The Legend of Tarzan
I was expecting yet another Tarzan origin story, so I was pleasantly surprised by this film. Chronologically, it takes place after the first two books. Tarzan is living in London, he has his title, lands, and is married to the love of his life, Jane Porter. Meanwhile, bad things are happening in the Belgian Congo (which is historically accurate), and Tarzan goes to investigate. Jane is not being left behind, so adventure follows. Really good cast on this. Margo Robbie as Jane, Samuel L. Jackson as an actual historical figure (who kicked ass, and took names), and Christoph Waltz being excellent as the bad guy.
A New Leaf
We're venturing back to 1971 for this interesting twist on the RomCom genre. Walther Matthau plays a New City City socialite who finds himself in the horrible position of being poor. It's not some evil twist of fate that caused this, he just lived beyond his means at a rapid pace. His butler suggests an alternative solution to honorable suicide, find a rich woman and marry her. Matthau's character takes this a step further and plans to murder his wife so he go back to his life of a rich bachelor. Enter Henrietta Lowell, played by Elaine May (who also wrote and directed the movie), a very rich, and socially clueless, young woman with no living family. This film has fine acting, but May's over the top portrayal of the nearly helpless (except in her chosen field of biology) is a comedic high point. Matthau's character, Henry, quickly wins her heart, gets married, goes on the honeymoon, and secures his financial security. All that is left is to kill Henrietta. When moving into his new wife's mansion and estate, Henry finds the staff has been robbing his nearsighted wife blind, all with the help of her lawyer. This offends Henry's principles, and fires the staff (at gunpoint when needed), and replaces with with a honest and reliable staff. Shortly after that, when Henrietta is about to drown and make his dreams come true, Henry finds that he would miss his wife, who truly loves him, and saves her. A delightful comedy with really first rate acting.
Honestly, a better movie than I expected. Ben Affleck played the poker faced autistic genius who does forensic accounting for very bad people for very large amounts of money. In some ways, this movie has a similar theme to Revenge of the Nerds, i.e. don't piss off the really smart people. Except in this case, messing with the smart kid with the nerd glasses can get you killed. Raised by his father (Army Intelligence spook) not to be a victim, the Accountant is deadly dangerous, and will feel no remorse as he shoots you through the head. The movie actually tells a good story, in which people are not what they appear to be on the surface, but face it, it's the fight scenes that you are going to rewatch it for. Fast, in close fighting and CQB Gun Fu. Plus some nice long range Barrett Fu. One of the bad guys pulls a knife, the Accountant pulls out his study leather belt. I've been practicing martial arts for a long time, trust me, the guy with the knife was deep trouble. Even Anna Kendrick, who also plays an accountant (she wanted to study art, but her dad said that wouldn't pay the mortgage), gets some good hits in, including bashing a bad guy's arm with toilet lid. Remember kids, a true warrior uses the weapons at hand (bonus nerd points for identifying the Chuck Norris movie that is from). Kendrick's character isn't a dark accountant, she's just a regular nerd accountant doing cost accounting. I've also taken some graduate accounting courses, so if you are going to do accounting, cost accounting is the most fun. Trust me on this one. Trust me on The Accountant too. Fire up the popcorn and enjoy.
Probably the best DC live action movie since the latest Batman trilogy. A good action movie. Personally, I thought all the Jared Leto/Joker hype was seriously over rated after watching this film. Cesar Romero could have done it better, given the freedom of a R rating. Much better performances were given by Margot Robbie and Viola Davis. Will Smith was good playing Will Smith, which was more convincing than Leto's Joker. Still it was worth the rental and the popcorn.
A good solid SciFi film that combines a psychologic thriller with a love story, and throws in a locked box mystery for flavor. The setting is a colony ship taking 5000 colonists to another planet. Since the trip is 120 years long, so everybody, including the crew is in cyro-stasis. The fun starts when the ship takes some damage the automated systems cannot handle. One of the first glitches is waking a passenger up 90 years early. Yup, for the first chunk of the movie, it's all Chris Pratt, and an android bartender. He spends a year trying to figure out what's going on, and slowing losing it from the isolation. Add in Jennifer Lawrence's character for reasons I'm not going to give away, and now you have the romance part. When things go start really wrong, from the accumulating damage over the previous two years, toss in a crew member waking up. He doesn't live long, damage from multiple failures in his stasis pod, but it gives the passengers the access they need to save the ship, and the 5000 other passengers, literally at the last possible moment. It's not great, but solidly acted and well crafted.
Going with something different for the 4th of July pick this year. Mel Gibson's revolutionary war movie tells the tale of the war in the Southern states, and the hit and run tactics used by the American forces. Excellent movie with outstanding performances by Heath Ledger and Jason Isaacs. Star Trek fans will be happy to sde Rene Auberjonois. Also featured is veteran actor Adam Baldwin, who should have played a tough guy in a Libertarian Space Western for five seasons.
Smokey and the Bandit
A B-Movie classic. The writer and director, Hal Needham, freely, and proudly, admits that this was a low budget film that was intended for regional (i.e. Southern) appeal. It picked up some box office appeal, when Needham's friend Burt Reynolds read the script and said that he wanted to play the Bandit. It picked up some more star power with Jackie Gleason and Sally Field. Not leaving Jerry Reed out, but he was better known for his musical career than his acting. The film was made for just over $4 million and was the second highest grossing film of 1977. This film is an American Classic. If you haven't seen it, don't wait. Fire up the popcorn and enjoy a film that Billy Bob Thorton claims is considered to be more of a documentary in the South.
Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets
Luc Besson had a lot of fun bringing one of his favorite childhood comics to the big screen, and it show. This is a fun film. Awesome special effects, visually stunning, and gloriously true to the pulp origins of the original comic. The weak of part of the film is the two lead characters, who gave it a good try, but just didn't nail the chemistry needed. Still worth the popcorn and rental, especially if you have a nice big screen with a good sound system.
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