American Made

American madeWith all the political crap that is going on in the United States I think the timing of this movie’s release is perfect. Reviews are all over the map on this one with Tom Cruise lovers and haters. I’m not sure why the latter would see the movie in the first place.

Cruise plays Barry Seal, a TWA pilot who is recruited by the CIA to help Americanize certain third-world countries in Central America. In the interest of democracy Seal plays errand boy between the U.S. government and Manuel Noriega, running money and guns into Nicaragua. To supplement his personal income he helps the Medellin Cartel export cocaine to the U.S.

While messing in political and government affairs in Nicaragua, the CIA turns a blind to Seal’s extra-curricular activities. Although the story material is dead serious, the movie is almost comical. The role is not typical for Cruise, but he personifies the true all-american.

If nothing else, the movie was highly entertaining. Anyone who follows politics will recognize the names of Escobar, Ollie North, Noriega, and certain  U.S. presidents.

Cathryn and I both enjoyed American Made. She gives it a 9 and I an 8 out of 10.

 

Wind River

wind riverThis movie is tough to review. To say that Cathryn and I enjoyed it, would be using the word to describe that fact that it was well received. The plot is deep and dark, but like my novel, Finding Hope, the Highway of Tears, it’s another sad and true story about the lack of caring and respect for aboriginal women across our continent.

This story is about two women who die on the Wind River Reserve in Northern Wyoming. A fish and wildlife tracker, reserve cop, and a lone FBI agent team up to investigate the latest rape/homicide. The remote location of the crime challenges the team.

Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, and Graham Green play the dream team. Stellar performances were delivered by all. I’m personally tired of seeing the plight of first nations people on reserves –  all other previously oppressed races have learned to move on. Having said that this movie will drag you into their misery and make you wonder why this type of crap still goes on in this day and age.

Cathryn and I both give the move an 8 out of 10.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard

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The Hitman’s Bodyguard is an action movie that allows you to laugh out loud in certain scenes and with certain dialogue, comparable to to Bruce Willis’s Die Hard series. The action is pretty well non-stop throughout the movie, an on-going pursuit plot with a couple of outstanding car chases.

Does anyone know why bad guys on motorcycles think they can somehow stop a speeding car? You know they’re always going to lose. The cinematography showcases Amsterdam and the Netherlands, with a lot of the chase footage filmed along and in the canals and narrow streets alongside.

Ryan Reynolds’s character is a bit of a sap, but it’s a perfect fit with Jackson’s opposite and bad-ass character. Gary Oldman always makes a good bad guy, and doesn’t let us down in this movie. I think Salma Hayek’s character is over the top and a bit ridiculous, but it adds to the comic relief.

Cathryn and I both enjoyed viewing this flick on the big screen, but had trouble rating it. We both settled on a 7 out of 10.

 

Demise at Dunkirk

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When Germany invaded France they trapped 400,000 soldiers (mostly British) that retreated to the beaches at Dunkirk. The film’s director, Christopher Nolan, used Imax cameras and CGI to show us on the big screen just how spectacular that would look from the air. The massive army stood like sitting ducks on piers and open beaches, awaiting the navy for transportation home.

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Wondrous Wonder Woman

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The latest big screen action hero epic from DC Comics introduces Wonder Woman, or Diana, princess of the Amazons, to us useless mortals on planet earth. It seems the Amazons, with their complete woman warrior society, has found a better way to live at peace.

Cathryn and I both like how WW was introduced to the world, near the end of the war to end all wars. Chris Pine is a spy and humorous sidekick to our hero. Neither understands the other’s world, but it’s Wonder Woman who chooses to leave her paradise island to help mankind.

Cinematography, turn-of-the-century costumes, and CGI make this film a big screen delight. It’s also in 3D, but we were quite happy to watch it in two dimensions from the brand-spanking new recliner chairs at Lakeshore Cinemas.

Gal Gadot is about to become the richest female actress in the world with this franchise and the other upcoming super hero movies she’s joining.

Cathryn gives Wonder Woman a 10 and I’m giving it a 9 – only because I thought the story line was a bit sappy at times. It is still a great action flick.

One Chance – the Paul Potts Movie

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If you’re looking for one of those warm and fuzzy feel good movies, I guarantee you’ll be satisfied with One Chance, the real life story of Paul Potts, who won the Britain’s Got Talent contest by singing opera.

 Like many others, I’d seen the clip where he blows away the audience and Simon Cowell on the talent show, but I had know idea of this man’s trials and tribulations in life, to get there. This is a Rocky story for singers, showing us how even the underdog can achieve his dreams if you take a chance.

Cathryn and I watched this movie on our lap top, through Netflix, so I have to believe it is out on video. The movie was produced by Simon Cowell.

If this movie doesn’t bring a tear to your eye it will at least give you a few goose bumps. We both give it 10 out of 10.

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.