Newly paroled ex-con and former U.S. Ranger Cameron Poe finds himself trapped in a prisoner transport plane when the passengers seize control. (IMDb)
A solid action-thriller with some excellent hair, I mean flair, like a sweaty, golden-maned Nic Cage in a southern drawl delivering lines like “Don’t treat women like that” and “I’m going to show you God does exist”, plus weirdly sappy bookending scenes. Not without flaws (the final chase was overkill) or truly WTF-moments though (the horrible treatment of the Indigenous prisoner, the baffling redemption arc for an inconsequential mass murderer side character, the TV sitcom-esque end credits).
After a sudden attack on the MI5, Johnny English, Britain’s most confident yet unintelligent spy, becomes Britain’s only spy. (IMDb)
I suppose the comedy’s not for everyone, but the “supremely confident yet inescapably incompetent schtick” of Atkinson’s titular character, while basically the entire film, never failed to make me laugh (a couple small highlights: his failed coat-throw, botched final romantic gesture), and his chemistry with long-suffering straight man Bough is delightful. The ridiculous plot, of course, leaves things to be desired (Sauvage’s sudden burst of anger provides a much too convenient resolve).
Retired C.I.A. Agent Frank Moses reunites his unlikely team of elite operatives for a global quest to track down a missing portable nuclear device. (IMDb)
After Die Hard 5 I said a protagonist has never been more annoying but Willis may have topped himself here by adding even more stupid smirks and patronizing remarks to his macho lead. Elsewhere we’re treated to a billion convenient last-second saviors and nearly as many eye-rolling villains in a mess of a plot I gave up on halfway through, while the dark humour from the first film becomes just plain disturbing (mirrored by the overload of bloodless killings). At least Marvin was still funny.
When his peaceful life is threatened by a high-tech assassin, former black-ops agent Frank Moses reassembles his old team in a last ditch effort to survive and uncover his assailants. (IMDb)
Ocean’s Eleven meets James Bond, only with badass (and slightly terrifying-“I haven’t killed anyone in years”) espionage retirees. The cast is a hoot (Mirren and Malkovich especially) and along with the great uptempo soundtrack, fun editing (love those quick zooms and postcards), and darkly comedic dialogue (see Frank and Ivan’s initial convo about Igor the Butcher) keep things lively amidst the average action thriller plot. Could’ve done without the requisite romance though (Frank’s, I mean).
7.5/10 (Really Good)
A dramatization of the disaster in April 2010, when the offshore drilling rig called the Deepwater Horizon exploded, resulting in the worst oil spill in American history. (IMDb)
The build-up is perfect, right from the chilling opening “spoiler” audio: Excellent foreshadows (see the coke can) and an eerie soundtrack keep you on the edge of your seat amidst the well-crafted sense of normalcy (the jargon-heavy dialogue does a great job here), with the classic tension between money and safety excellently executed (Malkovich’s Vidrine is a chilling adversary). The explosion-heavy scenes that follow start to tire, but an emotionally potent epilogue is suitably cathartic.
The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and to learn its secrets. (IMDb)
A few new faces, a lot of the same old shit (cars, explosions, a model to take by the hand everywhere, a plot that’s cheesy and/or confusing and exposited by boring dialogue) with some new things to groan at (enough pop songs and product placement already) but some saving graces too (Sam’s restlessness, the Dylan twist, the hopeless feeling before the final battle–the latter of which finally paired the impressive CGI with some coherent and cool action sequences; see the glass building collapse).
A young man is a reformed gambler who must return to playing big stakes poker to help a friend pay off loan sharks. (IMDb)
The many poker scenes throughout here are certainly entertaining, with Damon’s soft voiceovers filling you in on all the fascinating features of the game, but they aren’t enough to make up for a plot that feels more like a poker player’s pipe dream than a legitimate drama: It’s too easy and cliche and fumbles the potential of its two interesting lead characters (Norton’s Worm especially begged for more study). All told, it’s a good flick–just needed more focus on the story and less on the poker.
A disk containing the memoirs of a CIA agent ends up in the hands of two unscrupulous gym employees who attempt to sell it. (IMDb)
Pitt is a definite highlight here; his manic, dim, gum-chewing gym employee is a riot, the best of an already eclectic cast of characters. The espionage plot is outrageous and not entirely cohesive or coherent, but a comedic gem of a final scene with Simmons makes it clear that this was intentional. It still feels like a cop-out though, and what could have been a great film considering its proven directors and loaded cast is just a good one–funny and entertaining, but not altogether brilliant.