SUICIDE SQUAD

I thought this would be more fun. And funnier. All the good lines are in the trailer. For the most part it’s grim laced with more grim and sprinkled with stupid. Stick me in front of a well-done film and I’ll buy into the most preposterous scenario. But I couldn’t buy any of this. Even Harley got old. And I hated Leto’s Joker. Heath Ledger’s layered portrayal set the standard and all Jokers must be measured against his.
FF=2.

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GOOSEBUMPS

Jack Black plays R.L. Stine in this horror comedy geared for kids. The plot releases a horde of Stine’s monsters on the town [the lawn gnomes, the Blob that ate Everyone, the Mummy, Slappy (of course), and many more] and the kids and Stine have to return them to the printed page. After a slow opening it starts rolling and is a lot of fun. Watch for R.L. himself in a cameo near the end.

FF=2

AVENGER

No funny spandex costumes here.  I rented this TV movie because it stars Sam Elliott.  It’s okay.  Some good action but I expected more twists in a story based on a Frederick Forsyth novel. For Sam Elliott fans only.

FF=2

EVERLY

No, this is not about singing brothers.  This is what grindhouse cinema is all about: non-stop action, low budget, few sets (most of the action occurring on just one set), Swiss-cheese plot, bizarre supporting characters, blood and gore galore but some humor too, and starring Salma Hayek. If you like all of the above and want to rest your brain for 92 minutes, “Everly” is for you.

FF=2

GRACE OF MY HEART

An easygoing bio-fic from 1996 about a female singer-songwriter in the 60s. The character is an amalgam of Carole King, Cynthia Weil, and Ellie Greenwich. John Turturro does a hilarious turn as a bewigged Phil Spector type.  Bridget Fonda plays a not-yet-out-of-the-closet Lesley Gore character.  The songs are surprisingly good (I’m thinking of picking up the soundtrack) as you watch music change from the girl-group sound to psychedelia, but it’s not a film that requires much focus. Good to have on while you’re puttering around the room doing other stuff.

FF=2

WILD CARD

Available On Demand contemporaneous with its theatrical release.  A middling Jason Statham action film — nowhere near as frenetic as “Crank” or his “Transporter” films. Turns out it’s a remake of the 1986 Burt Reynolds vehicle, “Heat.” Some non-touristy locations in Las Vegas and a couple of very busy fight scenes — I watched the last one twice — but I was hoping for more from the William Goldman script — a nifty plot twist, some neato dialogue — but this could have been written by anyone of a hundred scripters.

FF=2

NOVEMBER MAN

Against all odds, I enjoyed this preposterous film.  The high concept: veteran superspy is being tracked down by his expert protégé. (Where have you seen that before?) And if you don’t figure out Mila’s identity ten seconds after her alter-ego appears on the screen, well, I don’t know what to tell you.  But it’s well executed (Brosnan’s Bond chops are on display)  and directed and efficiently paced.  With one twist I didn’t see coming (I wasn’t looking for one and it doesn’t alter the path of the story) it all ends as it should after the requisite gunfights and car chases.

FF=2