"Revenge, at first though sweet, bitter ere long back on itself recoils." - John Milton, Paradise LostKilling has become so routine in movies today that no one blinks an eye when half a dozen people are slaughtered in the space of thirty seconds. Not that many people die in so short a time in Jeremy Saulnier's Blue Ruin, however, but the violence is, as the director himself describes it, "brutal, shocking and disturbing." The main character, Dwight (Macon Blair) is an inept bumbler but one who is driven to exact revenge for his parents murder, a decision that leads to many and varied dead ends, both literal and figurative. Though Dwight is not an especially sympathetic protagonist and is more often than not, an object of laughter, his presence throughout the film is captivating with Blair's performance superbly capturing his emotionless banality.Set in rural Virginia, we know little of Dwight's background and there are no extraneous sub-plots, one-liners, fatherly mentors, or love affairs to distract us from finding out. He is not mentally ill, bullied in school, or a man seething with anger, but a lonely and isolated individual doing what is expected of him in a society where violence is equated with manhood. When we first meet Dwight, he is a long-haired, disheveled, and generally unkempt-looking individual who you would probably want to avoid if he was walking behind you late at night. Down on his luck, he sleeps in a rusty old blue Pontiac that looks about as scruffy as he does, eats food out of garbage dumps, and sneaks into people's homes to take a shower.We only find the cause of his present state when a supportive policewoman tells him that Carl Cleland (Brent Werzner), the man who was in prison for killing his parents has just been released after serving many years. Revenge is swift and bloody when Dwight follows the newly-freed man into the men's room at a bar and stabs him to death with a knife, an attack that leaves no doubt that stabbing someone in the throat produces lots of blood. Unthinkingly leaving his registered car at the scene of the crime, Dwight, now clean shaven and looking like any suburban businessman, knows that he has opened up a war between families and that his sister Sam (Amy Hargreaves) will be targeted by the rest of the Cleland clan, stereotypically good ol' boys.The Cleland's decide not to call the police but choose to keep the feud "in house," forcing Dwight to send Sam and her two small children out of town, while he waits for the boys to arrive and they don't let him down. Though he somehow manages to escape after overpowering brother Teddy (Kevin Kolack) and locking him in the trunk of his car, he has an arrow in his leg that he tries to remove it himself with much moaning and groaning. Finally relenting, he lets the doctors finish the job at the nearest hospital (one wonders how many patients the doctors treat with arrows in their legs because they curiously don't ask any questions).Dwight knows that he needs weapons, however, if he is to stay alive and contacts Ben (Devin Ratray, Buzz in Home Alone), a friend from high school and the rest of the film unfolds in an unpredictable, but quietly riveting manner. Winner of the FIPRESCI award at Cannes last year, Blue Ruin is an intense character study that, in essence, is a cautionary tale. While it doesn't glamorize violence, it has enough of it to make us take notice. Though the Bible (Exodus 21:24) tells us that we should take an "eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot," Gandhi's response that "an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind" seems to be more the point that Saulnier is making.
It's over folks. This is the death of the Die Hard franchise. Please.Die Hard has been a guilty pleasure for nearly 20 years, but there's no pleasure in this latest offering. Loud, unbearably stupid, cartoonishly unbelievable, this movie has the emotional impact of an episode of Thunderbirds, but without the clever plot.In a nutshell (which is big enough for this plot, with room to spare) Bruce Willis as John McClean tracks down his errant son to Moscow in the usual Hollywood bid to 'reconnect'. There he finds him working as a CIA operative trying to smuggle a vague dissident out of the country. Bruce joins in - as you do. They would have got away, too, if it wasn't for that pesky dissident getting out of the safety of the car and virtually thumbing his nose at the bad guys to make them chase him. There follows a car chase that's so long and stupid that I considered going to get an ice cream. I could have had a three course meal and they'd still have been there, demolition derbying through rush hour. During this chase, a transit van roars through dense traffic jams like a knife through butter, while the armoured car chasing it is forced to bulldoze its way through walls and over cars to keep up, and an RPG rocket is launched at Bruce with the velocity of someone throwing a tennis ball for a dog, giving him plenty of time to steer around it. Then after many more bullets are dodged - even really fast ones from an Apache helicopter - the pair are captured by a bad guy and about to be executed. Having just slaughtered about two hundred people in half an hour of mindless violence, in this scene the bad guy suddenly slows down and takes time to eat a carrot and emote about a career he might have had in tap dancing, just long enough so that Bruce and Bruce Jr can break free and overwhelm half a dozen heavily armed men with only their distracting giggling and a small knife.As usual in Die Hard, Bruce remains remains virtually unmarked and limp-free throughout, although his regulation white singlet does get grubbier every time he's blown up/shot at/beaten/thrown off a building/falls through a window. So that, at least, is realistic.Everything else is not. Stupid action, stupid dialogue, stupid baddies, stupid plot twists and stupid science. Did you know that radiation that's been 'pooling in here (Chernobyl) for years' can be easily eradicated by a quick squirt of weapons grade Domestos and an iPad? Nor me. Lucky for Bruce, though, as he rushes into the defunct nuclear plant with only his stubble for protection. Oh, and did I tell you? All this happens in one day - from Bruce's arrival in Moscow, through the mayhem and explosions and the nuclear waste and the drive to Chernobyl, which is apparently in a suburb of Moscow. Oh, and that the drive is made in a car they steal that just happens to have a small arsenal in the boot? Lucky again.None of it matters, because - surprise surprise - Bruce Jr forgives Bruce for years of neglect and calls him Dad for the first time, and they fly home as heroes in a sunset glow. The fact that they leave Moscow smoking behind them, littered with corpses of innocent bystanders and disappointed film-fans is neither here nor there. There's a running 'joke' where Bruce keeps yelling 'I'm on vacation!' One can only hope it's a long one.
This is docudrama based on Jackie Robinson's entry into Major League Baseball. It starts in the spring of 1945 when owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) decides to bring in the first negro into the league. Jackie (Chadwick Boseman) would be the one, and this movie tells the story up to the end of his rookie season.This is unabashed sentimentalism. Some subjects deserves and warrants such a treatment. Jackie Robinson is one. His squeaky clean image is maintained here. I like that they used a relative unknown in Boseman. At no time was I thinking that it's Will Smith up there playing Jackie Robinson. Boseman embodied the legendary player. Same can't be said of Branch Rickey. Every time I kept thinking Harrison Ford is playing that character. In the end, he does the job well, and I don't want to complain about that. It's a movie that deserves all the tears and all the cheers. It's a movie that should be seen.
Exploring a more mature subject matter in Logan's existential crisis, is great in theory. In reality though, it requiered an insane amount of boring exposition to connect a huge bunch of characters and their stories, only so they could justifiy a bunch of explosive action sequences, almost like if the genre of the movie dictated them more than the history itself.And because of all that work, the movie felt disjointed and forced, with a bunch of ultimately really superfluous characters talking way too minutes on screen, and really bad villains that took away plenty of the potential excitment in the third act.It wasn't a waste of time, and the story when you think about it is good, but the execution was lackluster and boring.
It wasn't hard to outdo the preachy contrived plot of the 2003 Ranger movie, but this one took a step beyond to become a mainstay.First, it is an adventure film, a Western adventure. The Lone Ranger is a mystique character, and part of the challenge is that he tries to bring men to justice alive. Same for Superman. If they didn't have this challenge, they would have no conflict whatsoever. It makes for a puzzle.Tonto takes center stage here, but unlike the 2003 disaster, he is a character instead of a symbol of a godlike race. Here, no favorites are played. The most evil ones in this story are a pair of white men, and other white men they enlist, but we aren't given sermons about this.Depp is great as Tonto. The museum scenes are a bit too much for me, but it is good for the kids. The out of sequence bits work, partly because they aren't emphasized too much. Depp, as Tonto, craftily plays this with a subtle humor, and that is just what is needed for this.There is the magic and mystique of the Ranger, but also an explanation given for it, as "Nature out of balance". We are dealing with a supernatural chain of events which do allow the Lone Ranger to ride a horse through and on top of railroad cars.Great blend of humor and adventure, and at the same time a crafty blend of Shakespeare and Indiana Jones. This is better than what meets the eye, and what meets the eye is extra special in itself, with plenty of eye candy for men and women. 2b1af7f3a8