Matrix etc. etc. 

 

Rell's best friend is a married guy named Clarence [Keegan-Michael Key] who is some sort of corporate team builder & public speaker by profession. Did I also mention that Clarence, as a black man, is a huge George Michael fan from Wham & his solo album days too?  It was surreal to watch a performer who just died in 2016 so prominently profiled in this movie. His music I mean. There's also a scene where Clarence hallucinates on a new synthetic drug where Gorge Michael's video "Faith" is given center stage in a dream bad trip sequence as well where Keanu Reeves's voice as Neo from the Matrix is used to serve as a spiritual guide post for his unstable marriage. 

 

The other thing about this flick is Key & Peele's use of "coding" thru out this picture. Coding is more or less role playing for whatever audience you are with pretending to be say a gangster from the streets in order to get Rell's kitten back from a drug dealer named Cheddar [Method Man] who does business out of a gentlemen's club called HPV or Hot Party Vixens. On the fly, these 2 blue collar middle class guys [Rell & Clarence] refer to themselves as 'Tech Tonic & Shark Tank' posing as assassins to convince Cheddar to get Keanu back if they do some drug deliveries to customers at their plush LA pads. Shark Tank & Tech Tonic are told by Cheddar to take Hi C [Tiffany Haddish] along [Cheddar's main enforcer] to learn the ropes from these primary imposters pretending to be from the mysterious Allen Town Gang. Before you even ask, they are not related in any way to the Billy Joel song. 

 

There's a hysterical scene where Clarence uses Micheal George songs from his iPhone to convince other gang members in his minivan that he's got street cred through his affection for George Micheal as a musician, songs about fatherhood, & old body scars to signify his reputation & paying his dues as a gang banger. It's so lame. It's hilarious because Key really sells it to other young men desperately in need of male role model love, guidance, & re-assurance overall. 

 

Rell, on the other hand, starts to develop feeling for Hi-C who is actually an undercover cop trying to take down Cheddar's narcotics & murder ring. All the audience needs to remember is this: Rell & Clarence as best friends do whatever they can to get Keanu the kitten back from harm & along the way, Clarence saves his marriage by punching out a bad neighbor making inappropriate advances toward his wife on a road trip. 

 

There's just something cute & heart-warming about a small kitten named Keanu who meows & gives Rell & Clarence high fives with it's little paw man. Yeah, I knows it's probably computer generated technology man. Work with me people. Work with me please. I know Jules & Bogie will like this gesture artificial or not. 

 

This 1 hour & 40 minute feature isn't exactly deep. I realize that. However, a gangsta pet movie works if it's done right like "Tuner & Hooch" for example & no animal died in this picture either.  Okay, there is a murder in it starring Anna Ferris from horror spoof flicks in it, but that's all for show as you'll see in the end. 

 

I just liked how 2 ordinary middle class black guys known for the Key & Peele Show are classic comedians who make any circumstance no matter how foolish seem plausible & somehow authentic like yeah what the hades; let's see where this goes shall we. A B+ on the original buddy genre with a new twist to it. Or should I say paw? 

 

The N word is used a lot in this picture as well as a reference to Richard Pryor instead of John Ritter BTW. Little kids should steer clear of this film due to profanity, violence, & drug usage. Not a Disney flick. 

 

 

I thought M-432 would get a kick out of this Skid Row cover used in honor of this comedy....

 

 

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On 1/9/2017 at 7:43 PM, BOTT said:

I refuse to see Rogue One due to the abomination that was The Force Awakens. Plus, the casting of a woman in a war movie is...well, stupid.

Ha, how very "Victorian" of you!!!

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You don't usually see the Korean War used as a historical backdrop in movies. The last time this national conflict was used as a well known period piece was when Frank Sinatra & Angela Lansbury starred in the original "Manchurian Candidate." It is usually called "The Forgotten War" and it perceived as a police action rather than say how World War II has become romanticized & glorified as an exercise in bravery & valor fighting against NAZI's & the Third Reich. 

 

Last night, I watched a 2016 drama called "Indignation" based on Philip Roth's novel with the same title & directed by James Schamus. The picture itself is set smack dab in the early 50's 1951 to be exact. Our central character is a 19 yr. old man named Marcus Messner  [Logan Lerman] of Jewish descent born & raised in Newark, New Jersey. His family didn't come from money. His father Max [Danny Burstein] runs a successful butcher shop & he appears to be having a hard time letting his son leave home, assert his own independence, & not become too isolated or get mixed up with the wrong crowd.  His mother Esther [Linda Emond] is the traditional doting mother whose entire world revolves around her son & her high expectations that Marcus is going to grow up & become a world class lawyer or esteemed Supreme Court justice or something similar. Esther lives vicariously through her son since her husband calls all the shots in the household & her voice is virtually nonexistent. You know, your traditional 1950's suburbian dynamic where the wife cooks, cleans, washes the laundry, & the man-the chief breadwinner- brings home the bacon or sole income under one roof.  

 

I enjoy period pieces in cinema probably because I am well versed & trained in history & I always get a kick out of watching time capsule stuff...Exploring by gone eras through cars, clothes, drive-ins, ice cream/soda fountains, social norms, & repressed sexuality. There just something appealing to me about society that isn't bombarded with selfies, cell phones, Twitter, social media, or the internet & they actually read books & newspapers to stay informed. Yeah, I know segregation, Jim Crow Laws, & having no civil rights regarding equal voting, education, & housing rights was a dark chapter in our nation's history for black citizens, women, basically anybody not white & male. All extremely valid points. 

 

What threw me for a loop at the start of the film was a banner at Winesburg, a college Marcus was attending in Ohio on scholarship due his excellent grades in high school, was this: At the registration table for incoming Freshmen was a sign welcoming the class welcoming the class of 1955. Huh? What? It's 1951. Strange. To add more confusion to the fire, before leaving for Winesburg, Marcus listens to neighborhood friends outside talk about being drafted. Vietnam was the only US war where young men were obliged to serve overseas if your number was called up by Uncle Sam or the federal government. Korea, which lasted from 1950-1953, has never been classified as a draft conflict at all. Odd. 

 

In any event, Marcus does well at his 1st semester in college with a part time job at the campus library. He keeps to himself mostly, but he isn't afraid to speak up in class when a professor says something in class he is diametrically opposed to on principle. Did I mention Marcus is an atheist & repulsed by the idea of joining a fraternity too? I was never a fan a fraternities in school myself either to be honest with you. A bunch of buffoons getting intoxicated trying to convince gullible individuals that joining a frat house will open up networking opportunities & lead to job employment down the line. LOL! What a bunch of horse dung. Totally absurd. 

 

At any rate, everything is flowing smoothly until a beautiful blond woman named Olivia Hutton [Sarah Gadon], a fellow classmate he was attracted to & smitten with, throws a wrench in the works & flips his world upside down. Marcus works up the courage to ask her out, she agrees to go on a date with him because Olivia likes his bold, outspoken, risking taking persona; they eat snails at a fancy restaurant; find each other charming; she requests that Marcus take a brief detour in a graveyard with his roommate's borrowed car, & out of the blue, Olivia performs fellatio on Marcus as a way to put a bow on a pleasant evening. Whoa. Remember, this is 1951. I imagine Marcus did not expect that & that he wasn't exactly a ladies man either. As you can probably predict, Marcus is having a difficult time processing what went down in his friend's car. Was he at fault? Was Olivia a deviant of some kind? Remember, the 1950's was all about marriage, procreation designed to create offspring, & no physical contact or intimacy outside of wedlock if a person didn't want to be banished from conservative society in general. 

 

Olivia was from a affluent family & to her, what she did for Marcus was a sign of love & affection for him. She didn't view her act as promiscuous activity at all. She had slit her wrist in the past at another university presumably for identical extracurricular activities at an institution of higher learning. So, it is easy to see the pressure placed on Olivia to only show that side of herself to men she really liked & then face whatever backlash came down the pike. 

 

There is also an auxiliary storyline in "Indignation" where the head master at Winesberg named Dean Caudwell [Tracy Letts] & Marcus Messner clash personalities over his atheist status, his failure to embrace his Jewish heritage; his desire to relocate away from his 2 roommates; his reluctance to attend the campus chapel regularly; his social life, & basically his refusal to kiss the Dean's caboose & bow to his every whim. It's peculiar to watch a dean be so inappropriate with all the questions he threw in Marcus's direction that no chancellor would ever dream of asking in the 21st Century without the fear of getting sued & impeding litigation. But, you must remember that in the 1950's a student would never dream of offending their head master & iconic authority figure either. 

 

To make a long story short, Marcus gets expelled from school when he tells the dean to bleep off, refuses to imply that Olivia has lewd morals, & he paid another student to attend church for him by proxy in order to fulfill graduation requirements at Winesberg. Marcus was then left with only 1 option: Fight in Korea & get killed in battle by an enemies bayonet. Ouch. 

 

What happens to Olivia Hutton you ask? She ends up in a nursing home, never marries, & she stares a red roses wallpaper in sadness the remainder of her life. She brought Marcus a vase of roses in the hospital after his appendix ruptured, but she did something to Marcus in his hospital bed that the medical staff was appalled by. Man, this romance turned tragedy is reminiscent of author Charles Dickens man--cruel, cold, & decisive. 

 

I actually liked the slow pacing of this 1 hour & 40 feature which drops a person into the early 50's & makes you believe that this rigid world of constant surveillance & moral condemnation is alive with cut throat consequences if you go against established authority figures. Let's roll with a B+ on the verge of an A. I realize this subject matter or the act in question will turn some people off. I get it. However, this film is about repression, backlash, & the pull of outside forces that make you follow a code free from humiliation & ridicule overall. 

 

 

This is a really tight cover of a Journey classic. I actually picture Lollygager8's doing a killer rendition of this onstage too with his band in toe. Plus, this song dove tails nicely with Marcus & Olivia's broken love affair as well.

 

 

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Hollywood, please do yourself a favor & stop making re-treads or remakes of original movies. Now, they crossed a line invading sacred ground otherwise known as the genre of westerns. What picture has been violated this time you ask? Why the 1960 classic called "The Magnificent Seven" has been rebooted into a glossy piece of trash in 2016 courtesy of director Antoine Fuqua some 56 yrs later. Mr. Fuqua has been reunited with actor Denzel Washington again best known for their collaboration in the film "Training Day." 

 

My primary problem with this updated version of "The Magnificent 7" inspired by the Japanese film called 'The 7 Samurai' is this: Our central villain, Bartholomew Bogue [Peter Sarsgaard]; the overlord over a small town called  Rose Creek, which looks like Colorado to me, but the audience is never told exactly where we are. Bogue as a bad guy is well groomed & wearing the latest 19th Century 1879 threads of the day. However, he isn't all that menacing or threatening to me on screen. A word to the wise--When you primary antagonist isn't scary or diabolical enough, your western is screwed or doomed to fail from the beginning. Essentially, it is a horrible omen of things to come meaning that your audience is going to be bored & probably fall asleep long before the closing credits roll. Just like an action adventure flick, your nemesis must be more compelling then your hero. Otherwise, the stacks aren't high enough & whatever success the protagonist achieves as a mythical messiah figure means virtually nothing once the dust settles. 

 

Here's another problem: All truly great villains must feel self righteous in everything they do, exhibit sadistic tendencies constantly meaning that they take pleasure in inflicting pain & suffering against subordinate citizens like breathing getting a rush out of knowing that they are the chief intimidators/dispensers of pain; agony, & discomfort. And last but not least, even when the main adversary knows the end of their life & reign are near...They accept their fate & their demise with honor refusing to cry, whimper, or beg for forgiveness at the end. I hate it when cruel foes cower in fear on film because it ruins the dark persona that they created prior to their downfall. If you're gonna be ruthless, be ruthless to your bidder; self inflicted end man. If the hero defeats that level of over the top maliciousness, then the conclusion or final act carries more weight & makes the audience feel good because true evil has been beat back, neutralized, & obliterated for a longtime. Remember, westerns are all about mythology, independence, & ownership of natural resources like water, oil, mineral rights like gold or oil deposits. 

 

In a nutshell, here is the basic plot of this 2 hour & 13 minute flick. A bounty hunter from Kansas named Sam Chisholm [Denzel Washington] is approached by a grieving widow, Emma Cullen, [Haley Bennett] to assassinate the wealthy millionaire/business tycoon named Bartholomew Bogue [Peter Sarsgaard]; the ruthless villain who burned down the local church & shot her husband in cold blood. Sam agrees to become her vigilante hitman for Mrs. Cullen, but first he must assemble a gang of 6 other cohorts to carry out this mission. These men are as follows: A gambler/ladies man known as Joshua Faraday [Chris Pratt] who enjoys demolishing things with dynamite; A Civil War sniper/sharp shooter with shell shock or PTSD who wrestles with the aftermath of killing so many men named Goodnight Robicheaux [Ethan Hawke], A mountain man frontiersmen who lives off the land & resembles a human bear in appearance named Jack Horne [Vincent D'Onofrio]; An Asian American immigrant who presumably worked laying tracks for the railroad, flawless at throwing knifes, & a best friend/sidekick to Goodnight Robicheaux named Billy Rocks [Byung-hun Lee]; A Mexican American fugitive on the run looking for adventure called Vasquez [Manuel Garcia-Rulfo] ; A banished  Comanche Indian skilled at eating animal hearts & firing his bow & arrow proficiently from long distances away known as Red Harvest  [Martin Sensmeier.] 

 

I suppose the director deserves to be complemented for constructing a posse so diverse & multicultural in scope. We have a black leader, a Confederate marksmen with a rifle, a Hispanic outlaw; a pious woodsman; a wise caboose card player & demolition enthusiast, A Native American archer; & a steel blade murderer with close proximity deadly accuracy. The original film never took the time to highlight the value in difference or uniting under a common cause of heartfelt; universal retribution. Still, having said all that, this picture took way too long to mold a bunch of farmers & miners into a capable militia force who stands their ground against roughly 40 hired guns by Mr. Bogue. Basically, in all westerns, the only thing we really care about is the final showdown at dawn. Director Antoine Fuqua regrettably drags this final climax out for from too long for my tastes. Come on already, we already know the chances of success for these villagers are slim to none. We have already seen that moment of reflection where Sam & the gang ponder their own mortality, realize they might not survive; & put their you're going down aristocratic caboose hole game faces on--Let's get to the main event boys. Hurry, the hades up would ya? Nobody's getting any younger here. Pick up the tempo & let's rock n roll already. 

 

Once we get to the final battle scene, it's decent & respectable. Dynamite is buried at strategic spots on the field for maximum collateral damage. There's something visually compelling about watching mercenary men in a full fledged stampede charge get blown off a horse in a full galloping stride. Even seeing horses go flying through the air as men get trampled & bullets ricochet & penetrate their bodies reminds you of how fortunate it is for anybody to survive war in an open field with no trees, rocks, or other formations to provide cover for. Bogue adds a new wrinkle to the bloodshed when he unfurls a wagon with a gatling gun on it. A machine gun with a crank on it that can swivel or rotate back & forth when necessary. 

 

The Magnificent 7 emerge victorious when Josh uses a lone stick of TNT to pulverize the gatling gun & himself in 1 foul swoop. The knife man, the mountain man, & the long range sharp shooter also perish in the battle to win back the small community in Colorado. I was really bothered when our chief adversary Bartholomew Bogue tried to bargain & beg for his life while Sam Chisolm shot him in the behind on the church steps & he started sniveling like a child. We do learn that Bogue had raped Sam's mother & sister yrs earlier in Kansas & that Mr. Chisolm had rope burns around his neck from a failed hanging attempt. Therefore, we understand his rage toward Bogue at the end. It seems only justified that Emma Cullen was given the fatal shot to kill Bogue since she put everything in motion to save Rose Creek & make this greedy business man pay for murdering her husband. 

 

Denzel Washington was okay & Chris Pratt provided the comic relief, something you need in a picture like this to offset the violence & frailty of human life. Not to mention insurmountable odds. Like I mentioned before, the villain whining at the end ruined the whole picture for me. Plus, he seemed generic & uninspiring for me. A better subdued villain performance was seen in "A Pale Rider" by Clint Eastwood to me. You have to be able to meet your maker willingly & accept the karma headed your way. Both actor John Russell as Marshal Stockburn & Richard Dysart as corrupt businessman Coy LaHood meet their death willingly as par for the course & I admire that. Be who you are especially in your final moments. Embrace it; don't run from it. 

 

So, what's my grade for this version of "The Magnificent 7" in 2016 you ask? Probably, a C- because the villain sucked, the victory felt hallow & empty, & don't drag out the final showdown for an eternity please. The same movie could have been told in say 1 hour & 10 minutes to me. Hollywood, listen to me. Discard the reboots of familiar franchises & attempt something original as in never been done before. A huge disappointment overall. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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18 hours ago, southwest1 said:

 

 

So, what's my grade for this version of "The Magnificent 7" in 2016 you ask? Probably, a C- because the villain sucked, the victory felt hallow & empty, & don't drag out the final showdown for an eternity please. The same movie could have been told in say 1 hour & 10 minutes to me. Hollywood, listen to me. Discard the reboots of familiar franchises & attempt something original as in never been done before. A huge disappointment overall. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I watched it mainly because Denzel Washington is my fav. But yeah- a bit cheesy and typical Hollywood remake.

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On 1/9/2017 at 10:43 PM, BOTT said:

I refuse to see Rogue One due to the abomination that was The Force Awakens. Plus, the casting of a woman in a war movie is...well, stupid.

I liked TFA despite the fact it was a complete rip off of ANH. You'll be pleasantly surprised watching R1. Greatest Vader scene in Star Wars. Plus, Jyn (the woman) was great.

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I saw The Truman Show last weekend. Was expecting a Jim Carey laughfest, did not get it, but still very good.

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24 minutes ago, bababooey said:

I liked TFA despite the fact it was a complete rip off of ANH. You'll be pleasantly surprised watching R1. Greatest Vader scene in Star Wars. Plus, Jyn (the woman) was great.

What's next, they cast Danny DeVito as an butt kicking stith?  Makes about as much sense.

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3 minutes ago, BOTT said:

What's next, they cast Danny DeVito as an butt kicking stith?  Makes about as much sense.

Princess Leia was an butt kicking female, Yoda is also a short butt kicking jedi so we've seen similar. But the next anthology movie is about Han Solo with Emelia Clarke (game of thrones) in it, but he's the main character so if you don't like female leads you might like that. I think you'll like R1 a lot more than TFA because of the originality and action. I loved TFA for the nostalgia and R1 for the fresh story and greatest Vader scene ever.

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"The only way to achieve the impossible is to believe it is possible." 

 

"I used to think time was a thief...but the only thing that matters is what you do for others." 

 

"You kept my blue hat. I make hats father. I'm a hatter." 

 

"You can't change the past; You can only learn from it."

 

The following quotes are taken from the 2016 sequel distributed by Walt Disney called "Alice Through The Looking Glass" directed by James Bobin. Tim Burton didn't step behind the camera this time, but his visual fingerprints feel as though they are all over this film though since the bright color palette pops off the silver screen. I thought of JPPT1974 since she noted in the old movie thread that she enjoyed watching this picture awhile back. I do remember forum friends recommendations & check them out BTW. Just so you are aware, it's a 2 way street on my end as well.

 

As with author C.S. Lewis, Linda Wolverton is all about the intrigue of imagination & the downside of growing up into adulthood. You know, where logic, practicality, & doubt creep in to lose that inner child amongst ourselves as we grow older & age. More specifically, Alice Kingsleigh [Mia Wasikowska] is still grieving over the death of her father that transpired 3 yrs ago. Alice has been on the high seas in China as a matter of fact exploring on her dad's old ship called 'The Wonder' securing business interests abroad away from her mother Helen [Lindsay Duncan] & London until Alice docked home in 1875. It turns out that Helen in a financial pickle was left with no alternate then to sell the Wonder to Hamish Asco [Leo Bill] placing him in full control of their maritime company after Alice's father had died. Hamish, in case you forgot, was the disappointed fiancee standing at the alter when Alice fell down the rabbit hole in 2010's 'Alice In Wonderland' flick & eventually refused to marry him. So, as you can imagine, Hamish would pounce on any opportunity to hurt Alice & in turn, his mother Helen in their pocket book. Amish is consumed with a craving for wealth above all else. It's how he values people--their net worth alone. Helen was forced to sell Hamish Alice's vessel in order to own & remain in her house permanently. 

 

Alice is upset over the prospect of having to give up the Wonder to Hamish her lasting connection to her beloved & now fallen father. She is later told by her ex husband to be that he, not Alice, owns the company now thanks to Helen's last shares & the boat itself. As a result, Alice can no longer be a sailor or a captain working instead exclusively in the clock room. Just when Alice seems distraught over such sad news, she follows a blue butterfly into a garden room, this insect called Absolem [Alan Rickman] who warns Alice that her dear childhood friend--the Mad Hatter [Johnny Depp] is on his deathbed & needs her help to locate the hatter's family believed to have been killed by a fire breathing dragon known as a Jabberwocky. The Jabberwocky in question is under the spell of the angry, red queen of hearts named Iracebeth [Helena Bonham Carter]. 

 

In a nutshell, here is all the audience needs to remember: Alice misses her father, the Mad Hatter tried his best to win his dad's approval as an innovative hat maker who thought his son was too whimsical & creative for his own good not taking the family profession seriously enough. And the White Queen [Anne Hathaway] & the Red Queen [Helena Bonham Carter] both sisters were at odds with each other over who lied about eating sweet tarts or cookies in their bedroom as children against their mother's wishes. This resentment over who was blamed for the cookie crime & ultimately named successor to their royal father over the kingdom led the red queen to despise her older sibling the white queen until that when day when she pleaded for Iracebeth's forgiveness since that little lie resulted in an accident that caused the red queen's head to expand & be made fun of by the masses or royal subjects at large. 

 

We also have a final key character known as Father Time [Sacha Baron Cohen] who warns Alice that no one can rewrite the past, but we can learn lessons from our past though. Alice is convinced by the white queen that the only way she can save the Mad Hatter from dying is to bring his family back to him by stealing something called the Chronosphere from Father Time's castle. Chronosphere is basically a shiny jewel that keeps the world running in it's proper order. Stealing this Chronosphere automatically transforms into a time machine that allows the possessor of this jewel to go back in time however; a person cannot see their former self from the past. Otherwise, they jeopardize not only their own futures, but everybody's else fate on the planet they reside on as a species in general. 

 

On a visual & costume level, this films works well with it's vivid colors & sparkling use of contrast. Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter is the only individual we keep track of as an audience throughout with his red hair, white face, big eyelashes, & rust colored top hat with a pink banner on it. Okay, if I'm being honest, hearing Alan Rickman's voice as the blue butterfly at the beginning really threw me off since he's gone now. Man, I loved his voice as Hans Gruber in 'Diehard I' one of the best cinematic polished villains of all time. Darn, 2016 was a tough yr for iconic personalities that I cut my teeth on & grew up on. Losing so many landmark forces of nature really hurts. It just does. 

 

I did like seeing Humpty Dumpty fall off the chess board & shatter into a million pieces as all the king's horses & all the kings men couldn't put him back together again. It appeals to the storyteller in me from my high school Forensics days actually where you would tell tales in voices along with a neutral narrator but I digress. 

 

The visual effects of this 1 hour 53 minute feature are top notch particularly the red queen who just wants love & acceptance from her sister the white queen. The other component I liked was the difference in scale with characters from rabbits, to a hound dog, to a tiny mouse, to a dragon, to an angry red head with an inflated head. It's like seeing lifeless objects move & come alive. Cool. 

 

Thanks JPPT1974 for encouraging me & everyone else to see 'Alice Through The Looking Glass.' I enjoy pictures that can be entertaining on a love your father's & families while they are here level before they are gone forever & we never got a chance to say goodbye or appreciate the wisdom you gave us as we grow older & more experienced in life. Let's roll with a B- here. 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, bababooey said:

Princess Leia was an butt kicking female, Yoda is also a short butt kicking jedi so we've seen similar. But the next anthology movie is about Han Solo with Emelia Clarke (game of thrones) in it, but he's the main character so if you don't like female leads you might like that. I think you'll like R1 a lot more than TFA because of the originality and action. I loved TFA for the nostalgia and R1 for the fresh story and greatest Vader scene ever.

Princess Leia wasn't beating up 3 storm troopers by herself.  She was a smart butt who typically just used a gun.

 

You just compared Yodi to Danny DeVito.

 

I love female leads when, just as with male leads, they are smartly written and not full of lazy cliches.

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Did you ever watch a film with misfits in it that just made you chuckle out loud? They're not even trying to be comedians or clowns perse. It's like an unlikely duo brought together by circumstance who are largely ignored by society & not taken seriously by their colleagues, their superiors, or even the opposite sex to tell you the truth. Is it mean to watch these guys through the motions & rigors of their daily lives & constantly be ignored & underestimated? Perhaps a little, but you're still gonna crack a smile. You just are. It's similar to watching a loved one or your woman fall in an unorthodox way. You try not to burst out laughing once you know they are okay, but you can't help yourself. I think there is a universal truth in seeing someone else crash & burn because we have all been there at 1 time or another in our lives like some sort of twisted right of passage or something. 

 

Before I go any further, I'm going to tell you that I like Nicolas Cage & Frodo [sorry Elijah Wood] a lot as actors on screen probably because they often play characters slightly off. Not sinister just odd. Okay, let's lay down the foundation shall we. We are located in Nevada in a 2016 crime thriller called "The Trust" directed by Alex and Benjamin Brewer, brothers I presume. The opening shot is a neon ferris wheel in motion seen through a window as a sergeant in the LAPD named David Waters is getting laid in a hotel room. The camera zooms in a mole just underneath the woman's breast. Oh, she's not his girlfriend just a lady of the evening who is financially compensated for her time. Waters works in the property clerks room of his precinct & he appears to joke along fine with his contemporaries as the unit raids a known drug & gun den. He seems practical & can survey & read a room well. Lt. Jim Stone [Nicolas Cage], on the other hand, appears to be wound a little too tight whose meticulous attention to detail & desire to pursue lofty investigations that cost the Dept. considerable resources & rarely pan out tension among his co-workers. As a result, Stone is often given busy work to keep him out of everyone else's hair. Stone isn't stupid. He just tries to please his father, a legend among his precinct played by actor Jerry Lewis that he will never live up to no matter how hard he tries to. Anyway, while being sent on a personal errand by his supervisor to secure a tractor for his boss's son in law as a wedding present, Stone happens to notice that a guy pulled over by police with cocaine hidden in the engine block suddenly had his bail in the amount of $200 grand mysterious paid for. 

 

Stone decides to investigate the matter further with the help of Waters. They're not partners technically. They just relate to 1 another on corkiness grounds I guess. Waters is short with a boyish charm while Stone is tall, looks out of place like an ostrich, & can't even get a waitress to refill his coffee cup. It's like the dude is invisible like a ghost or might as well be. Cage always plays screwball characters well. He just does. You either have this gift or you don't. You can't really teach it. Stone hires Waters to tail or follow this bailed out guy for a day or so & it turns out; the guy works as a bartender & laundry worker for a local casino. After joining the same employee laundry service as an undercover agent, Stone finds out that our mysterious $200K individual routinely makes drop-off deliveries to a secluded bodega/grocery store very early in the wee hours of the morning.  Sounds suspiciously illegal & devious right? It is. 

 

After Waters bribes an LA building supervisor, he obtains floor plans & camera footage indicating that a huge metal freezer with the wrong dimensions has been shipped to the secluded bodega location. When you couple that with the routine drop offs on stakeouts, there is definitely something nefarious occurring here. The 200K guy has to be a mule for a known drug cartel trafficker. Stone isn't interested in busting the ring. Instead, he wants to buy a special diamond tipped drill to invade the grocery store, tie who ever is watching the safe up, & penetrate the vault door to get to the precious contents inside. The idea here is to steal the loot, fly to a tropical island, & live in the lap of luxury before the drug cartel finds you & mows you down for having the audacity to rob them blind. What could possibly go wrong? 

 

Where it gets interesting is when drill bits break earlier than expected, fan belts snap with no spare ones available, using gunpowder to cut through the remaining exterior of the vault so 1 parter can tell the other one what the exact number combination is to prevent fail safe glass from cracking denying access to the rare diamonds, coins, & money inside. Oh, did I mention a street cop on regular patrol making neighborhood rounds with a dead body in the bathtub & a woman tied to a sink in the bathroom too? Details; Details. When plans fall apart stuff always gets fascinating to watch on screen doesn't it? 

 

Waters starts to have second thoughts about robbing a Mexican drug cartel's safe house, but Stone just wants a huge payday so he can leave his crappy life with an overbearing father behind & co-workers who mock, ridicule, & harass him incessantly at work. 1 cop views this treasure as a whole new way of life while the other cop knows the hades he will pay if the kingpin drug lord finds out their true identities. As a result, Waters shoots Stone in the neck killing him, places all the items back in the safe, allows the distraught woman lookout in the bathroom to call her boyfriend on a cellphone to pickup her son; However, the call wasn't to her son. Rather, a way to triangulate her phone's location so that members of the cartel could shoot Frodo--our LA detective behind the wheel of a stolen minivan on a divided highway. Crime never ever pays does it? 

 

I just like how these 2 misfit cops operate. Stone the big picture dreamer & Waters the vigilant pragmatist at all times. The way Cage & Wood play off each other when the crap hits the fan is mesmerizing especially when Waters does his best to make Cliff [Steven Williams best known for his work on the TV show '21 Jump Street'] a patrol cop back his car up & drive away. This 1 hour & 32 minute feature has just the right tone, tempo, & lighting to accurately represent old school; subdued Las Vegas as well. Just a solid film about a get rich scheme of opportunity that swiftly spirals out of control. I hope Cage & Wood work together on future cinematic projects as well. Those 2 just click man. Trust me. Let's roll with a B+ on this one. 

 

 

 

Think of "Rain Down" as billions in currency in this case & the happiness money & a new income bracket can provide. So close & yet so far away. 

 

 

 

"The best laid plans of mice & men oft go astray." --John Steinbeck  

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"Sharon, I think I'm having a flashback!" --Ozzy Osbourne

 

"This music is making him angry. Play something gentle."

 

"I don't go to Chinatown. I don't drive wackos; I ain't afraid of no ghosts." --Dan  Ackroyd /cab driver cameo

 

"Proton guns are all well & good, but sometimes you need a swiss army knife" [to pop evil 1930's Macy's Day Parade balloons like a marshmallow giant.] 

 

Do you remember the 1984 movie "Ghostbusters" starring Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, & the late Harold Ramis? It was directed by Ivan Reitman & released long before special effects & CGI were taken to a whole new level on MAC computer screens. Well, some 32 yrs later in 2016, we have the reboot, updated version called simply 'Ghostbusters: Answer The Call." More like the audience is praying for a wrong number or a disconnected one to say the very least.

 

I think studio heads in Hollywood tried to market the film to say the PG13 demographic clientele. However, it didn't really work & failed miserably as a completed 1 hour & 56 minute Halloween inspired; spooky drama overall. I remember when the 84 version was released as a kid & how popular it was at the time. I didn't care for that flick then & I detest this incarnation even less now. I mean really in both adaptations the storyline is an exact replica: Misunderstood scientists get attacked by supernatural spirits with green slime & stop a head demon from destroying planet earth by sending all these unruly ghosts back to their proper dimension. The only thing that changes are the faces of the scientists--All female this time. Paul Feig, the director, assembled the following cast: 

 

Physicist Erin Gilbert [Kristen Wiig] has left her paranormal past chasing days behind her. She is trying to earn full tenure at Columbia University in New York City. However, Erin's fellow scientist & former best friend named Abby Yates [Melissa McCarthy] prevented Erin from receiving full tenure as an accomplished scholar by publishing a book on Amazon.com that documented her former passion as a ghost explorer & believer in unexplained activities from the other side. Someone must explain to me why actress Melissa McCarthy is so highly sought after in comedies now simply because the CBS TV show "Mike & Molly" had a large fan following for awhile. The woman isn't all that funny to me personally & her attempts at slapstick comedy gold on screen typically fall boringly flat on average. 

 

Anyhow, a black woman named Patty [Leslie Jones] knows her way around the Big Apple. She has friends in high & low places including an uncle who owns a funeral business with 2 hearses complete with flamboyant pink rooftops on them. 1 of those vehicles is used as their chief mode of transportation to drive to locations inhabited by ghosts. Another member of this motley crew is a tall, blond, white woman named Jillian Holtzmann [Kate McKinnon]. Jill plays the main off the wall inventor who builds all their weaponry to capture, subdue, & quarantine ghosts away from innocent humans for their own well being, safety, & protection. Last, but not least, we have a dim witted, heart throb assistant named Kevin [Chris Hemsworth]. Many of you will recognize actor Chris Hemsworth from his 'Thor' & 'Avengers' films courtesy of Marvel Comics founded by illustrator Stan Lee. I suppose I am also obligated to mention a slick political figure known as Mayor Bradley [Andy Garcia] too. Bradley is petrified over what ghost sighting will do to his future career ambitions down the line & as a result, the mayor does whatever he has to to suppress ghost explorers or the likelihood of widespread panic in the city. 

 

There's actually only 1 mildly funny scene in the whole picture. A demon ghost spirit shows up at a heavy metal fest called Rock Revenge Fest & the unsuspecting crowd of eager on lookers perceives the demonic green ghost as a cool part of the lighting festivities on stage. When the team is called in to capture this flying beast, the crowd is excited, enthralled, & mesmerized by it. OZZY even spits out a funny line after seeing it thinking he is high. Jill even smashes the lead guitarist instrument Kiss style claiming with regret "Sorry, I can't afford to buy you another one." 

 

A big marshmallow diabolical ghost is thrown back into their dimension when the hearse with nuclear reactors on top of it explodes inside a wormhole sending all the bad ghosts away forever or at least until the dreaded next chapter in this lame trilogy is released upon the weary, roll your eyes public in say 3 yrs that is. Lord have mercy. haha Actor Bill Murray has a brief cameo as well playing a well known skeptic of paranormal activity in general. Easy money for a few lines of  mundane dialog I guess. I can't crucify Bill over that. Besides, I loved the guy ever since 'Caddy Shack' & 'What About Bob?' man. I pardon people I like a lot. I always have & I always will. 

 

This movie certainly didn't need to be made other then to make a quick buck & some simple coin. Oh, I almost forgot. Late into the credits rolling scientist Jill is working on a new invention to contain spirits in a bear trap contraption. Actress Kate McKinnon wearing mad scientist googles says "I'm working on some next level stuff. It catches them & transports them; I don't know somewhere else...I have a feeling it's Michigan." I hope that's not a Flint, MI contaminated water joke. Let's roll with a D- on "Ghostbusters: Answer The Call" more like hang up if you ask me. Sigh...This picture is an insult to the word trash as in give trash & Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street some class & dignity would ya. Thanks. 

 

 

 

I know the studio will repackage this picture as some sort of girl power hear me roar nonsense. Don't fall for it folks-- Dynamite this film is not okay. Just sayin.' 

 

 

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11 hours ago, BOTT said:

Princess Leia wasn't beating up 3 storm troopers by herself.  She was a smart butt who typically just used a gun.

 

You just compared Yodi to Danny DeVito.

 

I love female leads when, just as with male leads, they are smartly written and not full of lazy cliches.

But you didn't watch the movie so how would you know everything she says? Again, it's better than TFA. Original, action packed, dark, Vader.

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The new "Ghostbusters" movie trailer didn't look very good, so I never intended to see it. I never watched Mike and Molly, so can't explain why Melissa McCarthy is so popular.

 

I loved the original "Ghostbusters" , so I can't relate to SW not liking it. I thought it was comedy gold, but each to their own. The remake looked lame; Hollywood should realize that not everything has to be redone. I hope that the "Ghostbusters remake flopped at the box office, just because. lmao

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Top 5 movies I saw in 2016:

1. Arrival

2. Nocturnal Animals

3. Sing Street

4. La La Land

5. Hell or High Water

 

Top 5 worst movies I saw in 2016:

1. Independence Day: Resurgence

2. Ghostbusters

3. Gods of Egypt

4. Office Christmas Party

5. Ben-Hur

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9 hours ago, bababooey said:

But you didn't watch the movie so how would you know everything she says? Again, it's better than TFA. Original, action packed, dark, Vader.

I don't have to know any she says.....although I saw some of the laughable dialogue in the trailer.

 

Fact is, 5'2 100lb women aren't badasses that that lead rebellions.  It would be if they cast a 5'2 100lb man.... they wouldn't because that would be stupid.

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2 hours ago, BOTT said:

I don't have to know any she says.....although I saw some of the laughable dialogue in the trailer.

 

Fact is, 5'2 100lb women aren't badasses that that lead rebellions.  It would be if they cast a 5'2 100lb man.... they wouldn't because that would be stupid.

Alright

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7 hours ago, MTC said:

Top 5 movies I saw in 2016:

1. Arrival

2. Nocturnal Animals

3. Sing Street

4. La La Land

5. Hell or High Water

 

Top 5 worst movies I saw in 2016:

1. Independence Day: Resurgence

2. Ghostbusters

3. Gods of Egypt

4. Office Christmas Party

5. Ben-Hur

Wow, Arrival that good huh?

 

We haven't seen any of the nominated ones like La La Land, Hidden Figures, Fences. We are both CPAs so we spend our busy seasons crushing movies at home when they are available on demand. I hope to see those plus Moana and Hacksaw Ridge. Actually still have to see The Accountant (my fiance went with her entire firm the day it came out - the day that tax extensions were due).

 

I liked Sully, Magnificent Seven, Rogue One, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Dr. Strange, Jungle Book, and Pete's Dragon last year. The only one of your entire list I did see was Independence Day (which sucked), but we want to see Office Christmas Party

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I just saw Split and I must say it's M. Night Shyamalan's best film since Signs. The movie contains a lot of suspense and thrilling moments. I wouldn't call it a horror, but it has horror and minor violent elements. 

 

James McAvoy gives a great, creepy, funny performance as someone who struggles with 23 split personalities. 

 

The ending twist to Split is fantastic. The last shot before the credits roll will leave you speechless.

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15 hours ago, MTC said:

I just saw Split and I must say it's M. Night Shyamalan's best film since Signs. The movie contains a lot of suspense and thrilling moments. I wouldn't call it a horror, but it has horror and minor violent elements. 

 

James McAvoy gives a great, creepy, funny performance as someone who struggles with 23 split personalities. 

 

The ending twist to Split is fantastic. The last shot before the credits roll will leave you speechless.

I was saying to my fiance I want to see this but I'm too much of a scaredy cat for the movies, I'd rather watch at home where I can control lights, volume, etc.

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"You're okay. I'm here to help you little buddy...It looks similar to a dislocated shoulder...On 3...Now, you got a chance huh."

 

"30 to 40 yards. 1 minute swim. I can do that. I need a head start." 

 

"I love you [both] so much. Time to go." 

 

"Where are you?...Oh s**t!

 

On the surface, my next film called "The Shallows" directed by Jaume Collet-Serra is technically classified as a 2016 horror flick. However, in actuality, this picture is about handling loss of a loved one close to you mixed with an I will survive motif refusing to draw your last breath & go down so easily in a place like this. Where is this exactly you ask? A beautiful place for a near death experience to have you contemplate your existence as your life flashes before your eyes. We are in Mexico at a secluded, beach lagoon complete with coral, marine life, & whales in it. To be candid with you, the setting looks more like Australia then Mexico to me. 

 

Let me give you the lay of the land. A tall, white woman with blond hair & mesmerizing blue eyes named Nancy Adams [Blake Lively] has decided to visit a secluded spot of water her late mother raved about. The journey to find this hidden gem oasis is a final tribute to her mother who recently died from cancer. A guy named Carlos [Óscar Jaenada] was kind enough to give Nancy & her surfboard a free ride to the location her mother was last at in 1991, when she was pregnant with Nancy inside of her. Nancy is thinking about dropping out of medical school. Clearly, her mother's passing has shaken her deeply more than she even realizes. Before going into the water, Nancy Skypes her father & younger sister Chloe [Sedona Legge] on her iPhone to let her family know she reached her desired destination safely. 

 

We all know where this is going right? A damsel in distress on a board in a bikini collides head on with a vengeful & famished great white shark. I always wondered why we never see directors make the savage beast a hammerhead shark? Their peculiar shaped heads could be pretty sinister lunging after human flesh with reckless abandonment & fierce fury don't you think? And why are great white sharks always given a bad name anyway? Let other sharks be the villain once in awhile. Just saying. Gotta be the scary teeth right? It figures. Great whites get all the bloodthirsty love & hades raiser sea clout of the ocean. 

 

Nancy was supposed to go there alone, but her best friend was suffering from a major hangover in hotel room. So let's review: A drop dead gorgeous lady with a perfect tan is all by herself in a remote lagoon. What could possibly go wrong? :sarcasm: Many of you will recognize actress Blake Lively from the Ben Affleck film "The Town" released in 2010. She knows she's easy on the eyes to audiences everywhere across the globe. However, she actually brings gravity to an otherwise predictable role. 

 

The director did a nice job of scaring us with a unsuspecting fleet of dolphins at the beginning of the film & it was clever how he introduced us to the angry shark penetrating thru a large wave that Nancy was riding on her surfboard. The other feature I really enjoyed was all the shots taken from underneath the surface of the water from the floor up. Man, underwater cameras have really advanced since I watched Jacques Cousteau on PBS TV as a little kid. Wow. We're talking about crystal clear, digital clarity here. No murkiness whatsoever. Amazing. The colors just pop from the algae in the water, the way the sun hitting the water turns turquoise shaded blue H20 into brilliant, emerald green mixed with ruby red; crimson blood. 

 

Basically, the great white shark took an enormous bite out of a massive whale & shortly thereafter punctured Nancy Adam's left leg. Luckily for her, she swims to a rock formation, does a quick self diagnosis, uses sharp metal hooks suspended from her neckless to use them as stitches to hold her flesh together; applies a tourniquet strap from her board to stop from bleeding to death; rips of part of her surfing uniform sleeve over her wounded leg to keep salt water off of it; & she befriends a injured seagull with a damaged wing as her sanity sidekick similar to Tom Hanks soccer ball in the movie 'Cast Away.' 

 

What I loved about this film is the fear of isolation throughout. Nancy saw 2 other surfers get devoured by the shark as well as a drunk, Hispanic man passed out on the beach who we think will help her but instead he steals her phone & backpack & then he gets killed trying to retrieve her surfboard presumably to sell it. That guy deserves his fate for leaving Nancy high & dry like that--Stranded & with lost hope.

 

The best section of this 1 hour & 27 minute feature was when we know that the high tide is coming in & the shark is playing cat & mouse with her. Nancy's only hope is to swim to a distant buoy in the water before the shark can get to her without stepping on sharp coral barefoot on the ocean bottom. Nancy swims close to jellyfish on route to the buoy getting stung by tentacles to provide her with more time to land on the buoy for access to emergency flares. The jellyfish scenes has a purple haze hue to it that left handed, rock n roll guitarist Jimi Hendrix would have found psychedelic baby. Nice. 

 

Nancy is able to retrieve a helmet camera from 1 of the deceased surfers & record both a last rites message to her family back in Galveston, Texas & a plea for help to anyone who finds the helmet at the seashore. It's hard to watch that scene when we all know Miss Adams's chances of survival are dwindling fast. Plus, actress Blake Lively does a masterful job of playing relentless heroine, depressed daughter & sibling, & mischievous trickster when she finally hits the whale with a flare, but the only way to kill it is by making it zoom head first into spikes connected to the ocean floor that held the buoy in place. 

 

The CGI shark has it's moments, but for the most part, it's the fin above water reminiscent of the original "Jaws' that carries the most impact on screen. The looming attack before the teeth make themselves known are the most compelling. The fear of what's coming is more frightening then what we actually see literally. 

 

Ultimately, Carlos's son watches the video & he makes a made dash to get his father. On the beach, she sees a vision of her mother smiling at her & I believe that the seagull's wing she repaired was her mother watching over her daughter Nancy as her guardian angel. 1 yr later we see Nancy back in Texas surfing with her sister with a visible scar on her left leg. Dr. Adams is gonna be alright folks. Knockouts don't die in Hollywood scrips. We all know that by now. 

 

Let's roll with an A here since Blake Lively pulled off essentially a 1 act play with real tension & perseverance in it. The pacing is solid & this damsel is distress doesn't take crap from any force or beast you can throw at her darling. Her eyes let you know when she's had enough. She's resourceful,  relentless, & rigid when the situations demands it. Trust me. 

 

 

 

 

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On 1/19/2017 at 5:45 PM, bababooey said:

Wow, Arrival that good huh?

 

We haven't seen any of the nominated ones like La La Land, Hidden Figures, Fences. We are both CPAs so we spend our busy seasons crushing movies at home when they are available on demand. I hope to see those plus Moana and Hacksaw Ridge. Actually still have to see The Accountant (my fiance went with her entire firm the day it came out - the day that tax extensions were due).

 

I liked Sully, Magnificent Seven, Rogue One, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Dr. Strange, Jungle Book, and Pete's Dragon last year. The only one of your entire list I did see was Independence Day (which sucked), but we want to see Office Christmas Party

I have a 4 year old & we just took her to Moana, a few weeks ago. It was her first time in a movie theater & it was pretty epic. We saw it in one of those theatres with the big full on recliners & lots of leg room/big aisles/etc... 

Anyways, every time a song started up my kid jumped up & started twirling around & dancing. It was pretty awesome, I'll definitely never forget it...

Plus the movie isn't half bad either, pretty solid addition to the Disney oeuvre. Linn-Manuel Miranda did the soundtrack, so it's pretty solid too, at least the kiddo hasn't burned me out on it yet...

Ha, anyways solid thumbs up!

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On 1/19/2017 at 3:15 PM, BOTT said:

I don't have to know any she says.....although I saw some of the laughable dialogue in the trailer.

 

Fact is, 5'2 100lb women aren't badasses that that lead rebellions.  It would be if they cast a 5'2 100lb man.... they wouldn't because that would be stupid.

Ha, I agree 100%

Because I expect my space mythos about inner-planetary wizards wielding glowing laser swords to be steeped in reality!!!

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8 hours ago, Buck Showalter said:

I have a 4 year old & we just took her to Moana, a few weeks ago. It was her first time in a movie theater & it was pretty epic. We saw it in one of those theatres with the big full on recliners & lots of leg room/big aisles/etc... 

Anyways, every time a song started up my kid jumped up & started twirling around & dancing. It was pretty awesome, I'll definitely never forget it...

Plus the movie isn't half bad either, pretty solid addition to the Disney oeuvre. Linn-Manuel Miranda did the soundtrack, so it's pretty solid too, at least the kiddo hasn't burned me out on it yet...

Ha, anyways solid thumbs up!

We arr looking very forward to seeing it next month! What a great memory!

 

We saw La La Land last weekend, highly recommend. Also watched Hell or Highwater. It got 98% on RT but I honestly dont get how. It felt like it was getting ready to take off but never did.

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I've had an affinity for espionage flicks since cloak & dagger storylines of deception always appeal to me. Maybe it's as simple as balancing multiple identities at once knowing full well that you might pay the ultimate sacrifice for the work you do as an intelligence agent or losing someone you deeply care for with no time to grieve for them in the field. I have seen the 2016 spy drama "Jason Bourne" directed by Paul Greengrass twice now & I must say I was quite pleased with this final chapter in the lucrative trilogy as a richly successful movie franchise.

 

When we last left our CIA trained assassin in 2007's 'The Bourne Ultimatum', Jason Bourne [Matt Damon] had just discovered his true name David Webb, thanks to a fellow colleague named Pamela Landy [Joan Allen] who was upset that Jason had been brainwashed into committing sanctioned murders for the US Government through a black operations liquidation program known as Black Brier. Landy knew that Bourne was struggling with memory loss, flashbacks, & that Jason was more than just a coldblooded mercenary with no moral compass or regret over the ordered homicides he committed under the patriotic flag of the red, white, & blue. He was simply a good man trying to fill in his mental blanks, defend himself from harm, & figure out who in hades he was long before his first killing mission. In addition, from Ultimatum, we also learn that another CIA agent named Nicky Parsons [Julia Stiles] holds a special place in Bourne's heart. He saves her life from an assassin named Dish in Africa who was mere moments from taking her out. Did I also mention that Nicky was his wife used by the Central Intelligence Agency to make those in the field learn how to seduce & manipulate others to do Uncle Sam's bidding? There has always been genuine love & affection between Nicky & Jason even if the 2 of them were thrown together as a role playing marriage exercise initially. 

 

The reason why I am discussing this 9 yr lapse between Bourne films is a necessary one because we as an audience need to understand the environment under which Jason the killing machine was created by the CIA & to realize that Nicky Parsons still loves him & she is still looking out for his best interests long before they met in Berlin, Germany & she became a fugitive from the CIA herself. In layman's terms, the CIA has had 3 key black ops programs during Jason's asset [assassination] tenure as a mercenary. These programs are called Tread Stone, Black Brier, & now Iron Hand. Basically, all 3 classified operations are a suspension of civil liberties & constitutional protections against American citizens labeled or deemed an enemy of the state. Essentially, using technology to track troublemakers up to no good against the United States to kidnap, abuse, intimidate, & murder any person viewed as a liability to our nation's national security. 

 

In this fourth installment of the Bourne franchise, we rendezvous with Jason in Greece. He swinging his lethal fists in primitive brawls for money. We can see that he's got reservations over kicking the crap out of guys, but it's all he's ever known--violence & pain. It's what he's been trained to do since he joined the military after his father Richard Webb [Gregg Henry] was gunned down in front of him in Beirut, Lebanon back in 1999. Witnessing his dad mowed down so abruptly as a young man scared him for the rest of his life obviously & that event motivated Jason Bourne [AKA David Webb] to join the CIA & become an asset/killer as part of the Tread Stone Program. 

 

The thing I love about this Paul Greengrass continuing storyline with Bourne is all the geographic locations we jump to on screen. From Greece, we go to Iceland. Here we drop in on Nicky Parsons working for a rogue, underground hacker cell that publishes classified information on the internet similar to say WikiLeaks or what Edward Snowden did before Vladimir Putin granted him asylum in Russia. She stumbles upon sensitive CIA material that establishes a link between Richard Webb, the author of the Tread Stone Program & his only son David Webb, recruited to the agency shortly after his father's murder by terrorists in the Middle East. Was David's pop a random victim of bloodshed or was this act a deliberate hit sanctioned by high ranking officials at the CIA? It's Jason's job to get to the bottom of this mystery & let the cards fall where they may thanks to his wife's [Nicky Parson's] inadvertent discovery by pure serendipity & chance. 

 

It turns out that the current head of the CIA, Robert Dewey [Tommy Lee Jones], will do everything in his power to contain the collateral damage that Jason inflicted on the agency after journalists from Great Britain's newspaper 'The Guardian' made public alarming revelations that US citizens were eliminated by CIA assets like Bourne when they refused to keep quiet about how the federal government routine uses satellites, cell phone towers, & ISP numbers to monitor all communications illegally without due process or a warrant in order to entrap & frame whomever they so desire just to squeeze whoever they want under the umbrella of safety, security, & cowboy diplomacy. Sound familiar Dick Cheney? At any rate, Director Dewy's star pupil is a young woman named Heather Lee [Alicia Vikander]. Heather Lee is in charge of the new Cyber Ops Division at Langley, Virginia & she is tasked with preventing the release of classified materials known as Iron Hand as well as hunting down Jason Bourne by any means necessary. Iron Hand is basically a widespread plan between the CIA & a social media tycoon & founder named Aaron Kalloor [Riz Ahmed] to give the entire intelligence community the ability to monitor all US born citizens communications on an unlimited scale illegally without our consent via a universal skeleton key that allows the feds to penetrate any firewall or security measure at will. Privacy is toast with constant surveillance you know & who watches the watchers exactly prohibiting them from corruption & an abuse of their authority then? Hmmm...Now, you detect the dilemma & quagmire don't you? 

 

Anyhow, Director Dewey, puts another asset/mercery into motion to eliminate the threat of Nicky Parsons & Jason Bourne. This specific asset played by actor Vincent Cassel wants vengeance on David Webb because once the activities of Black Brier were distributed across the world wide web he was comprised, captured, & tortured himself. I was royally ticked off when Nicky Parsons was shot by a snipper's rifle after a pulse pounding motorcycle chase in Greece during a riot in the streets complete with molotov cocktails & burning buildings. Just before dying, Parsons throws Bourne a locker key & this key grants Jason access to a flash drive & a handwritten diary of notes that reveals to him that his old man Robert Webb wrote Tread Stone, the whole policy under which CIA assets were recruited, trained, & send on missions to murder people who ruffled too many feathers & asked way too many questions about what top intelligence officials were doing off the books with minimal oversight. 

 

In a nutshell, here is all the audience needs to know: Robert Webb is outraged that CIA officials approached his son to join the black ops division & he threatened Robert Dewey that he would expose this liquidation program publicly for the entire word to see if they didn't leave his son alone. Robert was murdered at the order of Dewey in Lebanon & Dewey used David's anger & grief to start an illegal program to take out individuals who objected to assassinations in a twisted sense of American patriotism & pride guilt trip overall. The bulk of the movie is spent getting even with the asset that gunned down his Papa & making sure Robert Dewey payed the price for manipulating his emotions at a very excruciatingly painful moment in his life that tormented Bourne for yrs. 

 

The strange thing is that we grapple with how to view Heather Lee's allegiances throughout this film. Who is she loyal to? Her boss? The agency? David Webb? The social media wizard & former college classmate from Stanford? Miss Lee plays all sides simultaneously pushing aggressively for a promotion & more clout inside the CIA. As we have all grown accustom, the Bourne franchise has solid caboose kicking sequences, a decent grand finale chase scene between a SWAT armed car & a black Dodge Charger in Las Vegas, Nevada; & a showdown between Jason & his father's killer in a storm drain. I do miss when Matt Damon's character kicked the snot out of bad guys with a rolled up newspaper though like he did in both the 'Bourne Supremacy' & 'Bourne Ultimatum.' He was so good at using a towel, a pen, & the printed page as a weapon over the yrs. I loved it. The problem this go around is that the close proximity fight scenes in tight quarters are dark, blurry, & nobody can really tell for a second or 2 what the hades is happening. 

 

As far as the fourth installment is concerned, I liked "Jason Bourne" as a final film bow on this espionage caper. The pattern is always the same: An old, grumpy dude gets his crack at leading the CIA, fails miserably in the end either going to prison or the morgue; A pretty female takes pity on Jason saving his bacon yet again, & finally somebody is left standing to chase Bourne around the world again. We are running out of spots to hide from Uncle Sam though. Just this picture alone, we traveled to Greece, Italy, Iceland, Germany, Virginia,  & Nevada. Talk about jet lag man. LOL! Let's roll with a B+ on "Jason Bourne."

 

I suppose Paul Greengrass deserves credit for throwing a new twist in there for explaining to the audience how losing his old man prompted him to make other bad guys pay for seeing his daddy dropped in front of him.  My favorite is probably 'Ultimatum' in the entire series though because Pamela Landy was awesome standing up to the corrupt & morally bankrupt CIA leader Noah Vosen. Plus, that scene where Bourne has that phone conversation from his office using the director's own voice to open up his CIA safe always cracks me up no matter how many times I see it. It's so next level, spy bad caboose man. It just is.  

 

"Noah Vosen." 

 

"You didn't really think I was coming to Tudor City did ya?" 

 

"No, I suppose not."

 

Where are you now?" 

 

"In my office."

 

"I doubt that."

 

"Why would you doubt that?" 

 

"Because, if you were [in your office], we'd be having this conversation face to face."

 

[Jason hangs up the phone.]

 

 

 

 

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I've always liked actor JK Simmons. I still remember him from original "Law & Order" episodes as the psychiatrist working for NY DA on criminal cases on NBC. I even get a kick out of him on State Farm insurance ads saying "we covered it" followed by their commercial theme song 'Bum Ba Dum; Bah Dum. Dum.' He was tremendous in the film "Up In The Air" as well stealing every scene he was in about a disgruntled worker getting canned by bloodthirsty corporate greed. He definitely deserved his Oscar for his best supporting actor nod in the motion picture "Whiplash" too. His bald head, husky deep voice, & Midwestern persona just makes him look & feel authentic on screen. Couple that with actress Susan Sarandon as another believable presence & what you get is the 2016 drama called "The Meddler" directed by Lorene Scafaria. 

 

Before I go any further, I must point out the Lorene wrote this screenplay after the loss of her father so the picture itself is autobiographical in nature. The studio marketed this flick incorrectly as a romance or chick flick, but in reality, this cinematic experience is essentially about grieving, processing a loss, & finding a way to reach a new beginning with somebody else even though a daughter's mother is absolutely petrified at the prospect of pinpointing passion again at the age of 60 or so. 

 

We start out with Marnie Minervini [Susan Sarandon] lying flat on her back in bed starring at her ceiling fan as the plastic blades on it swung round & round very reminiscent of Martin Sheen's character in Francis Ford Coppola's iconic masterpiece known as "Apocalypse Now." Thankfully however, our current feature is Markless than 2 hours & 33 minutes long. This duration only lasts for 1 hour & 43 minutes. Anyway, Marine moved from New Jersey to Los Angeles in order to be closer to her 30 yr old daughter named Lori [Rose Byrne.] Marine recently lost the love of her life & spouse Joey a few months ago & now she kills time by calling Lori endlessly, babysitting her dogs, bring over bagels constantly; & going to movies by herself frequently. Oh yeah, Marine drops by the local apple store a lot bombarding an employee named Freddie [Jerrod Carmichael] at the genius bar inside pretty much daily. Marine is just lonely. Her visits to her daughter's house, the apple store, & the bagel shop are just a mechanism to stay busy & active so she won't get overwhelmed or overcome with grief because Joey isn't around anymore. 

 

Lori going thru her own private hades too. She is struggling to understand why her old boyfriend Jacob [Jason Ritter] broke up with her, is seeing someone new, & appears to be very happy on FaceBook based on the pictures posted online. To top it off, Jacob & his new fiancee happen to wander thru the restaurant that Marine & Lori are grabbing a bite to eat at. Oh happy joy! What fresh hades is this? :sarcasm: Lori is obviously starting to question what's wrong with her. Am I too demanding? Am I not pretty enough? Why did Jacob dump me? Her solution: Drown yourself in your work as some sort of movie assistant I think. 

 

On the surface, Marine appears to be an overbearing mother just trying to make her daughter feel better. In reality, Susan Sarandon's character is just pushing her fears & anxieties deep down inside emotionally trying to find any excuse not to deal with them. Neither the mother nor the daughter have allowed themselves anytime to shed tears over losing Joey as a spouse or father. Marine is constantly on the move dropping by with bagels, offering to take Freddie to & from college classes at night just to get out of the house, even agreeing to pay for another woman's wedding she barely even knows since Lori acts upset every single time Marine strolls in unannounced. Marine even tried dating a guy named Mark [Michael McKean] once, but ended up punching him in the face, throat, & groin area when he tried to get an innocent kiss from her. Marine was forced back in the saddle way too soon...Or to be precise, no other man measured up to her beloved Joey yet. 

 

All that changed when Marine traveled to NY to visit her daughter Lori on a film set & there a retired cop doing onsite security was a middle aged man named Randall Zipper [JK Simmons]. He has a patient demeanor about him & he offers to give her a ride home 1 night after her late husband's car was stolen by a thief. The idea here is that symbolically Zipper is her new knight in shining amor taking her home slowly & safely on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. Zipper is very gentle & understanding with her showing Marine his chickens, playing acoustic guitar, & informing her that his chickens lay the most eggs whenever he plays country star Dolly Parton on the boom box. Zipper gives Marine some of his best eggs, she makes a sandwich with them at home, & has what can best be described as an "I'll have what she having" Meg Ryan 'When Harry Met Sally' experience. Translation: The cooking episode apparently had a pleasurable resolution. Enough said. 

 

I don't remember why off the top of my head right now, but Marine gets arrested by the police. Oh yeah, she swallows pot from Freddie's brother in her car & her dilated eyes get her busted by the fuzz. Fortunately for her, Zipper called in a favor & got her released from the slammer no questions asked. It's not what you know; it's who you know right? At any rate, Zipper & Marine develop into a couple in short order & as a result, both Lori & her mom have a good laugh over a pregnancy mishap, let the waterworks roll over Joey's passing, & they are both in a better place afterwards. 

 

Like I mentioned earlier, JK Simmons is why I enjoyed this flick & he has nice chemistry with Susan Sarandon in their scenes together like a gentle spirit who won't rush Marine, feel foolish, or do anything she doesn't wanna do. Cool. Let's roll with a straight B here. Not a marvelous film overall, but a solid 1 to watch on regular cable TV say in the next 8 months or so IMO. 

 

 

Actress Goldie Hawn does a nice cover of this Beatles classic that addresses rebirth for movie purposes here. 

 

 

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On 1/27/2017 at 10:25 PM, Buck Showalter said:

Ha, I agree 100%

Because I expect my space mythos about inner-planetary wizards wielding glowing laser swords to be steeped in reality!!!

I was waiting for,that response.  I can't help it.  I'm the guy who watches an Arnold movie and points out the plot holes lol

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La La Land 9/10 Really good movie!

1 person likes this

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"What desires could they possibly find out here?...Short time I've been here, I've seen Englishmen & now Chinamen...Yet, I haven't seen a single Mexican or woman. We are but a few miles from Mexico. Why is that?...Why would they be scared?...Because of this side of the [Rio Grande] River, they are no longer Mexican. Not everybody possess our sensibilities David." 

 

"...You are at the mercy of his [God's] grace & the aim of these 3 riflemen."

 

"I'm guessing you didn't foresee this [Preacher]. 

 

"I made you [David] & so I end you [now].

 

As many of you are already familiar, I was raised on westerns as a small child ever since I was a little munchkin. I prefer gritty, psychological ones that make you think. Well, over the weekend, I saw a darn good one simply called "The Duel." This 1 hour & 50 minute picture directed by Kieran Darcy-Smith is set in Texas post Civil War in 1866. This region was ensnared in a battle between Mexicans under the leadership of General Calderon [José Zúñiga] fighting Texas citizens for jurisdiction of such an enormous territory that eventually became the Lone Star State in 1845. General Calderon is worried about the whereabouts of his nephew & niece Maria who have gone missing for awhile now. 

 

The opening scene grabs your attention immediately. It is pouring rain & 2 men are about to go toe to toe in a duel AKA 'Helena Duel' to the death. Oh not with lone muskets & walking so many paces before firing off their gunpowder like Aaron Burr. Instead, a middle aged man named Jesse Kington [Jimmy Lee Jr.] & a pious man of the cloth Abraham Brant known as 'The Preacher' have 1 armed tied together with their enemy & they proceed to stab the other one with a knife in the mud. Whoever is left standing wins the duel in question. Remember, the yr is 1866 & sadly a small boy named David [Liam Hemsworth] seeing his father Jesse die & drop in soggy, wet mud as enthusiastic onlookers cheer the confrontation on. Fast forward 22 yrs in 1888 & we notice that David Kingston is an experienced Texas Ranger now. He met with the Governor of Texas Governor Sullivan Ross [William Sadler] to discuss David's next mission: Travel to a community called Mount Herman, befriend the leader there known as 'The Preacher,' & figure out why so many people of Spanish descent happen to disappear from the face of the Earth while strolling thru that remote ghost town. We know as an audience that revenge is the central motivation here. David wants Abraham [Woody Harrelson] to pay for murdering his Pop Jesse over 2 decades ago. Like I always say, I love the purity of westerns. An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth. Old Testament stuff. You will get what's coming to you eventually. 

 

It's odd to see naive Woody Boyd from the Boston based bar & TV show "Cheers" from the 80's play a delusional snake charmer & religious, cult centerpiece as our primary villain, but he pulls it off to perfection though. He rides a white house, wears white leather symboling purity & a Messiah complex, & he even paints eyebrows on his face too. Did I mention that Abraham is clairvoyant too & thinks he can see the future as well?  You know the type. A bully who manipulates an entire town to kiss his caboose because only he can protect them & know what is best for them. 

 

I should also mention that soon after David's father died, he inherited possession a pretty woman of Mexican American heritage named Marisol [Alice Braga], which he took as his new wife like a hand me down or family heirloom. At Marisol's request, David decides to let her tag along with him on route to Mount Herman since he hates being alone while her husband is away as a Texas Ranger. Upon arrival just outside of Mount Herman, they bump into the Preacher's son Isaac [Emory Cohen]. Isaac, much like his old man despises Mexicans & is very Xenophobic by nature. "Is she help or a hooker?" Isaac says to David referring to his wife. In addition, Issac is very cruel & vicious to a blond, Irish prostitute in Mount Herman named Naomi [Felicity Price]. Isaac is an entitled brat who needs a serious attitude adjustment for his own good. 

 

In any event, shortly after meeting Abraham, who takes a shine to David, he is appointed the new sheriff in town & we sense his motivation is one of seduction sweeping Marisol off her feet with a charm offensive & spiritual awakening whereby somehow an infertile woman is miraculously able to bear children all of a sudden. Whatever. Absurd IMO, but I'll let that one go I guess. David as sheriff keeps the community in line laying down frontier justice whenever necessary like punching a customer incessantly for treating Naomi like a dog to abuse at will. Sooner or later, David discovers that the Preacher rounds up Mexican people like stray cats in a metal cage & he allows customers from China & Great Britain to come to Mount Herman for a hunt. However, instead of hunting say foxes & other wildlife with hounds, Abraham for $200 a head literally allows clients to pay for the thrill of sanctioned murder in a secluded environment off the beaten path. One sick puppy man. Afterward, Abraham's son Isaac is supposed to bury the bodies in a grave with a shovel. He doesn't do that though preferring to just drop the carcasses in the Rio Grande River. Jesus. Do you know how quickly disease would contaminate the river & town in short order? Yikes! The worst place to dispose of bodies man. Are you kidding me?! 

 

There's a fascinating scene where Englishmen on the hunt get drunk at the saloon bragging about their festivities & Sheriff David makes 1 man kill 2 other friends in front of him otherwise David will shoot the father of an Englishmen present. The idea being that it's difficult to lose someone you truly care about vs some random poor person with no personal connection to you at all. A great, mesmerizing scene that sends chills down your spine. Very similar to actor Gene Hackman in the movie "Unforgiven" inside the jail when he tells the biographer to hand a loaded pistol to Englishmen Bob thru the bars actually. 

 

Marisol tells the Preacher why David is really there in Mount Herman & after winning a knife duel against Issac; We get the showdown between Abraham & David. David takes out 3 other armed gunmen with ease. It was funny to see men overcome with fear once they faced a skilled marksmen who could fight back on a level weaponry playing field. LOL! The bullet exchange between the Preacher & Mr. Kingston was pretty intense. Both men actually get shot. 1 in the shoulder & 1 in the leg. Another reason I love westerns: Folks hit their targets & people actually bleed to death & don't make it in the end. Sweet! The outcomes & consequences are real. 

 

David when freeing the prisoners in their cell discovers that Maria Calderon [Kim Hidalgo] is 1 of the survivors.David gives her water & in gratitude; she saves his life with a fatal bullet to the Preacher's skull right before Woody Harrelson's character is about to cut the Texas Ranger's throat. Nice. I also like how a boulder is used by David to immobilize his chief con man & adversary. Westerns always know how to improvise too with their surroundings & I enjoy seeing that skill set in films immensely. 

 

The Preacher is played right as a man more odd then evil & definitely delusional to the core. Best of all, the Preacher is ruthless to the end. Let's roll with a B- here since the picture's pacing drags a bit about an hour in, but the climax is a satisfying one since both men accept their fate & are fully prepared to die right then & there in Texas. 

 

 

"I'm not afraid to die" by Gillian Welch is a perfect song for this classic western IMO. :thmup:

 

 

 

 

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Foreign film time again ladies & gentlemen. What's on the docket today you ask? Why a 2005 Kkangpae picture called "A Bittersweet Life" directed by Jee-woon Kim. Kkangpae, in case you are confused, is a Korean word for a gangster, mob boss, or chief hoodlum in charge. Yeah I know, subtitles make people roll their eyes & grown in agony. Relax, SW1 has got you covered man & besides, I like seeing cinema shot outside the United States because it provides us with culture & new surroundings I have never seen before.

 

At any rate, this film's opening scene is quite symbolic. It shows something similar to a weeping willow tree blowing it's limbs in the breeze as a brief black and white sequence. A pupil asks his master [or teacher] what is stirring nature more? The wind or the branches themselves? To which the master replies, "Neither grasshopper, it's simply your heart & your mind." The director returns to this metaphor in the final closing shot as well. We will get back to this emblematic theme later. Patience please. Gracias. 

 

Before I go any further, I feel compelled to mention that this flick looks like something director Quentin Tarantino might have watched for inspiration prior to working on 'Kill Bill I" & Kill Bill II." It's right up his alley with an ordinary disciple in a criminal enterprise/organization driven to retribution against his former mentor with moving musical scores & memorable action fight sequences throughout. 

 

Our main character is a sharp dressed man named Kim Sun-woo [Lee Byung-hun]. Kim is basically a hotel enforcer & money manager for an established mob kingpin known as Mr. Kang [Kim Yeong-cheol]. In laymen's terms, Mr. Sun-woo is a night club bouncer & right hand muscle man for the toughest assignments of persuasion Mr. Kang wants done. Mr. Kang needs to handle some business in Shanghai, China for the next 3 days, but while he is away; he has a private favor to ask Kim about off the books. Mr. Kang is smitten with a woman named Yoon Hee-soo [Shin Min-ah] young enough to pass for his daughter. They've been dating for awhile now, but Kang is suspicious that Hee-soo is being unfaithful to him & seeing somebody else on the side. To complicate matters, Kim recently kicked the snot out of 3 henchmen from a rival cartel led by a fellow money laundering/prostitution/arms dealing competitor named Baek Dae-sik [Hwang Jung-min]. Actually, Baek's son,  Oh Mu-sung, took offense to how his father's men & their family legacy was tarnished. Therefore, Oh Mu-sung took it upon himself with the aid of his own thugs decided to first deliver a warning to Kim & later--a near death experience of enhanced interrogation techniques.  The message was simple: Say I was wrong to the Sik mob family & all will be forgiven or be defiant & suffer the inevitable consequences, which won't end well for you. We know what Sun Woo's reply is before he even says 3 little words..."Bleep You caboose hole." I've got my popcorn ready. You? This is gonna be epic man. 

 

Meanwhile, back on the ranch regarding tailing Hee-soo nonstop for a few days, we see Kim Sun-woo go to her apartment & give her a gift from Mr. Kang. It's a desk lamp with 2 green & red owls on it. Apparently, collecting & accumulating wild lamps is Hee-soo's favorite hobby or thing to buy when she's out shopping at the mall in China I guess. Kim informs her that he's been instructed by Mr. Kang to chauffeur her where ever she needs to go while his boss is away & he hands her his business card. Mercenaries have business cards really? What like 1-800-D-R-O-P-C-L-O-T-H? haha Hee-soo declines his offer politely, but just before Kim leaves, her cell phone rings & Hee-soo gets sweaty & nervous. That's right boys & girls...It's her younger lover a fellow musician named Seyoon [Jin Goo] who she usually plays classical music with in a professional recording studio. Did I mention Hee-soo plays the cello remarkably well with depth & emotion? That's why Kim Sun-woo starts falling in love with her. It's her innocence, magnetic smile, & God given musical talent to move even the coldest souls of the most stoic men who kill for a living.

 

Remember, awhile ago when we talked about a pupil asking his master what moves more the branches or the wind? The power of attraction toward someone pure untainted by corruption is a powerful phenomenon indeed, especially to a man who before meeting Hee-soo never dreamed of defying Kang's specific orders. What were Kang's orders you ask? Follow Hee-soo around & if you find out my lady is messing around behind my back, call me quickly & I will give you permission to take her out permanently. Funny thing though...After Mr. Sun-woo scales Hee-soo's barrier wall on foot & enters her apartment, he decides not to murder either of them or call his boss on the phone. Tears streaming down a woman's face always turns guy's into putty in their hands without fail. It just does. He lets Seyoon & Hee-sow walk away unscathed knowing full well Kim just signed his own death warrant. The things we do for a pretty face....

 

You see, prior to leaving for Shanghai, Mr. Kang requested a 2nd henchmen follow his girlfriend around named   Mun Suk [Kim Roi-ha] in order to guarantee Kang's directions would be carried out to the letter. Obviously, Kang doesn't handle rejection or infidelity well. Dully noted. As a result, Sun-woo is tortured, his left hand broken, & somehow he manages to dig his way out of a shallow muddy grave in the rain. Very similar to Uma Therman's character in "Kill Bill I" minus the wood casket of course. 

 

We all know the final act here. Kim Sun-woo assassinates an army of hired killers just to drop his boss Mr. Kang before he bleeds to death himself and what does Sun Woo reflect upon in his final moments? The last time she smiled at him playing a masterpiece on the cello. He knows that in his lonely line of work blissful happiness will never be in the cards for him. His time with Hee-soo was a pipe dream & some folks are just destined to die alone as nomadic hermits like a Greek or Russian tragedy. 

 

I liked the showdown dialogue between Kim & his boss Kang. 

 

"What's the real reason you decided not to call me? Did she seduce you?"

 

"I was loyal to you for 7 yrs without incident! Were you really gonna kill me?! No sir, it is you who messed with the wrong guy."

 

I love classical compositions as score backdrops in gun sequences. The music takes the carnage & bloodshed to another level of intensity & magnitude that cannot be forgotten. "A Bittersweet Life" is merely a story about infatuation, loyalty, death, & loneliness. Universal themes of despair over not getting what we want & crave the most in life & for that reason, let's roll with a B+ grade wise. Thank you. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"My father looked like Nat King Cole & my mother looked like Patsy Cline."

 

"There goes another black brother."

 

"[Let's] turn self interest into mutual interest...If you control [own the] land, one of the buildings is the community center. No is just a word. You flip those words around you get another word on, as in, carry on...Most people at their core are [inherently] good...We have to let go of judgment...We have to try & walk in their shoes...align their needs with our needs." 

 

"It's pretty good [ a chocolate ice cream cone]; You want some?" 

 

Before I proceed any further, I need to say this: I have the ut most respect for President Barrack Obama & former First Lady Michele Obama. Two confident, smart individuals with kind hearts, a tremendous work ethic, & a capacity for tenacious resiliency in the face of opposition that always left me in awe. Long before Barack ran for the US Senate in the Land of Lincoln or was elected POTUS in 2008 & re-elected in 2012, Barack & Michele were just an ordinary couple & not a household name or powerhouse, political duo yet.

 

The story behind their romantic courtship is the subject of my next review: "Southside With You" directed by Richard Tanne. This 1 hour & 24 minute 2016 feature has a nice, measured, and subdued tone to it because the actors understand nuance refusing to go overboard in their cinematic portrayals of each other.  The other component that helps the audience remain engaged in this picture is this. We already know Michele & Barack hook up & walk down the aisle later on, but most of us seldom see that spark that initially drew a couple toward one another like a moth to flame & an attraction for the other one that never became extinguished.

 

We are located in Chicago, IL. Barack Obama [Parker Sawyers] has a degree from Harvard University & his supervisor Michele Robinson [Tika Sumpter] at the local law firm in the city is an alumni from Princeton University. It's Summertime in the Windy city & Barack is running late. The phone rings in his apartment. It's his grandmother reminding him the importance of being punctual & that "if you are late, there won't be a second date." You see Barack has yet to put on nice dress shirt yet. He throws on a clean shirt, lights a cigarette, walks across to his run down yellow car with a hole in passenger side floor, turns on the radio, & listens to Janet Jackson's "Miss You Much" single as he drives a few blocks away to pick Michele, his future wife up. 

 

Now, don't get it twisted. This isn't a love at first sight thing. There's definitely a mutual attraction phenomenon going on here sure. However, Miss Robinson already has her guard up. Her parents keep teasing her how pretty she looks today indicating that this Barack fellow must be something special eh? Michele keeps insisting that this excursion is not a date, but just a meeting between 2 colleagues about funding a local community center for local Southside citizens riddled with the horror of gun violence daily. Then why does she keep checking her hair & makeup constantly? Right. haha Michele moved back home to help ease the burden on her family. Her father has MS & walks with forearm crutches BTW. 

 

The cool thing about Barack is how smooth he is meaning confidence notice I didn't say arrogance. He knows he's tardy & Michele's attempt to remind him that he has a habit of showing up late even on his 1st day at work doesn't seem to phase or bother him. Jesus, he even smokes cigarettes cool man like Humphrey Bogart & Lauren Bacall during the silver screen era of Hollywood. You know where smoke spills out of the nostrils like jazz musician from the roaring 1920's. You know know this cat is going places because he has a charismatic presence that owns whatever room he enters. 

 

Barrack has an ulterior motive. He thinks Michele is mighty fine just a little rigid around the edges. Obama is treating this time with Miss Robinson like a 1 on 1 let's get to know each other session. They waltz down a main street sidewalk rummaging through a local vendors cassette tapes. Barrack is loose & carefree vs Michele who appears stiff & rigid like talons on an eagle ready to strike at any moment. Michele is consumed with be a consummate  professional who always must maintain the proper appearance meaning it would be unwise for her to fraternize with her subordinate employee in any romantic way. What would her colleagues say back at the corporate office? Lighten up sister. She did call him 'cute' though & that's all the opening Barack needs to launch into his full charm offensive & win Miss Robinson over. 

 

Next, they travel to a local art museum devoting most of their time there to an African American gallery exhibit of Ernie Barnes oil paintings. Barack talks about a favorite childhood TV of his named 'Good Times' specifically a fictional character named JJ. JJ was adrift in life until his father encouraged him to pursue his passion for portraits of daily life in the ghetto. Boom! Right here, the audience gets a glimpse into Barack's soul or drive--making the downtrodden feel better, stay motivated, & pursue their dreams--Otherwise known as community organizing. They both recite Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem "We Are Cool" in front of a picture of pool players at a place called The Golden Shovel...

 

"We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon." 

 

We now proceed to a local public park in Chicago where we learn all the places Barack grew up: Hawaii, Indonesia, Kenya, & finally Illinois. We also learn of Obama's biracial parents, a white mother & a black father with a heavy drinking problem that led to his dad abandoning him & his mother at a very young age. Michele steps over the line here in my opinion when she strongly suggests to him standing a bridge that someday when he has enough money he should return to the continent of Africa & engrave his father's headstone. Excuse me? Why should Barack do something nice for a man who completely abandoned him as a small, innocent boy? Look, I get the mindset of taking the high road & all, but there are some people in this world who cannot forgive or forget a father who didn't want them. To quote Malcolm X, "any creature can produce offspring, but it takes a real man to be a father."

 

As Michele & Barack continue to exchange dialogue back & forth, Miss Robinson said something else that made me raise any eyebrow. She claimed that a saying or slogan is good or memorable if the phrase is put on a bumper sticker. I don't know about that rule of thumb personally. A lot of foolish rhetoric is mass produced into crazy words on bumper stickers that is beyond ludicrous. Wait, she doesn't like pie? What the hades is wrong with you girl? She didn't say she dislikes maybe blueberry, pecan, or say pumpkin pie. She said she doesn't like pie at all. Really? Do you know how many different kinds of pie that exist out there? Not even sweet potato pie or cherry pie? Nothing? I gotta say that's almost a deal breaker from my perspective. Okay, maybe Michele was just worried she might spill the piece of pie Obama bought her on her dress or something like that. I hope so because pie is a delicious treat that nobody I know would reject ever. She likes chocolate ice cream though a perfect companion piece to pie. Strange. Did she have a traumatic pie experience in college or something? I want to get to the bottom of this peculiar mystery. It's just odd. 

 

Michele dances on stage in the park when a little girl pulls her from the assembled crowd & she lets her hair down ever so briefly getting down to the rhythmic drum beat like a pow wow, American Indian ritual vibe. Afterward, they talk about how getting a quality education was so paramount in their homes growing up despite struggling with a way to pay for their advanced degrees. They also broach the topic of dating both in & outside of their race. We see early on that Barack's grandmother is pleased to hear over the phone that Michele is black. In addition, Michele seems to be a woman taught early on from her folks to stay inside her own community for a man. In fact, Miss Robinson seems shocked initially to learn that Barack's mother was white. She even asks how many white women Obama dated at Harvard. What's the problem Michele? This is really disturbing from where I'm sitting as a white film reviewer. I'm not gonna lie to my audience about that. So, white people can't understand the black struggle at all then? Okay, I will grant you that being born black & trying to be respectful of their needs & community goals may not be easily understood as a caucasian person right away, but I'm willing to listen & learn. Look, I get what she was driving at. Black people understand their own struggles the best & no level of goodwill or best intentions from a distance will make up for that distance as say a white person dating a black person. I don't know. I think that gap can be shortened if the love is genuine & strong enough regardless of race personally. Maybe that's naive on my part, but I believe it is possible. 

 

We finally arrive at a local church where Barrack is scheduled to speak before concerned citizens about how to get a community built on the Southside of Chicago in a poor neighborhood overcome with drug dealers & gun violence. Before they even get to the front door, a yellow brick wall outside lists countless names of children who died due to bloodshed in the streets. "There goes another black brother" is written in bold black letters like a funeral declaration of sadness, sorrow, & excruciating pain that reminds all who enter that this neighborhood is a forgotten place a desert of humanity & hope. 

 

It is here we see the future Commander-In-Chief of the free world at his inspirational best. He wins Michele & the crowd over inside the church by reminding them all that elected community officials are not bad people. You just need to listen to their concerns & consider things from their point of view. They are not the enemy. You just need to show them how a new community center benefits the whole state or geographic region & not automatically vilify the opposition as evil or against your prosperity as a whole. Let go of judgement. A lesson Michele taught Obama on route to the church itself. He shows the people assembled there how the hard part is over. They secured  financing from other businesses to erect the structure now just pick a large plot of land & demand that the lone developer reserve a spot for the new center that enhances the city & future businesses next door. Man, Barack can speak & move a crowd. He's a natural at it. Wow. 

 

Later that night, Barack & Michele decide to see a movie. Spike Lee's 1989 classic 'Do The Right Thing." After the flick ended, they bump into their law firm boss outside. Their boss is confused about the film & feels that it portrays white men in a negative, unflattering right especially the last scene when a black man throws a trash can into a white pizza owner's front glass window shattering it. Basically, off the top of my head from what I remember since I haven't seen the movie in yrs, is a black employee at the pizza joint is upset that the owner is friendly to white cops who engage in police brutality even murdering a friend of the delivery guy from the same neighborhood. In defiance, he smashes the window a gesture of rebellion against racism, bigotry, & prejudice by authority figures in power who happen to be white. 

 

Anyway, Michele is upset over the explanation Barack gives his boss to calm his anxieties & that the boss complemented Obama while dissing her contributions at the firm as an intelligent, competent, legal mind. "Thank you Barack. Take good care of this one Michele," which her boss says in a dismissive, condescending tone. To make Michele feel better, Barack out of the blue buys her chocolate ice cream signifying that he really listens to her & pays attention. They kiss & the rest is history. She's the one man. No doubt about it baby. Obama knows it as he smiles & smokes a cigarette back home in his apartment chilling in his favorite chair. 

 

Part of me wanted to see Michele & Barack doing the campaigns for senate & the White House just to come full circle, but I understand why the director just stuck to their budding romance away from the global spotlight. This is spectacular film worthy of an A+ to me. Yeah, I know I'm biased regarding this couple. I will own that. Nevertheless, I like seeing how people hook up organically without pomp & circumstance. It's actually dare I say sweet. 

 

Either by accident or deliberate design Richard Tanne, the director, humanizes Miss Robinson & Mr. Obama to an ordinary level that go on to do incredible things in the world & rise above their modest beginnings. Very cool. I am left with the impression that Obama even as a young man was a very patient person. He had to be to penetrate Michele's exterior armor & defenses according to this film. I really enjoyed this picture. 

 

 

 

 

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On 2/4/2017 at 11:37 PM, JPPT1974 said:

La La Land 9/10 Really good movie!

I was pleasantly surprised with this one. Went with my fiance, snuck a bottle of wine into the theater and had a great time. Downloaded the soundtrack when we got home. Favorite part was when hew as in the 80's band.

 

I'll be watching another Oscar Movie tonight: Hacksaw Ridge.

 

So far have seen Jackie (liked), Arrival (meh minus the twist) and Lion (amazing) for the big Oscar buzz movies (and Sully which got snubbed IMO but that's because Tom Hanks is my favorite Actor). Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight, Fences, and Hidden Figures is still on the list. Should be able to see a few this month prior to the Oscars as Manchester will be on demand soon, as will Moonlight.

 

Absolutely HATED most of the movies a couple years ago (Birdman, Boyhood), minus the Imitation Game in 2015. Last year, however, was awesome. Revenant, Jobs, Martian, Bridge of Spies, Spotlight, Brooklyn, The Big Short, Room, Mad Max (never ended up seeing Trumbo though and I love Bryan Cranston). My fiance and I are both CPA's so during busy season we try to watch all the Oscar movies we can leading up to the Oscars. Of course she didn't see Mad Max and was so mad it was winning all the awards lol. If you notice while watching, it's CPA's from PwC who conduct the independent voting process. Accounting can be cool.

 

By the way, love @southwest1 detailed reviews. Keep it up!

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Hoping to see the new "Logan" movie when it comes out, huge fan of The Wolverine.

 

 

Southwest- I love Westerns, my pops was a big John Wayne fan, have many fond memories of sitting next to him watching Westerns dubbed over in Spanish, lol. Recently rewatched the Clint Eastwood trilogy:

 

Fistful of Dollars

For a Few Dollars More

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

 

I love those Spaghetti Westerns!!!!

 

 

image.jpeg

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Just saw Hacksaw Ridge over the weekend. Amazing true story. Incredible actually what this guy did and how many people he saved and how many families were created because their dad or grand dad was saved by Desmond Doss. Very graphic though, imagine the beach storming scene from Saving Private Ryan and double the length of it.

 

Also, Vince Vaughn as a drill instructor was hilarious.

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