Thumbnails Sep 15
by Tony Medley
The Gift (10/10):
This is the best crafted thriller I’ve seen in years, with scenes that
make you jump out of your skin, even a terrific homage to one of
Hitchcock’s most famous scenes. Kudos to writer/director/co-star Joel
Edgerton, and to Rebecca Hall for her terrific performance.
I loathe boxing, which has no place in a civilized society, and I
generally loathe boxing movies, like Rocky (1976), and all its
iterations which lionize this barbaric anachronism. This one is
different. Unfortunately, director Antoine Fuqua ends the film with
what, for me, was a thud of a clichéd Hollywood ending. Why make a movie
like this and then chicken out? Cui bono?
No Escape (8/10):
This is a terrific, heart-stopping film if you don’t let the gratuitous
Anti-American political message ruin it for you, which it came
perilously close to doing for me. As Samuel Goldwyn said, if you want to
send a message, use Western Union.
Cop Car (8/10):
With lots of homages to noirs past, I liked the film when it started; I
liked it as it progressed; and I really liked the ending.
Mission Impossible Rogue Nation (8/10):
This fifth installment could be the best of the series. The stunts (Tom
Cruise did them all himself with no CGI, believe it or not) are
terrific. Lalo Schifrin’s theme music is still wonderful.
Highlighted by Nina Hoss’s sparkling performance, the cinematography and
production design are outstanding, realistically capturing what Germany
looked like immediately after the end of the WWII, and what her people
were like; the story a metaphor for how German citizens related to their
government. Not for everybody, but worth the sit despite the lack of
pace. In German and English.
Some Kind of Beautiful (6/10):
For about 80 minutes I was enjoying this. The acting by Pierce Brosnan,
Salma Hayek, and Jessica Alba was very good, the locations atmospheric,
the dialogue pretty good. Then it started to drag. The hackeneyed ending
was delayed and delayed. When it finally came it was no surprise but a
great relief. Too bad.
Hitman: Agent 47 (5/10):
This is little more than a violent video game made into a movie with a
ludicrous story to try to justify all the mayhem. For every person
killed (in the hundreds) there is at least one plot hole, so I stopped
Fantastic Four (5/10):
Because of the birthing story (how they all got to be the Fantastic
Four), the first part of this film is pretty interesting. Alas, the last
half hour, which is almost totally special effects warfare, left me
Ricki and the Flash (4/10):
This clicks every politically correct button known to today’s Hollywood,
diversity, equity, homophobia, inclusion, multiculturalism, pluralism,
racism, sexism, sexual orientation, and stereotypes. Despite the clichéd
story of a dysfunctional family, the only part of this film worth seeing
is the music. The rest is silly and soporific.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (3/10):
What to make of this? This one is so bad I can’t help but think that
perhaps it’s intended as camp, a satire of the Bond satires. Alas, that
is too convoluted to be credible. I think they were serious. Alicia
Vikander, the best actress on earth, shouldn’t be slumming in drivel
like this. The film ends with what is clearly a message that a sequel is
coming. God forbid!
This is too adult for children and too childish for adults. Worse, it’s
yet another film in which a gorgeous woman, Michelle Monaghan (a Lt.
Colonel, no less), finds Adam Sandler attractive. Only in Hollywood.
Some films are horrible but often have one or two things in them that
are tolerable. Not this.