Movie Review: Dunkirk

Producers: Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy

Plot: As the Allied troops are stuck at Dunkirk France the people of Britain gather together the boats and ships they have and sail to France to rescue the soldiers stranded on the coast of France.

I am going to say something that is probably going to get me castigated but I am going to say it anyway. Dunkirk could have been better. When I compare this movie to others of a similar genre there is something missing in this movie. And I want to say that it’s the comradeship. Watching this movie I see an attitude of wanting to be out of the war expressed by the soldiers. The sense of purpose, of why they are fighting against the Nazi forces, doesn’t appear in the soldiers rather it is in the older men, the civilians those who came to save the soldiers they know why they must stop the Nazi forces.

That is not to that there isn’t some good scenes in the movie, some of the best takes place on the small boat with the father, his son, and the son’s school friend.

But overall I didn’t enjoy this movie. I am going to give it three stars.


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.  

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.

Movie Review: Spider-Man Homecoming 

Producer: Kevin Feige, Amy Pascal
Writers: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley
Director: Jon Watts
Cast:Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Tyne Daly, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr.

It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing

So I have seen three different actors portraying Spider-Man and up to this point I have been a Tobey Maguire fan.  I am no longer just a Tobey Maguire fan.  Tom Holland is excellent as Peter Parker a fifteen year old highschool kid who is crushing on the most popular girl in school and just happens to walk on walls.   

 But as good as Tom Holland is as Spider-Man Michael Keaton as the Vulture is perfect.  Keaton pulls off scarey in a very understated way and the reason why Keaton has entered the life of crime is well written.  

Tom Holland portrays Peter Parker as a kid who was asked to help the Avengers and then was told don’t call us kid we’ll call you.  Only they never call him indeed his contact with the Avengers is  Happy Hogan, played by Jon Favreau,who  is irritated with Peter every time he calls and mostly just refuses to call back or hangs up on him.  This treatment causes Peter to look for high profile crimes so that he can prove he is worthy to be an Avenger.  This puts him in conflict with the Vulture, and despite being warned by Iron Man to let the Avengers handle it he keeps at it until unforseen consequences occur.  

Stuff I liked:  I liked the DIY nature of Peter’s home made costume.  That was one thing I found that stretched the limits of my imagination was that a teenager was an accomplished tailor in his part time.  Holland’s costume reflects more like what a fifteen year old could do with his limited access to money and supplies.  

Stuff that made me say hmm:  Marissa Tomei as Aunt May.  I understand that she is no longer a young actress and is in her fifties but there is something a bit disturbing when you see Tony Stark hitting on her.  As well as most of the men in the neighborhood.  Maybe it’s me but I prefer my Aunt May to be a gray haired saintly lady not a object of sexual desire.  

Parental warning, there is profanity in this film as well as a young woman using a ride hand gesture.  Fantasy violence as well as regular violence.  When I was in the movie I heard a little child ask their parent about the language and I could almost sense their frustration.  So be aware.

Over all Spider-Man Homecoming is a good film, it is good to see Spider-Man finally being back in the MCU production instead of being owned by another company.  I give this movie four out of five stars.  

Movie Review: 10 Cloverfield Lane

Producers: J. J. Abrams, and Lindsey Weber
Writers: Josh Campbell, Matt Stuecken
Director: Dan Trachtenberg
Cast: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and John Gallagher, Jr.

Plot: After a bad break up with her fiancée a young woman packs her things and leaves traveling to an unknown destination. Only to crash and wake up chained to a wall.

I originally started this review three weeks ago around when the movie first came out.  But other things came up and I didn’t come back to it until today so here is the review:

So the scion of my house called me up and said Pater dear let’s take in a movie how about 10 Cloverfield Lane? Now I had no desire to see this movie. None at all, but since it had been a long time since we had seen a movie together so I agreed to go. And was I surprised! Now let me just say that I hadn’t seen the first Cloverfield movie and this one stands by itself and from what I have been told about the first one this really has nothing in common other than the name.

Having said that if you want a movie that will keep you guessing until the end this is the movie for you. Even though there are just three characters in this the interaction between them is intense. John Goodman’s portrayal of a doomsday prepper who has spent most of his life getting ready for the end of the world is brilliant.  He really shines in this movie and I haven’t seen this good of acting from him in a long time but he owns the character of Howard.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Michelle to was good for this film but her performance depended heavily upon Goodman’s, I mean she was good and  perfectly played the part of a woman who isn’t sure an apocalyptic episode has occurred or not.  But for me it was Goodman’s character that kept things going and heightened the suspense in the movie.

There is profanity and violence in this film so don’t take children to see this below the age of fifteen in my opinion.  However, having said that if you want a good edge of your seat thriller then go see 10 Cloverfield Lane.

I give this four stars out of five.

Movie Review: Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Producers:Tom Cruise, J. J. Abrams, and David Ellison
Director: Christopher McQuarrie.
Writer: Christopher McQuarrie.
Cast:  Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Alec Baldwin, and Simon McBurney

Plot:  Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has to stop a crate of VX  nerve gas from leaving Minsk in order to do that he must get inside the plane whose back door he just happens to be hanging off.  But this is just the beginning as agent Hunt finds out when he checks in for his next IMF assignment.  There while playing his next assignment (on a tricked out vinyl record)  he learns about the Syndicate a group of rogue agents who have all been listed as killed in action or missing.  While listening to his instructions an agent of the Syndicate traps him and he awakes to find himself strapped to a pole, where he meets Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) a disavowed MI6 agent assigned to torture him, when she is interrupted by Janik “the Bone Doctor” Vinter who informs her that he has been assigned to get the information from Hunt.  Hunt knocks Janik unconscious and with the help of Faust escapes from the clutches of the Syndicate.

But that isn’t all Hunts problems back in the Washington DC in a closed-door session CIA director Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) is doing his best to shut down the IMF saying there tactics are haphazard and reckless only getting results by sheer dumb luck.  And while agent Brandt (Jeremy Renner) tries his best but the senate rules against the IMF and it is dissolved.  When Hunt is informed of this he tells Brandt not to call him any more as he is going to find the Syndicate on his own.  When CIA director Hunley learns of this he issues a warrant for Hunts arrest and tracks him over six months with Hunt always a step ahead of him slowly finding out more about the Syndicate.

Hunt finally gets a break in Venice where he once again meets Ilsa Faust as she is about to kill the Austrian Chancellor, Hunt instead shoots the Chancellor in the arm and Ilsa shoots the assassin that was about to kill Hunt.  Hunt realizes that she is a double agent working for  MI6 and joins with her to find the one device that will bring down the Syndicate.

Comment:  If you are in for an action movie with just the right touch of comedy go see this movie.  It is a roller coaster ride from start to finish.  Crusise, Renner, Pegg, Rhames all reprise the rolls that has made the previous Mission Impossibles so good. Alec Baldwin plays the slightly bewildered and mostly angry CIA director whose bad haircut is only exceeded by Simon McBurney the MI6 director.  In fact I think even when Cruise had the full beard and wild hair do it was still better looking than Alec Baldwin’s haircut.  But I have to give props to Sean Harris I don’t know if it was his normal speaking voice or not but if you ever wanted to hear what a strangled gasp sounded like Sean Harris voice in the role of the chief of the Syndicate that strangled voice made him particularly sinister sounding.

Again lots of action, comedy, no excessive vulgar words, one scene where Ilsa Faust is taking off her shirt but her back is to the camera so nothing can be seen.  I give this movie four stars out of five.

Movie Review: American Sniper

Director: Clint Eastwood
Producer: Clint Eastwood
Writers: Jason Hall, Chris Kyle, and others
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner, Cole Konis, Ben Reed, Elise Robertson, Luke Sunshine, Troy Vincent

It’s a heck of a thing to stop a beating heart.

Plot: Texas born Chris Kyle former rodeo rider joins the Navy Seals and becomes the deadliest sniper in American history credited with over 160 kills. After four tours in Iraq Chris finds it hard to leave the war behind and return to normal life.

American sniper is a hard movie to review.  Clint Eastwood has crafted a film that show both the man who had to put the skills he had learnede as a boy into the deadliest situation ever.  And doing things that for most people would be abhorrent, such as shooting a mother and child who were trying to kill marines with grenades.  Plus he also shows the toll that it takes on the man known as the “Legend” how post tramatic stress made Chris not want to come home to his wife and children, how loud noises would make him nervous and jittery.

Eastwood also portrays soldiers as they are in this war profane, rude, with a disdain for the enemy they are fighting because of how they use families and children as weapons.  I talked with a friend of mine a veteran of the Vietnam war and he said there were many things in the movie that reminded him of how things were during his tours.  So I think that Clint Eastwood has accurately portrayed the war as it was for Chris Kyle.

This movie is for adults, the profanity, the instances where Chris has to shoot children to protect the men  who are his brothers in arms is too intense for younger children.  This is a great movie but it is a movie that will affect you in one way or another not always for the good.  There are scenes that I couldn’t watch again especially when it involves children.

This movie gets four stars.

Classic Movie Review: Singin’ in the Rain

Directors: Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen
Producer: Arthur Freed
Writer:Betty Comden, Adolph Green
Cast: Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen, Millard Mitchell, Cyd Charisse

Plot:  In the 1920’s on the cusp of talking movies Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly), and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) give an interview on their latest silent film the Royal Rascal.  On screen Don and Lina act like they are in love, and the studio promotes that but in reality Don can barely stand to be around Lina.  But Lina believes all the studio hype and is convinced that they are in love.  Don is asked about how he came to work for Monumental Pictures. He gives a well rehearsed tale that is belied by flashbacks that show how Don and his pal Cosmo (Donald O’Connor) came up the hard way taking any job at all until Don became a star.

Upon leaving the theater Don is mobbed by his fans who literally tear the clothes off his back he jumps into a nearby car driven by Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) at first she screams and calls for the police until she recognizes who it is that jumped into her car.  Sh then spends the trip to Don’s house berating his acting saying that the only real acting is done on stage.  Don arrives late to the cast party and the studio head, R.F. Simpson (Millard Mitchell) shows a movie whose sound is played on a record it is a “talking picture”.  Dismissing the “talking movie” entirely a fake cake is wheeled out and out pops Kathy Selden and when Don sees her he exclaims “Well, if it isn’t Ethel Barrymore.”

Don comments angers Kathy and she picks up a cake and throws it at Don but hits Lina!  She then runs out of the party.  Later Don looks for Kathy but can’t find her.  He finds out from Lina that she had Kathy fired.  Dejected Don wanders the lot and finds Kathy Selden in one of the movies being produced.  Once they are reunited Don and Kathy talks and find they are interested in each other,  Don goes back to his next movie only to have it shut down The Jazz Singer a “talkie” has become a big hit and Monumental had decided to make Don’s latest movie into a talkie.  Only Lina has a voice and a dictation that sounds like a metal rasp on steel.  What will they do?

Some of the movie critic blogs that I read have what is called a Classic Movie Review.  I thought I would start that tradition here with this movie.  I have to confess that I have seen this movie over twenty times and each time it just gets better.  First Gene Kelly dances like no one else and he dances in an overtly masculine way.  In each of his movements there is a controlled power that I have only seen in martial artists that have trained from their youth.  And at the same time there is beauty to his moves that is almost transcendent especially when he is partnered with Cyd Charisse.

Next there is the music, the tunes are fun and make you happy.  They are enjoyable to listen too and the trio of Reynolds, Kelly, and O’Connor make these songs perfect.  And someone that needs to be recognized in this movie is Jean Hagen who plays Lina Lamont it takes real acting chops to pull off that voice and mannerisms and this movie wouldn’t be the same if she wasn’t the foil that the rest of the cast played against.

If you haven’t seen this movie you are missing a gem that will not only entertain you but your whole family.  Plus you can talk to your children about a time when motion pictures were made without sound.

Five stars.