The Mechanic: Resurrection

Okay, I’m not usually one for such blatant action flicks like this, but after seeing the trailer and seeing all the skin Jason Statham shows off in the movie, I had to see. It’s not scandalous, I just like him shirtless and there’s plenty of that to see here.

I never saw any of the previous films so I really don’t know the history of the franchise, but as it starts Bishop (Statham) is living in seclusion in Brazil. Living the life. Just kicking back and enjoying life after a well earned career of killing people. A beautiful woman shows up at his drinking hole and makes it clear she, and her employer, know who he is and threaten to expose his low profile status if he doesn’t kill 3 selected targets. A fight ensues and we’re off to the races.

Bishop returns to a small island where he meets with an old friend people who have seen the previous films may know and he starts on a mission to find the person who sniffed him out, but before that goes anywhere, he runs into Jessica Alba, a young, strong woman in a bad situation. He helps her out of it but it turns out their meeting is more than clandestine. Soon, she’s kidnapped by the villain, Crane (Also a character I think Mechanic fans would be familiar with) and Bishop embarks on his mission to kill the three targets after all.

I wasn’t expecting much from this movie other than shirtless Statham and I got loads of that. I also got to see an action movie that ticks up the intelligence quotient a bit. It was interesting watching Bishop plan out his kills and then watching the dominoes fall as his plan takes effect. This film requires a lot of suspension of belief. I mean, how many henchmen can this Crane guy possibly afford anyway? He’s got a small army and they’re all fitted out with state of the art tech. Not a thrifty enterprise, to be sure, especially when it takes only one man to take them all out. My thoughts are clone Bishop, make an army of him and set him loose upon the world. If you’re looking to distract yourself with some fun, violent fun, I totally approve of this movie. If you have a crush on Jason Statham, I STRONGLY approve this  movie. It doesn’t try to be anything other than what it is, and that works for it.

Audience: It’s a testament to the power of a film to render an auditorium silent, and thankfully this was a case when everyone was fixed on the screen. There were a couple loudmouths during the trailers, but as far as the movie, very few disturbances.

Southside With You

When I saw the trailer for this movie, I knew I had to see it and I finally did and totally fell in love with it. Basically, it’s Michelle Robinson and Barack Obama’s first date. I don’t know how much of the film is rooted in actual events, and I don’t care. It was a beautifully composed romantic film that had something most romances are missing. Intelligence.

It’s 1989 in Chicago and a young Barack Obama is spending the summer working at a law firm in town and his advisor is one Michelle Robinson (one day to be the First Lady). He invites her to a community event and she accepts, but maintains it is NOT a date. At first it’s fascinating to see these characters as young starters now that we know where their paths will lead them, but after a while you forget about their destinies and you just see two people making a real and honest connection. Despite Michelle’s reservations, Barack manages to charm his way through her defenses, just as he begins to see the fragile soul that is held together behind her iron-strong armor. It’s easy to get lost in this glorious interpretation of their first date. It’s clear to see these are two strong people who come from very different backgrounds but manage to let down their guards enough to see each other for who they are, flaws and all. It’s the kind of date movie that could make you angry that people don’t date like this anymore. Their conversations were deep and complex and the emotions were raw and real. The story is as true and honest as you can imagine. Despite what your politics may be, the strong bond between Michelle and Barack is bound to win you over. This isn’t a political story. It’s a love story.

Audience: The audience was pretty good for this one. There was some woman in the row ahead of me who was wrestling with a particular noisy candy wrapper for a bit, but other than that, everyone was good as gold.

Morgan

The new suspense thriller ‘Morgan’ is nothing like what you expect it to be from the trailer. In a remote mansion in the woods, there is a hidden science lab beneath the land. Inside this lab is a breakthrough in artificial intelligence, Morgan. We see from file footage that Morgan is the latest in a series of attempts at a viable artificial life form. A special agent, Lee Weathers, arrive on behalf of the corporation funding the project for an update after a unforeseen accident. When Lee arrives, we meet the ensemble staff brought together for the sake of raising Morgan. Everyone is very proud of Morgan and see her as their own while Lee is determined to keep her distance. You can feel the tensions rise as Lee is the only one there who is not completely enamored of Morgan.

It’s a little slow in getting to the meat of it, but once it does it doesn’t stop. Not a completely surprising film either. I was thinking ‘Alien’ when I saw the trailer but it looks like Ridley Scott’s son was the one at the helm of this one and so Morgan fails to rise up to that level. It wasn’t terrible, but it’s not one I would label as ‘must see’ either. Gray is the color I think of when I think of this movie and that’s about where it registers in interest. Medium, at best.

Audience: Pretty full theater and happily very little chatter. Why is it always the ‘meh’ movies with the good audiences?

Let’s Get Political

I’m trying to stay away from political posts, because they aren’t much fun, I know. I just have to break and put one more up. I was thinking about our country and how it’s set up in a way that virtually nothing ever can be accomplished. If one side has a great idea to make real change, the other side finds fault and does everything to stop it. Think about it. How much has our government really accomplished after 2 centuries? There have been victories here and there, but the big battles still loom. Healthcare. Tax reform. Immigration reform. Civil rights. It seems to never end. We have had these problems on our plate for decades upon decades and not only have they not gotten better, they’ve actually grown worse. Why? Well, here’s a theory of mine, but it makes a lot of  sense to me. Because our government has grown fat and lazy and complacent. I’m not talking just Republicans or Democrats. This isn’t a party issue. This is a politician issue. If you are reading this, please just humor me and think about these issues. Really think about it. You are aware that most congressmen and senators are millionaires/billionaires, right? When it comes to issues of health care, what do they have to say about anything? It’s not an issue that they have to deal with. First, they already have insurance from the government; AKA us! We are paying for their care.  We pay their salaries, despite the fact they make millions in the private sector. Those guys are never going to  have to deal with the reality of healthcare like we do because they can afford the best of care for the rest of their lives. How can they effectively legislate when they have no idea what it’s like to be in our shoes? Simple answer is they can’t. I don’t care what sob story they may have about how they worked their way up from humble beginnings. Where ever they came from doesn’t matter. Right now they are wealthy and over-privileged. Why do we allow wealthy men and women to rule over us like they were kings? Why do we allow this to go on? I think in ways we’ve also become complacent. We don’t fight like we used to. We roll over when we see the injustice and just accept that we can’t fight city hall, but that’s wrong. We can fight. We only have to choose to.

My broad plan would be simple. Take it all away. No more salaries for any congress members who make more than fifty thousand a year in the private sector. No more health benefits. They have to go and get their own insurance through the ACA just like everyone else in this country. Those who sit upon the seat of power have an obligation to live like their constituents. How else would they know their struggle? How would they know what they need? What they want? Any one who really cares about doing the job of running this country would accept these terms. Our politicians should not live above us in their ivory towers, seemingly immune to the same standards we are all  held to. They need to be part of our communities. They need to be us.

Where is our power BTW? They can hand down laws to tell us what to do, but where is our power to tell them no? Where is our voice? We get to vote every four years? Is that it? NO! The only way to get real change in the government would be to employ the ideas outlined above. That’s the only way they would ever care; if they were impacted as well. I’m tired of being told how to live by some exclusive club of millionaires. I wish there was some other way to make this endless waltz end, but there really isn’t. The only way we’d see real change would be to cut the purse strings and force them all to live in the real world with the rest of us. If you are reading this and agree, at least on the concept of this post, pass it along. Share it. Wake up the people! We do have a voice and we can be heard but only until we all speak together! Think about what I’ve said. Really think about it. How okay are you with a bunch of old, rich men sitting on Capitol Hill in their wood paneled offices with their personal staffs, making up the laws of the land not for the good of the people, but for the good of their contributors? Maybe this is a cynical and oversimplified view, but the fact is ‘Money talks. Bullshit walks’. Most people never find a ‘side’ to an argument until after they’ve been impacted by the problem. These politicians can’t legislate because they don’t know what it is to be  us. To be a paycheck away from losing your home. To sacrificing more than you can bare to keep food on the table and your young ones healthy and happy. They have nannies and personal assistants. They have snot nosed college kids lining up around the corner to be their interns, also known as academic slaves. This is wrong! They are civil servants. They are here to serve us, not the other way around. If you’re not one of ‘them’ then great. Happy for you, but the fact is most of Congress and the Senate work like this and everyone knows it. It’s just about time that we all did something about it.

Hell Or High Water

Of course you all have heard about this movie. It’s the one getting all the Oscar buzz already. I have just seen it and the question is ‘Does it deserve all the rave reviews?’ and the answer is ‘yes’. Honestly I wasn’t too interested in seeing this one because I thought it was going to be a painfully dry crime drama, but that is far from the case.

Chris Pine and Ben Foster play two Texan brothers who are out to steal a whole Hell of a lot of money. Their primary M.O. is to strike early in the morning when the bank is empty and only steal small bills. Soon, an old Texas Ranger played by Jeff Bridges is on the case. It looks to be his final case before retirement and it seems he is taking his sweet time in getting to the bottom of it, maybe in a bid to prolong his march into retirement.

The two brothers have a plan for the money they’re stealing and thanks to lively performances by Pine and Foster, you can’t help but root for them and smile along the way. Jeff Bridges once more turns in a defining performance. I don’t know if that’s his real voice or an accent he puts on, but it is damn effective.

Add to all of this star power the magnificent cinematography. I don’t normally notice such subtlety, but the way this film was shot was beautiful. There was a sad beauty in every shot of the Lone Star state. To see the wide open spaces it’s easy to understand how cowboys have come to be known to be as lonely as the land that bore them.

All in all, a great film and certainly one we’ll be seeing a lot of during Oscar season.

Audience: Everyone in the theater was so gripped by the film, they were all very quiet, except for one doucheskid behind me who took the quiet moments of the film to chatter about whatever idiots talk about during a fine movie. While it did not diminish my enjoyment, I still must note it. I just wonder why is it so difficult for people to NOT talk during a damn movie!? Just DON’T TALK!!!! However clever your observations may be, save them for the ride home, okay?