Monthly Archives: September 2017

Mother

Movie:  Mother

Rating:  1 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:   In an old farm house in an isolated location, Mother (Jennifer Lawrence) happily toils away renovating her house.  She obviously adores her husband (Javier Bardem), a writer and poet of distinction who may be going through an extended period of writer’s block.  One day a stranger (Ed Harris) happens by (or has he sought out the poet?) and is taken in for the night.  Mother is a bit put out that her husband has offered the stranger a room for the night, but he is an orthopedic surgeon and appears to offer no threat.  Nevertheless, Mother feels the equilibrium of the home has been put off kilter.  The next day the stranger’s wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) appears at the door, and suddenly the house seems to have residents that may be staying a while, much to Mother’s chagrin.  Something about the guests bothers Mother, something seems wrong, possibly even ominous.  Then more people show up at the house, unexpected things happen, and Mother loses control of her little world….

First off, as a reviewer let me say that Jennifer Lawrence is my favorite movie actress and is a major talent.  Javier Bardem and Ed Harris are top shelf actors as well.  The problem for me is writer/director Darren Aronofsky has attempted to make a film so artsy and riddled with allegories and high brow intellectual “stuff” that most viewers are going to be totally lost by the end of the film.  The first half of the film was actually quite interesting, and could have developed into a compelling suspense story.  But that isn’t what happened.  The plot came to the proverbial fork in the road, and Aronofsky put the pedal to the metal and took the “Schlossen Cutoff” and eventually went over the same cliff as Thelma and Louise.  The box office for the movie tanked, and cast and director felt the need to explain the brilliant allegories they were acting out, but viewers don’t want to sit through a movie with a copy of Cliffs notes to figure out what the hell is going on.  Sorry, this movie is a stinker.

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American Assassin

Movie:  American Assassin

Rating:  4 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:   Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) had some tough breaks in his young life.  His parents died in a car crash when he was just 14, and his fiancé, the love of his life didn’t fare too well either.  So when life handed Mitch lemons, he decided to make some sour lemonade.  He created a personal training program that included firearms training, martial arts, and a knowledge of Arabic and Islamic theology to make himself a one man bounty hunter of terrorists.  Not surprisingly, this crusade of Mitch’s does not go unnoticed by the counter-intelligence wing of the CIA, and Mitch is recruited by Deputy Director Irene Kennedy to become a legitimate agent for the CIA.

Soon Mitch is whisked off to a top secret training facility in the Roanoke Valley of Virginia, where he and other wannabe agents are to be broken down and molded into killing machines by former navy seal and all around badass Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton).  Many are weeded out in the rough and tumble training site, but Mitch perseveres and is chosen for an overseas assignment.  The mission is a ballbuster, as terrorists are on the loose in the middle east putting together a nuclear device.  Complicating matters is the activity of a former CIA operative gone rogue known as the Ghost (Taylor Kitsch), who has a grudge against his former bosses.  So team leader Stan Hurley leads an operation to stop the latest terrorist threat, assisted by his maverick protégé Mitch and the very fetching Annika (Shiva Negar).

This is a terrific action film with a good plot and fine cast.  Michael Keaton is at his best as a tough guy trying to keep a rein on the impetuous rookie operative.  The action sequences come often enough to hold your interest throughout the film, but thankfully without a lot of special effects.   This film is a good one, and welcome as we await the next batch of blockbusters in November.

Mini Trailers:  Mitch to Terrorist – “I am prepared to die a martyr.”

Dep. Dir. Kennedy – “You wouldn’t have made it there another 20 seconds alive.”  Mitch – “I guess we’ll never know.”

CIA Director – “This kind of psych file scares the hell out of me.”

Stan Hurley – “You go down out there you’re a ghost.  No one is coming back for you.”

Ghost – “Thousands of Americans are going to burn, Stan.  All because of you.  Enjoy the show.”

Mitch – “You shouldn’t have come back for me.”  Stan – “Don’t get used to it, Kid.”

Stan – “What the hell you looking at?”  Dep. Dir. Kennedy – “You look like a mummy.”  Stan – “Yeah, mummies don’t have to write up a report.”