I was surprised by how much I liked this. It reminded me of Besson’s Lucy except that was all Johanssen’s film whereas Florence Pugh and David Harbour do their best to steal the show here. The de rigueur MCU action scenes are as boring and formulaic as ever but the family scenes, especially the banter, are a highlight. The humor works well to leaven the underlying atrocity of the Widow program. FF=2
(Netflix) The good news: Mary Elizabeth Winstead does a great job in the title role. The bad news: You’ve seen it all before. Think John Wick in Japan crossed with the noir classic D.O.A. MEW has the chops but needs a better script to let her reach the level of badassery she showed as Nikki Swango in Fargo season 3.
Well, this was fun. Written by John Wick’s creator and you can tell. No slack in its jam-packed running time. I love Hutch’s wrist tattoo: unsuited 2 and 7 playing cards. When you see that in Texas hold ’em, you fold immediately. It’s never explained, but in one scene, a threatening tough guy spots it, says “Thank you for your service,” and gets the hell outa there. Nuff said. FF=0
(Amazon) – While “Jolt” owes a lot to Luc Besson, this owes a huge debt to “John Wick” re: the diner standing in for The Continental Hotel and the action choreography. The humor bordered on stupid and I found the neon palette of the cinematography off-putting. But I confess to being engaged. FF=2
BLOOD RED SKY
(Netflix) – this is unabashedly Draculas (by Crouch, Konrath, Strand, and myself) on a plane, right down to the fiery finale. The 2-hour running time stretches the story a bit much, and a little humor would have been welcome amid the tons of action and gore. FF=2
(Netflix) Not bad but utterly predictable. As soon as the trucks and drivers set out on their rescue mission, you know exactly who’s gonna live and who ain’t. Also predictable (considering it’s about trucks) is that it will devolve into a series of chase scenes (which I FF’d through). FF=3
THE TOMORROW WAR
(Prime Video) Lots of echoes here: “Alien,” “The Thing from Another World,” etc., but that’s fine. The aliens are suitably horrific. We know Chris Pratt has action chops, but he was surprisingly effective as a loving father too. Some nice twists and I especially liked the Arctic finale. FF=1
(Prime Video) I can’t see how this film would exist without Luc Besson (I’m thinking of “Lucy” and “Anna” to which this owes a huge debt). I didn’t recognize Kate Beckinsale but did recognize Stanley Tucci and Bobby Cannavale. Lots of action (I’ve no regrets watching it) but it lacks Besson’s patented touch of insanity. FF=1
I caught a piece of this while surfing and decided to rent the DVD (again) because the snippet I saw looked pretty good. Glad I did. This is a well-done thriller. I’d forgotten how well done. (Well, it’s been almost 30 years.) The pacing is excellent, pulling you painlessly through the 2-1/2-hour running time. Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, and Ed Harris, Wilford Brimley, Holly Hunter — even Gary Busey — are perfect for their roles.