Category Archives: Action & Adventure

Daylight (1996) Movie Review By Steve Wilkins

Daylight Review

Director: Rob Cohen
Writer: Leslie Bohem
Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Amy Brenneman, Viggo Mortensen, Sage Stallone

Stallone stars as Kit Latura, a former rescuer turned taxi driver.  During a casual night everything goes unexpectedly wrong in the New Jersey tunnels  thanks to fleeing criminals causing an explosion within. He finds himself playing heroics to help trapped civilians escape due to prior career knowledge.

This movie initially bombed in its theatrical release but upon personal viewing, the movie is much better than what it ever lead to believe.  Possibly one of Stallone’s best performances, Daylight is an edge of the seat action/thrill ride that really never lets up.

Tasked with the care of multiple civilians, you genuinely feel the burden put on Latura as he does everything in his power to get everyone to safety. He finds strength in character within Madelyne Thompson (Brenneman), a young woman that was  essentially leaving Jersey for a better life before events unfolded.

I was only 14 when this movie dropped and not yet heavily immersed into film to even begin to understand the logistics of it all but even now no matter how many times I watch this title, I  can’t believe how poorly received it was.  Clearly,  no movie is without flaw but overall, Daylight still holds up well today and really could deliver a sequel.

Always suggested,  Daylight is a great popcorn flick well worth the time.   Enjoy

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Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw (2019) Movie Review By The Moviie Couple

Hobbs and Shaw Review

Director: David Leitch
Writers: Chris Morgan (story by), Chris Morgan (screenplay by)
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba

Moviie Couple here!   We went to see Hobbs and Shaw this weekend!  Remember we are just a married couple that loves movies!  We’re here to tell you if we liked it.  Film experts we are not!  Just a quick reminder of our rating system.   Mrs. Moviie Couple and I, rate films on whether they are worth the cash spent on a night out.  we use a 1-6 Dollar Bill system.  1-2 Bills equal a waste of both our time and money!  3-4 Bills equal Meh to Pretty Good, money well spent!  5-6 Bills equal Wow!  Well worth the price of dinner, movie and sitter!  Please take our money again!

Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw is a spinoff from the most surprising mega franchise in Hollywood not to feature people in spandex or capes!  Directed by David Leitch of Deadpool 2 fame and featuring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Staham reprising their roles as Lawman Luke Hobbs and Rogue MI6 agent Deckard Shaw from the Fast and the Furious films, this movie brings the two characters in conflict with super soldier Brixton Lore.  Lore works for the evil organization known only as Eteon.  Eteon is after a killer virus known as Snowflake, that just so happens to be in the possession of Shaw’s sister, MI6 agent Hattie Shaw played by Vanessa Kirby.  Hattie is on the run…..Wait does any of this really matter?  Who cares?  We are all here to watch Johnson and Statham trade smack talk, out “tough guy” each other, kick loads of ass while driving very fast cars and probably save the world a few times before the closing credits!  A plot is secondary to what the audience really wants to see.  Everyone wants to see the mountain of muscles with the eyebrow and the 100 watt smile that is The Rock, team up with the martial arts madness, gravely voice and shark scaring smirk of Jason Statham as they face off against the man who really should be James Bond!  So is it any good?  Does it deliver what it promises?  Let’s grab some guns, put the pedal to the metal and cue the explosions!  It’s time to find out!

Mr. Moviie Couple:  This movie will never be compared to Schindler’s List or Out of Africa, but it isn’t trying to be.  It is more than aware of what type of film it is and is proud in letting that flag fly!  Sure we get a bit (and I mean a sliver of a bit) of drama.  We learn of Luke Hobbs family issues, we learn about the Shaw siblings and their life growing up.  This is a Fast and Furious movie after all, so the theme of family is almost obligatory by now, but that’s not the point here for real.

This film won’t redefine the action genre in the way John Wick did years ago, but again it’s not trying to be anything other than what it is, a buddy action comedy for this generation.  In that aspect it succeeds.  Johnson is, well…..Johnson.  He has his persona down pat by now.  He knows what his audience wants from him and he makes sure they are never disappointed. Statham does the same, he gives his fans exactly what they want from him.  The standout is Ms. Kirby.  She shined in Mission Impossible: Fallout, but that role was just a sampler.  Here she shows she can stand toe to toe with two of the biggest male action stars of our day.  She is a star and proves it here running and even outpacing the big dogs.  Elba has the thankless role here.  As he describes himself in his introduction when asked who he is: “Bad Guy” pretty much says it all and there is little else to it.  As a presence that can face off with the twin poster boys for cinema machismo, Elba is a great choice, but still he deserves more to do.  Elba is an actor on a level Johnson and Statham would need a step ladder to even see, let alone achieve, but he never gets to show it here.

All that being said, the movie delivers on the expected action and gives us a modern throwback to the buddy cop films of the eighties.  One scene even has Hattie sitting at a computer with a poster of the classic 48 Hours on the wall.  The scene is very apropos as Hobbs and Shaw comes very close to a mix of those forgotten films as if you crossed Lethal Weapon with the effects and action of a modern Avengers film!   To that point Kevin Hart provides a role very reminiscent of Joe Pesci in the Lethal Weapon series.  Hart, along with Ryan Reynolds and Helen Mirren show up and add a bit of gravitas to the production.

I appreciated Hobbs and Shaw for hitting the mark they were aiming for.  The jokes got a little ham fisted and many of the put downs between the leads were either written by or overheard in a high school boys locker room, but the action delivers in a big way.  The plot gets lost a bit, if you think too hard about it you’ll be taking the fun out of it.  Of course we are left with a cliffhanger of sorts as the mysterious leader of Eteon promises to see Hobbs and Shaw again (I think I have an idea which actor will be playing the mastermind, but I’ll keep my guess to myself as that particular actor has been burning the “CANDLE” at both ends lately and I may be wrong).  I only hope if the duo does come back, we get a bit more of the family drama mixed in with the copious fight scenes.

So as a modern tribute or update to the great action comedies of the eighties I enjoyed Hobbs and Shaw.  Who knew you could dust off the old Lethal Weapon, 48 Hours,  Beverly Hills Cop blueprints add in a little Vanessa Kirby as the new Renee Russo and it could work again!   Hobbs and Shaw gets 4 Bills not for breaking any new ground, but for mining some old ground with a modern flair.  Pretty Good, maybe you’ll like it, but don’t expect to come away challenged, just put your seat belt on and enjoy the ride!

Mrs. Moviie Couple:  *Sigh* I try and say something positive about every movie.  I understand all the hard work that each person puts into each and every production, but this is going to be tough for me.

-There is a reason I have NEVER seen a Fast and the Furious movie.  I have watched my hubbie and sons both go to the theatre and watch many of the films in this series at home, but not once have I seen one in its entirety.  Maybe a scene or two with The Rock as I was passing through the living room, just to be fair, but that is all.  Well now that I have seen this part of the series, I am glad to say my past decisions have been vindicated! Uggh!  I am not an action film girl!  It’s just not for me!  I thought I was over Superhero movies, but I’ll take another Avengers or Shazam over another Fast and Furious anyday!

The actors as far as action actors go were phenomenal!  Especially Vanessa Kirby!  She more than held her own with these two intimidating male specimens!

-This just is not my kind of movie. But different strokes for different folks!  I must say the fans that like action driven films will really enjoy it.  There was a round of applause in the theatre once it ended that was so loud it snapped me out of the punching and explosion numbness that had consumed me nearly a half hour into the movie.  Johnson is a true star and still has a killer smile!  I can’t wait to see him in Jumanji 2!

I give this movie 1.5 Bills!  Just mind numbing action and not much else, even The Rock couldn’t save this picture for me.  Just stay home and wait to see it on demand with some pizza and a six pack! On the way home, I spoke about how Johnson and Statham’s roles have grown from their appearances in the previous Fast and Furious movies. I told Mrs. Moviie Couple how Staham had started as a villain in one of them and now he’s just one of the good guys.  She just turned up the radio and asked me why I was still talking about “That film”.

Yikes!  I told her my theory on who I believe the mysterious mastermind was and she just gave me “The Look”, there wasn’t much movie conversation after that!  My 4 Bills and the Mrs. 1.5 Bills, adds up to a rounded down average of 2.5 Bills for Hobbs and Shaw.  Just barely a Meh average.  Agree to disagree I guess.  When it comes to movies like this  Mr. Moviie Couple is from Mars and Mrs. Moviie Couple is from Venus or something like that.

So until next time, remember Summer Blockbusters are wrapping up, but the movie season never ends! Be sure to check out our Twitter or Facebook for a clue to our next movie review.  Mr. & Mrs. Moviie Couple out!

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018) Blu-Ray Review By D.M. Anderson

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote ReviewThe tumultuous production was even the subject of a feature-length documentary…in 2002.

Director: Terry Gilliam
Writers: Terry Gilliam, Tony Grisoni
Starring Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Joana Ribeiro, Olga Kurylenjo, Stellan Skarsgard, Jordi Molia, Oscar Jaenada

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote was finally released in 2018, a minor miracle unto itself. Director Terry Gilliam had been trying to get the damn thing made for 25 years, only to be continually thwarted by development hell, false starts, budget problems, legal issues, natural disasters, cast changes and no-small-amount of his own obsessiveness. The tumultuous production was even the subject of a feature-length documentary…in 2002.

Though he kept busy making many films in the interim, Gilliam is probably glad to finally scratch this particular itch…if nothing else, just to spite everyone who turned his labor of love into a decades-long debacle. Some of you reading this might be asking if it was worth the all the trouble, which isn’t really a fair question. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote will probably never fully escape the shadow of its production history, and that’s a shame because – baggage notwithstanding – this is ultimately a very good film. Even great in parts.

It helps, of course, if the viewer is already in tune with Gilliam’s quirkier tendencies, since this modern day variation of Cervantes’ novel is a strange, surreal and often funny journey. Anyone familiar with the director is also aware he can be pretty self-indulgent, unconcerned whether or not others are on-board. Because of their unique aesthetic, narrative approach and abundance of dark humor, Terry Gilliam films could be considered their own little genre. Viewed in that context, this is his best work since 12 Monkeys.

That’s not to say The Man Who Killed Don Quixote isn’t without its issues, the main one being that it’s overlong. The story also gets off to a shaky start, with commercial director Tobi Grisoni (Adam Driver) embodying just about every burned-out-genius cliché we’ve ever seen. In fact, these early scenes don’t even feel like they belong in a Gilliam film. However, once Tobi visits the village where he once made a student film about Don Quixote, the film really takes off, both visually and narratively. He’s reacquainted with the elderly cobbler he cast in the lead (Jonathan Price), who has since become convinced he is Quixote and thinks Tobi is Sancho Panza. Several amusing circumstances have the two of them ending up on an episodic series of bizarre adventures, which eventually includes trying to rescue the young girl he once cast in the same film, Angelica (Joana Jaenada), now working as an escort working for a vicious Russian magnate.

That’s the nuts & bolts plot, but what makes it memorable is Gilliam’s penchant for blurring the line between fantasy and reality. Lavishly-produced, the film is alternately dark and whimsical, bolstered by interesting characters and some wonderful moments that unexpectedly transition into the surreal. Most importantly, the journey ends up being lot of fun, something this writer hasn’t been able to say about a Terry Gilliam film in a long time.

Ironically, for a movie with such a torrid past, this Blu-ray features no substantial bonus features covering its history. Perhaps that’s intentional, since enough has already been written and said about it. Besides, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote deserves to be enjoyed on its own merits. It may not rank among Terry Gilliam’s best work, but it’s a fine reminder that he’s got some juice left in the tank.

Rim of the World (2019) Movie Review By Steven Wilkins

 

Rim of the World Review

Director: McG
Writer: Zack Stentz
Stars: Jack Gore, Miya Cech, Benjamin Flores Jr, Alessio Scalzotto

Surprisingly delightful is the best way to sum up this adventure film. Opening up in space an astronaut is scrambling for her life to get back to Earth with sensitive information after having been attacked by an alien craft (yup, there’s aliens).

With focus set on Alex (Gore), we find him being sent off to Summer Camp to better interact with kids his age opposed to staring at screens all day.  In time upon arrival we’re quickly introduced to Zhenzhen, Darriush and Gabriel whom all cross paths during a singular event when they stray away from a group outing.

As said before, aliens are involved and have attacked Earth. While fleeing for their lives the children encounter the lost astronaut who tasks Alex and the others with delivering a key to help stop the invasion and so the most thrilling summer of their lives kick off.

From the time the invasion begins its pretty much a non-stop ride of survival. Few gripes come up as Benjamin’s character is a bit over the top with the cliché bullhead role and some lines from the start of the film seem…off. Overall, Rim of the World is a lot of fun and a great family film well worth killing some time over. Enjoy.

Grade: A-

T-34 (2018) Blu Ray Movie Review By D.M. Anderson

T-34 Review

Tanks for the Memories

Director: Aleksey Sidorov
Writer: Aleksey Sidorov
Starring Alexander Petrov, Vinzenz Kiefer, Irina Starshenbaun, Viktor Dobronrnov, Yuriy Borisov, Anton Bogdanov.

The Russian film, T-34, is sort-of a throwback to the old war epics I grew up on. No anti-war agenda, cynicism or commentary on how combat changes a soldier. It doesn’t drop the viewer into the unflinching chaos of battle with hyper-realistic depictions of human carnage. With an emphasis on plot and action, it’s more Great Escape than Saving Private Ryan, something of a rarity in modern war films. As such, the movie is a lot of fun.

During World War II, Nikolay Ivushkin (Alexander Petrov) is a Russian tank commandeer who manages to destroy an entire squad of German tanks during a skirmish. Unfortunately, he is shot by SS officer Klaus Jager (Vinzenz Kiefer). Four years later, Ivushkin is a POW scheduled to be executed for refusing to give his name and rank. However, Jager remembers him. Still impressed by what Ivushkin was able to do with a single tank during their previous encounter, Jager makes him an offer he really can’t refuse: Assemble a crew to restore a stolen Russian tank (the T-34 of the title) and serve as an unarmed practice target for young cadets. If they survive, Ivushkin will be required to train new German tank crews.

Ivushkin reluctantly agrees, but while he and his crew are prepping the tank, they discover a some live shells hidden beneath the bodies of the dead crew the Nazi’s left inside. It’s at this point Ivushkin comes up with an escape plan, using the tank to blast their way out and head for the Czech border. He gets some assistance from Anya (Irina Starshenbaum), another POW who serves as an interpreter between Ivushkin and Jager. She offers to steal a much-needed map if they take her with him. The second half of the film is a thrilling chase across the countryside, with Ivushkin trying to outwit Jager, who unleashes troops, tanks and planes to track him down.

I don’t know how plausible T-34 is, but it’s fast-paced, exciting and often suspenseful, aided considerably by impressive action and special effects (particularly the slow-motion scenes of shells striking their targets). Though fairly light on characterisation, Ivushkin and his crew certainly grow on us and Jager is an effective villain (his grudging respect for Ivushkin renders him not-entirely hateful). However, the pointless romantic subplot between Ivushkin and Anya feels shoehorned in for the sake of a love scene. One minute they’re allies, the next they’re practically star-crossed lovers.

Other than that, T-34 is a welcome throwback to the World War II movies Hollywood used to crank out before getting all serious and self-important on us. There isn’t a lot of depth, but with a simple story, likeable characters and some big, loud action, it’s well-crafted and very entertaining.

Galveston (2018) Movie Review By Justin Aylward

Galveston Review

Director: Mélanie Laurent
Writers: Nic Pizzolatto (as Jim Hammett), Nic Pizzolatto (based upon the novel by)
Stars: Ben Foster, Jeffrey Grover, Christopher Amitrano

Ben Foster has become a silent man in the movies. In films such as Leave No Trace and now Galveston, a new film, he has disguised pain and grief under a veneer of stoicism. He is proving to be a terrific actor whose gifts of understatement are worth more than a million smiles offered by other actors of his generation.

Galveston, directed by Melanie Laurent, her first English language feature, is a perfect dramatic vehicle for Foster. He plays a gruff hitman called Roy whose quest for revenge is blighted after he inadvertently rescues a young teen-tearaway during a botched hit-job, orchestrated by his boss, Beau Bridges. Roy flees to his hometown of Galveston to tie up the loose ends of his life. Elle Fanning plays the teen, a girl who has learned to live a lie but soon loses the will to maintain the deception that has helped her through a difficult life.

The trouble for Roy is that he appears to be dying of a respiratory illness. All his actions seem to be in service of leaving behind a good legacy, or at least some decency to his name. But all the while his crime connections drag him down and tie him to his past deeds. Along the way he meets up with an old lover, one who he was less than kind to. There is a cloud of death and despair that hangs over the character’s lives, but the film is not totally morbid. I enjoyed the scenes of respite between Foster and Fanning. They dance aimlessly at a club and drive with the wind through their hair. These small moments seem to buoy their spirits before the hoodlums draw closer.

Laurent directs the film in a robust fashion intercut with scenes of shouty melodrama that offset the rhythm and tone of the film. But I do admire much of the work. The film is a mood piece and the moods go a long way to delineating the character’s personalities and shortcomings. It’s clear that Laurent found a lot of empathetic material in the script and it’s a story she obviously cares about. There is one lengthy sequence where a battered and bruised Foster escapes capture in a car. There is blood, sweat and plenty of skidmarks. It’s a brilliantly conceived set-piece. Later, a secret is revealed by Fanning that threatens to capsize the dramatic weightiness of the film but it is a twist that worked for me and felt real in the context of the story.

Galveston is an uneven film with moments of intensity and desperation sandwiched between slower passages prone to ponderousness and the odd gesture overdone in nature. I enjoyed and admire the film for its strengths, so much to the point that I can forgive its faults. I expect Laurent to improve in her next features, movies that are worth waiting for.