Tag: Thriller

The Cloverfield Paradox

Here we are, the epitome of strange film franchises.

Cloverfield was brilliant with its advertising, although it did leave a lot of people pissed off at the final product. 10 Cloverfield Lane came out of nowhere, announced about a month before it was released, and then ended up being pretty stinking good, thanks to great acting performances.

And The Cloverfield Paradox, originally was supposed to come out in April, got pulled from the release schedule. It then got bought by Netflix. And as we all found out on Superbowl Sunday that yes, it had a release right after the game, with only rumors released earlier the same day that it might happen. And of course a 30 second advertisement letting the viewers note that its release date was very soon.

It was brilliant, but again, it was dropped from the calendar and sold to Netflix for a reason. I knew that going in, I knew that I shouldn´t expect much. And I also knew that the fourth film in this franchise is coming out sometime in October, so no matter how bad this one ended up, it wouldn´t kill the franchise.

Scream
No matter how many times these characters scream, no one will hear it in a theater.

Aboard the Cloverfield space station, we have a team of international scientists working together to try and save the Earth. From what? From a global energy crisis. They have a large particle accelerator up in that space station to hopefully figure out how to get some sort of permanent, renewable, energy source that can save the world.

And they do not have a lot of time. Countries are ready to go to war for the limited resources left, and they only have three shots left of fuel to get things right. We have scientists from all over ( ) working to just make this thing work.

But wait! It finally reaches the good levels before shutting itself off! Did they solve the crisis? Maybe. Something still went wrong, and when they look around they notice that the Earth is completely missing. Did they move to a different part of the galaxy? Did the Earth disappear due to their science? Their compass is broken too, so they find themselves lost in space, where strange events start to take place on their space ship. People appearing, items missing, and a lot more paranoia.

Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Daniel Brühl, David Oyelowo, John Ortiz, Chris O’Dowd, Aksel Hennie, Ziyi Zhang, Elizabeth Debicki, and Roger Davies holding himself together on Earth.

Arm
You got to hand it to this scene, it really strong arms the point.

I want to say that The Cloverfield Paradox is a film with a good idea and bad execution, but in reality, maybe it was a bad idea as well.

It is very obvious that this film was never intended to be connected to Cloverfield. More so than the previous film. Basically, everything on the space station was a different movie, but we had a character they added on Earth to communicate occasionally with, which connected the film to the previous Cloverfield. That and the last 30 seconds or so. So for the most part, this is just a space ship thriller movie.

But it did not do a good job of really deciding what it wanted. Was it a thriller? A drama? A strange comedy (Which was mostly O´Dowd. And his jokes/puns got annoying quickly, unfortunately)?

It featured a scene very early on of a news report that felt like a flashing neon sign letting you know what the movie was about to do, a very weak plot device. It then had our characters running around, coming up with solutions to problems that are never really fully explained. The viewer can understand the main problem, but most of the problems that happen in the film are just plot devices and never feel natural.

This film spent most of its time trying to set up something and just failing to deliver over and over again.

It was pulled from theaters for a reason, and put on netflix with no warning for a reason. Everyone everywhere has now seen it (Which is why I did not rush the review out) and it is a clunky, lame mess. Not even the several high caliber actors could save it. Instead, this film is more likely to be remembered for its stunt, not for adding anything valuable to what is turning out to be a very stupid franchise idea.

1 out of 4.

All The Money In The World

I am mostly certain I wouldn’t have seen All The Money in The World as soon as I did, if it wasn’t for the controversy.

At this point, telling me that Ridley Scott was the director doesn’t’ do anything for me. He has put out a lot of shit. Like The Counselor.

But Kevin Spacey was in the movie. His role was important, it was in trailers and on posters. He was basically the central villain. When it came out he was a central villain to people in real life though, his stock dropped significantly, and Scott decided to kick him out of the film. A month before it was being released. Without moving back the release date.

Instead, Christopher Plummer was brought in for the role. Everything was re-shot within a week, editing occurred, and we got the same release date. It also gained controversy over pay disparity from these reshoots, which is even more free PR.

Remember, there is no such thing as bad PR. Because the movie got award nominations – and we will never know if it is for the film itself, or the speed and craft of getting so much of the film done in just a week. Or maybe to give Spacey the finger.

Replica
I’m not fully convinced that he isn’t CGI’d into some of these scenes.

The story is a little bit about John Paul Getty (Plummer), who at the time was the richest person in the world. He was very meticulous with his money. He didn’t spend more than he had to, he always looked for deals, he got his fortune from oil in the middle east, and he was shrewd.

Gail Harris (Michelle Williams) was his daughter-in-law. She married her son and had a few kids, but the son became a drunk and a bad husband so they divorced. She divorced out of the family, taking none of the money, just full custody, wanting to distance themselves. But her son, John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) was still growing up with the richness of the world around him. He had access to money, he got to travel the world, and one day, in France, he was kidnapped.

The kidnappers knew who they had, they were basically celebrities! So they knew they could ask for a lot of money to get Getty to have his grandson back. But Getty was careful with his money. He said no, and that was it.

All The Money in The World tells the story of Harris, trying to get her son back, trying to convince her father in law to help, while her son’s life was seemingly on the line.

Also starring Mark Wahlberg, Romain Duris, Timothy Hutton, Andrew Buchan, Marco Leonardi, and Giuseppe Bonifati.

Press
Oh. And the Paparazzi. They are all over this movie like…paparazzi.

Is this real story worth a film? Yeah, sure. It has drama, it has suspense, it has real dicks and real buttholes.

But this movie never really captivated me or drew me in to care about the characters involved. It never really felt real, but instead felt like a fast paced movie without a lot of thought behind it.

The movie starts off, time jumping back and forth across decades. We get some history of Getty, of the marriage, of the kids being younger kids. The time jumping goes too quickly and doesn’t really feel as helpful as they probably imagined. And of course, it was awkward that Plummer looked identical across 30 or so years. That’s an issue with the movie, and one you can’t just ignore by saying they did it in a week. Yeah. It shows at times.

Once the plot finally gets going, it relies heavily on Williams, Plummer, and sure, Wahlberg, to carry the story. I really enjoyed Williams as the mother. She was a strong character, constantly seeming like she was on her last wits end, but somehow keeping it all together. Wahlberg felt like a generic number two “Get it done” man, while Plummer just felt like a cranky old dude who gave no fucks. I don’t know if it is realistic, it is just true that his character didn’t have a lot going for him across the dimensions.

I knew close to nothing about the story, but it was quite clear what parts must have been embellished and what actually occurred. I don’t go to movies to see 100% factual events, but I do usually get annoyed when the truth is far more interesting than the film parts. I was notably annoyed at the end, when the rescue attempts were almost done. They kept switching back to Getty, and I had to role my eyes knowing that the timing of those events was just so stupid. And yeah, they existed just to make the movie seem more frantic.

This is a good story, with at least one great performance, that just feels rushed and overly dramatized. We can handle drama without the forced thriller parts. Just make sure everyone on board is giving it their all. I don’t know how much I dislike that can be blamed on the change of cast, but I do know I wouldn’t have given it any awards.

2 out of 4.

Kidnap

A few years ago, we got a movie starring Halle Berry where she played a 9-1-1 call operator. It was called The Call. You may remember it? It was bad. In it, she was haunted by a past mistake and vowed to not make anymore again. And eventually, we got a kidnapped girl, where she was on the line, and she was going to help her anyway way possible.

Even if it meant leaving her post, tracking her herself, and killing the guy who took her, because holy shit what?

That came out in 2013. In early 2015, this film Kidnap was supposed to come out. It was already finished, but the company had financial troubles, then bankruptcy, as it kept getting pushed and pushed. Some will say its for money reasons, others will naturally assume it is because it looked so much like The Call 2 that they wanted to distance themselves. But alas, here it is now, over two years after the original date, and we won’t even be able to tell the movie is dated.

Car
A third movie will come out probably where Berry herself is the kidnapper.

When a parent loses a child, it is very sad. No matter the circumstances, it is sad and I would cry over a lot of movies on that subject. For the movie Kidnap, you know that her child is going to get grabbed, and that is the whole dang plot of the movie. A kid gone, a mom angry and a race against time and apparently traffic to save that kid.

Karla Dyson (Halle Berry) is a single mom, divorced, and living a job as a waitress. Not a rich existence. Speaking of rich existence, her ex and his new wife are pretty dang rich, so life with them would be swell. But her young son at six years old, Frankie (Sage Correa), seems to love being with her too.

And they go to a park, a fair, and sure enough, Karla gets distracted. Her divorce lawyer on the phone letting her know that the dad is actually going to go for full custody, and will have the money to probably get it. Oh no, but she is so poor! And yes, this leads to someone grabbing her kid while on the phone about this, and of course, running off with him.

Thankfully she sees him in the parking lot, so she can run and chase after them, and in her car! She loses her cell phone almost immediately, so she just has to barrel down the highway after this vehicle, where her son his being held. And then a lot of things happen in this chase down. Destruction, death, injuries, and more! All because a lady won’t just give up hope.

Featuring Chris McGinn and Lew Temple as the bad people.

Rub'
Good to know we get at least some seat switching in this car fest of a film.

I don’t really know what the target audience is for Kidnap. Parents who are afraid of the worst? People who think Berry is an action star of some sort? Or people who just have bad taste in films.

Just like The Call, this one is just bad from start to finish. Regular person goes on a justified (maybe) vigilante chase taht lasts over an hour. Along the way, tons of car damage to regular innocent people. Also some people get killed, like at least one cop and friendly helper person, along side regular people just living their life. So many people get hurt.

And literally. Literally. I cannot imagine a situation where the kidnapper wouldn’t have just threw the child out of their car within the first five or so minutes. For whatever reason, our bad guys were soooooo determined to get and keep this kid, you’d think there was some giant special prize behind the whole thing. Like a reason that the kid was special. Like something involving the dad, hiring some people for a million dollars to make her look bad. That is what I could only maybe hope and assume. Except it was just random.

A random kidnapping. And an extremely determined couple for no reason. And a lady who just makes a lot of spur of the moment, crazy decisions, no matter who gets hurt along the way.

It isn’t an entertaining movie at all. I was just staring at it, wondering what the hell were they all thinking. And the ending? They decide to sweep all of the problems magically under a rug, because fuck good movies.

0 out of 4.

Unforgettable

Perhaps the hardest part about this job is finding time to get to everything you want to get to, without neglecting other work, family, loved ones, hobbies, etc. An even harder part of this job is getting to the things you also don’t care to get to, because your website made a creed a long time ago and you want to stick to it.

Watching Shitty Movies, So You Don’t Have To.

That means catching up on those January/February releases sometimes really late in the year because in actual January you are watching all the indie/bizarre Oscar nominated films, while also starting on 2018’s new works. It means more articles about the best and the worst.

So yeah, the review for Unforgettable is late, but it is clearly a bad film from a quick glance. If you are going to make a film called Unforgettable, you can’t also make it shitty. That just leads to the easiest jokes ever. For shame.

Spy
Look at that bitch. Tucking her kid into bed. What a skank.

Julia Banks (Rosario Dawson) is fucked. She is being interrogated by the police, because her ex (Simon Kassianides) was found dead in her home. She used to have a restraining order on him, but as soon as it expired after two years, she started to send him messages, enticing him to visit, including some sexy pictures and actual lingerie. But is that what really happened?

Flash back to a few months, where Julia is leaving her job, to move away to her fiance´s place. David (Geoff Stults) is living a good life and they are going to get married very soon, so why not move together? He has a daughter, Lily (Isabella Kai Rice) who is relatively young, in dance and other things. Oh, and of course he was once married as well, to Tessa (Katherine Heigl) a seemingly perfect human being who is organized, confident, and loving.

Shit, Tessa has everything down great. Including Lily´s best interests. Tessa doesn´t like that she now only gets weekends with her own daughter, especially if she is losing her to Julia, a new woman, a woman who doesn´t get Lily like she does.

So Tessa really only has one option available to her. Ruin the marriage, ruin Julia, and she can have her husband and daughter back. It makes sense, really.

Also starring Alex Quijano, Sarah Burns, and Cheryl Ladd.

Fight
At least we can assume the picture frame is there for a reason.

Has there ever been a sexual thriller that is also a good film? I mean, good from a standpoint that is not a 11 year old male discovering his own genitalia? I say if you are going to make a sexual thriller, at least go hard on those keywords there. These one or two a year films are being bogged down by famous celebrities who may be sexy or thrilling, but are tamed by the normally PG-13 movie rating given to them.

But wait! This one is rated R. Yeah, but for no reason. You get a butt and side boob in one awkwardly long getting ready for a bath scene, while people are being creepy. And most of the rest of it is just really, really, poor thriller. There is no mystery, outside of the opening scene. We are told what is going to happen thanks to starting it before the film takes place in a police department. And they show us Heigl’s character starts to do the bad things.

Literally no actual level of suspense. I guess the only surprise is what happens after the police department, but it goes as you’d expect. These really don’t end differently. They glorify taking matters into your own hands, extreme violence, and saying fuck the police.

The acting is poor, the plot line is really dumb, and I in no way feel sexually thrilled.

0 out of 4.

Good Time

This film doesn’t even have to try, it’s always going to be a Good Time. Because that is its name. Carly Rae Jepsen agrees.

I am late into watching this movie. I wanted to see it months ago, but being a shithead, I got the date confused at when the screening was supposed to happen. So instead, I was in a theater and had to watch The Only Living Boy in New York, which is not at all similar to Good Time.

Thankfully, the film came back to the front of my mind lately, thanks to getting nominated for some Spirit Awards. Awards? Edward Cullen? Sign me up.

Run
Painting the town red? No, paint YOURSELVES red.

What is the cost of having a good time? Maybe robbing a bank for some sweet sweet cash, so you have the bills to pay the…well, bills.

Connie Nikas (Robert Pattinson) and his brother, Nick Nikas (Benny Safdie) are trying to do that right now. Connie is the brains of the operation, Nick is the brawn, and only by the looks of it. He is a bit slower than a regular person, so he is just sort of there for the ride and to help out.

But the plan backfires a bit in that during the escape, everything goes wrong, and Nick gets caught by the police. They know he didn’t work alone and they know he isn’t the mastermind, but they will take what they can get while Connie goes into hiding. Connie wants to get his brother out of jail ASAP, since he is getting poorly mistreated by everyone on the inside. But when working with a bail bondsman, shit doesn’t work the way it had planned, and his friends with money are having their own personal issues.

That is when Connie finds out that his brother is in a local hospital after some new injuries from the slammer. Well, why worry about bonds when he can instead maybe break his brother out of the hospital and get them on the run? Yeah, that is the perfect plan.

Also featuring Barkhad Abdi, Buddy Duress, Eric Paykert, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Necro, Peter Verby, and Taliah Webster.

Bars
None of the photos from this film show people having an actual good time.

The best part of Good Time is the pulsing,constantly scene captivating soundtrack. The first twenty or so minutes feel so intense, as even the more mundane elements are pushed to 11 thanks to the soundtrack. As soon as I commented it to my wife about how the movie was making me anxious thanks to its music choices, it started to die down a bit and let things settle.

That is when the film also started to lose my own interest.

Good Time has a decent plot and story, and frankly great acting from the lead Pattinson. He is completely transformed for this role into a new person. It is a wonder to say.

The plot just starts to get erratic in the middle and near the end. Once it slows down, it just has a hard time picking back up. Basically, after the the breakout from the hospital it seems to pitter patter itself into a different, slower film. Slowness in a film isn’t a bad thing, it just doesn’t seem to match the earlier intensity and sounds of the beginning. They eventually bring it back, but at that point it is just too late.

Good Time would be a better time if it could just keep up the enthusiasm that it started with, instead of devolving into a complete mess in the middle.

2 out of 4.

The Circle

The Circle came out earlier this year, with some amount of excitement. It had two big stars in it and it was told to be a modern thriller. Or even a technothriller , a thriller about technology. Ooooh, spooks.

And yet when it came out, it actually created no buzz, was swept under a rug, and forgotten about.

I probably would have never reviewed or remembered this film, if it wasn’t for my review of The Square. I decided I wanted a mini shape theme. First squares, then circles.

Circles
The Circle really enjoys circles.

Mae (Emma Watson) hates her temp job, hates answering calls, without benefits, and fear that she won’t be needed the next day. But her best friend, Annie (Karen Gillan), has the hook up. Annie works for The Circle, a company that you may as well consider to be Google/Apple of this fictional world. The CEO, Bailey, (Tom Hanks) is super famous, he is trying to help the world, and has the sweetest place to work. Annie is high up on the chain, she goes to all the top meetings.

Well, The Circle is hiring new customer support agents. It is what Mae is already doing, but this would be for a legit company, with benefits, helping her out immensely. And of course Mae gets the job! She knocks it out of the park!

She is initially worried about doing a good job and fitting in. She is slow to accept new things, so she finds the culture in The Circle to be overwhelming. Everyone loves doing stuff there, they have groups upon groups, they have so many weekend and night events. She is getting slightly shunned for just not spending more time at work off the clock. When she is pressured enough, she accepts the social aspects of the Circle, starts sharing her whole life, and eventually goes down a path she never figured out before.

But is it good? To be so open? You know the answer is probably know.

Also starring John Boyega, Patton Oswalt, Ellar Coltrane, and Glenne Headly/Bill Paxton as Mae’s parents.

Hanks
What a goddamn good cup of hopes, dreams, and secrets.

First sad note, both of the people who played her parents totally died this year! Paxton and Headly! Shit, is this movie cursed? Do we have to be on the watch for Boyega, Watson, or Hanks? Oswalt has already had a rough time recently, so I certainly hope he doesn’t get involved with the curse.

When it comes to this film, it is about as subtle was a laughing and dancing clown. It is obvious where the film is going, but somehow it goes an even stupider route to get there. By ending it on a supposed happy note, it seems to have also avoided any longer lasting points about society.

The big shocker event that happens near the films climax is almost laughable. The entire thing could and should have been prevented, it didn’t make sense that it was happening. A goal was achieved, and yet it became excessive for no reason. I wanted to laugh, it became so cheesy. The spiral downward up to that point was extremely chill as well. To refer to this as a thriller, when hardly any sinister things really occur is just lying.

The Circle wanted to be socially relevant and give us something to think about. Well, it was slightly relevant, and I am left only thinking on so many things they could have done to make this movie better.

1 out of 4.

The Snowman

Without a doubt, snowmen have always been scary. We had that Jack Frost horror movie, and that other Jack Frost horror movie, all about snowmen!

My first real interactions with snowmen and music however, have also been terrifying. After all, in Cannibal! The Musical we were given the hellish tune of Let’s Build a Snowman, multiple decades before Frozen came onto the scene with their snowman song.

Apparently this one was based on a book, but I am sure The Snowman was supposed to be scary as well.

Alien
Is this an alien snowman? Is this movie actually supernatural?

Norway. Winter. It’s cold everywhere, it snows all the time. Basically, everyone is a snowman if you think about it.

And Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) is a detective for the main Norway police people, and yes, that is his name. He is good at his job, but he also is a bit of a drunk and going through a life slump. A new recruit to their agency is Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson), who has a lot of spunk and drive. She thinks a series of disapperances are similar to a few done years ago in a different Norway town, so she is ready to investigate!

Aw, so young and naive. And maybe oh so right.

A few murders, a few snowmen based deaths, and sure yeah, I am sure someone is behind it and just fucking with them all. And to think it is happening as they are trying to finish a bid for some non Olympic winter games event too.

Also starring Michael Yates, Ronan Vibert, Chloe Sevigny, Charlotte Gainsbourg, David Dencik, Jonas Karlsson, Toby Jones, Val Kilmer, and J.K. Simmons.

SIdewaysface
I think this is the first time I have ever seen the :/ used in any real context.

In The Snowman, there is a good mystery plot in there, somewhere. A lot of it may have been on the cutting room floor, or it may have never gotten shot. According to the director, he talked about why the movie was terrible, before it was even released in America. It was released a week early in Europe and met with so many bad reviews he just had to admit the whole thing I guess.

It quickly went from a “I can’t wait to see this film!” moment to “Oh man, how much of a train wreck will this be? Can’t wait!” feeling. And trainwreck it was.

Which is a shame, because Fassbender isn’t acting bad in the film or anything, it is just the plot is so shitty. There are motivations behind the characters, but the herring is so red it should almost be a scarlet herring. Or bloody herring. So much side plot is technically relevant, but so badly explained it just feels slightly shoe horned. And when we get our big dramatic reveal (which isn’t too hard to guess), it is explained so poorly it just feels. Well, badly written.

Which is a shame, because the novel by Jo Nesbø I am sure is really swell. He has written a lot of books, so he must have some talent. But now my introduction to his work just smells of…wait. Herring. Yeah, it smells like old yucky herring.

The Snowman is poorly put together work of film, despite some cool elements. Probably just avoid this one forever and read the book instead.

1 out of 4.

Suburbicon

Hooray the Coen brothers! Their last picture was Hail, Cesar! Which I have a 4 out of 4 to, but in retrospect it was a weak 4. It was just so bizarre and atypical for films that I couldn’t hate it.

So I had pretty high hopes with Suburbicon. It is set in the past, it has quirky characters and a murder plot so fowl. It is probably going to be similar to Fargo just with worse accents.

I really wanted to see it but I was surprised at the lack of, well, anything about the movie. Advertising was basically nonexistent for this film, like it was meant to be buried before it even premiered. And damn it, George Clooney is the director, his name used to mean something.

Falling Down
Maybe some elements will also bring us back to Falling Down.

Welcome to Suburbicon! A community set in the 1960’s or early 70’s. Life is perfect here. There are jobs, there are families with husbands and wives, there are kids who play baseball in the lots. There are no big fences between their houses, there is no crime, and everyone is happy, happy, happy.

And then a new family moves in, the Mayers (Leith M. Burke, Karimah Westbrook, Tony Espinosa). They are black. This sort of thing really shakes up their community, as apparently most of the families left their homes to move here just because of how white it is. They think this family will ruin their community and will go out of there way to make their stay miserable until they decide to leave.

But that is only one small part of the movie. The other part deals with the Lodge family. Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) is running his own business, living with his wife Rose (Julianne Moore), who is in a wheelchair, and son Nicky (Noah Jupe). Sometimes her twin, Margaret (Moore), also stays with them. After Nicky ends up playing baseball with the new neighbor’s son, the Lodge family are woken up by two goons (Glenn Fleshler, Alex Hassell) who are threatening and mean.

This leads to a death in the family, which is only the first of a series of weird things to occur after their new neighbors arrive. It turns out that this area might not have been as happy as everyone had imagined.

Also featuring Oscar Isaac as an insurance man.

Oscar
I’d let him give me an insurance adjustment anytime.

There is something odd about Suburbicon, in its core, that makes it really hard to get into for a really long time. With wonderful dark comedy writers at the helm, you would think it would be a surefire hit, or at lease a cult classic. But this will not be either of these things and it will be promptly forgotten in the annals of cinema.

Is it like Fargo? Yeah, a bit, but Fargo had charming characters that you could invest in on both sides. This movie basically has a little kid and a neighbor family that is a distracting subplot.

And maybe that is a bigger problem with the film. As the intro goes, it is clear that the ideal utopia place to live is super white. It is clear that there will probably be a black family to move into the neighborhood and force some issues. And these things do happen, but only to provide a rather large and awkward distraction of the main plot.

I’m an America as racially divided and tense as it is right now, how could they decide to treat a real issue facing people now as some sort of fluff piece? It shows real anger and scary situations, but every time it heads back to the main family with their insane plot it reminds the viewer that “no, they are not important. This white family is really the important one.”

The reason for all the chaos makes sense. By having it in the background, we are able to give a reason why all of the film’s plot can take place without too much notice. But even if it makes sense, it is still an incredibly insensitive and poor choice for the creators to make.

The acting is fine. Some of the twists are fine. Oscar Isaac was great in his two scenes. Top notch. It slightly saved it from a 0.

1 out of 4.

Atomic Blonde

Atomic! Blonde! Atomic Blonde! Two words that are powerful, in very different ways, and together make something…about the sum of their parts.

It is a new action mostly film, with promises of sleek designs and fights, with a banging sound and wall to wall fun. It is also being noted as female John Wick, or something like that.

I figured Atomic Blonde would be some cool agent nick name, but it isn’t mentioned at all in the film, so really the title is just…mostly random. Strange, but it wouldn’t be the first time it is done. Sort of a call back to 80’s action films in that regard.

Wall
What a big goddamn symbol of separation. And a wall, there is a wall also in this shot.

In November, 1989, the Berlin Wall was a literal and figurative collapse of the separation between East and West Germany, reuniting the country for the first time in decades. But in this world, it almost never happened.

An MI-6 British operative gained access to a file in a watch that had information on every hidden operative on both sides of the Cold War. It would be devastating for anyone to get their hands on it, as they would gain a big advantage over the others. It getting out might also prolong the Cold War, when it is so close to finishing for once.

And then that operative was killed before he could bring it home, putting it in the hands of a Soviet soldier, who didn’t run back to his country, but is trying to get paid the big bucks for the information. So the UK sends in a new agent, Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron), to find the file before it gets in the wrong hands. They also want her to find information on a double agent, who is secretly leaking information to the Soviets. And all of this quickly, before the Cold War heats up.

She is sent with information to trust no one, not even their pseudo informant, David Percival (James McAvoy), a man who has been working both sides of the wall to gain intel to gain power and prestige. But he is also her only hope to really starting to crack the case. They also need to find Spyglass (Eddie Marsan), a code name for an East German intelligence officer who helped make the list and is the only one really with that information.

The majority of the story is told after the events, with Lorraine retelling it back at headquarters, to a head British dude (Toby Jones) and a member of the CIA (John Goodman).

Other bodies in this film include James Faulkner, Roland Møller, Sofia Boutella, Bill Skarsgård, Sam Hargrave, and Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson.

Cover
Man, having a big head of hair and covering your face really helps input a stunt double.

Coming from a person who didn’t find John Wick or its sequel to be perfect films (although wonderful cinematography, and wonderful action), this did not feel up to the same quality that John Wick gave us. But I am not going to compare it to John Wick, that wouldn’t be fair.

Theron was fine as our lead. A very distant protagonist, she had a lot of secrets in her head, and they showed her definitely to be a bad ass. There was an incredible scene that maybe went on 10 minutes as a long take with several fights and sequences that just felt like it would never end. It was wonderful.

But it lacked a whole lot more in the story department. It should have tried a simpler plot, instead this movie gets tangled up in its own threads, and doesn’t give a completely sensible final product. Twists and turns are one thing, but if they end up at the finale and feel forced and a bit of a let down, then the movie just ends with a pitter.

The average review isn’t just for the ending, but mostly for how the story just failed to get me involved in anyway. There were secrets, but ones I rarely cared about. I didn’t try to look for hints, because I knew they would be mostly red herrings.

But the soundtrack was definitely banging. And again, some of the fight scenes were just extremely well choreographed, so if that is all you care about, you will have a good time. I just think who cares? Big deal, I want more.

2 out of 4.

Life

This is part of Fantasy and Sci-Fi Week at Gorgon Reviews!

Look, I am a big fan of all of these classic board games being turned into movies. Clue is the golden standard, and that was over thirty years ago. So why not a movie about the board game Life?

The good news about Life is that it is so expansive of a game, you can basically make it about anything, as along as it involves growing up, getting a job and family, a career, and eventually retiring. Anything could happen to you in between that. You could win a Nobel Prize! You could play the stock market. You could just not at all do anything worth while.

As long as you don’t set it in a fantasy realm, or in outer space, or anything like that, it could count as a movie about the board game.

Calvin
What the fuck is this? Is this in Millionaire Estates?

Aboard the ISS, we got a lovely crew of people, crewing around, doing science, being astronauts. They grab a probe returning from Mars, hoping to analyze some soil and maybe see if they can find life. And guess what! They do! A tiny tiny microorganism, but it is life not from Earth. Hooray science!

Everyone is stoked, the world is stoked, some kid wins a contest and names it Calvin, big celebration, we are not alone! But maybe w should be alone?

Things start to go wrong on the space station. Calvin starts to grow, Calvin starts to show intelligence, and Calvin needs to eat to survive whatever he can on the ship. And you know who that means.

It means these people! Hiroyuki Sanada, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ariyon Bakare, Olga Dihovichnaya, Rebecca Ferguson, and Ryan Reynolds.

Finaltwo
The poor ISS gets destroyed and fucked up in so many different movies.

Obviously this has nothing to do with the board game, that is just a joke, but this film still has a shitty title. Life is too vague, has certainly been a title before, and isn’t as ominous as they had hoped.

I first avoided this film because it came out on my birthday, and everyone knew that Power Rangers was the bigger story there. Also despite having actors I knew in it, I thought there was not way it would be a good film.

And guess what? I actually did enjoy it. Sure, on the surface, it is basically just the movie Alien, but with a different Alien and not in deep space. Actually, it is extremely similar to Alien, including having people ignoring quarantine rules in order to doom everyone. However, we don’t get a badass female protagonist, we just get people continually sacrificing themselves for the greater good of humanity.

Despite its lack of originality, I still enjoyed it. The ending had me very tense and on the edge of my seat. The acting from Gyllenhaal and Ferguson was decent enough, and Sanada’s character made me feel incredibly sad.

I would say objectively it is not a bad thriller/horror film at all. It does get a bit messy at points, a little bit confusing not being familiar with the layout or everything they are talking about. There are plenty of worse films out there that won’t scare you, so might as well give Life a shot.

3 out of 4.