Hayek, Jackson, and Reynolds can’t save ‘The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard’

“The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” – Salma Hayek, Ryan Reynolds, and Samuel L. Jackson are three of the biggest movie stars working today, and hey, all three are big-screen comic book characters, to boot.  Don’t forget that Jackson played a Jedi too. So, after assessing their remarkable acting resumes, let’s all recite this together:  “We’re not worthy!  We’re not worthy!” Well, in 2017, this superhero triad starred in the sophomoric action-comedy “The Hitman’s Bodyguard”, and when a film rakes in 176 million dollars worldwide on a budget of “only” 30 big…

Movie of the Week: ‘Personal Best’

June is Pride Month, so our Movies of the Week will be LGBTQ-themed.  Let’s start the celebration with a look back at the 1980s, writer/director Robert Towne’s “Personal Best”! “Personal Best” (1982) – A few drops of water fall on the bone-dry earth, and once the camera pulls back, it reveals that a track athlete anxiously anticipates the starter’s gun to fire. With long blonde locks and dressed in tight-fitting polyester athletic wear, Chris Cahill (Mariel Hemingway) is about to race in the hurdles at Hayward Field in Eugene, OR…

‘A Quiet Place Part II’ is a louder, worthy sequel, but it sacrifices the original’s brilliant beats

“A Quiet Place Part II” – Leading up to April 2018, how many moviegoers raised an eyebrow when learning that John Krasinski was directing and co-writing a major studio release about visually-impaired aliens with other-worldly hearing who wipe out most of civilization, and a surviving family of five – a mom, dad, two children, and an infant – lowered their tones and lightened their steps to dodge the aforementioned invaders? This critic did.   Jim from “The Office” (2005 – 2013)?  What does Krasinski know about horror films?  What did…

‘Those Who Wish Me Dead’ plays it safe and flatlines

“Those Who Wish Me Dead” – Connor Casserly (Finn Little) lives a comfortable, orderly existence in Jacksonville, Fla.  His attentive dad (Jake Weber) and he enjoy a strong relationship and play by the rules at home, school, and work. Connor’s about 11, an age when boys still listen to the fathers.  If need be, this particular kid will follow his pop to the ends of the earth.  In director/co-writer Taylor Sheridan’s “Those Who Wish Me Dead”, he does.  Owen (Weber) and Connor find themselves in grave danger because two assassins…

Statham and Ritchie release keen fury in ‘Wrath of Man’

“Wrath of Man” – Meet Patrick Hill (Jason Statham).  He applies for a job at Fortico Security, a private armored car company that transports millions of dollars from casinos, private banks, and department stores to their owners or whoever in greater Los Angeles.  Twelve trucks and one central hub can sometimes circulate up to 150 million dollars on a single day, so Fortico takes precautions with fortifying its facilities, vehicles, and workforce. So, Patrick takes an 8-hour test to ensure that he has the right stuff, including a marksmanship exam,…

‘The Boy from Medellin’: The J Balvin doc doesn’t hit the right notes

“The Boy from Medellin” – Medellin is the capital city of Colombia’s Antioquia province.  It has a population of just over 2.5 million, and one of its favorite sons filmed his documentary here.  International reggaetón megastar J Balvin makes a triumphant return home to put on a massive show, but then again, “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Director Matthew Heineman follows this chart-busting marvel to his hometown for one week leading up to the planned live spectacular, but a set of soccer-stadium-sized stumbling blocks place…

Don’t wait to see ‘Limbo’, an unconventional immigrant story

“Limbo” – Immigrant feature films frequently land in theatres and streaming services for probably a couple of reasons.  These stories are commonplace threads within societies’ fabrics, and the protagonists face built-in conflicts simply by existing in their newfound environments. In the U.S., we rightfully boast about our immigrant roots, and President John F. Kennedy said, “Everywhere, immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.” While the homeland may become enriched, many times, the aforementioned residents do individually struggle to find their way.  Look to “Minari” (2020) and “Brooklyn”…

‘The Mitchells vs. The Machines’ is a zany and sincere mash-up

“The Mitchells vs. The Machines” – “Mitchells have always been weird, and that’s what makes us great!” – Rick Mitchell (Danny McBride) Directors/writers Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe’s animated feature – about an everyday family taking a cross-country road trip and running into a machine apocalypse – is a weird mash-up of ideas, and it’s pretty great. Yes, you heard correctly:  a machine apocalypse. On the surface, this flick is “The Terminator” (1984) meets “National Lampoon’s Vacation” (1983).  Just pretend that Skynet becomes self-aware and abruptly disrupts the Griswolds’ Wally…

Celebrate Sally Hawkins’ birthday with ‘Maudie’

Happy Birthday, Sally Hawkins!  Yes, Ms. Hawkins turns 45 years young on April 27, and this talented thespian has several notable performances on her resume.  Sally’s breakout turn in Mike Leigh’s “Happy-Go-Lucky” (2008) placed her on the cinematic map, and she garnered Oscar nominations for ‘Blue Jasmine’ (2013) and ‘The Shape of Water’ (2017) too. Although The Academy fawned over work in Guillermo del Toro’s “Shape”, we think that she delivered an even better performance that year as real-life Canadian artist Maud Lewis in ‘Maudie’.   Here is our review.  …

‘Thunder Force’ doesn’t push the cinematic needle

“Thunder Force” – Marvel Studios made 20 feature films that eventually led to directors Anthony and Joe Russo’s beyond-massive two-movie epic, “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018) and “Avengers: Endgame” (2019) with a combined 5 ½ hours of screen time.  The cosmic storyline needed every single one of those 330 minutes because Thanos (Josh Brolin) – the chief antagonist – wiped out half of the universe’s population, and The Avengers attempted to bring trillions of living creatures back from oblivion. Talk about big stakes! Well, “Thunder Force” is a superhero comedy set…