Allied – Spies & Lies

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Allied is a fresh take on a second world war spy thriller. In this case, a male and female agent team up for the British Government to assassinate a Nazi sympathizer, and they fall in love while on the assignment.

The movie has a bit of everything – suspense, intrigue, drama, romance and even some action. I can’t recall any humor, but it they were serious times in Europe, during the war. That tone rang true in Brad Pitt’s character, he barely cracked smile the whole movie. His partner, and later wife, Marion Cotillard, did a superb job in keeping us guessing about her true identity.

Even with the spies and lies, the plot is easy to follow. Like a good novel, the tension builds throughout the movie. When it finally breaks in the end you’ll be reaching for a tissue.

Cathryn and both enjoyed the movie and give it an 8 and 9 respectively.

The Hero of Hacksaw Ridge

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Heartbreak, Sorrow, Fear, Awe, Amazement. Those are five emotions that come to mind as I watched the first battle scene on Hacksaw Ridge, on the island of Okinawa. I actually caught myself wincing a few times – watching explosions, bullets ripping into flesh, and the resulting carnage. This is not a movie for the faint of heart. It’s a war movie that makes Saving Private Ryan seem tame.

With war movies such as Braveheart, The Patriot, and We Were Soldiers to his credit, Mel Gibson took it up another notch with Hacksaw. It was not based on a true story, it IS a true story of man whose religious beliefs would not let him take the life of another. He joins the military to become a medic and save lives, not take them. The ignorance of others leads to him being labelled a coward and they try to force him out of the army.

If Webster’s dictionary is looking for a picture of someone to post under their definition of a Hero, Desmond Doss’ likeness should be it. The man went above and way beyond what many others could even conceive. Doss was the first non-combatant to receive the medal of honor for his efforts. He alone, saved 75 soldiers on Hacksaw Ridge and was severely wounded himself.

I don’t think Cathryn could have handled this movie, so I saw it solo. It’s easily the best movie I’ve seen in a long time. 10 out of 10.

Inferno is Hot

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Inferno twists and turns like the tentacles of flames in search of oxygen. Having read and loved Dan Brown‘s book of the same name, I was pleased the script followed suit. I’d forgotten about the biggest surprise in the story that blew me away again, seeing it on screen.

I read one review that said Ron Howard didn’t put his best effort into this installment of the adventures of Professor Robert Langdon. Nonsense! The action starts ten minutes into the film and doesn’t let up until the end.

Once again Langdon’s search for clues and his efforts to solve a complex puzzle (to save humanity this time), take him to the ancient cities of Europe, such as Florence, Venice, and Budapest.

Tom Hanks is strong in the role of Professor Langdon, as usual. The historic sites and cinematography made this film a treat to see on the big screen.

Cathryn and I both love the movie and each gave it 10 out of 10.

 

 

Going Back – Reacher 2

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So I’m one of those Jack Reacher fans who always comments on how Tom Cruise doesn’t fit the main character in Lee Childs books of the same name. Having said that, I must admit that Cruise’s acting fills the void in his character’s size.

In Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, our hero adds two female sidekicks. That is very unusual for Reacher, who, at one point states, “I usually work alone.” His two female partners in crime fighting soften the story somewhat, adding both humor and sexual tension.

The depth of Cruise’s acting is shown in his subtle facial expressions, when he learns that his companions can actually help him catch the bad guys. Some critics say the movie lacked superhero action, but that’s the whole idea behind Jack Reacher-he’s not a superhero. He’s only one man.

The movie wasn’t really a sequel to the first, just Reacher’s continuing adventures while he travels around the country. Cathryn and I thought it did well on it’s own and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We both gave the movie a 9 out of 10.

 

 

Calculating The Accountant

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Ben Affleck really can play a bad guy. Or is he a good guy in The Accountant? It all depends on your moral values. The movie starts out a bit slow, but the writer is showing us the back story, and how it will come into play throughout the movie.

If you really pay attention in those early scenes you might pick up on clues to a couple of neat twists that come to light at the end of the movie. The movie keeps you guessing about a lot of things – how can a special needs child evolve into a clever accountant for one.

Action is added to the intrigue and drama, and Affleck fills his roll superbly. His character is complicated to say the least. Can a hit man really be a good person? Watch the movie and decide for yourself.

Cathryn and I both loved the movie and rate it 10 out of 10.

7 is Magnificent

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The Western is still alive and kicking. The same can’t be said for the dozens of bad guys who go up against Denzel Washington and his hand-selected men with guns and knives and arrows for hire. Antoine Fuqua kept some of the lines from the 1960 original movie with Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen, but he changed up the story and the characters in the magnificent bunch. Movie goers will recognize most of the ensemble, but may have to search their memories for one character in particular.

The Magnificent Seven is a shoot-em-up western that is not for the faint of heart. For western movie fans, it’s got everything you’re looking for, and then some. The cinematography, stunt work, and special effects are top notch. I for one, appreciated that Fuqua didn’t have blood spewing all over the place, like Tarantino did in Jango. Some horses took nasty tumbles, but I’m sure the action was carefully regulated to protect the animals.

Although Denzel didn’t portray “Chris” as in the original and three sequels that featured Brynner and Lee Van Cleef, he personified a capable leader for his talented group of killers. And though the other characters were different than the originals, watch for similar traits. I mention this for those old enough to have seen The Magnificent Seven, or any of it’s three sequels. Even though Cathryn wasn’t crazy about all the killing, she thought the movie was well done. We give it a 9 our of 10.

Jason Bourne (Again)

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Jason Bourne. Who doesn’t know his name? I thought perhaps, Matt Damon was afraid of being stereotyped and he had moved on from the series after the last installment, Bourne Legacy, where Jeremy Renner took the reins.

I’m sure money, and age, had something to do with Damon continuing his role where Bourne is showing signs of wrinkles and hair loss. How could he not when he is always on the run and killing other hit-men with his bare hands.

Continue reading “Jason Bourne (Again)”

Now You See Me 2

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Whoever says that  sequels are never as good as the originals, will be proven wrong when they see Now You See Me 2.

Lizzy Caplan is the new the fourth Horseman, along with returning magicians Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, and Dave Franco. Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine all return to keep you guessing and scratching your head at the clever and well thought-out plot.

There are more twists and turns in this movie than and Indy-car race track. Don’t worry about getting too confused by all the magic and illusions, they explain how most of them are done.

Michael Caine looks like he made his appearance right from the grave, but Morgan Freeman acts like he’s got another twenty years to go. This sequel has more of everything in it. If you’re into magic and illusions and quick-witted drama, this movie is for you. It’s good fun for the whole family.

Cathryn and I give it our best score yet, 10 out of 10.

Captain America: Civil War

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“Captain Crunch and his cereal box heroes,” would be a more appropriate name for this MMA match-up. Okay, I admit I’ve never read a single comic book, but I’ve grown up on Batman and Superman and even heroes like Mighty Mouse. Why can’t he get in on the action? Even Ant-man got in on this one.

I’m sorry to say, but I was a bit lost in this action flick, mostly because I didn’t know who all the enhanced humans were. I felt like this movie was part three of a trilogy, and I’d missed the second part.

The fights and action were good, but I always thought iron was tougher than flesh and muscle. These guys drop trucks and buildings on each other and only end up with a few bruises. The theme and plot were interesting. It reminded me of what is going on in the real world, where the police are being handcuffed for doing their jobs, because of collateral damage they might cause in the execution of their duties.

The parallel is uncanny. Let criminals or super-criminals run a muck, then wait and see what kind of a world we’ll be living in.

In my opinion Ant-man was a cool addition to the super ensemble, but Spider-man (Tom Holland)  stole the show with his fresh and young perspective.

I saw this flick with a long-time buddy. Although he didn’t give me a number, he said he thought the movie was more suited to his pre-teen grandchildren. I give it 7 out of 10.