Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The Transporter Refueled

Frank Martin is back as the Transporter but is he refueled or just a retread? It's a female Three Musketeers & D'Artagnan team who hire Frank (Ed Skrein) for a big heist/revenge scheme. Luc Besson is also back as part of the writing staff so fans can expect thrilling car chase/stunt scenes & close quarters hand-to-hard combat. However, this new Frank lacks the heft & rugged charm of Jason Stathan. Maybe that's why the filmmakers created a Frank Sr. (Ray Stevenson) to help carry the load. If you are easily dazzled by fast cars, pretty girls, and gimmicky action, you'll probably have a good time. Don't get up too quickly or you may miss some final transactions.

Alien gives it 2 ½ "double kidnapping" stars out of 4.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The Visit

A single mom's (Kathryn Hahn) vacation cruise plans necessitates sending her 2 kids off for a week with nana & pop-pop to whom the mom has been estranged for over 15 years. Wanting to learn more about their mom, the aspiring filmmaker daughter along with the rap styling son decide to document their visit on film. Over the course of their stay, the siblings find their elderly hosts seem to get weirder and more threatening with each day. The kids are terrific as they star & carry the movie. Written & directed by M. Night Shyamalan, this thriller is more comedy & suspense with a bit of disgust for shock value rather than a true horror story. If you are into the unusual, this odd film may have something for you. Stay for on final rap when the credits roll.

Alien gives it 2 ½ "Sundowner's Syndrome" stars out of 4.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Diary of a Teenage Girl

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

The inner thoughts & emotional feelings of a 15-year-old girl are revealed in this brutally honest coming of age story. It's San Francisco 1976 where Minnie Goetz (Bel Powley) is searching for love & attention. Powley is marvelous as the naive & insecure teen who thinks she has found love in her divorced mom's (Kristen Wiig in a non-comedic role) boyfriend (Alexander Skarsgård). Experience the highs & lows a young girl with self image issues as she rushes too quickly into womanhood & explores her sexuality. Her budding cartoonist dreams creatively extend themselves visually from her imagination right onto to the big screen. Through this temporal trip down memory lane, relive the rotary phone, typewriter, cassette tape recorder, Polaroid camera, phone booth, scarves over lamps, and acid trips. Rated "R" for language, nudity, sexual content, and drug use. 

Alien gives it 3 "growing up too fast" stars out of 4.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Walk in the Woods

It's "Grumpy Old Men" meets "Wild" when a popular travel author, Bill Bryson (Robert Redford), approaching his retiring years becomes determined to hike the Appalachian Trail, but his wife, Catherine (Emma Thompson), refuses to allow him to go alone until his long lost friend, Stephen Katz  (Nick Nolte), from 40 years ago asks to join him on this 2,000 mile journey from Georgia to Maine. This very funny buddy bonding film features nature's majestic beauty & enormity as it dominates over man's smallness in comparison. See whether these two unprepared old guys are up to this six month challenge. This is a true story based on the book of the same name by Bill Bryson.

Alien gives it 3 "pushing yourself forward" stars out of 4. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Mistress America

Real life couple, Noah Baumbach (writer/director) & Greta Gerwig (writer/star) collaborate in this indie comedy about breakups & love/hate relationships. A lonely college freshman Tracy (Lola Kirke) escapes to New York City and hangs out & bonds with her future step-sister Brooke (Gerwig), an enterprising entrepreneur. It is a quirky dialog-driven comedy that will probably have limited appeal. Alien expects the general public will be bored by lives of these 2 main characters who are just trying to find themselves. Plus the title "Mistress America" will likely confuse people as to what this film is really about.

Alien gives it 2 "zen master or psychopath" stars out of 4.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Hitman: Agent 47

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

Based on a video game with shades of "Dark Angel", this reboot of a 2007 film flop features a shaved-headed bar-code-tattooed genetically-enhanced assassin (Rupert Friend) in competition with a John Smith (Zachary Quinto) to find a mystery woman Katia (Hannah Ware) who may be the key to resurrecting the super-assassin program. The film showcases stylized shoot 'em up action in slick settings & exotic locales. It's entertaining eye-candy with a few holes in the plot like the bodies left in the wake of this cool calm emotionless killer's path. If you jump out of your seat too soon as credits begin to roll, you may miss an eye opening moment.

Alien gives it 2 ½ "sub-dermal body armor" stars out of 4. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

No Escape

Ironically, Owen Wilson's businessman character, Jack Dwyer, finds himself more or less in the same situation as his navy navigator role in 2001's "Behind Enemy Lines", his last dramatic role, except he has his family in tow this time. A new job has Jack relocating to Southeast Asia with his wife (Lake Bell) & 2 daughters when a coup breaks out where foreigners are being shot on sight. This is an extremely intense & heart pounding thrill ride as the situation quickly goes from very bad to unimaginably worse. The plot is quite simple, just escape to safe haven, but it is a terrifying experience, not knowing what's around each surprising corner. From the get go, the chance meeting with Pierce Brosnan's mystery man character, Hammond, is suspicious & you know he will reappear & play some significant part. So what would you do to protect your family? Do you believe foreign corporations are assisting or exploiting the people in third world countries?

Alien gives it 3 ½ "trying to stay 10 steps ahead" stars out of 4.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

American Ultra

It's a "Bourne Identity" spoof when small town stoner/Cash & Carry clerk Mike (Jessie Eisenberg) unknowingly turns out to be a CIA sleeper who must fight for his life when he is targeted for permanent retirement. Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace, & Connie Britton are caught up in this funny ultra violent action film with shades of "Outbreak" and "The Equalizer". It's Wisemen versus Tough Guys with fireworks & some over-the-top kick-ass violence & a little romance after a botched vacation.

Alien gives it 3 "The Adventures of Apollo Ape" stars out of 4.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Gift

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

After moving back to his hometown from Chicago, a chance meeting with a childhood schoolmate instigates a series of more encounters that seem to get creepier & creepier. "Weirdo Gordo" (Joel Edgerton) & "Simple Simon" (Jason Bateman) share a dark secret from their past and Simon's wife Robyn (Rebecca Hall) is caught in the middle. Edgerton writes, directs, and stars in this psychological thriller with a few twists & turns that will have you guessing. 

Alien gives it 3 "people who live in glass houses" stars out of 4.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Straight Outta Compton

It started with five angry young men from Compton who just wanted to be heard through their music. This powerful and intense story is about the rise and split up of the gangsta rap group N.W.A. featuring Eazy-E, Ice Cube, & Doctor Dre. Growing up with police harassment & brutality in their neighborhood has influenced and impacted their controversial explicit lyrics. Audiences will be treated to a detailed look at the people behind the music that rocked the nation during the Rodney King era. Non rap fan Alien did enjoy their music under the context of this movie. Of course this 2 ½ hour film is rated "R" for the violence, drugs, nudity, and language embedded in the lives of these gangsta rappers. The acting is superb and feels brutally honest by the young talent. O'Shea Jackson perfectly captures his dad's (Ice Cube) essence. 

Alien gives it 3 ½ "reality rapping" stars out of 4.

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