HITMAN – AGENT 47

I never played this videogame so I can’t make comparisons. I like mindless action at times and this had plenty of action with minimal mind. Lots of borrowings from (homages to?) other action films. If you want to feed your eyes while your brain idles in neutral, you could do worse.

FF=1

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PAN

I’m not saying I enjoyed this simply to be contrarian. I truly did. Perhaps all the bad reviews made me expect a bomb but Pan turned out to be spirited fun. I didn’t recognize Jackman as Blackbeard, nor Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily. One fly in the proverbial ointment was the portrayal of James Hook. I can buy him being a good guy and Peter’s ally in the past (an interesting twist, in fact) but trying to make him an Indiana Jones/Han Solo clone (even down to the nick-of-time return after a supposed desertion) did not work. Wrong actor, perhaps. Too dark for little kids, however.

FF=1

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.

I’m not sure why this got such bad reviews. Yes, it has a stereotypical Cold-War plot, but that’s just an excuse to put the characters through their paces. It dances along with some laughs here and there and looks gorgeous (so does Alicia Vikander). A popcorn movie, fer sher. If you demand more from all your movie watching, skip this. If you don’t mind a movie that doesn’t take itself seriously, this is for you.

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THE SALVATION

You’d swear you were watching a Sergio Leone spaghetti western. But it’s by a Danish company, starring a Dane (Mads Mikkelsen), and directed by a Dane. Does that make it a stegte-sild western instead? Even odder: it was filmed in South Africa (which I didn’t realize till I saw it in the credits). Whatever and wherever, it’s a well-done, if familiar, western (despite Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s villain being a bit over the top).

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IT FOLLOWS

Well, this was a pleasant surprise. It has its plot holes but gets big points for originality (we don’t need another haunted house movie) with a relentless, homicidal, supernatural stalker passed on like an STD. The film doesn’t explain what it is, how it came to be, what’s its agenda. It simply is what it is and does what it does. The working class suburban setting and the real-looking teens lend the film a gritty feel. The camera work, the low budget, and the minimalist score give it a real =Halloween= vibe.  The moral dilemma presented to the characters and the audience places this a cut above the pack,

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FOCUS

Will Smith has matured into this sort of role, where he’s the teacher rather than the student.  He’s smooth, the cast is excellent (Margot Robbie is new to me but she’s easy on the eyes) and the script has some interesting scams. I didn’t feel any real chemistry between Smith and Robbie that’s no biggee.  Hardly a riveting film but I was engaged and entertained (although the end was hard to buy). A lightweight diversion.  Some days that’s all you need.

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THE FORGER

I rented this thinking it was a caper film but it’s really a family drama. Three generations played to perfection by Plummer, Travolta, and Tye Sheridan (the kid from “Mud”). The art forgery/scam seems like an afterthought.  The boy’s brain cancer sets the story in motion at a leisurely pace. Not for those looking for an action film but it has its rewards.

FF=1.