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Drama

Warning shot (2018)

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All right, I need you to loosen the guy up.
He’s old, all right?
Do not kill him.

The only thing I wondered afterward was “Why for God sake was this movie made?“. I’m not saying that this was the most horrible film of the year. Or the most superfluous release ever. There were some positive things in it. And in a certain way, it was sometimes far from bad even. But in the end, it was only a simplistic storyline and little to nothing innovative. The only thing that stayed with me is that you got an unpleasant feeling while watching. The way Rainy (Guillermo Diaz) addressed and dealt with the kidnapped persons was rather intimidating. An agitated character who’s completely out of control after consuming some kind of soft drugs. You just felt that it was a difficult situation for Audrey (Tammy Blanchard) and her daughter Cheyenne (Onata Aprile). But that’s the only thing in this film that can be called exciting. For the rest, it’s quite weak.

It’s all about water.

Everything revolves around the claiming of water rights by Bobby (David Spade). Something his ancient grandfather failed in doing. And apparently, he can only achieve this by sending two vicious-looking characters to the elderly owner. To exert a little pressure. What Bobby didn’t know was that the latter had already died. The only ones they find in the old man’s house are the daughter Audrey and granddaughter Cheyenne. And the only plan that those two bums can come up with is to kidnap these two people who happen to be present. What follows is a precarious situation where one kidnapper (Dwight Henry as Jawari) tries to keep the other in line (clearly that these two bunglers don’t really know each other). And when someone unexpectedly shows up at the door, Ryan gets even more agitated.

Some familiar faces.

Apart from the lesser known actors, you will notice a number of familiar faces. The most well-known person is, of course, the comedian David Spade as the go-getter Bobby who apparently has to prove himself towards his grandfather Calvin (Bruce Dern, known face number two). Personally, I don’t think David Spade belongs to the crème de la crème when it comes to comedy. Usually, these are forgettable, nonsense comedies that are far from funny. I thought he’d make a funny comment at any moment. His contribution was reasonably mediocre. Bruce Dern’s acting was also fairly limited. Certainly compared to his part in “The Hateful Eight” as General Sandy Smithers. And finally, you’ll also recognize James Earl Jones in a tiny role as a sort of notary. Also an insignificant role for such a well-known star.

A movie to forget about.

What remains are the leads. Their acting is nevertheless of a reasonable level. For example, I found the interaction between Tammy Blanchard and Onata Aprile very convincing. Maybe at times, it was a bit overly sentimental and Cheyenne came across as inexperienced. But that didn’t really bother me. Also, the acting of Guillermo Diaz was generally good. He managed to picture Ryan as an unstable character. Although his frantic attempt to sound like an accomplished psychiatrist was a bit absurd. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to make it an interesting film. The motive itself was already far-fetched. The final denouement sounded even more nonsensical. Nope, “Warning Shot” certainly isn’t a great film. So, you don’t want to waste time? Better you skip it then.

My rating 3/10
Links: IMDB

Crime

The Untouchables – A Retrospective Look

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I watched this in honour of Sean Connery who sadly passed away the day before. It must be 10 years since I have watched this, and I had forgotten how brilliant it actually was.

What is often overlooked with ‘The Untouchables’ is just how emotional it is in parts, from Ness (Kevin Costner) meeting the mother of a girl blown up by a cafe bomb to the touching climax between Ness and Stone (Andy Garcia). It is a film that is genuinely upsetting to see the end, you would be quite happy to spend more time with these people.

It is also undoubtedly a film about friendship and that is where the late great Sean Connery stands out from the cast. As supposedly past it beat cop Malone, he strikes as a man of lonely isolation, just trying to get through every shift alive. He is at first suspicious of Ness but soon warms to what Ness is trying to achieve and there the bond between the two starts. Malone’s relationship with Stone gets off to a less auspicious start but by the end of the film, the relationship produces one final emotional wallop that we all deeply feel. Throw in accountant Oscar Wallace, played for the comic relief by Charles Martin Smith and we have four disparate men bonding over their end goal, to catch and see justice brought again crime lord Al Capone, (played with menace by Robert DeNiro).

There is so much to admire here, some of the setpieces are simply astonishing, the stakeout and subsequent battle on the Canadian border are sensationally choreographed, and a homage to the Odessa Steps sequence from Battleship Potemkin is nerve shreddingly executed. The violence is brutal and shocking at times and as stated previously the deaths are graphic and in one particular case deeply moving.

Kevin Costner was a star on the rise at this point, with big hits like ‘Field of Dreams,’ ‘Dances With Wolves,’  ‘JFK’ and ‘Robin Hood’ to come, he is excellent as the clean-cut family man Ness. A young Andy Garcia is impressive as the sharpshooting Stone, but this is Connery’s film. It’s an exceptional performance filled with guile, wisdom and what is apparent from the get-go, anger. He would win an Academy Award for this film and few could argue against it.

Its an incredibly neat and tidy film, it never outstays its welcome or gets too bogged down in courtroom showdowns. It’s gritty and powerful and a reminder of just how good an actor and phenomenal screen presence Connery was. It doesn’t get much better than this.

This review is dedicated to the memory of Sir Sean Connery 25/8/1930 – 31/10/2020 – A true screen icon

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Comedy

On the Rocks (2020)

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You know what’s great about her?
She doesn’t talk. She just listens.
That sounds perfect for you.

 

Life is full of unexpected turns. As an 18-year-old, I rented the adult cartoon “Tarzoon: Shame of the Jungle” just for fun. Probably because of the titillating vamp on the cover, lying naked on a huge platter and carried by figures that looked like penises. No one could suspect that a voice actor in this cartoon would become one of my most popular actors. If there’s one comedian who manages to make me chuckle without any problem, it’s Bill Murray. Like in “Stripes” and “Ghostbusters”. Or the incomparable film “Groundhog Day”. However small his role may be in a feature film, he always manages to create an unforgettable scene, such as in “Zombieland” for example. Put Murray in a horror, and his typical way of acting makes it a completely different experience. Just watch “The dead don’t die” and you’ll know what I mean. In short, a versatile actor who takes a film to a higher level with his contribution.

 

 

Lost in Translation.

This year I came to the conclusion that I had never seen the movie “Lost in translation”. A film directed by Sofia Coppola (daughter of) with Bill Murray and the very young Scarlett Johansson in the leading roles. Even though there was something slightly comical lurking beneath the surface of this film, the subject matter was far from comical. A film about two individuals who are right in the middle of an identity crisis. A film about love and loneliness. Loneliness not only because of the life situation they both find themselves in, but also because of the fact that they are in a country where they don’t understand the language, culture, and general way of life. Two lost souls who discover, sense, and encourage each other. I admit, I was moved after seeing this masterful film. Finally, after a long time a film that rocked my socks off. A thought-provoking film that’ll resonate for a pretty long time. Yes, some movies do that to me.

 

 

A wild search for the truth.

And then 17 years after the release of this magisterial film, we get a renewed collaboration between Sofia Coppola and Bill Murray. “On the Rocks” is not as magical as “Lost in Translation“. But somewhere deeply hidden it does have points of contact with the latter. Here, too, Laura (Rashida Jones) is in the middle of a crisis. Both in terms of her marriage and her writing career. The suspicion that her husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) just pretends to have lots of work since starting his own company, just to cover up an affair, grows stronger. And writing a new book isn’t easy either. The day she tells her father Felix (Bill Murray), a charismatic wealthy art dealer with an untameable flirtation habit, about her suspicions, he throws himself wholeheartedly into the case with full dedication. Before Laura realizes it, she is embroiled in a wild search for the truth.

 

 

Murray nails it.

On the rocks” isn’t such a depressing and melancholic story as “Lost in translation“. There’s more humor in it. How another mother at school tells Laura every morning about her love life. The interesting facts about human behavior and the evolution of relationships between men and women Felix tells about every time unexpectedly. The wild chase in a “not so suspicious-looking” red, noisy convertible through the streets of New York. Perhaps it’s rather light, uncomplicated humor. Still, it’s subtle at the same time. The chemistry between Laura and her father feels unforced and authentic. And this won’t come as a surprise: Bill Murray nailed it once more. He demands full attention every time he comes into the picture. His characteristic acting and the way in which he can charm random people with his smooth talk is simply superb. And it’s not just the female population that falls for his smooth-talking. The way he manages to turn a police officer’s mood from being reprimanding to being helpful is just sublime.

 

One more time.

“On the rocks” is about marital troubles, a complicated father-daughter relationship, and also about how people get lost in the turbulent and chaotic society in which they live. It’s not another masterpiece of Coppola, but surely it’s another successful cooperation between Coppola and Murray. I quietly hope that they will work together again in the future.

My rating 7/10
Links: IMDB

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Drama

The Craft: Legacy | Official Trailer – Sony Pictures

An eclectic foursome of aspiring teenage witches get more than they bargained for as they lean into their newfound powers.

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Genre:

Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Release Date:

October 27, 2020

Director:

Zoe Lister-Jones

Cast:

Michelle Monaghan, Cailee Spaeny, David Duchovny, Gideon Aldon, Lovie Simone, Hannah Gordon, Nicholas Galitzine

Plot Summary:

An eclectic foursome of aspiring teenage witches get more than they bargained for as they lean into their newfound powers.

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