For movies opening August 18, 2017

 

OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun

by Kam Williams

For movies opening August 18, 2017

Kam's Kapsules, Big Budget Films, Foreign & Independent Films, movies, The Hitman's Bodyguard, Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson

BIG BUDGET FILMS

The Hitman’s Bodyguard (R for graphic violence and pervasive profanity) Unlikely-buddies comedy about an ace bodyguard (Ryan Reynolds) who grudgingly helps a notorious assassin (Samuel L. Jackson) negotiate a dangerous gauntlet en route to the Hague where he’s set to testify in 24 hours at the International Court of Justice. Co-starring Gary Oldman, Salma Hayek and Elodie Yung.

Logan Lucky (PG-13 for profanity and crude comments) Oscar-winner Steven Soderbergh (for Traffic) comes out of retirement after four years to direct, shoot and edit this comic crime caper revolving around two brothers (Channing Tatum and Adam Driver) who hatch a plan to pull a heist at the Charlotte Motor Speedway during NASCAR’s Coca -Cola 600 car race  Ensemble cast includes Daniel Craig, Hilary Swank, Seth MacFarlane, Katie Holmes, Dwight Yoakam and Riley Keough. 

Patti Cake$ (R for crude sexual references, drug use, pervasive profanity and a brief nude image) Overcoming the odds saga, set in Lodi, New Jersey, revolving around a Rubenesque rapper’s (Danielle Macdonald) quest for superstardom. With Bridget Everett, Siddharth Dhanajay, Mamoudou Athie and Cathy Moriarty.

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

Crown Heights (R for profanity, sexuality, nudity and violence) Miscarriage of justic drama recounting the real-life ordeal of Colin Warner (Lakeith Stanfield) who was  sentenced to life in 1980 for a murder he didn’t commit. With Nnamdi Asomugha, Bill Camp and Yil Vazquez.

Dave Made a Maze (Unrated) Nick Thune plays the title character in this horror comedy about an artist who ends up trapped in his living room inside a booby-trapped fort of his own making. With Kristen Vangsness, John Hennigan and Stephanie Allynne.

Gook (Unrated) Racial strife saga, set in South Central L.A.  in the wake of the Rodney King verdict, revolving around the attempt of a couple of Korean-American brothers (Justin Chon and David So) to protect their shoe store from rioters with the help of a street-wise, 11 year-old black girl (Simone Baker). Cast includes Ben Munoz, Curtiss Cook, Jr. and Chris Jai Alex.

Lemon (Unrated) Midlife crisis dramedy about a struggling actor-turned-drama teacher (Brett Gelman) whose world falls apart after he’s dumped by his blind girlfriend of ten years (Judy Greer). With Nia Long, Fred Melamed and Michael Cera.

The Queen of Spain (Unrated) Penelope Cruz stars in this sequel to her 1998 film, Girls of Your Dreams. Follow up finds her character returning to Spain from Hollywood to star in a movie about Queen Isabella. Supporting cast includes Antonio Resines, Neus Asensi and Ana Belen. (In English and Spanish with subtitles)

Shot Caller (R for graphic violence, drug use, brief nudity and pervasive profanity) Crime thriller about a recently paroled DUI convict (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) who finds himself pressured to pull a big heist by the gang that protected him while behind bars. With Omari Hardwick, Benjamin Bratt, Emory Cohen and Lake Bell.

Sidemen: Long Road to Glory (Unrated) Reverential retrospective taking a fond look at the careers of pianist Pinetop Perkins, guitarist Hubert Smith and drummer Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, members of the unsung band that backed up such blues legends Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. Narrated by Marc Maron, and featuring commentary by Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton and Greg Allman. 

 

Source:  Baret News

 

Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds Grudgingly Join Forces in Unlikely-Buddies Comedy

 

The Hitman's Bodyguard,  Film Review,  Ryan Reynolds, Tsuwayuki Saotome, Elodie Yung, Samuel L. JacksonThe Hitman’s Bodyguard

Film Review by Kam Williams

Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds Grudgingly Join Forces in Unlikely-Buddies Comedy

World-class bodyguard Michael Bryce’s (Ryan Reynolds) services were in great demand when a Japanese tycoon (Tsuwayuki Saotome) was executed on his watch. That botched operation ruined not only his professional reputation but his romantic relationship with Interpol agent Amelia (Elodie Yung). In fact, his career took such a hit that a couple of years later we find him homeless and reduced to chauffeuring clients around in a beat-up jalopy for a fraction of his former fee.

A shot at redemption and at winning back the object of his affection arrives when Amelia surreptitiously approaches him for help protecting Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson). He’s the key prosecution witness in the trial underway at the International Court of Justice of Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), an Eastern European dictator accused of committing genocide.

Amelia has determined that there’s a mole inside of Interpol who has compromised Kincaid’s safety. So, the only hope of getting him to court alive is by hiring someone outside the organization.

Trouble is Darius is no altar boy, but a vicious hit man who has murdered hundreds of people. Despite being disgusted by the assassin’s grisly resume, Michael grudgingly agrees to escort him from a British prison to The Hague where he’s scheduled to testify in less than 24 hours. In return for his cooperation with authorities, Darius bargained for the release of his wife Sonia (Salma Hayek) who is herself sitting behind bars for slitting a guy’s throat in a gruesome bar fight.

The Hitman's Bodyguard,  Film Review,  Ryan Reynolds, Tsuwayuki Saotome, Elodie Yung, Samuel L. Jackson

That is the point of departure of The Hitman’s Bodyguard, an unlikely-buddies comedy directed by Aussie Patrick Hill (The Expendables 3). Superficially, the film unfolds like a high-octane, action adventure where a pair of protagonists prove to be impervious to harm from bullets, explosives, pyrotechnics or boat and car crashes .

The production works primarily because of the palpable screen chemistry generated by veteran thespians Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds. However, it does help immeasurably that each of these indestructible characters has been somewhat humanized by their vulnerability to a fetching love interest.

The Hitman's Bodyguard,  Film Review,  Ryan Reynolds, Tsuwayuki Saotome, Elodie Yung, Samuel L. Jackson

But the guys mostly exchange lighthearted barbs while having a close brush with death every other minute or so as they negotiate their way through a neverending gauntlet of bloodthirsty goons.

An eye-popping, stunt flick chock full of implausible fight and chase scenes orchestrated in accordance with the laws of cartoon physics. 

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for graphic violence and pervasive profanity

Running time: 118 minutes

Distributor: Summit Entertainment                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Source:  Baret News

 

Gyllenhaal Gives Great Performance in Sci-fi Horror Flick

 

Life,  Blu-Ray Review, Kam Williams, outer space adventure, alien force, international space station, claustrophobic thriller, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan ReynoldsLife

Blu-Ray Review by Kam Williams

Gyllenhaal Gives Great Performance in Sci-fi Horror Flick

In recent years, Hollywood has started serving up some outer space adventures, a la The Martian (2015) and The Space between Us (2017), suggesting that the Red Planet is basically a benign environment free of any hostile creatures. But just when we thought it was safe to visit Mars again, along comes Life, a cautionary horror flick unleashing a terrifying alien force aboard an international space station.

Directed by Daniel Espinosa (Safe House), the claustrophobic thriller co-stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds as Dr. David Jordan and Roy Adams, respectively, the Pilgrim 7’s  flight engineer and chief medical officer. The balance of the six-person crew is composed of Center for Disease Control quarantine specialist Dr. Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson), systems engineer Sho Kendo (Hiroyuki Sanada), eco-biologist Dr. Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare) and the spaceship’s captain, Katerina Golovkin (Olga Dihovichnaya).

As the film unfolds, we learn that their appointed mission is merely to deliver a single-cell organism arriving via space probe from the surface of Mars. It all sounds easy enough as the disarming plotline initially devotes itself to developing the characters’ back stories, like how David is a disenchanted, Iraq War vet.   

Upon retrieving the capsule, they celebrate the discovery of the first incontrovertible proof of life beyond Earth. They even allow Sho’s daughter to give the ostensibly-innocuous substance a cute, cuddly name, oblivious of the danger lurking just over the horizon.

The plot thickens when “Calvin” begins reproducing via mitosis, and every cell of its luminescent ectoplasmic mass proves to be an irrepressible mix of brains and muscles. By day 25, the sentient creature develops proto-appendages and becomes strong enough to breach containment.

Initially, it nibbles on a finger of Hugh’s, who somehow discerns that “Calvin doesn’t hate us, but he’s got to kill us to survive.” Great. What ensues is a desperate race against time to return to Earth before the mushrooming monster devours them all, one-by-one.

Though reminiscent of such sci-fi classics as Alien (1979) and Species (1995), Life is a worthwhile addition to the extraterrestrial on the loose genre. Substantial credit in this regard goes to the ever-underappreciated Jake Gyllenhaal who turns in the latest in a long line of impressive performances which includes outings in Nocturnal Animals (2016), Southpaw (2015), Nightcrawler (2014) and Prisoners (2013), to name a few.

Strap yourself in for a cardiovascular screamfest that’ll keep you squirming from beginning to end.  A riveting reminder that it still ain’t smart to mess with Mother Nature!

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for violence, terror and pervasive profanity

In English, Japanese and Chinese with subtitles

Running time: 104 minutes

Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Blu-ray Extras: Deleted scenes; Astronaut Diaries; Claustrophobic Terror: Creating a Thriller in Space; Life: In Zero G; and Creating Life: The Art and Reality of Calvin.

                                                                 

To order a copy of Life on Blu-ray, visit  https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XT9C1C9/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

Source:  Baret News

 

Ryan Reynolds Is Simply Sublime as Irreverent Superhero

 

Deadpool

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Ryan Reynolds Is Simply Sublime as Irreverent Superhero

Technically, Deadpool is the 8th installment in the X-Men film franchise, although it’s  different enough from the others to stand on its own. In fact, it’s not only the first R-rated offering in the Deadpool, DVD Review by Kam Williams, Ryan Reynolds, X-Men, Marvel Comics, Special Forces AgentMarvel Comics series, but the first humor-driven episode to boot.

The movie marks the daring directorial debut of Tim Miller who deserves nothing but praise for eschewing formulaic fare in favor of uncharted waters, when it would’ve been oh so easy to avoid taking any risks. In a bit of inspired casting, Tim tapped Ryan Reynolds for the title role, a proven master of both the comedy (Adventureland, The Proposal and Definitely, Maybe) and action hero genres (Green Lantern, Paper Man and Blade: Trinity).   

Here, he plays Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool, a Special Forces Agent disfigured by a medical experiment gone horribly wrong. In this origins tale, we learn that the accident left him with an uncanny ability to heal himself almost instantly (except for the skin), a trait likely to come in handy whenever he’s shot, stabbed or otherwise injured. And he also morphed him into a compulsively-wisecracking vigilante.

At the point of departure, we find Wade embarking on a whirlwind romance with Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin), the proverbial prostitute with a heart of gold. After a year of perfect bliss, their year-long euphoria comes to an abrupt end when he is diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Out of desperation, Wade agrees to allow a mad scientist named Francis (Ed Skrein) perform the unorthodox procedure that turns him into a freak of nature. Inconsolable about the prospect of losing Vanessa, he becomes obsessed with exacting vengeance on the quack. Revenge proves easier said than done, since Francis just happens to be Ajax, an evil mutant with a formidable henchwoman (Gina Carano) as well as his own set of special powers.

But forget the plot, this iconoclastic adventure is meant to be relished for its generous supply of unforced belly laughs elicited from beginning clear through the end of the closing credits. For example, an exasperated Deadpool addresses the audience to complain about his underwhelming sidekicks, Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), saying “It’s like the studio couldn’t afford another X-Men.” On another occasion, he forces a red hot cigarette lighter into an adversary’s mouth with the warning “Don’t swallow!”      

A relentlessly-hilarious cross of Kick-Ass (2013) and Watchmen (2009) that absolutely leaves your appetite whetted for a sequel.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for sexuality, graphic nudity, graphic violence and pervasive profanity

Running time: 108 minutes

Distributor: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: Deleted/extended scenes with optional audio commentary by director Tim Miller; gag reel; From Comics to Screen…to Screen; gallery (concept art, costumes, storyboards, pre-vis and stunt-vis); Deadpool’s Fun Sack; audio commentary by Ryan Reynolds and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick; and audio commentary by director Tim Miller and Deadpool co-creator/comics artist Rob Liefeld.

To see a trailer for Deadpool, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frRFOrbPfNc

To order a copy of  the Deadpool Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, visit:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01BLS9E2Y/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Source:  Baret News

Ryan Reynolds Absolutely ‘Marvel’-ous as Wisecracking Superhero

 

Deadpool

Film Review by Kam Williams

Ryan Reynolds Absolutely ‘Marvel’-ous as Wisecracking Superhero

Technically, Deadpool is the 8th installment in the X-Men film franchise, although it’s  different enough from the others to stand on its own. In fact, it’s not only the first R-rated offering in the Marvel Comics series, but the first humor-driven episode to boot.

Deadpool, Film Review by Kam Williams, Marvel Comics, Tim Miller, iconoclastic adventure

The movie marks the daring directorial debut of Tim Miller who deserves nothing but praise for eschewing formulaic fare in favor of uncharted waters, when it would’ve been oh so easy to avoid taking any risks. In a bit of inspired casting, Tim tapped Ryan Reynolds for the title role, a proven master of both the comedy (Adventureland, The Proposal and Definitely, Maybe) and action hero genres (Green Lantern, Paper Man and Blade: Trinity).   

Here, he plays Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool, a Special Forces Agent disfigured by a medical experiment gone horribly wrong. In this origins tale, we learn that the accident left him with an uncanny ability to heal himself almost instantly (except for the skin), a trait likely to come in handy whenever he’s shot, stabbed or otherwise injured. And he also morphed him into a compulsively-wisecracking vigilante.

Deadpool, Film Review by Kam Williams, Marvel Comics, Tim Miller, iconoclastic adventure

At the point of departure, we find Wade embarking on a whirlwind romance with Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin), the proverbial prostitute with a heart of gold. After a year of perfect bliss, their year-long euphoria comes to an abrupt end when he is diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Out of desperation, Wade agrees to allow a mad scientist nam,ed Francis (Ed Skrein) perform the unorthodox procedure that turns him into a freak of nature. Inconsolable about the prospect of losing Vanessa, he becomes obsessed with exacting vengeance on the quack. Revenge proves easier said than done, since Francis just happens to be Ajax, an evil mutant with a formidable henchwoman (Gina Carano) as well as his own set of special powers.

Deadpool, Film Review by Kam Williams, Marvel Comics, Tim Miller, iconoclastic adventure

But forget the plot, this iconoclastic adventure is meant to be relished for its generous supply of unforced belly laughs elicited from beginning clear through the end of the closing credits. For example, an exasperated Deadpool addresses the audience to complain about his underwhelming sidekicks, Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), saying “It’s like the studio couldn’t afford another X-Men.” On another occasion, he forces a red hot cigarette lighter into an adversary’s mouth with the warning “Don’t swallow!”      

A relentlessly-hilarious cross of Kick-Ass (2013) and Watchmen (2009) that leaves your appetite whetted for a sequel.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for sexuality, graphic nudity, graphic violence and pervasive profanity

Running time: 108 minutes

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Source:  Baret News