Rocketman

rocketmanI had to think about this movie for a couple days to let it sink in. Given that time to mull it over I have to say I was not impressed by Rocketman – the story of Elton John. Cathryn loved the movie so this review will give you both perspectives. She liked the music selection and thought the actors playing John as a child and adult (Taron Egerton) did a fabulous job.

The film accurately mimicked many of the rock star’s wild and crazy outfits, but made no attempt to play his music in the order the songs were released. Theatrical creativity must have been the point since the song lyrics were used to describe the events of the artist’s stage in life. Oddly enough, it was Bernie Taupin who wrote the lyrics and Elton added the music.

For me the story dwells too long on Reg Dwight’s (Elton John) woe is me childhood. They show us how he came up with his stage name – the second half taken from John Lennon, but that fact in not true. Granted, John was executive producer of the movie, but he obviously decided to portray his life as he perceived it and not as how it actually happened. Thus there are other historical inaccuracies.

I was also unimpressed with the movie being a fantasy musical. I thought it took away from many of the great songs that I love. Nothing in the reviews I read said anything about the format. Overall the movie was still entertaining with a couple of zen moments to put you in the zone.

I rated it a 5 and Cathryn a 10 out of 10.

John Wick – 300 (Parabellum)

parabellumI use the number 300 instead of 3 – for the third installment of the John Wick, the master assassin. Seeing the film with an action-appreciating buddy, we couldn’t keep track of the bad guys killed by Wick. He commented later that it was the highest body count he’d ever seen in a movie, a bold statement considering other slaughter movies we’d seen, like Rambo 3 or Hacksaw Ridge.

I’ve always liked Keanu Reeves and that includes his John Wick character, but I started to chuckle after his first 30 or 40 kills. The man deserves credit for the way he handles himself in the action sequences – basically a two hour long chase and fight scene. He masterfully handles an assortment of weapons that must have taken hours of practice to successfully operate.

If you don’t mind a few dozen blood-spattering head shots and an overly violent plot, this movie could be for you. I do find it odd though, in this day and age, how movie makers can present us with such mindless slaughter, and add a dry touch of humor to make the film more entertaining. In a way this movie reminded me of the Walking Dead – the bad guys weren’t dead until you shot them in the head, in many cases more than once.

Enough about the violence. The movie has a highly paid all-star cast, perhaps to give the flick some credibility with movie buffs. I have to say I was shocked at the other online reviews I read from sites like Roger Ebert and company. So maybe it was just me…and my buddy, who thought there was enough carnage to call the John Wick movies a trilogy and leave it at that.

Cathryn could never have sat through this movie with her eyes open. I don’t think my buddy was too impressed. For the sake of mindless entertainment I give it 5 out of 10.

Mary Queen of Scots

maryHere’s a movie for all you Outlander fans. It’s about two different Queens from two different countries trying to control their own kingdoms, while maneuvering to combine the two and decide who will rule the British Empire.

It’s a true story that takes you behind the scenes of Scottish and English royalty, revealing their personalities, quirks, ambitions and idiosyncrasies. There is plotting and deceit and treachery that offer twists and turns throughout the story.

There are only a few recognizable faces in the cast, but the acting was superb. Outlander fans might also recognize some of the scenery and at least one castle in particular. Although the flick wasn’t one we were dying to see, Cathryn and I enjoyed it, both giving it a 7 out of 10.

The Mule

muleClint Eastwood says The Mule is the last movie he’ll act in, but oddly enough, he fit the main character’s roll perfectly. The story is about 90 year old horticulturist Earl Stone who takes on a job transporting dope for a Mexican cartel after his plant business goes belly up.

Earl was only going to make one trip, but upon seeing how easy he could make a pile of cash, he takes on bigger and bigger shipments. He uses the money to try and buy his way back into his family’s good graces.

Eastwood brings back Bradley Cooper for the role of a DEA Agent who is trying to make a name for himself, and to make his boss look good, by making a large cartel bust.

The movie is descent, perhaps a bit less intense than most of Clint’s work, but with a few life lessons about family and money. Cathryn and I both give it a 7 out of 10.

First Man

first manThere have been many movies made about space exploration, but First Man is unique in that it lets you see and experience the thrills and spills of travelling to outer space through the eyes of those who have done it. None of us mere mortals can even imagine how it feels to do the crazy and courageous stunts that the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo astronauts have done for mankind.

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A Star is Born

starI remember seeing the second remake of A Star is born with Kristofferson and Streisand, but barely remember the story. Besides acting in, and directing this latest installment of the tragic love story, Bradley Cooper wrote the screenplay. Although he personalized the movie by changing things like the music, he paid homage to the earlier versions by re-using character traits and certain things in the plot.

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Mission Impossible – Fallout

missionWhat can I say, I’ve been a fan of Mission Impossible since Tom Cruise was kindergarten. And as much as times and television and movies have changed over the years, I love how the producers have kept the same theme and music and gimmicks. Yes, one CIA character in the new movie even refers to the Halloween masks that the IMF uses to pull off their impossible missions.

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The Equalizer 2

equalizerWho doesn’t like Denzel Washington? I can think of one or two of his movies I didn’t like, but can’t think of one that I didn’t like him in. Many of us complain about sequels, like I just did with Jurassic World, but it’s hard not to cheer for vigilantes like Denzel’s Equalizer character.

As The Equalizer he has no problem taking on the roll of action hero. Cathryn doesn’t usually go for the shoot-em-up flicks, but she wanted to see this one and was glad she did. It was no surprise to me that they made a sequel to the first movie since they teased us with the option at the end.

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