Monthly Archives: April 2017

Going In Style

Movie:  Going In Style

Rating:  4 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:    The Wexler Steel Company, a major employer of the community, has gone belly up and moving the operation to Vietnam.  Not only has that meant its employees are now out of a job, but through some dubious restructuring of the company’s debts, the bastards have sucked the money out of the company pension fund.  That leaves retirees like Joe (Michael Caine), Willie (Morgan Freeman), and Albert (Alan Arkin) up the creek without a paddle.  Joe is about to have his home repossessed by an unsympathetic bank, and Willie’s kidney is giving out and needs money for his medical bills.  The three best pals meet for lunch at Nat’s Diner every day as their funds dwindle, desperate for answers but don’t see a way out of their dilemma.

Then one day Joe is in line at the bank when a gang of masked gunmen burst into the bank and rob the place.  The hold-up goes like clockwork, and the obviously professional gang get away with a great deal of money.   The robbery plants a thought in Joe’s head.  What if we were able to rob a bank?  It would solve our problems.  After much debate, the trio decide to go for it.  What have they got to lose?  But they need help from a real criminal who can train them.  And they need a plan, a foolproof plan.  Because at their age, they can’t afford to get caught….

This movie is a joy to watch.  With three old pros like Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Arkin, all Academy Award winners, how can you go wrong?  The chemistry with this cast is perfect, with additional help from fine actors like Ann-Margret, Christopher Lloyd, Matt Dillon and John Ortiz.  Along with the great actors you get a first rate heist caper with a plot that holds water and entertains the viewer till the very end of the movie.  Do yourself a favor and go see this film.

Mini Trailers:   Bank Robber – “Ladies and Gentlemen.  Thank you for your attention.  We’ve come to make a withdrawal!  Please do not call the police for 90 seconds.  A shootout never ends well.”

Steel Company Spokesman – “The company pension fund is being dissolved.”  Joe shouts – “Thirty years of hard work means shit to you people!”

Albert – “You could have been shot!  Or worse.”  Joe – “What’s worse than being shot?”  Albert – “Being shot twice.”

Waitress to Depressed Geezers – “No pies?”  Willie – “We’re watching our waistlines today.”  Albert – “Plus we’re shit broke!”

Joe – “We hit a bank and we get away with it, we keep out dignity.”  Albert – “What if we don’t?”  Joe – “We’ll get away with it.  We got experience and smarts.”  Willie – “And arthritis, shingles, and gout.”

Supermarket Security Officer to Geezers – “Look what you did to Cindy.  She looks like a Colombian drug mule!”

Criminal Tutor – “You have to be in great shape.  I realize you guys are 4000 years old, but under those masks you have to look in great shape.”

Bank Robber – “It is a culture’s duty to take care of its elders.”






Free Fire

Movie:  Free Fire

Rating:  3 1/2 stars (Out of 5)

Review:   It’s Boston in 1978, and a group of people with ties to the IRA have a suitcase full of money that they want to swap for automatic assault rifles.  They have arranged to meet another group of people who have said rifles, and have agreed to sell them.  They meet in an empty warehouse to cautiously make the transaction.  After a brief hiccup where there is a discussion about the specific weapons that were ordered, M-16s or AR-17s, the deal appears to be concluded to everyone’s satisfaction.  But, there may be a fly or two in the ointment, so to speak.  Maybe someone in one of the groups did a bad thing with a relative in the other group.  Or maybe there is too much money in that suitcase to just let it go out the door.  Avarice, anger, and weapons make a dangerous brew.  Almost anything could set off an explosion of violence, and that warehouse could become a … Free Fire Zone.

This is a quirky movie produced by Martin Scorcese that teeters between an ultra violent movie and a very dark comedy.  The plot is simplistic enough, and the action is oddly compelling as what starts out as a simple weapons sale descends into one of the longest shootouts in cinematic history.  A low budget film with some quality actors having a bit of fun in different roles than we generally see them, including Brie Larson, Armie Hammer and Cillian Murphy.  This film is definitely worth a look before it gets squeezed out of theaters by the summer blockbusters (yes, I am thinking about you Fast And Furious).

Mini Trailers:  Two low lifes – “Got any headache pills?”  “I got smack.”  “Talk about using a f*cking hammer to crack a nut!”

Weapon Dealer – “They are going to bring the guns in, put them right here, and tweedle dee and tweedle dum can load them into your little clown car.”

Another low life – “As God is my witness I did not bottle that slut!”

Confused criminal – “Who the f*ck is shooting at us now?”

Curious criminal – “Did you cheaters bring a sniper?”

Bad girl – “We can’t all be nice girls.”

Seemed Odd To Me:  T’was a bit strange to me that everyone had more extra ammo to reload their weapons than the 101st had at the battle of Bastogne.  But hey, just nitpicking….


Ghost In The Shell

Movie:  Ghost In The Shell

Rating:  3 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:   In the near future, robotics technology has advanced to such a degree that many people pay to have their bodies “enhanced” in some way.  The line between humans and cyborgs is getting pretty blurred.  In the case of a young woman near death from a traumatic accident, Dr. Ouelet (Juliette Binoche) is able to save her life utilizing cybernetic technology.  But all that is left of her humanity is her brain; the rest of her is a full body prosthesis.  Her name is Major (Scarlett Johansson), and she is chosen to be a part of an elite special ops police task force known as Section 9.

There is a need for Section 9 in the overcrowded and corrupt city of Niihama, Japan.  Greedy corporations wield enormous power, and tech crime is rampant.  One corporation, Hanka, is targeted by a mysterious hooded figure known as Kuze (Michael Pitt) who kills to satisfy an agenda known only to himself.  Major, assisted by her able partner Batou (Pilou Asbaek), are soon on the trail of the mysterious terrorist that leads them to places totally unexpected.

This is a futuristic film noir in the tradition of Blade Runner.  The city is dark and vastly over-populated with skyscrapers sprouting like mushrooms everywhere.  The characters originated in Japanese manga books, and evolved into television and movies.  While the plot is not always obvious (or especially relevant), the action is brisk and special effects plentiful.  Sci Fi fans will not be disappointed.  Scarlett Johansson is currently the premiere female action hero in films today.

Mini Trailers:  Reference to Major – “I don’t think of her as a machine.  I think of her as a weapon.”

Kuze – “Cooperate with Hanka Robotics and be destroyed.”

Section 9 Chief to Major – “You are more than just a weapon.  You have a soul in a ghost.”

Dr. Ouelet to Major – “You’re not invulnerable.  I can repair the body, but I can’t protect the mind.”

Section 9 Chief – “Don’t send a rabbit to kill a fox.”

“My name is Major and I give my consent.”

That’s Odd Dept:  For such a huge city there really isn’t much traffic at all….