Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Ironically, Tom Cruise has returned to the big screen as ex-Major Jack Reacher in a sequel subtitled "Never Go Back". It's "The Equalizer" meets "The Fugitive" meets "RED" when drifter Jack Reacher finally ventures to D.C. to meet his telephone voice friend Army Major Susan Turner (Colbie Smulders), only to discover she has been falsely arrested for treason & this streetwise 15-year-old delinquent may be his daughter. It is an action packed thrill ride as these 3 must run for their lives & figure out who & why someone is after them. The chase takes us from the nation's Capitol to New Orleans. There are no real surprises here, but it's just a lot of fun to watch. Cruise is a fighting machine, Smulders has some skills, & the teen holds her own amongst the adults.

Alien gives it 3 "government contractors" stars out of 4.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Max Steel

This is not a sneak preview. This film has already released.

The Mattel toy company has entered into the superhero film game with its Max Steel action figure/TV series character. That fact alone should tip you off on to what you can expect. Sixteen years after a mysterious & tragic incident kills his father, Max & his mom (Maria Bello) return to their hometown to finally settle down. Geared towards 10-12 year old boys, this predictable plot involves fluid tachyon energy, alien creatures, the thirst for power, & a little flirtatious romance. Andy Garcia is cast as the dad's NTek business partner (Need I say any more). Doubt if this cookie cutter movie attempt will spawn any big screen sequels.

Alien gives it 2 "poor man's lightweight Iron Man" stars out of 4.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


A holocaust denier suing for libel sounds like a ridiculous & boring idea for a courtroom drama, but that thought would be wrong. Based on a true story, WWII historian David Irving (Timothy Spall) sues university professor Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz) for her defaming references made in her book. However, the trial venue is in England where the burden of proof lies on the defendant. Weisz, Spall, & Tom Wilkinson all give excellent performances as the many individual viewpoints are explored including those of the plaintive, defendant, legal staff, & holocaust survivors. This subject matter may not be for everyone's taste but if you give it a chance & listen to the arguments & feel the emotions present, you may just appreciate & enjoy this historical event. It is a gripping story right down to the final verdict. The most haunting moments occur during the solemn pre-trial visit to Auschwitz concentration camp.

Alien gives it 3 "history fabricator" stars out of 4.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Accountant

Move over Batman, there is a new "justice leaguer" is town & he's "The Accountant" (Ben Affleck), who's part "Rain Man" & part "Hitman". If you like interesting characters, uncovering secrets, & solving puzzles, you might get blown away by this action flick with an unconventional & quirky hero. Pay attention & stay focused for the many flashbacks that paint the picture for some of the key players. The talented supporting cast includes J.K. Simmons (future Commissioner Gordon), Anna Kendrick (potential Squirrel Girl), Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Arrow's Amanda Waller), & John Lithgow (Footloose's Reverend Shaw Moore). The accountant is that square peg trying to fit into a round hole that just can't let it go & quit until his business is completed, even with the Treasury Department & some vicious hired guns hot on his trail. This film also shines a light on autism & the people inflicted with this form of mental illness.

Alien gives it 3½ "cooks the books & smokes the clients" stars out of 4.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

The Girl on the Train

It's "Rear Window" meets "Before I Go to Sleep" meets "Gone Girl" when the lives of 3 women, Rachel, Megan, & Anna, become entangled in a missing person/who done it thriller. Rachel (Emily Blunt), with an overactive imagination & a drinking problem, rides the train everyday past her ex's (Justin Theroux) house . When Megan goes missing, Rachel tries to help with the investigation but ends up as one of the possible suspects. Blunt is terrific as the pitiful troubled divorcee. Although the story runs a bit slow, this film will keep you guessing.  Marriage, divorce, infertility, pregnancy, baby, nanny, psychiatrist, lying, cheating, stalking, & drinking are all served up on this big mystery platter with a side of sex & violence to be slowly savored. 

Alien gives it 3 "sucking on her water bottle" stars out of 4.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children

This is not a sneak preview. This film has released.

Jake's (Asa Butterfield) love of his grandpa Abe (Terence Stamp) & his fantastical stories about a school for special children sets him on a journey from Florida to Wales to find closure after a tragic event. Once there, he meets Miss Peregrine (Eva Green) & some most peculiar kids. Danger lurks in this whimsical tale of monsters, time loops & immortality when they become hunted by the evil Barron (Samuel L. Jackson) & his band of invisible Hollows. Ultimately, Jake must choose between two worlds & the people he loves. Director Tim Burton creates the magical look & feel of this intriguing film. Judi Dench, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett only have minor roles.

Alien gives it 3 "eyeball delicacies" stars out of 4.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life

It's "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" meets "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" meets "Punk'd" when a troubled teen with authority issues butts heads the principal & seeks revenge. With a predictable plot line and stereotypical characters, this is safe family entertainment targeting 10-12 year olds. You get a rebellious boy, a clueless single mom with a jerk face boyfriend, a sweet adorable younger sister, a school bully, an over-the-top strict principal, the "cool" teacher & a cute classmate crush. Lauren Graham is the most familiar name & face in the cast but has very little screen time.

Alien gives it 2 "Rules Aren't For Everyone" stars out of 4.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


It's "Armored" meets "Collateral" meets "The Parent Trap" when an armored car guard David (Zach Galifianakis) is lured into stealing $17 million by his crush Kelly (Kristen Wiig) in a plan mastermind by her friend Steve (Owen Wilson). While on the lam in Mexico, a hit man (Jason Sudeikakis) is sent to eliminate David. Kate McKinnon & Leslie Jones round out the supporting cast. This comedy heist is stupid funny & hard to believe it's based on the true events of a 1997 Loomis Fargo robbery. Stay for the credits to see bloopers & photos of the real life characters.

Alien gives it 2½ "1-4-3 message" stars out of 4.

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