Movie Review: The Red Pill


Producers:  Evan Davies, Cassie Jaye, Nena Jaye, Anna Laclergue
Director: Cassie Jaye

The Red Pill, based on that famous quote from The Matrix:

You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

was Cassie Jaye’s film on the Men’s Rights Movement (MRM). Jaye who was an ardent feminist and a director of feminist documentaries believed that she was investigating a hate group.

  However, after actually meeting both men and women who are involved in the MRM she comes to realize that what the movement is more about is looking at issues facing men and boys such as male suicide rates, workplace fatalities and high-risk jobs, military conscription, lack of services for male victims of domestic violence and rape, higher rates of violent victimization, issues concerning divorce and child custody, disparity in criminal sentencing, disproportionate funding and research on men’s health issues, educational inequality, societal tolerance of misandry, circumcision and men’s lack of reproductive rights.

As she investigates the group and it’s issues she begins to rethink her views about feminism and what it represents and who exactly is the patriarchy.  

My main problem with this film isn’t the subject rather it seems to meander a bit and at times I wasn’t sure what was going on.  But the film does bring up important issues and shows the way the MRM is protested against.  

This is not a family friendly film.  There is profanity, you see a circumcision done to a baby.  So be aware. You can find this film on some streaming services with the exception of Netflix.  I give this film three and a half stars.  

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Movie Review: Thor Ragnarok.


Producer: Kevin Feige
Director: Taika Waititi
Writers:Eric Pearson,Craig Kyle,Christopher Yost
Cast: Chris Hemsworth,Tom Hiddleston,Cate Blanchett,Idris Elba,Jeff Goldblum,Tessa Thompson,Karl Urban,Mark Ruffalo,Anthony Hopkins

Plot:  Thor has been scouring the nine realms trying to locate infinity stones having no luck.  He has been captured by the fire demon Surtur who reveals to Thor the prophecy of Ragnarok where Surtur will destroy Asgard by placing his crown into Odin’s eternal flame.  Surtur also reveals that Odin is no longer in Asgard.  Thor escapes taking Surtur’s crown with him in an effort to prevent the Ragnarok prophecy from coming true.

When Thor returns to Asgard he finds Loki, who everyone thought had died, pretending to be Odin.  Thor forces Loki to take him to Odin.  When they arrive on Earth, because why would Loki hide him any where else, Dr. Strange snatches both of the Asgardians and after he questions Thor about why they are on Earth he sends both Loki and Thor to where Odin is.  Once they arrive Odin reveals that he is dying and that his daughter, Hela, whom he has kept imprisoned will be released and that she will destroy the nine realms.  

And as Odin dies Hela is released she destroys Thor’s hammer, and chases Thor and Loki as they run back to Asgard she throws both off Bifröst Bridge to die in space.  Once she arrives at Asgard she kills the warriors three and enslaves the population by ressurecting the dead warriors that once followed her along with Fenris the giant wolf she rode into battle.

Thor has not perished in space but has tumbled through a wormhole to land in a junkyard planet where he is captured by a drunken scrapper who takes him to become a gladiator in the Grandmaster’s games.  There he finds that the champion of the games is none other than the Hulk and that Loki has been there weeks before he arrived.  

And go see the movie if you want to know how it ends.  

This was a very enjoyable movie much better than the second movie, there was quite a bit of humor and slapstick mostly with Thor and Loki.  The only complaint that I heard from a person who also watched it was that it lacked emotional depth.  After all Thor had just lost both his father and the source of his power and there didn’t seem to be hardly anything in the movie that examined this aspect.  And I think that is a valid point.  

Yet despite that most would say that this is an enjoyable movie and I would agree with that evaluation.  I don’t know that I would see it twice but I definitely would spend a matinee price to see it.

Lots of violence, so keep that in mind, and Hulk naked, rear view which really didn’t need to be there.  I am giving this three stars out of five.

Movie Review: The Foriegner


Director: Martin Campbell
Producers: Jackie Chan, Wayne Marc Godfrey, D. Scott Lumpkin, Jamie Marshall, Arthur M. Sarkissian
Writer: David Marconi
Based on The Chinaman by Stephen Leather
Cast: Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan, Ray Fearon, Rory Fleck-Byrne, Stephen Hogan, Michael McElhatton, Katie Leung, Simon Kunz, Dermot Crowley

Plot: Jackie Chan plays Ngoc Minh Quan an elderly (60 year old) business man who while taking his teenage daughter, the only family left to him, to a dress shop in London looks in horror as her life is taken away from him by an IRA terrorist bomb.   Determined to get justice for his daughter he bothers the police every day even offering them money if they will only get the men responsible.  Rebuffed by the police his attention becomes focused on an Irish Deputy Minister Liam Hennessy, played by Pierce Brosnan, who boasts of his supposedly former ties to the IRA, and at the same time condemns the bombing.  Quan confronts Hennessy in his office insisting that he knows who did the bombing, Hennessy denies it and has Quan escorted out of his office.  Quan leave, but as he leaves he created a bomb out of household chemicals and plants it in the bathroom of Hennessy’s office.  It exploded harming no one but shaking up Hennessy.

This is where we learn that Quan was a former special forces commando and he is going to put all his training to work in order to get Hennessy to tell him who the terrorists are and where they are.  What follows is a cat and mouse game where Quan slowly but surely shows Hennessy that he can’t be stopped.

This is the first serious movie that I have seen Jackie Chan in as typically there is a bit of humor in his various martial arts movies.  Not in this one.  He plays a man with nothing left to lose, a man whose reason for living has been replaced by revenge and he will go to any extreme to achieve it.  

Also Jackie Chan plays it realistic in this regarding the fighting scenes.  He isn’t slugging it out and winning against fitter and younger men.  Instead he uses cunning and stealth because he knows that is what would work. 

Both Chan and Brosnan play well against each other.  And I can’t say which was the better actor in this both brought their A game to the film.  If you get a chance to see this definitely do so I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

This is rated R and so it isn’t appropriate for the younger audience.  Definitely adults.  I give this four stars out of five. 

Movie Review: All the pretty horses


Producer:  Robert Salerno, Billy Bob Thornton
Director:  Billy Bob Thornton
Writer:  Ted Tally
Based On: All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
Cast:  Matt Damon, Jesse Plemons, Penélope Cruz, Henry Thomas, Lucas Black, Ruben Blades, Robert Patrick, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Míriam Colón, Bruce Dern, Sam Shepard

Based upon one of the most popular books by Cormac McCarthy ‘All the pretty horses’ tells the story of three young men (Matt Damon, Henry Thomas, and Lucas Black) in the 1940’s who after hearing all the tales of cowboying in Texas leave their home to cross the border and work on a ranch in Mexico.  

The youngest of the three youths, played by Lucas Black, is only 13 years old and is separated from them soon after they enter Mexico.  The two young men hire on with a wealthy rancher ( Ruben Blades), and Matt Damon proves his worth by breaking the wild horses he owns.  He also romances the rancher’s daughter (Penélope Cruz) much to the ire of her father.  He throws them in jail, where they meet up with their thirteen year old companion who has killed a man.  

This is what I would call a ‘New Western’ it has the elements of what a classic western contains but with a more modern feel.  There is a slight distopian feel to this movie a despair at a loss for the way of life that can’t be brought back.  

I do like this movie even if it does evoke a schadenfreude feeling in me and I am giving it three stars out of five.  

Shout out to W W Sorrells for suggesting this movie to me.

Movie Review: Arsenic and Old Lace


Producer:  Frank Capra, Jack L. Warner
Director:  Frank Capra
Writers:  Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein
Cast:  Cary Grant, Josephine Hull, Jean Adair, Raymond Massey, Peter Lorre, Priscilla Lane, John Alexander, Jack Carson, John Ridgely, Edward McNamara, James Gleason, Edward Everett Horton, Grant Mitchell, Vaughan Glaser, Chester Clute, Edward McWade, Garry Owen, Charles Lane, Hank Mann, Spencer Charters

Plot:  Poor Mortimer Brewster, (Cary Grant), all he wants to do is marry the love of his life, (Priscilla Lane) and take her to Niagara Falls for their honeymoon when he finds out the secret that his aunts (Josephine Hull, Jean Adair) have been keeping in the basement.  Seems the aunts have taken it upon themselves to reduce the population of older lonely men in town the upshot being there are twelve graves in the basement of their house.  

Throw into this mix the aunt’s brother, who thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt, and insists on blowing a bugle as he runs up the stairs yelling “Charge!” And Mortimer’s psychopathic brother, Jonathan, (Raymond Massey) whose brought his own personal plastic surgeon with him. Dr. Einstein, (Peter Lorre) a neurotic quack who can only operate while intoxicated.  How Mortimer survives this menagerie and learns the best news of his life is what makes this film one of my fifty must watch movies.  

Frank Capra’s dark comedy is truly one of the best examples of the genre and rarely matched by similar movies labelled as such.  Cary Grant is perfect as the much put upon Mortimer.  Josephine Hull and Jean Adair play the sweet deadly old ladies to the tee, having that “surprised by all the fuss” look upon themselves most of the time.  Raymond Massey’s performance is on par with Grant’s playing the cold craziness that he does so we’ll.  All in all a great movie with just the right touch of sinister to make this the perfect movie for a Halloween movie night.  

This gets five stars out of five.

Movie Reviews


So I am thinking about doing what I would call my fifty great classic movies.  Many of these are from what is called the golden age of Hollywood.  But it won’t be exclusive to that era.  So I am formulating a list and will take suggestions.  Stay tuned.

Movie Review: Little Shop of Horrors



Producer:  David Geffen
Writer:  Howard Ashman
Director:  Frank Oz
Cast:  Rick Moranis,Ellen Greene,Vincent Gardenia,Steve Martin,James Belushi,John Candy,Christopher Guest,Bill Murray
Based on Little Shop of Horrors
by Alan Menken Howard Ashman
The Little Shop of Horrors
by Roger Corman

Considering this is the day of the solar eclipse it seemed appropriate that this movie should be reviewed.

Little Shop of Horrors a musical based on the infamous Roger Cotman film that was rumored to have been shot in a 24 hour period. (Actually 48 hours) about a shnook named Seymour Krelborn who finds a unique plant after a solar eclipse.  Seymour works in a run down florist shop owned by Mr. Mushnik along with the beautiful Audrey whom Seymour secretly loves.  Mr. Mushnik wants to close the shop but Audrey suggests that a unique plant may draw customers.  Mr. Mushnik puts Seymour’s plant, named Audrey 2, into the window and sure enough the customers come in by the droves.  But Audrey 2 droops at the end of the day and Seymour discovers the awful truth to keep Audrey 2 alive he has to feed her blood.

And as Audrey 2 grows so does the need for more blood until the obvious happens.  But by this time Audrey 2 tells Seymour that all the luck he has been experiencing is because of her.

I won’t give away much more of the movie.  Needless to say it is a fun in a black comedy manner and you might find yourself singing along to some of the songs.  My favorite is the dentist song and I usually hum it as I am getting my bi-yearly check up.  My dental hygienist hates me.

This movie is for fifteen years old and older.  There is some swearing and physical abuse of a woman, as well as the murders.  But it is balanced by some great songs and some great acting by the cast.  

This is a four star movie.  

Movie Review: The Dark Tower



Producers: Akiva Goldsman, Ron Howard, Erica Huggins
Director: Nikolaj Arcel
Writer:Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner, Anders Thomas Jensen, Nikolaj Arcel,
Based on The Dark Tower by Stephen King
Cast: Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor, Claudia Kim, Fran Kranz, Abbey Lee, Jackie Earle Haley

Before I get on with the rest of this review I would like to quote a small bit of lyric from what was arguably one of the funniest shows on TV. 

Just repeat to yourself “It’s just a show, I should really just relax”

Now if you go to this movie thinking that they have through the wonders of Hollywood magic they have been able to condense an eight book series into a ninty minute movie.  Go to another movie!

If instead you go into this movie expecting to see common elements of Stephen King’s themes in his books played out on the screen you might enjoy this movie.  

The plot is very basic. Idris Elba Is the last gunslinger charged with protecting the Black Tower. The Dark Tower which stands in the center of the multiverse preventing darkness from entering the multiverse.  The enemy of all the gunslingers and ultimately the Dark Tower is the man in black played by Matthew McConaughey.  And like I said you get references to King’s work.  The young boy, Jake Chambers played by Tom Taylor, has the shine (The Shining) and it allows him to see visions of both the gunslinger and the man in black as well as the Dark Tower.  This makes him valuable to the man in black because he uses kids with the shine to attack the Dark Tower.  The young boy escapes from the man in black’s minions and meets up with the gunslinger.  The boy then inspires the gunslinger to continue his quest to protect the Dark Tower.

This is a “western” sci-fi movie similar to Serenity and a few others.  And it isn’t the train wreck many have portrayed it to be.  I will say that the best part of the movie is Idris Elba but I haven’t seen anything yet that he didn’t impress me by his acting skills.
I am giving this a three star review see it at a matinee or wait for a second run theater.  

Movie Review: The Accountant 



Producer:  Lynette Howell Taylor, Mark Williams
Director:  Gavin O’Connor
Writer:  Bill Dubuque
Cast: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J. K. Simmons, Jon Bertha, Jeffrey Tabor, Cynthia Addai Robinson, John Lithgow
The Accountant tells the story what appears to be an accountant someone who works out is a strip mall and is affected by a form of autism. This  allows him to focus on his bookeeping to the point that he can take boxes of paperwork that fills a room and find the hidden accounts.  

But that isn’t all as you learn through flashbacks he was trained by his father, along with his brother, to shoot, fight, and in general become a killing machine.  His autism effects this too as his focus is absolute whether it is in placing his shots perfectly or knowing precisely how to disarm and kill a person.  

During this entire time there is a treasury agent trying to find the accountant as he is the accountant to not just mom and pop businesses but also to drug cartels, terrorist organizations, and the Mafia.  But he has his identity so well there is no clear picture of him only the back of his head.  

This is an interesting story.  I remember reading an article from Sweden on how they were using some people with a form of autism in network repair and coding as they are able to focus on the problem ignoring all distractions.  And this movie seems to build on that premise.  Ben Affleck also does a good performance as someone who has to mimic normal human emotions in order to blend in with other people.  As well as to learn how to read those emotions on other people’s faces.  

If you’re looking for action there is enough in this movie to satisfy you.  As well as some twists that you may not expect.  Because it is rated “R” it has its share of profanity and violence and is more suitable for an older teen audience at the least.

I give this movie three and a half stars.