Wonder Woman

Movie:  Wonder Woman

Rating 4 Stars (Out of 5)

Rating:    Long, long ago, there was a dust-up among the gods, and Ares killed off the other gods.  But before he kicked the bucket, Zeus set up the isolated island kingdom of Themyscira  as the home of the Amazons.  It is protected by mysterious barriers that make it difficult for outsiders to penetrate, so the Amazons, ruled by Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), live an idyllic life in isolation and without the annoying presence of any men in their world.  The Queen’s daughter, Princess Diana, decides at an early age that she wants to become a great warrior, and in time becomes the most skilled warrior on the island.

Then one day the sound of an engine in the sky startles the Amazons, and for the first time their kingdom is penetrated by a WW I fighter plane that crashes off the coast.  Diana pulls the injured pilot, Captain Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) from the craft and saves him from a watery grave.  Unfortunately, Captain Trevor is hotly pursued by a German vessel that finds their way to the Amazon homeland, and Princess Diana learns of the War To End All Wars being waged in 1918 Europe.

Diana, with Captain Trevor, is off to Belgium to stop the trench warfare being fought by the Germans and the Allied armies.  The war seems about over, but Germany is trying for a last gasp victory by developing a super lethal biological weapon from Dr. Maru (Elena Anaya), aka Doctor Poison.  With support from Germany’s General Ludendorff (Danny Huston), the war is about to take a very nasty and toxic turn.  Unless of course, Diana and Steve, along with a motley support crew of Sameer the spy, Charlie the marksman, and an American Indian chief, can somehow intervene and save the day.

This is a great action movie, and very well done.  Recent DC comic movies have not done as well as the Marvel films, but Wonder Woman is a home run.  Gal Gadot is marvelous, as beautiful as she is talented in an action role.  She has the goods to carry the film, and Chris Pine is all the ladies could ask for in a leading man.  The movie does not make the mistake of burdening the audience with endless action sequences to show off their CGI special effects, although the end of the movie indulged itself a tad much in that regard.  All in all, terrific fun.  Can’t wait for the next installment of Wonder Woman!

Mini Trailers:  Diana meets Capt. Trevor – “Wow, you’re a man!”  “Yeah, do I look like one?”  “Who are you?”  “I’m one of the good guys.  Here come the bad guys!”

Diana – “You are a typical example of your sex?”  Steve – “I am…above average.”

Diana to Queen – “If no one else will defend the world from Ares, I will.  I must go.”

Steve – “Welcome to jolly old England.”  Diana – “It’s hideous!”

Diana to British High Command – “Where I come from, generals don’t hide in their offices like cowards.”

Sameer seeing Diana in action – “I’m both frightened and aroused.”

Steve showing Diana the trenches – “No Man’s Land.  This battalion has been here a year and they’ve barely gained an inch.”

Steve to Diana – “It has to be me.  I can save today.  You can save the world.  I love you.”

Gal Gadot:  The last two years Alicia Vikander was wanted for every film.  Now Gal Gadot, the Israeli actress, is the new “It Girl” in Hollywood, and is in great demand for new projects.  If you haven’t seen her she has been in 4 of the Fast and Furious flicks, and last year killed in her Keeping Up With The Joneses role.

About Time:  Wonder Woman has been around in the comics since 1941.  About time she made it onto the big screen as the leading lady.  You go, girl!

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Baywatch

Movie:  Baywatch

Rating:  2 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:   Lt. Mitch Buchannon is on the job.  He is the head lifeguard on the elite Baywatch team that patrols the crowded beach at Emerald Bay, Florida.  Besides the families there to soak up the sun and fun, there are plenty of rowdy college kids and occasionally the criminal sorts preying on the unwary.  Mitch and his core group of incredibly beautiful and extremely competent lifeguards, (Summer Quinn (Alexandra Daddario), CJ Parker (Kelly Rohrbach), and Stephanie Holden (Ifenesh Hadera)), are there to save folks from drowning, getting in trouble, or just getting too sunburned.  Never a boring day at the beach.

Then things got really interesting.  As part of his community service for vague misdeeds, two time Olympic gold medalist Matt Brody, aka the “Vomit Comet” (Zac Efron) shows up to be a new lifeguard.  Cocky to the point of arrogance, Matt does not fit in with the Baywatch team.  Even worse, there seems to be a drug trade near Emerald Bay, and a few dead bodies popping up as well.  Mitch and the gang just can’t let the police worry about crime on the beach.  They are hell-bent on getting to the bottom of whatever is going on.  Maybe the stunning Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra) has something to do with Mitch and Zac’s interest.

Hoo boy, how to describe this movie?  If you like plenty of eye candy on the beach, or have a nostalgia for the old TV show, then you will probably enjoy this flick.  It indulges in frequent juvenile humor (Ronnie Greenbaum stuck in the beach chair was just pathetic), then tries to pivot into some serious action stuff.  Despite Dwayne’s considerable comedic skills and Zac’s impressive pecs, the movie just doesn’t jell.  Sorry gang.

Mimi Trailers:  Mitch to Matt – “This ocean will tear your man-gina off.”

Ronnie staring at CJ Parker – “She’s the reason I believe in God!”

Mitch – “We watch what other people don’t want to watch.  We protect what other people don’t want to protect.”

Mitch – “No one can claw their way to the top without getting a little dirt under their fingernails.  You disobeyed orders.  You can’t save anyone if you die.”  Matt – “I know, I messed up.”

Mitch to cop – “We were in lifeguard pursuit.”  Cop – “There is no such thing as lifeguard pursuit.  You’re just regular people pursuing regular people!”

Matt holding up Olympic medal – “Where did you find this?”  Mitch – “It washed up on the beach.  You only threw it 8 feet.”

Cameos – Yup.  They managed to shoehorn David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson into the show.

Baywatch TV Trivia:  Mitch Buchannon had a lot of relatives pop up over the years.  There was Gayle, Irene, Kyle, Buzz, Jim, Al, and two Hobie Buchannons.

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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….