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Monday, July 27, 2015

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his IM team (Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, & Ving Rhames) are back for more fun and games as they battle for their lives trying to prove the existence of an evil organization called the Syndicate. It's an intense thrill ride of amazing stunts performed in the air, on land, and in the water. Like a Timex watch, Hunt takes a licking but keeps on ticking. Alec Baldwin plays the CIA head and Rebecca Ferguson is the femme fatale. Chase scenes, suspense, and deception drive this simple plot line. Buckle up and hang on for this fun time.

Alien gives it 3 ½ "triple security" stars out of 4.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Vacation

It's the Griswolds: The Next Generation, boldly going where no man wants to go. An idiot dad (Ed Helms), Tri-Pi mom (Christina Applegate), shy wimpy older son, and foul mouth bullying younger son take a ridiculous cross country road trip from Chicago to San Francisco to the famed Walley World Amusement Park. If you like your comedies silly, stupid, raunchy, gross, and predictable, you may like this low brow tour across America. Look for cameos through out.

Alien gives it 1 ½ "Albanian Tartan Prancer" stars out of 4.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Paper Towns

A shy young man and his best buds are in for the time of their lives as they chase down clues to find a missing girl. Quentin is a goody two shoes high school senior who has always played it safe until his wild child neighbor Margo drags him off on a revenge prank night adventure & then suddenly disappears. This coming of age story has mystery clues, teenage romance, and a road trip leading to one of life's lessons. Alien thought this film started with a bang, dragged a bit in the middle, picked up momentum on the road, then took an unexpected detour for a more profound message. It is funny but not hilarious. 

Alien gives it 2 "Agloe" stars out of 4.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Southpaw

This is a gritty "Rocky"-esque tale of a reigning junior middleweight boxing champion with anger issues that leads to a tragic event and his downward spiral where he loses everything before he struggles to find his way back. Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is the classic story of the flawed hero falling from his success only to mount an epic comeback. It is predictable but it has the outcome we all want to see. Gyllenhaal gives a tremendous performance. Forest Whitaker, Rachel McAdams, and 50 Cent are among the supporting cast. Eminem is the soundtrack's executive producer. Producer/director Antoine Fuqua puts you right in the ring trading brutal blows and taking the jarring hits. The father/daughter scenes are emotionally charged.  It is a story of love, loss, and redemption.

Alien gives it 3 ½ "Ain't No Great White Dope" stars out of 4.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Pixels (3D)

It's "The King of Kong" meets "Independence Day" meets "Ghost Busters" meets "Revenge of the Nerds" when aliens misinterpret Earth's 1982 cultural message as a declaration of war. This nostalgic look back at long past video arcade games features three of today's popular comedians, Adam Sandler (a home theater installer), Josh Gad (a conspiracy theorist), and Kevin James (the U.S. President, no way?). It's a hilarious silly action spoof on space invasion films. Chances are if you don't get the game references, go ask your dad. This comedy may be better than you think if you give it a try. Don't jump out of your seat too fast because there is one final gag at the beginning of the credits.

Alien gives it 3 "Centipede, Pac Man, & Donkey Kong" stars out of 4. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ant-Man

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

Can an insect-size guy be a super hero?  Well, if you believe in radioactive spider bites, gamma rays, and super soldier serums, why not? Ant-Man packs a powerful punch for a lesser Marvel character and it does it with a sense of humor & CGI miniature action sequences. Of course you have to believe a guy with a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering and a family makes his living as a cat burglar. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) recruits ex-con Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to stop Pym's secrets from being exploited. During the film's climatic conclusion, it's "Them" meets "Thomas the Train" when Ant-Man battles the evil Yellowjacket for bug-size supremacy. By now, all Marvel fans will be looking for the Stan Lee cameo and should be staying through the credits any mid and end reveal clips.

Alien gives it 3 ½ "The Pym Particle" stars out of 4.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Trainwreck

A commitment-phobic magazine writer (Amy Schumer) panics when she possibly meets mister right (Bill Hader) who is a sports medicine doctor. Produced & directed by Judd Apatow and written by Schumer, this unconventional romantic comedy is hilarious and raunchy portraying awkward sexual encounters and complicated family relationships. Basketball superstar LeBron James demonstrates he has other skills beyond the hardwood court and you can expect many other surprise appearances. There is a certain chemistry between Schumer's lovable hot mess and Hader's endearing portrayals. This film is "R" rated for sexual content, language, and mostly male nudity.

Alien gives it 3 "monogamy isn't realistic" stars out of 4. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Based on the 60's TV series of the same name, it's set in the during the same time period with characters of the same name but this is a prequel with a Guy Richie (writer/director) slant. Henry Cavil, Armie Hammer, & Hugh Grant hardly seem to be likely candidates for the Napoleon Solo, Illya Kuryakin, and Mr, Waverly that some of us had grown up with. Nevertheless, it's still a good cold war/nuclear bomb espionage thriller with a sense of humor and a backstory explaining how a CIA agent and a KGB operative became partners. For you old timers, this may not be how you want this story to be told, but the newcomers won't know the difference nor care.

Alien gives it 3 "slice of the sixties" stars out of 4. 

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Self/Less

Facing certain death from cancer, the extremely wealthy Damian Hale (Ben Kingsley) desperately arranges for a secret experimental medical procedure to transfer his consciousness into a young healthy body (Ryan Reynolds). Of course, things get more complicated with hallucinations, red pills, hidden secrets, and men giving chase. The script is pretty predictable so there is not much guessing how things are going to end up. The settings are beautiful and the action is good, but the everything happens a little too perfect. 

Alien gives it 2 ½ "immortality at a cost" stars out of 4.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Minions (3D)

Have you ever wondered where those cute little yellow pill-shaped guys came from before they became comical henchmen for that despicable Gru? See the evolution of those innocent childlike creatures from the primordial waters to the age of dinosaurs to the coming of man.  Then it's a wonderful trip down memory lane with the sights & sounds of 1968 visiting New York, Orlando, & London. This "Three Stooges" adventure mainly follows minions Kevin, Stuart, & Bob on a quest to find a new villainous leader, Scarlett Overkill, because the minions have a habit of losing each of their adopted bosses. The sight gags come fast & furious as the film pokes fun at everything from fanatical themed conventions to "The Attack of the 50-foot Woman" to British royalty. The movie has a fabulous sound track, especially if you were born in a certain era. Stay through the credits for more silly minion antics and a funny musical curtain call.

Alien gives it 4 "beedo gibberish" stars out of 4.

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