Rogue One

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The critics’ reviews are all over the map on Rogue One, the latest Star Wars movie, and honestly, so are mine. Although it’s a prequel, meant to explain the sequels, at one point I felt like I took a NyQuil.

There’s solid acting by one veteran actor, and lots of newcomers and unknowns. The story had me confused from the start, but I clued in as the plot moved along, remembering tidbits from past episodes.

There was lots of action, which I normally like, but found boring at one point. Maybe I tired of the story. Darth Vader only made a brief appearance, which I felt left the ending anti-climatic. Having said that, Cathryn shed a tear at the end when one of the original cast makes a cameo appearance to utter one word, “Hope.”

Rogue one was entertaining, with a bit of humor thrown in with the drama. Half of our audience clapped at the end, and you don’t see that happen often. Cathryn rates the movie an 8, but in being generous, I’m giving it a 7 out of 10.

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.

 

 

Tough Guy – Bob Probert

9484905Tough Guy: My Life on the Edge
by Bob Probert, Kirstie McLellan Day, Steve Yzerman (Contributor), Dani Probert (Foreword)

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Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Oct 19, 2016


Bob Probert threw a lot of punches during his hockey career, but he holds none back in his book, Tough Guy. The man partied as hard as he hit. He was feared by other players for his fighting talents, and by coaches for his alcohol and drug abuse.
Although I was never introduced to Bob Probert, I knew of him through his father – we were both police officers in Windsor, Ontario. Bob also made a name for himself when he was arrested by fellow officers I’d worked with. A buddy of mine chatted with him at the Bluesfest, just hours before he was arrested, passed out on a street corner. Oddly enough, I arrested his brother Norm on more than one occasion for public drunkenness.
Probert, revered in Windsor and Detroit, is a hockey legend and always will be. He may have earned a reputation as one of the NHL’s toughest enforcers, but he accumulated impressive stats that showed he could play the game as well.
It is truly sad that he was taken from us at such an early age, I am curious at how he would have played out the rest of his life.
Tough Guy was written by Kirstie Mclellan Day, but openly told by a guy who really was larger than life.

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.

A Devil is Waiting – Jack Higgins

12267651A Devil Is Waiting (Sean Dillon #19)
by Jack Higgins

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Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Oct 09, 2016  · 


I thought this book was mediocre at best. Although this is the first Jack Higgins novel I’ve read, I have seen movies made from his books.
In considering the high praise this author has received, I was disappointed with this book. I thought the action was a bit lackluster, or maybe too predictable.
Are other readers tiring, as I am, of characters who are independently wealthy, but choose to be superheros for something to do? Honestly, I expected more.

The Escape – David Baldacci

20767918The Escape (John Puller, #3)
by David Baldacci

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Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Feb 18, 2016  


I thought this was a great book with an intriguing story and interesting characters. John Puller seems more believable than Jack Reacher.
My only complaint is that it was a bit long, and could have easily been trimmed shorter by eliminating repetition. It was my first novel by this author, but it won’t be my last.
1 like · 

Threat Vector – Tom Clancy

15985392Threat Vector (Jack Ryan Universe, #15)
Tom Clancy, Mark Greaney

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Edmond Gagnon‘s review

 
Read from February 08 to 15, 2014


This is my kind of book!
A complicated spy thriller that is meticulously woven together with great drama and action.
I love the Jack Ryan character and the movies that have been built around him.
My only complaint is how Clancy gets a bit too wordy at times, causing me to skim.
As an author, I must say I’m puzzled at how he continues to write books while being deceased. My guess is it helps to have a stable of authors like Mark Greaney who can obviously write, but rely on Clancy’s name for sales. I suppose it’s just like Kentucky Fried Chicken – the Colonel is dead, but we continue to eat his chicken.