The Foreigner – Jackie Chan

JackieJackie Chan is no stranger to action films, but he is The Foreigner to serious thrillers. I’m not alone in thinking this is one of Chan’s best performances ever. Granted, many of his previous action films were serious, but they had a cheap feel to them, like the old martial arts movies where the voices didn’t match lip movements.

Although the story seems familiar – former military special forces guy seeks revenge for missing or murdered family member, it’s credibility is bolstered by Chan’s humble character. With the exception of one scene where he should have produced a few tears, Jackie’s acting was superb.

Former James Bond, Pierce Brosnan plays a believable bad guy who’s involved with the IRA. Jackie may be older and grayer, and his moves may have all been choreographed, but he’s still got the moves. Mr. Chan is still quick as lightning. The movie moves well and is loaded with lots of action. It’s great entertainment – Cathryn got so excited at one point she tried blocking the kung fu punches from her seat.

We both enjoyed the movie and give it a 9 out of 10.

 

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.

 

Detroit’s Dark Days

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I’m not from Detroit and this was still hard movie to watch. Maybe it’s because I’m white, or that I was a police officer. Either way this film haunts your soul, taking you to a dark place, where racism and mistrust of the police run a muck.

Although not overly graphic, this movie is not for the faint of heart. The plot takes place during the riots in Detroit. The scene in the Algiers Hotel drags on way too long, causing Cathryn so much dismay that she considered leaving the theater. It’s the part where three Detroit cops torture a group of young black males and two white females to find a gun in the hotel.

The movie tells us why and how the riot started, but then leaves us in the hotel for over an hour while we witness extreme racism and police brutality first hand. The end of the movie explains some of the aftermath and trial outcome for the events at the Algiers, but it leaves many questions unanswered. Perhaps those questions will never be answered.

Cathryn pointed out that Detroit was a movie that we didn’t need to see on the big screen, and she was right. If I wasn’t so interested in the subject matter and there was something else to see, we would have waited for the movie on Netflix.

The acting was good, but I didn’t really find the movie entertaining. Cathryn gives it a 4 and I give it a 6 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.

Continue reading “Demise at Dunkirk”

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.

Skip “The Dinner”

imagesThe Dinner is the first movie we’ve walked out on in a long time. The trailer made it look interesting. Maybe we should have read the reviews. I only noticed now that it received NO STARS. We couldn’t agree more.  The movie was as stupid as its title.

After twenty minutes we looked at each other and commented how it was slow and boring. Around forty-five minutes into the yawner we considered leaving, but we thought we’d take the chance that something would happen any minute. Wrong.

We left the theater after an hour, I was surprised to see that no one else followed suit. Even with Richard Gere and Laura Linney, the movie was actually painful to watch. Steve Coogan had the main roll and he had both of us squirming in our seats after only a few minutes of listening to him.

The plot hung there, somewhere, but we didn’t stick around to see it unfold. The point of the story was to see how far parents would go to protect their children after they did something completely stupid and horrific. I saw enough of real-life drama during my police career to know the answer to that question.

Cathryn and I give The Dinner a big fat 0!

Going in Style is Golden

going-in-style-29822With all the teenage and kiddie movies on this past month or so, Going in Style is a treat for us folks in the over fifty crowd. The comedy about three golden aged gents who lose their pensions and decide to rob a bank is guaranteed to make you smile and give you more than a few laughs.

The cast of Michael Kane, Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman and Ann Margaret bring characters to life that will easily remind you of ourselves or someone you know.  It’s a feel good story that has a bit of gun play, but no body count, and a few twists that keep you rooting for the “good guys” right until the end.

Cathryn and I both enjoyed the movie and rate it 8 out of 10.