Movie Reviews 

Disturbing the Peace

by Alan Rapp on January 17, 2020

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Disturbing the Peace
  • IMDb: link

Disturbing the Peace movie reviewI think the story of how Guy Pearce got snookered into making Disturbing the Peace would be far more interesting than the movie itself. The story centers around a biker gang taking over a town (whose populace apparently nearly all took a field trip on the same day, making it easy for the criminals to round-up the leftover dozen or so hostages). Along with hitting the bank, the gang is also targeting an armored car carrying millions in cash… to a town where apparently very few people live? What do they need with the money? Well… that’s just one of many questions the movie has no answer for.

Taking steps to limit response by authorities outside of town, the gang must deal with the local Marshall (Pearce), a former Texas Ranger haunted by his past. The script by Chuck Hustmyre (whose only credits include straight-to-video flicks starring the likes of Steven Seagal and Dave Bautista) offers some astonishing bad writing at times (to go with some questionable acting). There’s an interesting idea buried deep, deep, deep at the heart of of the film but better hands than those of director York Alec Shackleton are called for to find it.

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  • Title: Bad Boys for Life
  • IMDb: link

Bad Boys for Life movie reviewHitting theaters 16 years after Bad Boys II, and 25 years after the original film, Bad Boys for Life feels about as tired as its two stars at times. The film reunites Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in the latest attempt of movie studios to reboot, relaunch, or recycle any franchise they can find. There’s no real reason for the film to exist, but Smith and Lawrence provide some entertaining moments bouncing off one another to keep you mildly interested between explosions and gun fights (which, sadly, fail to reach insanity of Michael Bay at his best).

Reminiscent of the themes from Lethal Weapon 4, the script from Chris Bremner, Peter Craig, and Joe Carnahan (it really took three of you to write this?) centers mostly on the advanced age of our two leads (one of whom is aging more gracefully than the other). After breaking out of prison, a criminal from their past (Kate del Castillo) returns to take revenge through a talented assassin (Jacob Scipio) in a plot that gets a bit more convoluted than it needs to before director Adil El Arbi finally throws in the towel and decides instead to just make various things explode (whether common sense or logic says they should).

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Just Mercy

by Alan Rapp on January 10, 2020

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Just Mercy
  • IMDb: link

Just Mercy movie reviewBased on true experiences of defense attorney Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan), writer/director Destin Daniel Cretton delivers a straightforward biopic that is more about one lawyer’s struggle against a broken legal system than the legal maneuverings of a crafty lawyer. After a brief introduction to the character, the film begins in earnest with Stevenson taking his Harvard education to Alabama to defend those on death row who never received a fair trial.

The film primarily deals with Stevenson’s attempts to earn a new trial for Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx) who was convicted of murder on the testimony of one unreliable witness (Tim Blake Nelson) and no physical evidence thanks in large part to the pressure and intimidation of a local sheriff (Michael Harding) whose motives the film never really examines.

Just Mercy is a solid film filled with actors who have given more memorable roles in other movies. Along with Foxx and Jordan we also get Brie Larson as another member of the defense team who helped Stevenson set-up the Equal Justice Initiative offices in Montgomery, Alabama.

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1917

by Alan Rapp on December 27, 2019

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: 1917
  • IMDb: link

1917 movie reviewBased on actual events that occurred during World War I, 1917 follows two British soldiers (George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman) sent alone across enemy territory to warn of an impending ambush by the German Army. The script from director Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns strips down to the bare essentials avoiding obvious tropes and cliches from war movies to deliver one of the most memorable entries to the genre in recent years which was based on a story Mendes’ grandfather told him as a child. Exceptionally well shot by cinematographer Roger Deakins, 1917 is a movie of heroism, sacrifice, and survival that is marvelous to behold.

For a film about war, 1917 is a deceptively quiet film that builds tension between the moments of action (equally as memorable as its quite sequences) as our protagonists race to prevent more than 1,000 troops (including a brother) from walking into the enemy’s deadly trap while performing what appears to the British line as a hasty retreat. Along the way, Mendes sprinkles in supporting performances from the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, and Richard Madden, but the film belongs to the two soldiers on their own past the German line on a suicide mission to deliver a message in time.

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Little Women

by Alan Rapp on December 25, 2019

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Little Women (2019)
  • IMDb: link

Little Women movie reviewGreta Gerwig becomes the latest to adapt Louisa May Alcott’s popular novel (over the years it has been adapted more than a dozen times to film and television as well as both a musical and opera). The semi-autobiographical tale follows the lives of the four March sisters (Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, and Eliza Scanlen) following the Civil War.

Saoirse Ronan gets the most screentime as the rebellious Jo, a writer with dreams and desires that don’t always fit the conventions of her time. Watson is perhaps underused as the elder and more conventional Meg, while Pugh sinks her teeth into the more complex Amy. Scanlen is put to good use as the tragic and talented Beth. And Timothée Chalamet smolders as the boy next door.

The film is divided into later years with Jo in New York and Amy in Paris with flashbacks to the family all living under the same roof. The structure allows Gerwig to highlight themes that repeat and keep coming back to the tight family unit even after tragedy and time have taken their toll on the March family.

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